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Friday, November 21, 2008

First snow of 08/09 season!
Our first sticking snow of the season

"Thankfulness is the soil in which joy thrives."

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"Appointed To His Service"

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service" (1 Timothy 1:12).

In the course of our spiritual journey we meet a lot of interesting people and hear some remarkable testimonies. It's a joy to see people serving the Lord in a wide variety of ways.

When we think of this service we may tend to consider those who have larger or famous ministries. Perhaps they pastor a large church, have written books, have a television ministry and so forth. I could mention names here that many readers would immediately recognize.

Or we may consider those who have remarkable testimonies of deliverance from the ravages of sin and now live for the Risen Savior. I have met many from this walk of life and indeed we rejoice that God saves to the uttermost and will use all who submit to Him.

But the vast majority of Christ's servants fit into neither of these categories. Of course all believers are redeemed from sin but a great majority have testimonies of preserving grace that protected them from ever going into a full-fledged sinful lifestyle.  They turned to Christ at an early age, usually due to the influence of godly parents, grandparents, and others such as Sunday School teachers, Youth Leaders and so forth.

Most of you reading this have never heard of Oren and Naomi Hofstetter. They are an active ministry couple in our local church who serve the Lord in a variety of ways. They both turned to the Lord at an early age. They have a servant's heart, much like Priscilla and Aquila, and demonstrate compassion in the way they care for hurting people.

As I observe the body of Christ whether in my present local church, churches that I have pastored, or churches that we visit we know so many people like Oren and Naomi. Growing up I recall Joe and Pauline. In the early years of our pastoral ministry in northern Pennsylvania it was Mike and Kathy and later in New England Bill and Veda. And of course there are many, many others we could mention that come to mind as well.

What a blessing these folks are. I greatly appreciate pastors and other church leaders. I also appreciate the role the more famous members of Christ's body have. I am grateful for those who have dramatic testimonies of great deliverance from sin.

But the backbone of our churches are people like Oren and Naomi.  I want you to consider your own church people.  You have folks like this and perhaps you might even blush to realize you may be numbered among them by your fellow brothers and sisters!  I sure hope so.

This coming week here in America we especially emphasize an attitude of thankfulness and today's Scripture expresses the highest form of thanksgiving; that to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In this text Paul specifies three issues he is thankful to Christ for:
1) He was given strength.
2) He was considered faithful.
3) He was appointed to service.

As I reflect upon my nearly thirty-five years of service for Christ I find great blessing in reflecting upon these three issues as well.  When Paul experienced salvation on the Damascus Road he was given strength for a long record of faithful service to God.  And thanks be to God for His outpouring of grace upon my life; this is my testimony as well and that of Brooksyne's!  And that is God's promise for each one of us.  What a great joy to be appointed to His service!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your marvelous grace that was poured out in the sacrificial death of Your Son and is made available to all for salvation from sin.  You want all men and women, boys and girls to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth.  We're grateful for those You raise up to be arms of compassion and instruments of blessing to others in the body of Christ and to those still clinging to the world.  Whether we were protected from the ravages of sin or we are experiencing Your restoring grace we thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has given us strength; that He considered us faithful, appointing us to be His servants for the furtherance of the Gospel.  Amen.

Before I send this out let me add another thought. Some of you have really messed up. You may feel that God could never use you. As I read of God's redeeming grace in the Holy Scriptures I am once again amazed at His unending grace. He lets us start each day anew. We may very well have varying degrees of overcoming in regard to the consequences of our past but He has a plan to bless and use each soul that earnestly calls out to Him. Today look "to Him who able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."  (Ephesians 3:20,21)

Oren and Naomi Hostetter
Yesterday the Golden Nuggets acknowledged Oren and Naomi's upcoming 39th wedding anniversary. Naomi is opening a musical card that plays "Everlasting Love."

Photo of Brooksyne Weber as pilgrim
Brooksyne led the Golden Nuggets, an outreach to the elderly, in several thankgiving hymns and a presentation about the Pilgrims voyage to the new world in 1620 and their first Thanksgiving celebration the following year.

Golden Nuggets meal
Those who come to the monthly Golden Nuggets enjoy a warm home-cooked meal. Most are widowed and dealing with critical health issues.  Others come along and serve the food and provide good wholesome fellowship.
First snow of 08/09 season!
Here's another view of our part of the world this morning. These early snows typically don't last long and I expect later this morning or this afternoon it will be melted off.  We sure enjoy the seasonal changes and look forward to winter, although by late February we are ready for Spring!

Today's suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play)

As we prepared today's message a song from the seventies came to mind:
"Ordinary People" (lyrics)
We especially like these words:

He chooses people just like me and you.
Who are willing to do everything that He commands.
God uses people that will give Him all.
It doesn't matter how small your all may seem to you.
Because little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand.

"Use Me"  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir with inspirational photos of people being used of God to help others in need.

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Audio

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

In regard to yesterday's message one of our readers, Rhonda, replied: "When I was a young girl living in Kansas, we had a funeral for an older relative in a bigger town nearby.  The burial was in a small town south of there some distance, so my folks and I were in the procession headed that way.  We were going by one field, and a man was out on a tractor, working the field.  As the procession approached, he stopped, got down from the tractor, removed his hat and stood by his tractor as we all went by.  That has stuck with me to this day, and I still appreciate the respect that was shown by him.
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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