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Friday, June 8, 2007

Ester at her high school graduation
Ester's high school graduation last night

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"I'm Accepted!"

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7).

One afternoon, as a chaplain, I was visiting the employees in a company that uses a lot of pallet jacks.  It is very common to see "Pickers" dart about the huge warehouse loading pallets. On this particular visit one of the pickers had a large orange
"REJECTED!" sticker plastered on her green jumpsuit.  (The rejected sticker was intended for use on boxes of materials that had been rejected.)   Apparently a co-worker had placed it on her friend's jumpsuit as a joke and I don't think she even realized it was there.

But it got me thinking.   How many people often feel rejected by others?   How many have experienced rejection by significant people in their lives?   Though they don't wear a visual banner declaring "REJECTED" it's visible in their expressions and their communication is often accompanied by a downward cast.  Certainly a lot of people have experienced rejection repeatedly, including some of you reading this today.

Chris Maxwell is a pastor friend of mine who lives in Georgia who also has a writing ministry. I sure appreciated a message he shared using an analogy from the sports world. I believe it will bless daily encouragement readers today as well.

A team I play for is going to win. The Owner knew I wasn't the best available free agent, but signed me anyway. He does that for many players. The team strategy is something like "Whosoever wants to play for us, we will sign."

Critics have called our team many names: "Failures", "Scrubs", "Losers", "Rejects".   But Coach Shepherd says our team name, "Sheep", is a good fit. He treats us like we are really His Sheep. Our franchise has a promise of guaranteed eternal success! That fact can help us sleep no matter the score of any one game.

How do I know the eventual outcome? I read an advanced copy of the press release. 'No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever' (Revelation 22:3-5). Cursed no longer. Cured. Let that be our team!

Consider the phrase in the daily Scripture verse, "just as Christ accepted you." What a glorious truth it is to be accepted by Christ and become part of His family. Whether or not we have known the acceptance and support of a loving family or faithful friends, when we come to God in faith and repentance we are accepted. He has said, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37).   We are all welcome into God's family…and this by His marvelous grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, You have shown us through the example of Jesus that we are to accept others in the same way that He accepted us.  Show us ways that we can effectively reach out to others, especially those who feel rejected by family or society as a whole. Help us to show them genuine love and to initiate a friendship in the same way that Jesus reached out to many people groups and befriended them.  As we do this, in obedience to your command and as we are led by Christ's example, Scripture indicates that we bring praise to You which is our heart's desire.  Amen.

Some more graduation photos and reflections

Ester's first day of kindergarten
Ester leaving our home in Taunton, Massachusetts for her first day of Kindergarten in September 1994.

Ester with her Uncle Mike
Ester was so pleased that her Uncle Mike came all the way from California to be at her graduation.

Ester with her principals
Ester with two of the Principal Assistants.  Mr. Miller, on the left, wrote a very encouraging email to Ester preceding her pacemaker surgery last August.  It meant a lot to her.

Galen Martin
Galen Martin congratulating Ester following the ceremony. The Martins were among our very first friends when we moved to Pennsylvania in early 2001.

Roanna Martin
Following the ceremony we gathered at the Martins for some ice cream in their farmhouse built in the seventeen hundreds. Their daughter Roanna also graduated last night and willingly posed for a close-up  photo taken by Ester. Roanna was awarded several scholarships and is planning to attend Messiah College in the fall.

Another Skunk Story

Yesterday we shared a recent "skunk story."  Will Nelkin, a pastor friend of ours from Marin County California, was prompted to share his story with us.

"We were awakened in the night by the piercing yelp of our dog Pepper, who had been sleeping under our bed. My wife, Martha, who knows no fear, leapt out of bed and started down the hall. Hearing footsteps ahead of her, she called back, “Will, Pepper is chasing someone in the house.”   I sleepily responded, “Martha, Pepper is right here under the bed." (She was.)

Then, Martha began to smell it… she was actually chasing a skunk down the hall! We found the front door standing wide open, and the skunk had helped himself to a long walk to the back of the house where our bedroom was. There, he was greeted by the dog, who nipped a tuft of his hair, just before catching the skunk’s response. His spray fell on the dog, the carpet, the walls, the sheet, and the edge of my pillow. We had some tomato juice and tried it on the wall, to no avail. So, we just pulled the comforter over our heads and went back to sleep.

The next day was Sunday, so we prepared for church. As I greeted one brother, I smelled a whiff of skunk and thought he must have been similarly visited. Then, it dawned on me that it was ME. Through the closed closet door, my suit had picked up the spray. I was an unforgettable pastor that day!"

Today's suggested music is a song titled "You Are My King" with an important line that speaks of Christ's acceptance of each of His children, "I'm accepted, You were condemned."  (audio)

Today I shared a portion of a story by Chris Maxwell. Here's his blog.

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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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