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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sunset over Raystown Lake

Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania

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"Big Givers"

"As He looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  'I tell you the truth,' He said, 'this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on'" (Luke 21:1-4).

Our daily text records the only specific giver that Jesus commended in Scripture.  The big givers had come through the line.  I imagine they crinkled their bills or clattered their coins for maximum effect.  I can see them looking toward Jesus as they dropped in their offering expecting a thumbs up or approving nod.

Man's way is to commend the big givers.  But Jesus said nothing until the poor widow came through.  He went right to the heart of the matter in stating that, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others."  What does He mean?  Had He failed grade school math?  Of course not.  He explains Himself, but it simply runs counter to our type of reasoning. Most would beg to differ with Erich Fromm who wrote, "Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much."

In man's reasoning "more" means the size of the check, not the degree of the sacrifice. God doesn't primarily look at the size of the offering but at the heart of the giver. Man tends to commend the famous athlete, the celebrity who builds a playground, or the wealthy businessman who gives a large gift to the project.

But I believe the Kingdom of God is primarily being advanced by scores of people who are much like the widow.  They probably won't get a building named after them or make the cover of a magazine.  But I believe they're the ones Jesus still commends. The main commendation we should all long for is to hear the words of our Master, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, help us to obey Your principles in the distribution of our income.  May we give quietly and sacrificially with a generous spirit.   Help us to use our resources soberly and distribute cheerfully from that which You have entrusted to us.  We seek Your commendation and not the recognition of others in advancing the kingdom of God.  Amen.

Tom and Cathleen Michaels Zahradnik
Last night we made some new friends. Tom Michaels Zahradnik is the general manager of the Sound Of Life Radio Network, a group of radio stations based in New York, along the Hudson River Valley reaching the heart of the Northeast. Tom is pursuing endorsement as a chaplain and I was asked by Alvin Worthley, my national chaplain supervisor, to interview him.  Tom and his wife, Cathleen, drove down to Lancaster County and joined us for a time of fellowship in our home. They both have a real heart for ministry and we shared an enjoyable time of fellowship, Scripture reading, and prayer together.

Sound Of Life Radio Network is also available in internet streaming audio wherever you live.  Just click on the "Listen Now" link.

Neizmik Family
Here's a photo of the entire Neizmik family taken this last weekend. All three girls grew up in the church and are now married.  They honored their parents in such a nice way as they invited family and friends from all over.  It was a time of celebration and reunion.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play in your audio player)

"Little Is Much" 
 Video   We both really enjoy the lyrics to this song, especially the second verse. Larry Ford is a tremendous tenor.  He can still hit those high notes that most of us never could. 

"Turn Up The Music"  Video  This song doesn't necessarily relate to today's message but we heard it recently at a wedding and again on Tom's station (via streaming audio) yesterday and thought we would share it with you. It's by "Point Of Grace", one of Brooksyne's favorite groups, and has an interesting perspective on living life to the fullest.

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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