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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lancaster County farm
Farm scene in Lancaster County, PA
Along Donegal Creek about 1/2 mile from our home.

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"Life To The Full"

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).

When I was pastoring a church in New England I received an interesting "wrong number" prior to our midweek church service one evening. Usually when a church gets a call prior to a service it's someone needing directions, asking the time of service, or a worker is delayed. I took the call hoping it was a visitor needing information.  I answered the phone by using the church name. The phone was silent for a moment and then a lady asked, "Is this Eagan's Package Store?"  (A "Package Store" in Massachusetts is a liquor store.) 

I said "No, we are a church and we offer just the opposite of a package store."  We clarified the number she dialed which was off by one digit, and she said she thought it was interesting what I said about being the opposite.  I gave her a brief witness, hopefully giving her something to think about.  I ended the conversation by pointing out all the heartache I had seen alcohol wreak. I don't know whether she ever called Eagan's or not!  And I don't that she ever visited our church.

The world's offerings vary, but all lead down the same disastrous path.  The work of the "thief" continues today.  We don't have to look far to see the horrible destruction do we?  The enemy's thievery, killing, and destruction are ruining lives everyday. 

The massive alcohol industry is but one example.  Those of us who enjoy sports on TV are inundated with commercials promoting drinking. The booze industry, with a huge advertising budget has some of the "best" commercials on TV. The glitzy ads with beautiful young models
proclaim that "this is the life", but we who know the full truth realize this is a lie. 

Truth in advertising should require a scene from a deadly DWI traffic accident such as the one we passed on Sunday where a man, 41 years old, plowed through a cornfield near our home and was killed instantly.  Hours earlier he had been driven home by concerned people who recognized his drunken condition.  Unfortunately the keys were still within reach.

Abused spouses and children, homicides, shattered families and early deaths are but a few of the consequences of alcoholism.  The thief takes all, bankrupting us of that which God is willing to give in abundance – His love, guidance, forgiveness and friendship.  The striking contrast to the thief's objective which is to take life is seen in the person of Jesus who gives life, even His own life on our behalf.  He told His listeners, "I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (10:11). 

Jesus continues to actively work in all who will receive His offering of life to the full.  He said "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  The Greek word translated "to the full" ("abundantly" in the KJV) conveys the sense "superabundant" (in quantity), or "superior" (in quality). 

Don't settle for the paltry, destructive substitutes from the thief.  Are you living for Jesus Christ today?  He alone offers life to the full and that offer continues to be freely extended to all who call upon the Name of the Lord to be saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus who came that we might have life and have it in abundance.  We're grateful for Your grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.  We're thankful that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own.  We realize that the one who sows to please the sinful nature from that nature reaps destruction, therefore we choose to sow to please the spiritual nature and from that nature reap eternal life.  Keep us faithful in doing so.  Amen.

See John 10:10; Titus 2:12,14;  Galatians 6:8,

Marvin with Shawna and Sharon

Over twenty years ago we hosted Marvin, a young child from Guatamala who had a severe throat disease that severely limited his breathing. Twice he came to the States for medical care and
for surgery in Erie, PA. We once went to see him and his family in Guatemala. He is shown here in his Sunday best with two young sisters in our church in northern Pennsylvania. We still stay in touch with Shawna and Sharon, who of course are both now grown with children of their own.

Marvin & his son, Melvin

Several years ago we reconnected with Marvin through Daily Encouragement Net, which essentially provides previous associations in life an easy way to find us, especially Brooksyne. (Try googling Brooksyne to see what I mean.)

Marvin is now married with a child and is faithfully serving the Lord. Today he sent us a photo of his son Melvin dressed as a clown for a  children's church activity.

Today's photo prompts a recall of 3 John 1:3,4.

Looks like Marvin is a Yankee's fan!


Incredible cornMore country blessings: Last night I was sitting on our front porch watching the sunset when our neighbor drove up in his pickup, backed up into our driveway, and shared some of his freshly picked sweet corn with us. We gladly took it and also shared with our next door neighbor! We are having a great harvest this summer due to plentiful rain.

Yesterday's corn prep message prompted a memory for Sue, local friend and DE reader: "I vividly remember my mother freezing sweet corn. Mainly because she had this big vat of corn that she had sliced off the cob on the kitchen table, and my parakeet was flying around and made a 'deposit' into the corn as it flew over. My mom was not happy!!!"

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

"John 10:10"  From the Integrity Scripture Memory Series  (Open here and click on "play")

As I prepared today's message I did some more reflection on the topic of alcohol and share the following articles I came across for your consideration:
The Case For Abstinence by Daniel L. Akin
The Christian and Alcohol by Doug Batchelor

An extra, unrelated photo delight: Our friend Doris High has posted some interesting photos from a truck show in Canada here.

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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