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Monday, July 30, 2007

Photo of stillwater cove on Raystown Lake
A quiet cove at Raystown Lake

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"God's Kindness"

"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus"  (Ephesians 2:4-7).

My father-in-law Brooklyn Sherrell (now deceased) drove a truck for 40 years and frequently stopped to help people whose car was broken down.  On occasion this got him into trouble since taking the time to help others in need was not on his work schedule. Deliveries needed to be on time.  Sometimes he would take the people home with him whose car was in repair. 

Once, while Brooksyne was in Bible College, a group of young people were broken down in Tulsa and Brooklyn towed their car so it could be fixed.  As a way of thanking him they gave him a 10 speed bicycle and some Christian record albums.  Brooklyn passed on the bicycle and albums to Brooksyne and so she remembers this incident very well.

There's a lot of evil in the world, a lot of wicked acts are taking place. But there's also a lot of "random acts of kindness" taking place all over.  It sure cheers the heart to consider them!

Today I want to consider an eternally deliberate, purposeful and planned act of kindness.  It wasn't a random act.  The daily portion of Scripture surely contains some of the richest theological truths in the entire Bible.  Every phrase is rich and loaded with truth.

Let's just savor the last one today; "expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus."  The Greek word for kindness "chrestotes" is used rather infrequently in the New Testament, and only five times does it refer to a characteristic of God.  Theologian Charles Hodge points out that "God's grace is manifested through His kindness towards us, and that kindness is exercised through Christ and for His sake. The ground of this goodness is not in us but in Christ, and hence its character as grace, or unmerited favor."

Isn't it wonderful that one of the eternal qualities used to describe the God of the Universe is "kindness"!  In fact one of the richest expressions of His kindness is found in a teaching in the gospels that can be easily overlooked, since it primarily deals with our love for one another.  Jesus, in teaching that we are to love even our enemies, describes the Most High as "kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35).  All over the world today His kindness is being demonstrated even to the ungrateful and wicked, many of whom defiantly deny Him. God's kindness is unlimited.

Christ's willingness to offer himself to save the lost world shows the extent of God's kindness.  As God's chosen children we are to imitate His kindness in our relationship with others.  "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12).

I want to accept His kindness with gratitude and live my life as His child expressing kindness to others.  And I believe you do as well. Today let's rejoice in God's kindness and allow it to overflow in our lives as we serve Him and as we serve others.

How kind and gracious is the Lord,
how kind and gracious is the Lord.

He my ev'ry need provides, my soul is satisfied.
How kind and gracious is the Lord. *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, throughout Scripture You show us practical ways that we can show kindness to others.  Though it is easier to show it to some more than others, You command us to show kindness to all people, both friend and foe.  Help us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to treat others as we want to be treated, to consider others before we consider ourselves, and to give of ourselves without expecting anything in return.  When we do these acts of kindness it will give us opportunity to represent You, Father, as an obedient vessel through which Your Spirit flows.  Flow through me today.  Amen.

Lee PotteigerThis last Saturday Ester and I went to a mountain lake with Lee, a friend we met during our interim pastoral service in a church near Harrisburg.  Lee has an interesting testimony. As an adult had no connections with any church. One day he was mowing his lawn and noticed his young son was missing. He drove his lawn tractor around looking for him and noticed a group of men working at the neighborhood church installing a new furnace. He asked if any of them had seen his son and they got to talking.  They invited him to church where he accepted the Lord and he's been going ever since and actively serving

Lee works as a designer for a large company that makes electrical connections. In fact it's likely that many of us have modular jacks in our homes that incorporates one of Lee's patented designs!

Swimming in Raystown Lake
There's nothing like a swim in a cool, clear mountain lake on a hot summer day!

Weber family at Raystown Lake (2006)
Lake Raystown is in the mountains of central PA.
Here's a family photo from a scenic overlook taken during a visit last year.

Today's suggested music:  
"Your lovingkindess"  (listen to mp3)  

* The portion of the song used in today's message is "How Kind And Gracious Is The Lord" by Ed Kee.

Please note: We expect our preparation and thus the transmission of these daily messages to be inconsistent the next two weeks. We are traveling out to Missouri for a family reunion.  This afternoon we will go to Baltimore and then very early tomorrow morning out to Kansas City. I will spend the day tomorrow with my Aunt and Uncle and then early Wednesday morning go to Springfield with John Wiseman, a friend I met many years ago through this ministry. I will visit my friend David Simpson and his wife Sandy Wednesday.  On Thursday - Sunday we will have our annual Steincross family reunion in Branson Missouri.

Although we could prepare these messages ahead of time and place them on a scheduled automatic update to the mailing list we choose not to do so. It seems like the niche we are comfortable with is the freshly written daily message.  We hope we can get another couple of messages out this week but aren't sure  We expect to have access to our email throughout our trip.

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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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