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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Amish hay harvest

Late yesterday afternoon we witnessed this brilliant cloud pattern
in the sky as the sun hid behind it.

ListenListen to us share this message on your audio player.

"A Good Name"

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold" (Proverbs 22:1).

Delilah RoadLast week we passed a sign in New Jersey that caught our attention. I don't think I've ever seen a road named for Delilah and would find it interesting to learn of its origin. I wonder if it was named after a real person.  Did they have knowledge of the Bible character? (See Judges 16)

Normally when we name a child after someone, especially a Bible name, we consider the character of the person who bears (or bore) the name. 
I've met a lot of men with names like John, Mark or Paul and women named Mary, Sarah and Rachel.

But certain Biblical characters have few people or places named after them. They just aren't "good names".  I've never met a woman named Delilah or Jezebel, or a man named Nabal or Ahab.

"A good name is more desirable than great riches."  When I was younger I assumed this meant having a name one liked.  I've always liked my name since I am named after Stephen, a bold, uncompromising Bible character.  My middle name is Clark and I like that because I think of the explorers Lewis and Clark.

But frankly there are certain names I am sure glad my parents didn't choose to name me.  I won't mention these names, since it might actually be someone's name and I certainly don't want to offend! 
But a "good name" in the text means a name that connotes a person of honorable character and good reputation.  For instance when we refer to a business that is known for honesty and integrity, we often say, "It has a good name."

Having a good name is truly more desirous than possessing great riches which only have short duration. A good name is developed over time, really a life time, and the true judgment of success will not be known until this life is over and we personally meet the Lord. The highest standard will be to hear our Lord say these words directly to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Consider your name.  What do you suppose others think when they speak your name or hear it spoken in various group settings (home, church, work, neighborhood, etc.)?  Does it reflect a person who has a good name based upon integrity, truthfulness and godly character, one who is not self-absorbed but is concerned for the interests of others?

When you get right down to it, it's not what we've accomplished or how much we've accumulated that counts in the end.  It's who we are as a person that will determine whether or not our name is spoken in a favorable way.  Indeed,
"to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, Your name stands out above every name. When we speak Your name the demons flee, the sick are restored, the weak are strengthened, and those held captive to sin are freed. It is only in the name of Jesus that we find salvation, for there is no other name in heaven or on earth whereby we can be saved.  We, as Christians, take on the derivative of Your Messianic name, when we receive You as our Savior.  We want to honor You as we bear Your name before a cynical unbelieving world. May our actions and attitudes not bring blemish or present opportunity for the unconverted to mock and ridicule those who identify themselves as Christians.  Instead may our lives be set apart for Your glory like Daniel, who purposed in his heart, not to defile his God.  May we also have a good name like
Daniel whose godless Babylonian administration could find no corruption in him because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Though the world may not agree with our stand for You may we be seen as people who are honorable and trustworthy.  It is in the name of Christ that we pray.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne: Speaking of names, mine has always distinguished me from all the rest (in school, church, work, etc.).  People often inquire about the pronunciation and the origin as well.  Brooksyne is pronounced Brook-seen'.  I would be unable to count the number of times I've explained it and had to pronounce it since I was young enough to speak for myself.  My father's name was Brooklyn and my folks were hoping for a baby boy, but surprise, I was a girl!  Mom had to come up with some derivative and thus the name "Brooksyne" originated 53 years ago.  In the past twenty-five years the name "Brooke" has become popularized and has made my name a bit less distinct.  I would have welcomed that as a child, but I've come to appreciate the distinctness of an original name.  But my heartfelt prayer is that my life will always reflect that of a person with "a good name" (not just because it's unusual, not because I'm perfect cause I certainly am not, but because I have lived a life set apart for Christ and tried to honor Him in all my ways.)

Stephen's note: Today's message causes me to ponder concerning a pet peeve I have concerning naming; that is naming a building or institution after yourself (or allowing others to do so) while you're still alive. I recall in Bible College a church in Springfield where the pastor had named a new educational wing after himself, or at the very least allowed others to name it after him.

