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Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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Please note: Occasionally our message is more story than Scripture exposition and that is true of today's message.
"Warm Refrigerator Memories"
"We are asking God that you may be filled with wisdom and that you may understand its purpose. We also pray that your outward lives, which men see, may bring credit to your Master's Name, and that you may bring joy to His heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit in all that you do, and that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper. We pray that you will be strengthened from God's glorious power, so that you may be able to pass through any experience and endure it with joy" (Colossians 1:9-11 Phillips translation).
Last night we were blessed to have some help from a young man with a strong work ethic. Seth is a high school student who attends our church and also works hard as a farm hand. He joined us for dinner then helped out by moving some heavy window air conditioners to the upstairs of our barn. As I age I am a bit more cautious about moving heavy stuff and it gave Seth the opportunity to show off his youthful strength!
He also helped me move an old refrigerator we replaced today. We bought it new at Hoys Radio Service (quite a name for an appliance store) in Saint Marys PA in 1986 when we purchased our first home. It has served us very well for 23 years in 4 different locations but recently it stopped cooling. When a fridge no longer cools it's pretty worthless.
As we removed all the magnets and photos that were plastered on the door we thanked God for the blessing it had been over the years and then recalled a very special fridge memory.
The day after we moved to Lancaster County eight years ago we experienced the wonderful encouragement of neighborly kindness. Earl Martin, a retired minister who was also our new neighbor, stopped by to greet us with a shoofly pie his wife Helen had made. (Shoofly is a molasses type of pie very common among the Pennsylvania Dutch.) He had heard from the landlord that the Weber family renting the farmhouse were Christians and that I was also a minister. He surely must have wondered about a preacher from Massachusetts moving to conservative Lancaster County!
Earl provided not only food for the body but also food for the soul. He gave me a handwritten note with some verses he felt the Lord wanted him to share with me. I sure was blessed as he slowly, meaningfully read the daily text to me as a prayer of blessing. I really sensed that this preacher neighbor had prayed before he came over and there was a great blessing from the Lord in our brief visit. Earl and his wife Helen became good friends and Earl went to be with the Lord in 2003.
Now the fridge part. That night we enjoyed some of the pie and placed the remainder in the fridge to eat later. The next morning Brooksyne opened the fridge and loudly shrieked as she immediately noticed the pie had sections missing and some fresh ground beef wrapped in saran had a big chunk missing (wrap and the meat). Initially it was a mystery until we realized that a mouse had gotten into our fridge. This was our first experience with the resourcefulness and abundance of Lancaster County farm mice. We've had many other encounters since! After a thorough investigation we found that the seal on the bottom of the fridge door was torn and the hungry mouse managed to get through the tiny opening and sneaked into the cold dark fridge for a tasty meal! (Actually, the fridge we replace today doesn't look quite as old as the one pictured, but this photo reminds me of the fridge we had when I was child, which my folks called "the icebox".)
Now, the spiritual lesson: Here's the Scripture that Earl shared with me: "We are asking God that you may be filled with wisdom and that you may understand its purpose. We also pray that your outward lives, which men see, may bring credit to your Master's Name, and that you may bring joy to His heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit in all that you do, and that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper. We pray that you will be strengthened from God's glorious power, so that you may be able to pass through any experience and endure it with joy" (Colossians 1:9-11 Phillips translation).
Today we all have God's call upon our lives to express His kindness to an often harsh world and to be encouragers to many that are in desperate need of an encouraging word. And we can do so in numerous ways. Do you have a pie you can share, a bag of cookies, or something else that is a gift from the heart that you might share with a new co-worker or neighbor, a needy family? What about a prayerfully delivered Scripture verse to go along with the gift? What about an offer to help out in a practical way? Let us be mindful of the needs that surround us and consider what we can do today to be a blessing!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we pray today that You will fill us with wisdom and understanding. May our outward lives reflect the inner beauty and peace that comes through the abiding presence of Your Holy Spirit in our hearts. May Your Spirit produce in us genuine Christian fruit so that others will see Jesus in us and glorify You, our Father, who is in heaven. It is through Your glorious power that we are strengthened in the inner person enabling us to endure difficult trials that will not strip us of the lasting joy and peace that comes to those who walk by faith and not by sight.
Here's a photo of the old fridge in our driveway ready to be picked up. We had lots of duct tape holding it together! I removed the wire shelves from the middle figuring I might be able to use them, a habit learned from my resourceful, depression-era dad.
A final note that was especially poignant today: I heard on the news this morning that a man died in Harrisburg while moving a refrigerator when he got pinned to the wall. A reminder of the dangers in moving heavy appliances.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Make Me A Blessing" Video Instrumental
"Higher Ground" Video The Smucker family
This hymn is part of a collection available on Youtube for those who like to hear hymns the way many of us recall from our youth. Here's the collection.
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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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