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Monday, May 12, 2008

Birds and blooms outside of our office window
Birds and blooms view from our office window this rainy morning!

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"The Surpassing Greatness"

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first" (Matthew 19:29,30).

An interesting event of Lancaster County is the benefit auction held annually for many Christian schools in our area. Though we usually attend the one that's just up the street from us we were unable to do so on Saturday due to Brooksyne's recent accident.  But we watched the cars go by as many folks attend and support this worthy cause every year.  Our rural lane has its greatest usage during the yearly Kraybill School Auction. Items in the auction are generally donated by local businesses and auctioned off to the highest bidder to benefit the school. Auctioneers are generally very colorful people, who apart from their distinctive "call", use humor to keep things moving.

During a sale I attended an auctioneer was trying to auction off a package from a local car wash and it wasn't moving very well. He broke the silence by telling a story: "Now I heard of a fella that didn't wanna wash his car because he reckoned the dirt was all that was holding it together." Following a few seconds of laughter the car wash package then sold at a good price!

It occurred to me that there is a spiritual lesson here. I have met people reluctant to come to Christ for fear that their only identity is the "dirt." Perhaps they feel that it is the only thing holding them together. An example of this is a heroin addict whose familiarity of addiction is like dirt gripping them from the freedom that Christ wants to give. This is also true of people associations. Many of us have heard the mocking line: "I don't care if I go to hell. I'll have plenty of friends to keep me company."

The daily Scripture portion has long intrigued me though I don't believe I ever preached from it. It describes a price for following Christ that very few reading this have ever had to pay.  Yet throughout history and even in our modern day many have made such a sacrifice. (Consider the tremendous price paid by converts to Christ from the Islam religion.)

The point of the verse is not that we will necessarily have to leave that which we cherish so much on this earth but, comparatively speaking if we are called to do so, it will definitely be worth the price.

So today I urge you to place your faith in Christ and hold firmly to the Word of God. Whatever temporal vices you might choose to hold you together pales in comparison to the eternal benefits of following Christ. I end with the Apostle Paul's powerful perspective: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, forgive us when we seek after temporal solutions to meet the deep yearnings of our heart. Your eternal solution was to send Jesus, Your Son, to give us life – a life that is no longer empty or imprisoned by sin's chains.  Thank You for Jesus who came that we might have abundant life through His substitutionary death on our behalf.  Nothing on earth and no person dear to our hearts deserves our allegiance more than our Savior.  Thank You for coming; thank You for giving and thank You for saving us from ourselves.  Amen.

Brooksyne's ankle break update: On Friday her ankle hurt a lot and the cast seemed very tight. She called the orthodedic office and was told to go back to the emergency room.  After waiting five hours we saw a doctor. The cast was indeed too tight and they had to recast it.  We finally got back home around 2:00 in the morning!  But her foot feels much better. She is hobbling around on her crutches and using a wheelchair.  Tomorrow we go to the ortho clinic and she will have a plate inserted later this week if the swelling is down.

Dinner with the Gambini family
 After church yesterday we went to  Jim and Wendy Gambini's house for lunch. Jim was our pastor for several years after we moved to Lancaster County in 2001. Their son Jonathan (with the salad and big eyes) is with his new bride Norma.  Wendy's mother, Betty, is across from her.  Jim grilled his famous BQ chicken for all of us to enjoy.

Amish milk barn
Amish milk barn
Last night Ester went to a concert (Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch for anyone who keeps up with groups) on the east side of Lancaster. Rather than coming home I visited our Amish friends and helped with the evening milking chores.  They had spent the day visiting  family and got a late start around 5:00 PM.  We finished around 9:00 and Jesse expected to get up around 4:00 this morning for milking.  If you are interested here is an online photo album of my experience.  I walked in as Anna was cleaning the milking equipment and joyfully singing "He's Still Working On Me"

I picked up Ester around 10:30 and the place was mobbed. I asked her if Bill Gaither was also there but she said he wasn't!

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"Knowing You"  Video  Audio sample

"Jesus, All For Jesus"

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video

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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