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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Photo of farm in early morning light
Lancaster County farmview 11/1/06 (click on photo to enlarge)

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"The Life Verse"

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

At 6:30 this morning I received a phone call and since I had a pretty good idea of who would be calling so early I boldly declared, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!"  It was indeed our neighbor Anna Ruth and as I greeted her I immediately considered my Aunt Ruth.

I had a lot of aunts and uncles but only a few are still living.  My Mom's oldest sister was Anita Ruth better known to me as "Aunt Ruth".  She went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago although she lived well into her nineties.  She lived in tiny Windsor, Missouri, not far from the village of Tightwad.*

As she aged she became forgetful but remained spry and witty to the end.  When I would visit her she would keep repeating, "It's so good to see you Darling".  When Mom was alive I would take her for visits with Aunt Ruth.  As they enjoyed each other's company I'd pay a visit to the local country barbershop.  While the older barber was cutting my hair I asked him if he knew Ruth Campbell. He thought for a moment and said, "You mean Anita Ruth?"  It turns out that she had been his Sunday School teacher when he was four or five.  He's still in the same church.

Aunt Ruth's favorite Bible verse was "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  I sure miss hearing her say it.  Back in the eighties we sang many Scripture verses verbatim.  This verse was one of them and many of you still sing it!

I consider how other people in my life are known for Scripture verses they often quoted or are known to cherish. Jack, a long-time friend often quotes Proverbs 3:5&6. I always appreciate hearing Brooksyne lead out in the 23rd Psalm, a chapter she memorized as a child. 

Photo of farewell plaqueI would hope that those from my former congregations would say they think of me when they read I Corinthians 15:58 which I often quoted and still do today:  "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, for you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."  As a matter of fact I have a clock on a wooden plaque the congregation gave me where I served in St. Marys, PA hanging right here in my office. The inscription included on the plaque has this very verse on it.

Earl Martin, a very godly friend, who passed away several years ago would choose a theme verse each January for the coming year.  I can still recall him sharing it with our congregation the first week of January prior to his death the following summer.  "The joy of the Lord is my strength" from Nehemiah 8:9 was his year's theme verse.  As a matter of fact this verse was a backdrop for the theme of his funeral which, in addition to the inspiration of the written Holy Word, added special personal meaning.

What about you?  Do you have a life's verse or a verse you often refer to or are known for?  If not, perhaps you'd like to consider one that affirms your life's message!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path. I pray that the light of Your Word shines forth not only in my path, but spreads out to those nearby.  As I meditate, memorize, apply and endear Your Word to my heart I pray that meaningful Scripture will be a natural outflow of who I have become through Christ.  In honoring Your Word the power of Your Holy Spirit uses Scripture to bring conviction, instruction, and inspiration.  Help us to be faithful in reading and engrafting Your Word to our hearts this day.  Amen.

Update: Last month many of you wrote condolence messages to the Amish who live in our area.  These messages have been delivered and I want to thank all who responded.  There were many moving prayers and a several shared experiences in their own lives of overcoming hurts. Tomorrow I will write about one family's experience of overcoming a deep hurt. Below is a model prayer that especially touched our hearts from Grace, a friend of ours who lives in Massachusetts.  It is also a reminder to us that we should continue to lift up these broken-hearted families in prayer.

"Lord, I lift up to you the families and friends in the Lancaster County area.  I pray that you will gently wrap your love around each individual. I pray that you will bless and support the grieving heart of the families and friends. Touch them with your love and peace.  When they are weak may they sense your strength as the one getting them through the grief.   When they are fearful of the days would you cover them with your courage.  May they sense your grace throughout the day and evening.
Lord, in your infinite ways restore the innocence of the children in the Lancaster County area.  Protect their broken and bruised hearts.  In the midnight hour would you speak peace and safety to their broken hearts.  Help them to sense your hedge of protection around them when they go back to school.   When the children go to sleep in the evening would you give them a peaceful rest.  May their thoughts dwell on those things that are lovely and pure.  Lord, please heal them of the fear that would try to rob them of their future.  Protect and guide them in the days ahead.  Pour out your peace, strength and courage for each family in the hours, days and months to come.  Lord you are the only one who can lift them from this horrendous loss.  Give wisdom to those left behind. Lord it is your peace and strength that will get them through.  I pray for forgiveness towards the family of the perpetrator.  Lord, comfort all those that have been touched by this tragedy. You are faithful to see them through each step of their grief.  God bless you with His peace and comfort."

* Tightwad, Missouri – Yes, there really us such a place! I drove through it several years ago and had considered opening a checking account from the local bank. It would be neat to have a Tighwad national bank on each check.  The village's unusual name is said to stem from an episode in which a store owner cheated a customer, gouging him for an extra fifty cents. Some sources claim the transaction involved a watermelon, others a rooster.

Here's the piano accompaniment for "This is the Day."  It's a very straightforward arrangement making it quite easy for those who know the tune to sing along with.  What a great Scripture to sing and apply to your heart on this day, the day that our Lord has made!!

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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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