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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Maine winter scene
Snow scene in rural Maine
Our friend Doris High took this photo.
Here in Lancaster County today it is bitterly cold but with a crystal blue sky and still no snow!

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"Priorities Reflect Purpose"
"You, however, know all about … my purpose" (from 2 Timothy 3:10).
Bob and LindaBob is a long-time friend of ours who  lives in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. He and his wife, Linda, faithfully minister in several nursing homes where they actively share their faith.  Bob is a real overcomer as he has, for many years, dealt with an affliction called tinnitus.   Tinnitus causes persistent ringing in the ears often resulting in severe and lengthy headaches.  In the midst of this onging affliction, Bob maintains a vibrant faith and enthusiastic outlook in life.

Recently he shared a story with me concerning his work as a sales manager years ago in the corporate world. He was speaking to a vice president in a company he worked for and rather boldly shared his life's priorities: "God first, my family second and, then work."  The vice president then told Bob that his priorities were the very same but in reverse order; "work first, my family second, then God."  I'm confident that the majority of readers identify with Bob's outlook in life, but all of us recognize those, like Bob's boss, who have reverse priorities!  And, if I were asking for feedback some of you would respond, "I've had a boss just like Bob's" and others would indicate, "That's a perfect description of my supervisor right now."
Our priorities reflect our purpose.  One of the greatest innate needs common to all people is a purpose for our existence. Many aimlessly drift through their lives with little sense of direction or purpose. As young believers, Brooksyne and I learned to share our faith using a booklet called "The Four Spiritual Laws" which begins with the phrase, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Of course the noun "plan" can equally be understood as "purpose" and truly God has a purpose for each one of us.
2 Timothy is considered the last letter that Paul wrote.   The first nine verses in chapter three list over twenty three godless characteristics evident in a period that Paul describes as "terrible times in these last days."  In fact it could easily be a description of the world in which we live today.  In today's verse he lists a number of positive personal characteristics that Timothy had observed in his life. Paul demonstrated these characteristics in his life and was recognized by them. 
Among these characteristics was "my purpose."  The word means a plan or a resolve, denoting that a decision has been made. Another reference states this purpose to be, "the guiding motive of my life and work."
God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not all choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my "personal mission statement." This could also be called my "personal purpose statement."  It reads, "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."
But I believe God has also specifically gifted each of us for the unique purpose He has for our life. This purpose varies depending on the gifts and callings God has granted us. In Acts 12:36 we read, "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation."  My goal is to serve God's purpose for my life in my generation.
Let me ask each reader to consider several questions today, early in this new year of 2008.

• Do I know my main purpose in life?
• Do the people who know me clearly observe me living by my purpose?
• Do my priorities in life reflect this purpose?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily PrayerYour purpose in my life, Lord, is seen in a multitude of ways; whether it is in my vocational training; in the way I raise my children; in the relationships I engender or in the way I use my gifts to touch other lives.  But Your purpose in my life is most visible in my response to heartache, betrayal, disappointment, suffering, and loss.  Your purpose can be seen when I choose not to repay evil for evil, but rather good for evil.  Lord, as I keep Your purpose for my life always before me I will remember that much good spiritual fruit can be developed in me in the ups and downs I encounter today.  May I be faithful in making choices today that reflect Your purpose in my life.  It is by Your grace I pray these things and it is in the name that is above all names, Jesus.

The full text of the daily verse is: "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance" (2 Timothy 3:10). I intentionally highlighted just the characteristic "my purpose" for today's message.

Brooksyne's note: Thank you, readers, for your prayers and well wishes yesterday.  I am now in recovery mode for which I am very grateful.  I have had the good fortune of being a very healthy individual, so when a virus wipes me out with the usual aches & other undesirable symptoms, it comes as quite a surprise and makes me appreciate good health in a whole new way. I am working through the weakness that follows such an illness and do appreciate your continued prayer.

Stephen's note: Tomorrow we will be leaving early in the morning to visit my sister and family as well as some friends in North Carolina and spend several days in the Smoky mountains.  We hope to continue the encouragement series but may not always have internet access.

Institute of Meaningless Knowledge

Stephen's note:  One of my favorite shows is "Modern Marvels" on the history channel. I've always liked to know how stuff works. Yesterday we had three tons of anthracite coal delivered, hopefully enough to last the rest of the winter and then some. Since only a fraction of readers heat with a coal stove and since a few of you may have similar interests or enjoy such things here are some photos. Just ignore them if you're not interested!

Coal deliveryThe delivery truck backs up to our coal bin beside our small barn and uses a chute and conveyor system to deliver the coal to the coal bin.

Coal deliveryThe coal comes out of the dump truck and down the chute.

Coal delivery
From the chute up the conveyor into the coal bin

Early each morning I fill
two large buckets of coal and carry them in and pour the coal into the hopper behind the coal stove and empty the ash bin. The coal stove heats our entire home with a small supplement from electric heat needed if it's really cold, like this morning. It was 17 degrees at 5:30 when we got up!

Roxie and Dottie in front of coal stove
Even our pets enjoy the coal stove!

Today's Suggested Music

"This Is My Desire"  (Audio)

"Jesus Be the Center"  (Audio)

"Holy, Holy, Holy"

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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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