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Thursday, February 23, 2006

"How Much Do We Love Christ?"

"Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" (John 21:15).

During the dormant seasons farmers use manure as fertilizer in the farm fields surrounding our home. Although at times the odor is quite intense we try to see it as one of the "blessings" of living in the country.  This morning as I was out I noticed the fields up the road have that distinct dark color indicating a fresh spreading of manure and indeed there is a slight odor in the air.

I recall a story told by an old-time missionary who has served in Africa since 1958. He serves in a land marked by civil strife and abject poverty, ruled by a brutal dictator. His frame of reference helps me to be mindful of the deplorable conditions so many of our brethren live under. He told the following story from a perspective I feel we all need to hear more often.  This is particularly true for those of us who live in lands of relative peace and great prosperity.

There was a church leader who had a simple farm near others. Each year her crops flourished and others, wanting to know her secret, asked her, "What kind of manure are you using?" In seeking to give credit to God for the blessing she replied, "God is my manure!"

Well I wouldn't advise expressing God's blessings in this way but I can certainly see the intent of her message. God is our source and help. He is the dispenser of blessings. Indeed, we are to "Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow."

The missionary challenged us to understand Christ's question to Peter in the daily text as a question to each one of us individually. Place your name before the sentence, "_____________ do you truly love me more than these?"

He shared how the unspecified "these" could be all other objects of our love. Some of "these" are good such as our love for family and friends and compassion toward the lost. Others, such as the vast amount of material things we have available, are not necessarily bad in themselves. But do we love Christ supremely? Do we truly love Christ more than all of these?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Jesus, as I exchange places with Peter today I hear the words, "Do you truly love me more than these?" As I contemplate what "these" things are in my life I want my love and devotion for You to exceed any one or anything that I value in this life.  In searching my heart this day I lay before You any thing that would conflict or compete with Your supreme control of my life. I yield my affections to You, my Lord and Master.

We are thankful that we recently had an article written in local papers concerning our online ministry. it includes a recent photo of the two of us from our little workstation.

"My Jesus I love Thee" is a song that comes to mind as I prepare this. here are two versions.

Finally, one of the real blessings of living in the country is the animals. Here's a photo of me holding a baby goat at my Amish neighbors.
Photo of Stephen with baby goat
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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. Used by permission; 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 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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