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Thursday, June 7, 2007
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"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
My brother, Michael, is visiting from California this week. He enjoys walking so we've been taking frequent walks as we're introducing him to our neighborhood surroundings. Two nights ago I was tired so he and Brooksyne walked together after dark along with Roxie, our two year old dog, who's loving all these walks. It's a walk that we won't soon forget so Brooksyne's going to tell you about it:
About 1/3 mile from the house I got a very strong whiff of a skunk. In fact I'd describe it as more than a whiff since the smell clung in the air and the uninvited odor filled my nostrils. I thought to myself "We'd better get out of here before we all get skunked!" Strangely, as we continued our 3 mile walk, we kept getting whiffs of skunks at least 8 times. The skunks, invisible to the eye but recognizable by the odor, seemed to be out and about everywhere we walked. Michael is the only person I know that doesn't mind the overpowering smell so he was kind of enjoying the experience while I was frustrated that our neighborhood was being invaded by night skunks on the attack.
Upon arriving home I noticed immediately that the skunk smell had also filled the house. What is going on here!!! Then I got to thinking that maybe we did get skunked after all, so I smelled my hands, but there was only a very faint scent. Then I pulled Roxie near me and I instantly knew my answer. Roxie had gotten skunked, though I had her on a leash the whole time. Turns out that it was actually her skunk scent that we had smelled all along the walk whenever the breeze blew just the right way!
Ester walked upstairs where I had just made my discovery, took one whiff, and without delay let Roxie know she was out for the night. We concurred, but Roxie was sure confused and quite unhappy. She had never been out all night since her arrival two years earlier. Yesterday afternoon we bathed her in a peroxide solution so she has been reinstated as a member of the household and she slept quite happily last night.
I considered as I breathed in the aroma how the skunk is a creature of God and is merely functioning as God designed. The skunk's God-ordained defense mechanism worked very well. This morning the air is brisk and clear, Roxie is cleaned up, and it is starting out as a very pleasant day here in our neck of the woods. Thankfully the pungent skunk smell is gone!
Today most of us will encounter some skunk smells; a few literally, but many more figuratively. How are we going to deal with them?
Our daily verse is very familiar and many of you have memorized it. You should! Let's look at a single word in the text today. "In..." I note a consistency in all major translations in using this word and I feel it's very significant. In this text Paul does not use the word "for." He uses the word "in." I believe he's speaking of living a thankful life; being thankful "in" the midst of pleasant circumstances as well as "in" the midst of difficult circumstances.
The "everything" of life includes the good reports as well as the bad reports. The worldly outlook of thankfulness includes giving thanks only for the good. God's Word says "in everything." After all, as Christians we have an assurance that "God is working all things out for good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
In living a life of thankfulness those of us who seek to do the will of God are clearly obeying a Biblical mandate. Let us be thankful even when we get a whiff of skunk smell!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we thank You for our five senses. Our surroundings become very much alive to us through our senses of touching, smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing. Incredibly through Your marvelous provision when one or more of our senses is not working as it should, You have given us other resources and caring people to supplement our need. I think of those who cannot read our devotional today but through their sense of hearing they're able to hear us read it. Thank You for hearing aids, eyeglasses, wheelchairs and many other modern devices that enable us to communicate, to travel, and to live a fuller life. It is in the midst of these difficult circumstances we rely upon the goodness of others and Your mercies, Father. Thank You. Amen."
Brooksyne's note: As we were preparing the message this morning we read the news briefly via internet. The tragic story of the young lady, Kelsey, was at the top of the news - an 18 year old from Overland Park, Kansas who was kidnapped and murdered. In fact her body was found very near Grandview, Missouri which is close to where Stephen grew up in Belton. The family, friends and community are mourning the senseless, sin-filled murder of this innocent girl. He also received news from a friend in Independence, Missouri that a young man from Truman High School (his alma mater), was killed in Iraq in late May.
Though we don't comment on all news reports because it would change the format of what Daily Encouragement is about, we are very sensitive to the grief these families are experiencing, as well as our readers today who are dealing with inconsolable grief resulting from the loss of a loved one, chronic illness, terminal disease, divorce, etc. We read your frequent emails and commit you and the matters you're dealing with to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yesterday in the course of our chaplain work to companies Stephen ministered to a man whose wife has a disabling illness that is getting progressively worse. Today he's taking her to a large medical center and we are praying that her appointment will bring renewed hope to her present medical dilemma.
In acknowledging the goodness of the Lord and the clear Scriptural call to give thanks in everything, may you see beyond your immediate pain-filled circumstance to recognize God's provisions and His blessings even as you are undergoing trial. Though there are many things we don't understand on this side, we do understand that God's grace can turn our deepest despair into triumphant testimony.
Roxie and Dottie sharing their favorite pillow.
Skunk Smell Remover
(proven to be effective by Brooksyne Weber 6/6/07)1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup Baking Soda
2 tbsp Dish Detergent. (The stuff for washing dishes in the sink, not something for dishwashers.)
Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. Wash the dog with this while it is still foaming, because it is the oxygen which reacts with the the oils in the skunk stink to neutralize the odor. If it sits around, it will lose it's efficacy because the oxygen boils off. Don't try to store it in an airtight container, because it will blow up. The brew also works for clothes, humans and unlucky cats. (We pulled this recipe from the internet.)
To be honest, there is still a very faint smell of skunk that I'm sure will fade away completely in the next day or so.
Two things Brooksyne wishes to be thankful for: 1) Roxie shielded me from the spray of the skunk. 2) Much more frequently than barnyard fertilizer smells or spraying skunks in our neighboring fields, I smell the wonderful aroma of chocolate from a chocolate factory in Mount Joy. It brings back the smells from my childhood when Mom would have us stir batches of fudge she made at Christmas. This desirable chocolate aroma wafts into the air all throughout Mount Joy and rests upon our neighborhood quite frequently.
Today's suggested music:
"Give Thanks" (audio) by Koti Hu
"It Is Good To Give Thanks" (audio)
Yesterday I shared this photo and many of you responded with a guess as to the future message topic I have in mind based upon it. Many of you mathematically determined the message. Several others had some interesting, creative answers as well! The message is forthcoming. Hint: It is based on Matthew 18:21,22.
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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.
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