Daily Encouragement Net Header
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home   About Us  Archives   Free email subscription   ListenListen to these messages
 See here for more info.
<Previous Message                                                    Next Message

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mini-basket flower arrangement

Brooksyne arranges these mini-baskets and was especially pleased with the vibrant fall-like colors in this one.

ListenListen to us share this message on your audio player

"With God Nothing Is Impossible"

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'" (Matthew 19:26).

Brooksyne and I have served as business chaplains for over ten years alongside our other ministerial duties.  In the course of our work/ministry we have come to know hundreds who have major obstacles lingering in their hearts and minds as they go about their daily work shift.  Employees can't deal with their problems on the job, but nevertheless their problems follow them to work mentally and emotionally as they generally occupy their thoughts throughout the day.

Yesterday Brooksyne took flower arrangements to the ladies at one of our companies. She enjoys doing this and is able to do so by purchasing vases and small baskets at the Christian Thrift Store where she volunteers.  Over the past year she has been praying with one particular employee who has had some major difficulties.  Hoping to encourage her yesterday, she arranged the flowers from her garden in the basket (featured above) and then added a Scripture label to the lid fastened onto the basket. "With God all things are possible."  Let's take a look at the context of this verse and see the deeper meaning Jesus brings to this verse.

A rich young ruler came to Jesus to find out how he could inherit eternal life.  Perhaps through his royal line he had inherited riches from his parents and had no further material needs.  But he was wise to recognize that his life filled with material abundance here on earth would soon pass and then what?  What did he need to do to inherit eternal life? He faithfully obeyed the Ten Commandments, so what was it that he lacked?  He decided to seek out the great Teacher and get His counsel.

Jesus had a very specific command for him: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." That was certainly not the answer the rich man sought.  He appeared to reject Jesus' command and went away sad. I've often wondered if at some later point he chose to follow Christ but if so it is not recorded in Scripture.

The disciples witnessed the dialogue between Jesus and the rich young man.  They also witnessed the young man's rejection of Jesus' teaching and his sad departure.  What a contrast this was to the twelve disciples who gave up everything that would interfere with Jesus' invitation to them, "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men."

Jesus seized the moment and turned the experience with the rich young man into a teaching moment.  He used what seems to most an outlandish illustration, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  Some have tried to make Jesus' illustration more palatable by explaining that there is a small gate for pedestrians, in or near the large city gate through which a camel might be able to go through, but only by kneeling and with great difficulty.  But it is more generally thought to be a literal needle.  What is impossible for human beings is possible with a supernatural God!

The overall message we get from this story is that the young man trusted in and preferred his riches rather than God.  He couldn't envision  riches in heaven because his eyes were fixed on his riches on earth. If Jesus asked him to give up all he had He would have supplied him with the desire and will to do so had he followed through with the command.

The great miracles that took place in the Bible are a result of people trusting in God; not past experience, human endeavor or earth's resources.  We must fix our sight on the supernatural, not the ordinary. Riches on earth are ordinary; riches in heaven are extraordinary.

It wasn't the money that the rich young ruler had that would reserve for him a place in heaven.  Similarly it's not our own wealth, good deeds, great accomplishments, or our family name that will reserve for us a place in heaven.  If we seek after that which is possible we seek after man's way. If we seek that which is impossible we seek after God's way.   "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, help us to "Ponder anew what the Almighty can do" as we trust You to do the impossible.  Help us not to ponder our problems, but instead to pray for Your will to be done in our lives and those we pray for. Your assure us throughout the Scriptures both by teaching and example that "Nothing is impossible with God." We want to fully trust You to do the impossible.  Amen.

Today's Scripture passage is Matthew 19:16-30

Study note: The encounter that Jesus had was a specific teaching to a rich young man and Christ pinned the man down as to where his real hope was. In forming our theology we must use all the Scriptures. Paul had an interesting teaching in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 addressing those who are rich in this present world and gives this command: "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."  

Trusting God brings about extraordinary happenings in ordinary people:
  • Abraham trusted God and became the father of many nations.
  • Job trusted God, lost his family, health and wealth, but was restored with twice as much after his suffering.
  • Joseph trusted God, was delivered from jail, and raised up to be the ruler of Egypt.
  • Moses trusted God who rolled back the mighty Red Sea turning it into dry land.
  • David trusted God, stood before a 9' giant, and slew him with a small stone.
  • Elijah trusted God and heard the sound of a heavy rain even before God released it after a 3 year drought.
  • Paul and Silas trusted God in the prison cell and were miraculously released.
  • (You can add your own story or others from the Scriptures)

One day a week in the course of our corporate chaplain  work we travel through the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country in eastern Lancaster County, the home of many Amish and old-order Mennonites. We almost always come upon some interesting sights.

Boys in open buggy 9/3/09
We came up behind these boys on a busy US highway (Rt 322) east of Ephrata, PA. Perhaps they were running an errand for their dad.  The old order groups have a strong work ethic and teach their children responsibility at an early age.  I work with several from these old orders in my chaplain work and find their friendship a blessing. They are also very informative explaining the slight differences in various sects. For instance in regard to dress some groups allow snaps on suspenders but others allow only buttons!

Windmill on Lancaster County farm 9/3/09
Each week we stop at several roadside produce stands during this season. Yesterday we bought some watermelon, peaches and  eggplant.  The fresh produce will be available through late OctoberOne of the produce stands we stopped at was at this farm north of New Holland.

Photo of produce stand with Scripture verse
The stands vary from mere self serve boxes to open wagons to small permanent sheds.
I enjoy these colorful wagons.  
(Click on photo to enlarge or use as desktop)

Wagonwheel with Geraniums 9/3/09
This old wagonwheel provides an interesting and colorful setting for these red Geraniums near Bird In Hand across from one of the companies we serve.

Lancaster fields 9/3/09
I realize this photo is not very clear. It was taken from a shipping dock in the back of a large factory. I was speaking to an employee and remarking about the beautiful fields he regularly sees right from where he works. Last week I saw two little Mennonite children riding their bikes through here and had hoped to see a similar scene when this man came along riding his bike and pulling a cart. I didn't have time to zoom in.  The old-order Mennonites are often seen riding their bikes in this part of Lancaster County.  In fact I've even seen them riding through the factory!

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.)

"Praise To The Lord, The Almighty"  Audio mp3  "Ponder anew what the Almighty can do!"

"Nothing Is Impossible"  Video 
  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

Sign up here for the free daily email encouragement.

Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.

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."

Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com 
© Copyright 2009 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552  USA

Contact us

"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"