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Monday, December 29, 2014
Yesterday we drove though the Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge and saw this lovely home setting through the tunnel like opening of the bridge. (Click on photo for larger view.)
"For The Joy Of Human Love"
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"At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged" (Acts 28:15). "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25).
Today's message is prompted by an advertisement I saw that is both funny and sad. Often when I select music to go along with a message it begins with an advertisement that you might enjoy or must endure a few seconds before you can skip it to watch the desired video. But this video was gripping and I watched it through.
A man runs through an airport looking for a woman about to board a plane. He scrambles through the crowd, jumps over luggage, checks flight times, and finally sees the woman on the second level of the airport. He screams out, "Elizabeth!" She doesn't hear him and continues walking so the man runs up the escalator attempting to catch up with her. After a very long run, and some intense searching, he finally finds himself right behind her.
"Elizabeth." She turns around, surprised to see him. Quite moved by his unexpected appearance she calls out his name, "Stephen." He replies, "I can't believe I caught you." Moved to the point of tears Elizabeth counters, "You came back. I knew you'd come back." Stephen replies, "I have to ask you something." Elizabeth longingly responds, "Anything."
At this point I expected a touching scene of romantic love and reconciliation but it ends with a ringer that is probably far too true in many instances. It certainly speaks to people's misplaced priorities. You can watch it here but please return to our message!!!
For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.
As we conclude another year let us consider what the hymnwriter calls, "the joy of human love." Over the years this phrase becomes more meaningful: "Brother, sister, parent, child, friends on earth and friends above." We have family and friends here below but an increasing number are now residing above. We consider some of our elderly readers who may have more friends above than below!
In our electronic age we are far more connected than ever but it seems that in many cases there is also such a shallowness. Popularity and even success is measured by “likes”, “followers” and "friends" on the social media. But we must work hard to see that our relationships have depth, the give and take required for a viable friendship/relationship.
Today's Scripture portion records Paul's joy-filled reaction when a group of brothers traveled from Rome to meet him and his fellow workers. Paul had never been to Rome prior to this and these brothers are not identified. The journey to Rome for Paul was wearying and now, as he approached the great city, some friends made the effort to come out to greet him.
I smile as I picture the scene and can even identify due to a recent memory of our visit to San Antonio Texas in May. Our friends David and Sabra drove down from Fort Worth to meet up with us over lunch where we rekindled our friendship and sought to encourage each other.
"At the sight of these men…" I know people like that. Don't you? Seeing them, even at a distance, is a source of joy. A reading of Romans 16 indicates Paul's rich reservoir of human support and friendship among his Christian brothers and sisters in Rome.
When Paul saw these men he did two things:
1) He "thanked God." The sight of these men prompted an exclamation of thanks to God. Now that's a high standard regarding the impact of our presence to others. When people see us do they thank God?
2) He "was encouraged." Regular readers know this is a major emphasis and at the very heart of our "daily encouragement" ministry. We hope and pray that our presence may bring spiritual courage to those whom we interact with day by day.
What we learn:
1) Value the people that God has placed in your life. Are you developing and adding to those who have blessed your life? Do you recognize them as blessings from God? Do you thank God for them and let them know how much you value them as family and friends?
2) Seek to be a friend such as these men whom Paul saw on his way to Rome. Find ways to encourage others and share God's love with a world in need. May we be a sight of encouragement to others!
Today we encourage you to value the joy of human love.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we think of those people in our lives that bring refreshing at their very sight or mention of their names. They have poured into our lives fruitful blessings by their kind actions and words, by their exemplary lifestyle and so often by their personal overcomings of life's hardships. May we be not only recipients of such tender mercies, but diligent dispensers of lovingkindness toward others. May our actions and words refresh them. Not that it should be our major motivation, but we know that when we refresh others, we ourselves are refreshed. So as we bless others, we too are blessed and we bless You as well. Amen.
Special Note: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry (and support) is essentially comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job for each of us (20+ hours weekly). Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and family income. You can donate by check, online or using PayPal. If you would like to make a donation see here for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you! Note: We thank those who have contributed the last several weeks. Due to a very busy schedule we are behind in our thank you's and acknowledgments.
Yesterday we heard Jordan Smucker (left) preach at "The Worship Center", a local church here in Lancaster County. Jordan is the son of Marlin Smucker (right) whom we work with in chaplaincy and grandson to Sam S. Smucker (center) who founded the home improvement company over 50 years. Jordan gave a moving tribute to his grandfather, who along with his late wife, established the heritage of faith in Christ for the family. Surely this contributed to his call to ministry where he serves on the pastoral staff at a church in Canton, Ohio.
We met up with our friends David and Margie Adams at the church service and joined them for brunch at the Oregon Dairy.
Here's the approach to the Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge.
Albino deer at Oregon Dairy
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“For The Beauty Of The Earth” Video Beth Nielsen Chapman A portion of this hymn was quoted in today's message.
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
Personal Ministry Update (Revised 12/10/14)
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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!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
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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. Other versions are also occasionally used.
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