July 17, 2012
We passed this young Amish couple riding to Youth Meeting on Sunday afternoon. The warm weather brings out the spring wagons and Saturday afternoon one came down our road which was a pleasant sight and sound.
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This last Sunday we visited a nursing home where we serve as chaplains. Brooksyne played the piano during their dinner hour which the residents thoroughly enjoy. The hymns bring tremendous comfort and reassurance as they hear the familiar melodies played.
While Brooksyne plays Ester and I visit the folks going from table to table. I greeted Sarah,* a spunky Jewish lady with a very colorful personality. In the course of our conversation I asked, “Sarah, how old are you?”. She shrugged her shoulders and then asked me, “What year is it?” I told her, “It’s 2012.” “I was born in 1916″ she responded and then looked on as I did some mental calculation. I informed Sarah, “You’re 96 this year and you’ll soon be 100 years old!” Her eyes met mine with a look of amazement and then with a big smile she responded, “Well… God bless me!” Sarah’s turning that statement of blessing around to bless herself has stayed with me these past two days and brought an inward chuckle as I recall our brief visit.
God has blessed Sarah with a long life and we are grateful that she has been a part of our Sunday services and hymn sings. There’s something precious about seeing an older Jewish lady, raised in the Jewish section of New York City where her father had a small grocery/candy store, singing out, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me, the Bible tells me so”!
Spending time with people who have a different ethnic background or raised in a different part of our country or across the seas draws me to our daily verse: “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” This verse teaches us that God decides precisely where on the planet and precisely in which period of history each man and woman is going to be born and live out their lives.
I consider the many different locations around our globe, the various time periods and assorted living conditions where I might be living out my life and even more importantly the religious settings. In many places it’s extremely difficult to live out one’s life as a Christian believer. And since people tend to stay in the religious faith into which they were born, it is very difficult to even become a Christian (in many regions of our world it is illegal to convert).
Brooksyne and I were both born into homes where there was a Christian basis although we grew up in very different denominations. In our teens we both made the decision to personally accept and follow Jesus Christ and later we met in Bible College where we were both preparing for ministry.
Periodically I express in this devotional perspective my 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 prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity.”
I believe each of us should have a similar personal mission statement. The life-long mission of each true disciple of Christ is to influence and impact others in regard to their eternal destiny. Although we surely do so in different ways (thankfully), we all have this call, whether we’re in “professional” ministry or not. God has a plan for each of us in the accomplishment of His purpose.
Let us again consider our daily text, a powerful statement made by Paul in his message in Athens: “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live” (Acts 17:26).
We live in many different places all over the world. Ultimately this was determined by God and what a blessing to have readers from all over the world.
Although we may live in different places we all have in common a window of history concerning the times set for us determined by God. I am pretty sure all reading this message will live their appointed time on this earth sometime between 1910 (assuming we have any 100+ year old readers and 2100 (assuming a young reader may live to be 100). Of course the blessed hope of the Church could interrupt this!
Today we once again call on each reader to submit to God and His purpose for your life. Every one of us has a life mission.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it is in You that we live and move and have our being. As You breathed life into us You also determined the parents who would bring us into this world, where we would live, the language we would speak, and the culture that would help shape our way of life as we know it. In Your great mercy You have chosen to show Your power through us who believe so that Your name may be declared in all the earth. By Your grace we will be faithful in carrying out this tremendous mission You have entrusted to those who believe. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
* Sarah is not here name but this is a true story!
Brooksyne’s Note: I listened to the book of Romans on my walkman cassette player early this morning as I was tending my gardening chores (I know I’m still in the dark ages with technology). When I came in and read over the lesson Stephen prepared and did a little editing I thought about the 9th, 10th and 11th chapters where Paul writes about the Israelites who reject the Gospel and those of us whom God has grafted in. I must admit I don’t fully grasp these concepts but God really spoke reassurance to my heart in these passages. I incorporated some of the Scripture into our prayer this morning and encourage you to read these chapters if you want to think further on the theme we presented today.
Yesterday we shared a photo of a super-sized sunflower growing in our garden which got the attention of our readers. One wondered if it might be a world record so I looked it up. According to the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records, a sunflower grown in the Netherlands holds the record for being the tallest sunflower in the world at 25 feet, 5.4 inches tall. Based on Brooksyne’s height (5’3″) I would guess our sunflower is between 10-12 feet tall. Lance also observed was how amazing that it stands so straight and tall without outside support. He observed that the sunflower must have a very wonderful root system and suggested it would serve as a good sermon illustration. I concur with our reader.
Our friend Ken, featured often on our site since he’s been a great helper to us on various occasions, had a birthday this last Sunday and took a barrel train ride with his boys and their friend in the middle, Zane.
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