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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sea shells
Sea shell collection

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"Rich Toward God"

"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).

Yesterday I took a long walk along the beach and returned on the first road parallel to the ocean, which passed scores of high-rise vacation condos. I was dressed in rather scraggly but comfortable clothing not expecting to see anyone I knew and certainly not interested in impressing anyone.

A man who had the appearance of one who might be homeless approached me and said, "It's nice to meet a rich man."  We engaged in a brief conversation where I learned his name was Carl.  His words came as quite a surprise but also seemed like a golden opportunity for a witness. I responded, "Yes, I am indeed rich in Jesus." We shared for a few more minutes a spiritual perspective on riches and I gave him a tract card. I have no idea what motivated his greeting but it sure got me to thinking. I suppose I might be rich in comparison to him since riches are so relative. I am certainly rich in this world's goods (as are virtually all reading this), in comparison to those living in many regions of this world.

I have long been intrigued by the daily text and have written and preached on it several times. But today I want to especially focus on the phrase, "rich toward God." The main character in the text was not "rich toward God."  He did not use his resources for God but instead selfishly built bigger barns for himself.  I need to consider: Am I a kingdom builder or a barn builder? Am I rich toward God or rich toward this world's goods? 

Being rich toward God is a form of wealth entirely different than all worldly measurements. Actually I would be pretty certain (without naming names) that many of the famously rich in this world are not at all "rich toward God."  I am equally certain that there are many who live their lives in relative obscurity with little of this world's goods who are truly "rich toward God."

What's your fundamental outlook on life today?  Are you storing up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal?"  (Matthew 6:19).  Or are you storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal?  (Matthew 6:20). 

Today let us commit ourselves to being "rich toward God!" Let us seek first His Kingdom!   Let us build our lives on the solid rock of Christ and be like the person whom Jesus called the "wise man" (Matthew 7:24).  When the torrential storms beat upon houses built by human hands they're likely to perish.  But when our hearts are shaped by the divine hand of God the storms of life cannot destroy that which is imperishable.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, help us to hear Your words and obey them.  When the rains fall, the floods rise, and the winds blow we may be shaken but we will not crash, for our hope is in the One who walks on water and calms the tempest seas.  Jesus, You are the Solid Rock upon which we stand when all other ground is sinking sand.  Amen.

Toilet seat
Tammy and Ted, Clifford and Margaret

Last night some chaplain friends came for a visit and had dinner with us at about 11:00PM!  That was the latest hour we'd ever had guests for dinner, but that made it an adventure. Salmon tastes good any time of the day or night!  Unable to get an early start in the day they drove over from Columbia South Carolina, about 130 miles away and thus the late hour. I had met them last year at a retreat in Pennsylvania. Both serve as chaplains with Transport For Christ, a ministry to truck drivers, which places chapels at truck stops along major interstate highways. Ted and Clifford serve at the Columbia Chapel. Ted had bypass surgery in January and is slowly recovering. Both chaplains have great zeal as they serve the Lord and work
well together in advancing the Kingdom of God.

Toilet seat
Dixie Stampede Horseshoe!

Two nights ago we received free tickets to "The Dixie Stampede".  The finger-only food was served to us while we watched an incredible show in the arena that spanned the years that formed the western frontier. This included the Civil War that divided the north from the south.

Those attending the show were divided into the north and the south and a contest ensued to see which side could tally more points throughout the evening.  Our waiter, early on, asked Stephen if he'd like to participate in a game of horse shoes during the show.  Since Stephen is quite competitive and a pretty good horseshoe player he eagerly agreed to do so.  Toward the latter part of the show the waiter came and told him where to go for the horseshoe contest that was coming up.  

The official who greeted him upon his arrival informed him that he would first have to do karaoke to Dolly Parton's voice which made him immediately regret his volunteering to participate in the show as he broke out into sweat.  The official then told him he was joking and took Stephen, a participant from the North alongside a volunteer from the South to the middle of the arena.  They were introduced by the MC and then he told the audience that they would be thowing horseshoes and the winner would score one for their side.

A wooden pole about 4' tall was brought to the center and the contest began.  The contestants were then given Four horseshoes each - but they weren't the kind of horseshoes you use in the back yard games. Instead they were toilet seats, blue for the north and red for the south!  It was a tie until Stephen very nervously sailed the last shoe (seat) in the air and it landed almost as a ringer.  Thus he scored one for our side and earned the medal.  He admitted to me later that he could see why people who do performances to audiences get buzzed because he sure enjoyed looking up at the people who were cheering him on (even some from the south!)

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

We do not have access to the internet in our room where we are staying this week. I normally seek to find audio files of specific songs that relate to the message but am unable to do that this week.  We are walking down to a coffee shop that has wireless internet to send the message out. So all through this week we will share two playlists that have an assortment of music.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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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