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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Erb's covered bridge
Erb's covered bridge, one of two we drove through on our bike ride Labor Day.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Out Of The Darkness
Into Your Glorious Day"

Message summary: Remember, God calls you out of darkness into His wonderful light!

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“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:21). “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Labor Day is past and most kids are back to school and the season of summer vacations is over. Today we are going to illustrate our message with an experience Brooksyne had as a child on a short vacation trip.

Six Flags Bumper sticker

I was raised in a family of seven so anytime we traveled we stayed overnight with relatives, not in a motel, except for one memorable hot summer after my two oldest siblings had left home.

Green comet
Mom and Dad, my older sister Elaine, my younger brother Jody and I all piled into our green Comet bracing ourselves for a long trip from Tulsa all the way to Dallas. We brought along our stockpile of earnings (quarters, dimes, nickels and maybe a few dollar bills) that we had earned from washing the car or doing odd jobs for our folks or neighbors. And Mom brought food to eat along the way.

My dad had proudly installed an aftermarket air-conditioner (our first) for the trip so we were eager to travel in comfort, all windows rolled up which meant we girls would not have to comb out a tangled mess of long hair after our arrival. We were going to the famous “Six Flags Over Texas” theme park (still in its infancy stage in the 60’s). It was one exciting time for us; not only going to Six Flags, but this was the first time we’d be staying in a motel.*

When our folks told us this motel had a swimming pool we were beyond excited! Up to this time we’d only swam in muddy farm ponds, lakes and creeks. We children had a blast swimming for many hours and felt like rich kids. It even had lights so we swam in the dark but finally the pool closed, and we headed to our room, all five of us in one small mom and pop motel room.

After such a busy day we fell into a deep sleep but during the night a shrill scream awakened the whole family. Bracing for the worst we jumped out of bed to see what horrible thing was taking place. Did someone break in the door to attack us? But all we saw was that Mom was visibly upset and she insisted that we were all to get dressed and to pack up the suitcases immediately.  We had to spend the rest of that hot summer night in Dallas sleeping upright in the stifling, hot, cramped car. (So much for the air-conditioner in a car when we can’t run the engine!)

RoachWhat was the big problem? Mom had gotten up in the middle of the night and turned on the bathroom light. Out of seemingly nowhere despicable roaches of all sizes and varying speeds zoomed back and forth on the bathroom floor. She had a conniption fit and declared in a voice that couldn’t be reasoned with, “We’re not taking suitcases back to Tulsa filled with roaches so they can breed and live in our house.”  No-sir-eee! We may have been poor but we weren’t dirty and, to Mom, roaches were equated with dirtiness!  (I wonder, all these years later, if Mom asked for a refund on our motel bill?)

There are insect critters who love to hide in the daytime but scurry during the dark hours. It's not just insect critters who descend during the night hours but there are also people critters who wreak havoc in the night. In the Gospel of John we have an association with our scurrying roach observation. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:21). Now roaches are not inherently evil (although I sure wouldn’t care to have them as pets). They are just creatures doing what they were created to do, however distasteful we may find it. They live and do their deeds in the darkness.

That’s not God’s design for God’s special creation. We were created to live in His light. A foundational aspect of the redemptive work of Christ is marvelously described in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

Next time you see a roach, consider the contrast of light and darkness – remember, God calls you out of darkness into His wonderful light!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I thank You for the great deliverance and transfer that took place when I surrendered my heart to You.  You delivered me from the dominion of darkness and transferred me into the Kingdom of Your Son in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Now I walk in the light of Jesus and His kingdom which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Help me never to forget the great rescue and change You brought into my life.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
See Colossians 1:13,14  Romans 14:17

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Chosen Generation"  Video  Hosanna! Music  Does anyone else remember singing this song about 30-40 years ago.

"Glorious Day"  Video  Passion

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day

* Note: As it turned out the first full night Brooksyne ever spent in an out of town hotel was on our honeymoon in Joplin Missouri on the way to our honeymoon at Table Rock Lake!

Stephen’s Six Flags Memory: Like Brooksyne and probably many our age we rarely stayed in motels if there was any chance we could stay with friends or relatives. I don't recall any roach experience when Mom and Dad took my younger sister Genelle and me to Six Flags in the mid-sixties and it was a big deal for our family as well.  To promote Six Flags Over Texas park employees adhered bumper stickers on the cars in the parking lot while the guests were enjoying the amusement park. At that time bumper stickers were a real novelty. It read something to the effect, “I’ve been to Six Flags Over Texas”.  Dad was none too happy about it, but I couldn’t wait to get home so all my friends could see that I’d been to Six Flags Over Texas.

Today we will share some more photos from our bike ride on Labor Day.

Erb's covered bridge
Riding through the Erb's covered bridge is a pleasant experience.
Click on photo to enlarge

Horse in garage stall
Some of the horse and buggy Mennonites live on farms and can house their horses in fields and barns. Others have an oversized garage with a stall in the middle where Brooksyne walked over to greet the resident horse.
Click on photo to enlarge

Mennonite school
We passed a Mennonite School in session. Many of the children ride their bikes to school just like when we were children.
Click on photo to enlarge

Mennonite school playground
Playground at a Mennonite School. Brooksyne was especially impressed with the teeter totters that were built with a cushioned landing, unlike those we had as children. When the child on the opposite seat jumped off (unannounced) and the other child would fall to the hard ground, OUCH!
Click on photo to enlarge

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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