Friday, September 26, 2014

Daily Encouragement (09/26/14) "Our Foremost Loyalty"

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Lancaster County PA farm 9/19/14 (Click to enalrge)
Harvest time
Amish farm near Quarryville, PA

(Click on photo to enlarge)

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"Our Foremost Loyalty"

"O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to You" (1 Chronicles 29:18).

Ester with Dr. Mark Cohen (1/6/11)Dr. Mark Cohen (with Ester in photo), first treated her when she arrived from Guatemala as a dying three month old. He was part of the pediatric cardiology team at the Geisinger Medical Center in northern Pennsylvania. (When we lived in New England she was seen by doctors at Boston Children's Hospital.)

When we moved back to Pennsylvania in 2001 Dr. Cohen, who had joined a team at the Hershey Medical Center, again became her doctor and has been her primary cardiologist the last 13 years. Last month she was transferred to the care of another specialist dealing with adult congenital heart disease and she is having quite a time adjusting. She tends to be very loyal to certain people and Dr. Cohen is among the top ten!

In this world with so many vascillating, fickle loyaties I appreciate this character trait of loyalty. We are seeking to help Ester adjust to her new doctor, however, we do value her sense of loyalty.

David prayed for the people of Israel to practice the virtue of loyalty in our daily text just prior to his death
as he prepared to pass the torch of leadership to his son, Solomon. The text has two petitions of prayer which are related:

"Keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever." "This desire" in this context is the heart the people had to give to the temple construction. But surely in a more generalized sense it speaks to a heart that withholds nothing from God; spiritual, physical, or material. We say, "Lord, take it all and use it for Your glory."  We must strive to keep this desire in our hearts forever, for there are so many things that play tug of war with our heart strings. We must make a firm resolve that our foremost desire will be to keep our hearts desiring God.

"Keep their hearts loyal to you."
The NKJV states, "fix their heart toward You." David had expressed this same aspiration personally in Psalm 57:7, "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!" “Steadfast” means "unwavering, resolute, unyielding, deep-rooted". For most of his life, David was a steadfast follower of God. Out of that deep-rooted commitment to God David wrote the beautiful songs of praise that still bless and inspire us today. (Haven devotional)

Today we encourage you to examine your outlook on life. How loyal are you? Not to your car, your hobby, or other material possessions, but to the Lord, your family, church and friends, even your employer?

But of utmost importance is this question. How loyal are you to God? Is your heart steadfast and true? Our loyalty to God is our foremost loyalty!

Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true,
Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.
There's a race that I must run.
And there are victories to be won.
Give me power, every hour to be true.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, we are influenced by many forces that seek to weaken or destroy our relationship with You.  But we resolve that we will seek to draw ever nearer to the One who makes life worthwhile. Your lovingkindness is even better than life, therefore we praise You; we lift up our hands in Your name for You have been our help, our salvation. May my soul follow hard after You as Your right hand upholds me day in and day out through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

During the Autumn our area has a number of community agricultural fairs we enjoy visiting and usually pass them in the course of our travels.

Tractors at Solanco Fair
Last week on the way to the shore we passed the Solanco Fair and I always enjoy seeing the old tractors. (Click on photo to enlarge)

1954 Allis-Chalmer tractor at Ephrata Fair (click to enlarge)
We walked through the Ephrata Fair yesterday which is mostly a street fair closing Main Street in the heart of town. However off the beaten path they do have an antique tractor display. This old Allis-Chalmers looks pretty good for being 60 years old! (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Ephrata Fair harvest display 9/25/14
A bountiful harvest display at the Ephrata Fair.

Farm wife Brooksyne 9/25/14
We will see if Brooksyne lets me keep this on the page!
(I, Brooksyne, should have known Stephen would post this. Of course, I will only own up to 1/8th of this body. This was a cute farmer's cut-out at the Ephrata Fair. It was a very rainy afternoon but eventually the sun came out and it was beautiful.)

Today we also have several photos our friend Lee Smucker took at a large auction held in our area last Saturday near Leola, PA. It is a very colorful auction since it is predominately old order groups benefitting children with special needs.

“Special children are not just interesting medical problems, subjects of grants and research. Nor should they be called burdens to their families and communities. They are children who need our help, and if we allow them to, they will teach us compassion. They are children who need our help, and if we allow them to, they will teach us love. If we come to know these children as we should, they will make us better scientists, better physicians, and thoughtful people.”

Dr. Holmes Morton, Co-founder of the Clinic

Children with Special Needs auction 9/20/14 (Photo by Lee Smucker)
These boys were sure fascinated with this miniature steam tractor.

Children with Special Needs auction 9/20/14 (Photo by Lee Smucker)
The old order team Mennonites ride bikes, along with their horse and buggies. In an event like this the fields can be covered in bikes and we wonder how hard it is to tell them apart!

Children with Special Needs auction 9/20/14 (Photo by Lee Smucker)
I recall a station wagon we had when I was kid with a seat facing backwards.

Children with Special Needs auction 9/20/14 (Photo by Lee Smucker)
Going to the Delaware shore this last weekend we hauled our bikes in the back of our older van. These Amish parents took the scooters along for the kids. (Amish ride scooters, old order Mennonites ride bikes - at least in our area. In the Amish settlement we visit in northern Indiana the Amish also ride bikes!)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Keep Me True"  Video  Jabu Hlongwane  (South African Gospel music)

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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
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"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.

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

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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.
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