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Thursday, September 4, 2008
This is a member of the Hollyhock family that reseeds itself each year. I planted it about three years ago in our back yard and it sure is a pleasant sight from early spring to late autumn!
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"The Source Of Great Joy"
"It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth" (3 John 1:3).
The other day I was blessed to receive a call from Marian, Mom's very close friend from her youth. They grew up together in tiny Harwood Missouri. Although Mom passed away several years ago we still stay in contact and Marian, who is now in her late 80's, continues to do well. Their lifelong friendship is a great testimony to the value of a long-time association and has been a great example to me. Marian lives in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and will soon move into a special room prepared by her son.
Many of us attended a family reunion sometime this summer where we got together with members of our extended family; some of these family members we see very infrequently. Several weeks ago our family gathered in Nebraska with my one remaining aunt from my mom's side, along with many of my cousins and their families. We really had a great time together.
But I also enjoy spiritual family reunions. Have you been to one of those? We also call them homecomings; the times we gather with those we associated with in the past. There are believers we saw several times a week in our churches but due to relocations and other factors they're no longer in our immediate vicinity. These reunions may be formal or informal. It may be with a large group or a visit from a long-time friend.
From our earliest days of ministry Brooksyne and I have tried to stay connected and now, with over 32 years of marriage and ministry behind us, we are blessed by associations in various contexts. It's always a great joy to renew fellowship with these folks and we often share this through our website.
What a tremendous blessing to see these dear friends continuing on in their walk with Christ. There is no material or physical blessing that brings greater joy than seeing our loved ones, both family and Christian friends, walking steadfastly in the ways of the Lord.
Perhaps today you might consider people like this in your life. It's so important to keep in touch. Certainly we have the added blessing of using technology today which was unavailable to the generations before us.
The apostle John had received some news that brought him "great joy." This report concerned a dear friend named Gaius and indicated that he had been faithful to the truth and was continuing to walk in the truth. I sure like those kind of updates, don't you! They certainly give us reason for rejoicing.
There is great reward for those who continue to walk in the truth as part of the great company of the redeemed. Are you receiving that blessing today from someone? Are you being that blessing? I thank God for spiritual reunions and the foretaste of the greatest one yet to come - in heaven as we await the blessed return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, how good it is to walk in the truth with my brothers and sisters! Though time and distance may separate us, our hearts are joined spiritually as we are united in the bond of love. Thank You for those who spur me on in having a close walk with You, Jesus, and performing good works in Your name. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Our message today reflects Scripture from my personal devotions yesterday morning. "But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch and, along with many others, preached the Good News and taught the people the message of the Lord. After some time, Paul said to Barnabas, "We should go back to all those towns where we preached the message of the Lord. Let's visit the believers and see how they are doing" (Acts 15:35,36). Paul's genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of those who had previously sat under his ministry is the mark of a caring shepherd. He was aware of the struggles, temptations, and ridicule that his listeners would experience as a result of choosing to follow Christ. To see how they were doing and spur them on in their faith is the calling of not only teachers and pastors, but brothers and sisters in the faith who care for their own. There are some Christian leaders driven more by statistics and the desire for public recognition than their genuine concern for the individual convert. May God help us all to make a loving and lasting impact on those He brings into our lives as we stay closely connected to "see how they are doing."
Reader's Note: Recently a reader wrote a note that really touched us as it relates to today's message. "You know... you are the richest people I know. I hope you never take for granted how rich you are to have so many friends (and in so many places). Not everyone shares this good fortune. Even in the church, many people long for a greater intimacy with others. My wife and I have become acutely aware over the past year the degree to which our journey (both individually and as a couple) is very solitary. We have a high profile ministry in our town and are known by a large host of people. There are people in whose lives I feel I have "invested" and there are some who no doubt feel they have "invested" in my life. But at the end of the day the relationships are all very superficial. Your daily writings are a window into a world we have simply never experienced. We long for it. We're working on it. We're aiming toward it. And I believe that can start to happen today.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Thank The Lord For You"
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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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