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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Butterfly with Scripture verse
Photo taken in Centre County, PA by our friend Greg Schneider.
(Click on photo to enlarge and for better clarity)

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"Still Changing Lives"

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I enjoy hearing testimonies of faith in Christ. Some are dramatic and full of suspense such as one who has overcome tremendous adversity in the process of finding Christ.  Others may have less "colorful" pre-conversion stories, but all of us who have placed our faith in Christ have a powerful testimony in one way or another.  For every conversion is a miracle of the new birth we have in Christ Jesus.

You may have a story that focuses on God's delivering grace while others have stories that focus more on God's preserving grace. God's preserving grace is especially seen in those who were spared the ravages of a sin-filled life because they came to faith at an early age.  Galatians 6:7ff speaks of the harvest that comes from what we plant.  If we have planted to satisfy our sinful selves it will bring us ruin, but if we plant to please the Spirit we receive eternal life from the Spirit.

Yesterday a friend of mine, Ed Herr, shared his testimony with a group of businessmen here in Lancaster County, PA. Since Ed was raised in a godly home and came to the Lord as a child his testimony reflects the preserving grace of God's work in his life.  But he told a pre-conversion story that reveals both the power of conviction and the lasting impact godly parents have in a young child's life.

Ed's mother had requested that he go to the corner grocery store on his bike for some groceries and gave him a detailed list of the items she wanted.  So Ed went to the store and the couple who owned the store filled the order based on the grocery list as he waited. Well little Eddie really liked Peanut Butter Cups so, while the order was being filled and the store owners were out of sight, he stashed a couple of them for himself. The store owners then brought Ed the bag of groceries his mother had ordered.

Preparing for his trip home he placed the two peanut butter cups on top of the bag and cleverly devised a plan. He would park his bike, take out the two peanut butter cups and set them aside, and then take the groceries into the house for his mom. He would come back later to enjoy the candy while no one was watching.

Well, his plan was thwarted as his mother, in a hurry for an item needed for the evening meal, met him as he drove up. She took the bag from him before he could remove the candy.  He quickly devised "plan B."

When Mom came out and inquired about the two peanut butter cups he said, "Since I'm helping you out I thought I deserved them so I just added them to the order." But Mom reached into the bag for the receipt and of course the peanut butter cups weren't listed.  (He was caught in the act of both stealing and lying!  It was the same sinful plot that Adam and Eve fell for.) 

Ed's mother insisted that he immediately go back and tell both the store owner and his wife what he had done and ask their forgiveness.  Ed is my age but this infraction was a formative moment in his life as he experienced earnest conviction of sin and, in a short time, he trusted Christ for salvation.

In the daily text the Apostle Paul describes the wonderful transformation that Christ brings, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).  When a person turns to Christ a wonderful transformation takes place. In one sense it's instantaneous, but in another sense it's a life-long process.

Romans 12:2 instructs: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we read about the process of "being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory."

Paul himself experienced this same life-transforming conversion on the road to Damascus and went on to be the greatest missionary in the history of the church.  Slave trader John Newton experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ and went on to write "Amazing Grace".  Nixon's hatchet man, Chuck Colson, experienced this change and went on to found "Prison Fellowship" and continues to have a fruitful ministry for Christ.

And the list of changed lives goes on and on and is being added to every day.  Are you on this list? Today consider your life.  Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life by asking Him to be your Lord and Savior?   Have you sought Him for forgiveness of your sins?  If so, then you are a child of God!

Christ continues to change lives today and He is either changing yours or waiting for you to call on His Name so your life can be changed.  Please do so today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as Your new creation we have crucified our sinful selves and found new life through Your indwelling Holy Spirit.  We have given up our old selfish desires and sin no longer masters our thoughts and actions.  We deny our sinful nature so that Your will may be accomplished in our lives as we reflect Your glory day by day.  Your deliverance power gives us the strength we need to deal with the ongoing temptation to yield to our old sinful nature. In our power struggle between good and evil we gratefully proclaim: "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."  Amen.

Ed Herr (left) at CBMC luncheon
Ed Herr (left) was our speaker at yesterday's CBMC luncheon where he shared his faith in Christ. I met Ed when I spoke at his church several times. He is the president of Herrs which makes great tasting snack products.  Another friend, Patrick Kirkham, is on the right. Ed shared of his godly upbringing and wholesome homelife and quipped that he used to watch "Leave It To Beaver" and thought that the Beaver had it rough.  (You have to have watched TV in the 60s to appreciate the humor!)  CBMC is an international network of Christian businessmen seeking to live for Christ in the marketplace.

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"The Blood Will Never Lose It's Power"

"You Give"

"That's Why I Sing"  Video

"What Wondrous Love Is This"

"Wonderful Savior"  Audio

Today's butterfly photo was taken by
Greg Schneider, a local photographer we met in a company we visited when we worked with a national chaplaincy chain several years ago. Greg is primarily a sports photographer but also enjoys nature photography.  Here are several more of Greg's photos.  Maine sunrise, lighthouse and sailboat, Acadia National Park, Acadia National Park, Pennsylvania wildflowers.

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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