Monday, February 12, 2007
This photo came to mind as I prepared today' message. It was taken at a wedding reception of friends from the church we served in northern Pennsylvania. They were greeting after a long separation.
Click here to listen to this message on your audio player.
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).
Today I invite you to consider memorable times of send-offs in your life. One of my heartwarming memories was when Brooksyne and I would load our car with our belongings after visiting my parents for several days in Missouri and prepare for our return to the Northeast. They’d walk to the car with us, pray a prayer of safety over us, and just before we climbed inside the car we'd squeeze in our final hugs. We'd start up the car and head out the driveway as they moved to the porch and waved till we were completely out of sight. Now that they are both gone I sure miss that endearing scene, experiencing it for the last time about ten years ago. *
Yesterday we had our final main service with the church where we’ve been serving in an interim role since August. Although the interim role is shorter and doesn't always lead to the deeper friendships a long-term pastorate affords, we still develop solid longterm friendships as we serve faithfully during this abbreviated time.
In my morning sermon I preached from Acts 20 where Paul is giving his farewell message to the Ephesian elders. Today’s text especially came alive to me as I stood before the congregation and committed them to God and to the word of His grace. We completed the service by kneeling together all throughout the sanctuary as I prayed for them, using today’s verse as the basis for my prayer, "Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace."
Times of parting are something we all commonly share. It is only after our arrival in heaven that we’ll no longer say, “Farewell.” Our specific parting customs may differ but one aspect for the believer is demonstrated by the Apostle Paul in the daily text. I hope the Holy Spirit brings this verse to my remembrance in all future partings whether they be personal or to a group.
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace.” That is such a powerful statement! I’ve surely read it many times and have preached from this passage as well, but the power of this verse struck a new chord in me yesterday. From now on whenever I experience a send-off I want the Holy Spirit to remind me of this verse so that I will include it in my farewell prayer as I did yesterday. Perhaps you will consider doing the same!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer (The Aaronic Blessing): “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”
Brooksyne’s Note: The Lord said to Moses in Numbers 6:22 that he was to pray the above blessing over Aaron and the Israelites. A prayer of blessing is one way of asking for God’s divine favor to rest upon those we love. It is also a wonderful “send-off” prayer. Today’ featured photos were taken at Jeanette and Sean Paradise’s wedding reception almost two years ago. The Priestly Blessing was spoken by Jeanette’s father as he handed over his daughter for marriage to the groom. It was so fitting and a wonderful way to send off his daughter to start her own family. As a matter of fact Jeanette and Sean just welcomed the birth of their first child less than two months ago.
Here's a photo of Mike (left) and Joe taken right after the bear hug photo above. This heartens me as I consider these two men, their friendship, and service for the Lord. They both worked for many years together in a Christian boy's program called "Royal Rangers." Mike and his wife Kathy were in the very first service when we established that church in 1977. Initially Joe's wife, Jane, attended. At the time Joe was unsaved and refused to attend with her. I still recall when he finally came to a church service, practically dragged in by his wife. He met me with a mean scowl when I reached out to shake his hand, indicating he did not want to be there at all. Well, just a short time later his heart softened and he turned to the Lord. I bet his genuine smile even prompts you to smile!
* Here is an online excerpt from a book that had a great influence on my life. More information about the book is here.
We will be returning to the church for a smaller midweek service and farewell meal. However yesterday was my final opportunity to preach to the larger Sunday morning congregation.
As we prepare today's encouragement we feature a beautiful song that reinforces our message titled, "I Thank The Lord For You My Friend" (mp3) The music is to the tune of "Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed" and here are the lyrics. Another song that sure fits and many of us have enjoyed for many years is the song by Michael W. Smith "Friends."
Sign up for the free daily email encouragement at www.dailyencouragement.net
New subscribers receive a link to free computer desktop background photos with Scriptures!
Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.
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."
Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552
"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"