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Wednesday, May 16, 2007
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"We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:4).
We often mention our two pets, Dottie and Roxie. Our cat Dottie had her sixth birthday yesterday. We know this precisely because she was born on May 15, 2001 three months after we moved to Lancaster County from New England. At the time we were renting an old farmhouse.
I still recall her mother, a wild black barn cat, snarling at me when I walked into the summer kitchen early that morning. "Mama" was instinctively protecting her four tiny furry balls. Of course Ester insisted on keeping one and chose her pick from the litter. We've had Dottie ever since; the longest time we've managed to keep a cat during our 31 year marriage.
A wondrous sight to behold is new life and the spring season abounds with evidence of new life here in the country. Right within view of my computer is a morning dove who has rarely left her nest since she built it weeks ago under the eaves of our barn. Within days I expect to hear chirps of new life from this hid-away site.
I find something particularly wondrous in viewing row after row of tiny corn just sprouting. It'll be 10 feet tall by harvest in early fall. Seeds Brooksyne planted only three days ago are sprouting and she is as excited as a young child as they pop up out of the soil one by one. She spritzes them several times a day and often comes back with a smile indicating another one has sprouted.
The Father sent Jesus that we might have new life. Christ indeed was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father and He has ordained a new life for His redeemed children. "We too may live a new life." The apostle Paul uses the 1st person plural indicating that this was a very personal experience for him, not merely an injunction to his readers. The sense of this "new life" is active and ongoing. The Amplified Bible describes the sense of "new life" in these words, "so that we too may habitually live and behave in newness of life."
Those cute little kittens have certainly grown up now. At least one has already died and in the course of things Dottie will get old and die in several years. Likewise "outwardly we are wasting away" (2 Corinthians 4:16). Hank Hanegraaff makes this interesting observation in his book, "Resurrection": "Our DNA is programmed in such a way that at a particular point we reach optimal development from a functional perspective. For the most part it appears that we reach this stage in our twenties or thirties. Prior to this stage, the development of our bodies (anabolism) exceeds the devolution of our bodies (catabolism). From this point on the rate of breakdown exceeds the rate of buildup which eventually leads to physical death."
Yes, we are wasting away! At 52 I realize that the rate of breakdown physically for me is on the up side and has been for some twenty years now! It is evident not only in the physical signs such as sore joints and high blood pressure, but also in the increasing mental challenges as well. Young people can work circles around me with the electronic gizmos on the market and I'm finding myself more forgetful these days.*
But instead of getting gloomy about the increasing years, let's hold on to this glorious thought today: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16). Inwardly our spiritual being is being renewed day by day! That's the wonder of the "new life." And that should lift your spirits whether you're 9 or 90!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, though my mortal body is perishing and confined to this earthly dwelling, I rejoice in the energizing truth that my inward spiritual being is being refined and preparing me for an eternal dwelling where I will never grow weak, weary or old! Thank You for the renewing of my mind and my spirit as I hold fast to Your transforming truths this day. Amen.
* Speaking of memory loss, I was to be the speaker in a chapel service at a Christian school this morning and only remembered after Brooksyne called asking me, "Is there something you might have forgotten today?" At that time I was some 45 miles away near Reading, PA. After she told me about the missed appointment I realized that I had failed to get it on the main calendar and thus I forgot this very important date. What humiliation, frustration, and embarrassment I felt when I had forgotten something as important as this opportunity to speak as a servant of God! I also regret letting down Mike, a friend and teacher at the school who had invited me to speak. In self-examination and in talking to Brooksyne we've determined that we will have to go to greater measures to compensate for increasing memory loss as we are growing older together and both dealing with this annoyance! (I had written down the appointment on a scratch note but…)
I was actually with my friend Jesse, the Amish stonemason, at the time Brooksyne called. She informed me with considerable chagrin that I had missed the speaking appointment and Jesse could tell by the tone of her voice transmitted over the cell phone and my "guilty as charged" response that I was in trouble! He felt bad for me and tried to encourage me. Jesse is only 28 years old and I told him to learn from what I had done. I told him, "Should the Lord tarry and I still have breath I will call you when I'm 76 and you're 52. Then I'm going to ask, Have you missed any important appointments in the last 24 years?"
Occasionally I still have opportunities like this morning to drive for Jesse. I really enjoy it and it's a helpful supplement to my income. We were in a beautiful mountainous region east of Reading (pronounced Redding) at a large stone quarry. These types of trips also account in part for the varying times these messages are delivered.
"Resurrection" Hank Hanegraaff, © Copyright 2000 Word Publishing (page 133)
Note from Brooksyne: Summer kitchens, very common in this area, are separate from the main kitchens of old farm houses and apparently farmwives would use them in the summer due to the extreme heat. It's easy to forget that women used to cook over an open fire.
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