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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Mount Joy redbud tree
This redbud we passed in Mount Joy yesterday is blooming. We hope the winds that came up later in the day didn't blow the blooms off nor the heavy winds that continue throughout today!

"A Chasing After The Wind"

Message summary: Today let us beware of chasing after the wind. Let’s make it our renewed and persistent goal to chase (seek) after the Lord above all!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

Today we have blistering cold winds coming from the west. Since our home faces a large open farm field there’s nothing to break the wind and we get the full brunt of the cold, blustery air. But we’ll take that, along with the periodic applications of manure in the fields, in exchange for the many pleasures we experience living out in the country!

Chasing the windOur text speaks of "a chasing after the wind" so today we want to consider this phrase, which is found nine times in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Consider our all-knowing Master who watches His children chasing after the many winds of life trying to find fulfillment and happiness with money, trying to impress others with our material possessions, educational titles, political posturing, and so forth.

In describing this futility the writer of Ecclesiastes (Solomon) uses the colorful phrase, “chasing after the wind”. In a descriptive language that all people of all generations can grasp, he describes the meaninglessness of so many life pursuits. We all know how utterly futile it is to go chasing after the wind.
It can also be useless to chase something that is being blown by the wind.

Yesterday we were visiting an Amish school program and our friend, Jesse, along with others went chasing after their hats, bonnets, and other items that the wind had picked up and blown into oblivion it seemed. Their effort was futile. Perhaps the items will show up in someone's field over the next few days!

Nothing solid or tangible; no lasting pleasure or joy; no inner satisfaction results from the ongoing chasing after the wind. Many major life pursuits perish and die in the enjoyment of them. Instead of yielding absolute and ongoing delight they only proved to be short-lived pleasures, over soon and leaving a thirst for something else. This mindset drove Solomon onto other fruitless chases; “All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure” (Ecclesiastes 2:10a).

Solomon is surely among the most interesting people in Scripture. Although known for his great wisdom and many accomplishments, he failed in some foundational personal decisions. The Book of Ecclesiastes has elements that indicate his despair at life’s pursuits. He was successful by virtually any worldly standard, yet he begins the book by stating, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13,14But the book ends with this timeless counsel:

"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14).

Today let us beware of chasing after the wind. Let’s make it our renewed and persistent goal to chase (seek) after the Lord above all!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it’s the deception of the enemy that distorts the many worthless pursuits in life that will veer my heart off course from the goal of winning the prize for which You have called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All worthy pursuits are secondary to the the highest pursuit of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord, for whose sake I am willing to lay it all down, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own...but the righteousness that comes from You on the basis of faith. Knowing Christ is a lasting goal that brings great reward not just here and now but forevermore. No more chasing in the wind but a lifetime pursuit of walking in the ways of holiness is what I seek after. It is through Christ Jesus that I commit to You, Father God, this worthy desire of my heart. Amen.

For reflection on prayer see Philippians 3:7-14

The Scriptures contain a wonderful promise concerning the prime pursuit we should all engage in life. God speaks to us and declares, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Jesus gives us a simple key regarding what we are to pursue in life, but it seems we need to be constantly reminded, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Oh, But God"  Click to listen on YouTube   Davy Flowers

I was buried beneath my rebellion
Lost without hope of redemption
Blind to my need for a Savior
Oh But God

Further study:

Yesterday morning we visited with Mel in Palmyra, who has a fresh testimony of giving his life to Christ. He is seeking after the Lord and we are pleased to share spiritual encouragement with him. His shirt expresses his faith and many will recognize the song. We presented it in our song list on Monday and here it is again dedicated to Mel. Video

Later in the afternoon we visited with Hector who works as a laser machinist. Hector has recently placed his faith in Christ. We'll follow up on his story in a future message.

Parking for Amish school program
Mid-afternoon we went to a student's program (28 children, grades 1-8) at an Amish School, invited by the family. What effort these children put into memorizing hymns (all verses), recitations, drama, all with good moral lessons indicative of the type of education they are receiving. What a contrast to so many public schools and the utter evil that is being promoted.

Stacked desks for Amish school program
The desks were removed from the one room schoolhouse and stacked in front to make room for benches to seat the family and friends who were invited. Hats and bonnets went flying in the high winds and it may be days before some are recovered!

Here is a fuller description from a program we attended at the same school 8 years ago:

Porch of an Amish school 12/23/15
We were among several other "English" (the term Amish use in referring to non-Amish) who attended a children's Christmas program at an one room schoolhouse that has nearly 30 children, grades 1-8. This was our third time to attend the Children's school program and it is certainly not your "normal" school or church event, but more a reflection of the past when children were required to memorize poems, passages, skits, plays, and songs.

I, Brooksyne, still recall our Christmas concerts in my Elementary School where we memorized all the verses of "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Joy to the World", "We Three Kings" and other such sacred carols.

The Amish children's program was 90 minutes with 9 poems, seven lengthy songs and medleys, and seven plays, besides some other punchline type narratives. All spoken in English, but with their Pennsylvania Dutch accent, there is much we miss if the children speak quickly. According to Amish customs taking photos of the children's faces would not be protocol, but we thought we'd share some of the vibrant singing so we recorded some audio using the video function on our phones.

The first part of the video is singing by the children, discreetly recorded by Ester along with some exterior photos Stephen took as we approached and entered the school. Thankfully hats are removed which helps the many guests with viewing the short children on the platform. We were crowded in like sardines sitting on benches, even squeezed into the children's small desks - for the really slender, even two were seated at one desk (obviously that didn't include the three of us). What a delightful event that few are privileged to enjoy. We love our dear Amish friends.

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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