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Monday, November 5, 2007
White swan on farm pond
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"Not In Vain"
"For you yourselves know, brethren, our coming to you was not in vain" (1 Thessalonians 2:1).
Theresa is a woman whom Brooksyne shared the Gospel message with in the early seventies when they were both in high school. Her efforts appeared futile and it wasn't until she received a phone call in 2001 nearly thirty years later that she heard "the rest of the story." *
Today I want to share with my fellow servants one of the greatest hindrances to peace and fulfillment in our ministry for Christ. We have all faced discouragement from time to time and even for extended periods because of our apparent lack of "success." Contributing to this mindset are comparisons with others, our own expectations, and a resigning attitude of "What difference does it make?" I have found that the potential for discouragement does not lessen with age.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers several months after his rather short period of ministry there. We are told that during this time of ministry "some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women" (Acts 17:4). But we have no calculation of the number actually converted or any discipling activity or setting a church in order. There's no record of a church building being erected (which is the case in the entire early church.)
Paul and his ministry associates were run out of town shortly after he began to see the fruit of his labor. What chance would the fledgling group have to survive or to sustain and develop into a church of believers?
But when Paul, along with Silas and Timothy, sets out to write a letter to "the church of the Thessalonians" (1:1) he was confident in God and was assured that his ministry to the Thessalonians had not been in vain. In 2:1 (our daily verse) he wrote "For you yourselves know, brethren, our coming to you was not in vain." The NIV translates: "You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure."
What a wonderful assurance to have in spite of the apparent setbacks and disappointments Paul had encountered and we all encounter at some point. "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, as we hear Your voice, follow Your calling and obey Your commands we are a blessed people. As we faithfully serve You it is not primarily for our own fulfillment but for the fulfillment of the Great Commission that the Gospel message be delivered at home and abroad to the outermost parts of the earth so that none would perish but have eternal life. It is in the power of Jesus' name and in the strength of the Holy Spirit that we boldy proclaim the life changing message to all who will hear. Amen.
* Here is an expanded version of today's message that has Brooksyne's remarkable testimony concerning Theresa and eight points we must remember in overcoming discouragement. This version also includes two videos extolling God's greatness!
Yesterday following our church service we joined Ester and the youth of the church at a local farm for a cookout and time of fellowship including horseback riding. Brooksyne hadn't ridden since she lived in Oklahoma as a child where they always had horses on the small farm she grew up on.
On my first visit to her house I took a ride on Ginger, a horse that looks much like the one she's riding in the photo. The horse took off very fast and trotted a quarter of a mile only inches away from a barbed wire fence. I forgot the instructions about how to pull back on the reins to slow a horse so all I could do is yell "Stop! Stop!" Well, the horse didn't understand English and it was one ride I'll never forget. Brooksyne and her dad sure got a lot of laughs out of my inexperience. Well, yesterday after nearly 35 years I got on a horse again! Here's proof.
Mike and Kay Book have been our friends since we moved to Pennsylvania in 2001. Yesterday afternoon we relaxed and shared around the campfire near the pond. It was a beautiful fall afternoon and a perfect day for extended fellowship with good friends! Mike is a science teacher and has periodically brought his students to our place on a field trip.
Today's suggested music:
"Press On" by Selah (Video) Song with excellent illustrative photos.
"Worth It All" by Rita Springer (Video) Another song with excellent illustrative photos!
Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.
"Press On" by Selah
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