In my lifetime several have named colleges they founded
after themselves and in some cases later took a hard and notorious fall.  I recall meeting a young man who had gone to one of these colleges and noted his embarrasment whenever someone asked him, "Where did you go to college?"

Now after you have passed away and finished the race faithfully if someone else wants to name something after you that's a different story!

David Pierce 6/30/09
Yesterday afternoon our longtime friends Ken & Nila came over and joined us for supper, along with their son David. Ken brought over a truckload of straw for our garden and David helped him unload it.

David is growing up quickly and learning to work and serve others just like his dad. He'll soon have his second birthday. Here's a photo I took on his literal birthday.

Mike & Nikki Martin
Later some new friends stopped by for an evening visit. Mike & Nikki are involved in ministry to motorcylists and lead the local Bikers For Christ chapter. We learned a lot about the biker culture and commend this couple for their efforts in reaching out to this people group. Here's the site for the Susquehanna Valley Chapter that Mike leads.

Bible Road
In today's message we referred to a road sign in New Jersey. We pass this road sign in Centre County as we travel through central Pennsylvania.  We consider how it would be neat to live on Bible Road!

Many of you will recall a childhood song and if you're like us you'll immediately recall the words:

The B-I-B-L-E
Yes that's the book for me.
I stand upon the Word of God
The B-I-B-L-E.

Here's a second verse I found to the B-I-B-L-E song that I don't recall singing as a child. I like it!
The B-I-B-L-E
Yes that's the book for me
I read and pray, trust and obey
The B-I-B-L-E.

The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me! (audio mp3)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

As I prepared today's message this book came to mind:

Bad Girls of the Bible
Bad Girls of the Bible
By Liz Curtis Higgs / Random House, Inc

Women everywhere marvel at those "good girls" in Scripture---Sarah, Mary, Esther---but on most days, that's not who they see when they look in the mirror. Most women (if they're honest) see the selfishness of Sapphira or the deception of Delilah. They catch of glimpse of Jezebel's take-charge pride or Eve's disastrous disobedience. Like Bathsheba, Herodias, and the rest, today's modern woman is surrounded by temptations, exhausted by the demands of daily living, and burdened by her own desires.

So what's a good girl to do? Learn from their lives, says Liz Curtis Higgs, and by God's grace, choose a better path. In Bad Girls of the Bible, Higgs offers a unique and clear-sighted approach to understanding those "other women" in Scripture, combining a contemporary retelling of their stories with a verse-by-verse study of their mistakes and what lessons women today can learn from them.

Whether they were "Bad to the Bone," "Bad for a Season, but Not Forever" or only "Bad for a Moment," these infamous sisters show women how not to handle the challenges of life. With her trademark humor and encouragement, Higgs teaches you how to avoid their tragic mistakes and joyfully embrace grace.  Includes reflection questions at the end of each chapter.

Bad Boys of the New Testament: Exploring Men of Questionable VirtueBad Boys of the New Testament: Exploring Men of Questionable Virtue
By Barbara J. Essex / Pilgrim Press

When teaching or preaching about biblical characters we tend to present them as perfect human beings and role models. If we look closer we will find that the Bible does no such thing. Along with the courageous and heroic character traits of a person the outrageous and underhanded instincts are depicted as well. This 8 week study of seven biblical men will deepen, broaden, and expand your faith as you examine the whole picture of humanity and are reminded of God's gracious and merciful love for us. Commentary, background, reflection questions, and suggestions for preaching and teaching the "bad boys" are included.

Call 2 Fall logoRegardless of what country you may live in we sure need a revival! On Sunday morning July 5 our church will join many others in participating in "Call2Fall", a nationwide prayer meeting. We encourage others to look into this, especially pastors here in America. Essentially this is a definite time during worship on Sunday, July 5th when we get on our knees before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19). 

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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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