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Friday, August 22, 2008

Lebanon County PA farm
Lebanon County Pennsylvania Farm

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"Blessed and Highly Flavored"

"You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6).

We enjoy hearing from our readers and their reports of how the Lord is working in and through them. The other day a reader shared how she seeks to be a witness in part by using the phrase, "I'm blessed and highly flavored" when asked, "How are you doing?"  Now I'm guessing that this is a typo on her part since I am much more familiar with the Biblical phrase, "blessed and highly favored" rather than "flavored".  However it's a great aspiration to be highly flavored as well!

Salt Shaker In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus used two common items to illustrate the impact His followers were to have on the world around them; salt and light.  Although there are many usages of salt there are likely two that would have been common to Christ's initial hearers; salt used as a flavoring and as a preservative.  In both cases it is vitally important that the salt be evenly distributed over that which is to be salted. 

Tomatoes on plateToday we are most familiar with the use of salt as a flavoring.  Last night I had a plate of sliced, homegrown tomatoes which I lightly salted and peppered.  We don't place a gob of salt on our plates to eat separately in high concentration.  We use a shaker to evenly distribute the salt over the food we want flavored.  Likewise a single grain of salt is not discernible to the taste buds.  But sprinkled with other grains of salt on top of the food it makes a real difference.

On the Lord's Day, followers of Christ gather in concentration to worship, to be encouraged and to be equipped for ministry.  Then we spread out through the culture that surrounds us.   I believe God uses our workplaces and other common gathering places to evenly distribute His children so that we are in the world but not of it.  You may look around and see but a few grains of salt where you work or the organization in which you are a member.  In a few cases you may be the only grain and feel very lonely in your stand for Christ. "What difference am I making?" you might ask yourself.  Sometimes the difference we make is recognizable such as leading someone to faith or bringing encouragement to a fellow believer.  But at other times we see no observable results of our witness.  We must practice a steady obedience and wait to see the impact of our saltiness. 

I believe in the final accounting faithful followers of Christ will find they had an impact that will include much that we just weren't aware of down here.  I consider a line from Ray Boltz's classic song, "Thank You", from the 80's.  "One by one they came, far as the eye could see, each life somehow touched by your generosity.  Little things that you had done, sacrifices made, unnoticed on the earth below, in heaven now proclaimed."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as a believer, I want to rid myself of such things as malice, slander or filthy language from my lips.  I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be pleasing to You this day.  I pray that my conversation is uplifting so that I build others up rather than tear them down.  May I walk in Your grace so that I impart grace to others showing respect, courtesy, and interest in their lives.  Just as salt is tasty to food making it more pleasant to eat, I pray that my dialogue is wholesome making conversation pleasant and beneficial to those who listen. Because of Your redemptive work in my life I am indeed, blessed and highly flavored with the preserving salt of Your holy Word.  Amen.

Hope WinchobaYesterday we received word that our friend Hope Winchoba was called home to be with the Lord.  Hope and her late husband John were a vital part of the church we served in New England in the nineties.  I conducted John's funeral in 1999 and several years ago Hope asked me if I would conduct her funeral service as well.  I promised her I would if at all possible. So, we will be travelling up to New England early next week for the service. I will write a tribute to honor Hope in Monday's message.  

But today let me just share a rather humorous encounter I had yesterday with a friend.  Hope is a long-term New Englander with deep roots going all the way back to 1620 when pilgrims on the Mayflower first arrived in the new world. I shared with my friend concerning her passing and how she was a descendent of the original Mayflower passengers. He apparently misunderstood me and thought I said she was on the original Mayflower and politely asked, "Wow, how old was she?"

Stephen's note: Today is my "spiritual birthday" and each year on this day I like to acknowledge God's redeeming work in my life. Thirty-seven years ago today I placed my faith in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at a revival meeting in Kansas City Missouri where a young evangelist, Lowell Lundstrom, was the speaker.  Thankfully Lowell Lundstrom is still in faithful ministry for Christ!  Here's a video clip of his preaching.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

"Thank You"  Video

"Take My Life And Let It Be"

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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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