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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pumpkins on wagon in Lancaster County
A sure sign of Autumn - Pumpkins for sale along the road.

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"The Lord Of Lords"

"O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 136:3).

When we pastored in New England we had a wonderful older couple in our congregation named Hope and John Winchoba.  Both are with Jesus now but many memories remain.  They were a tremendous source of encouragement during our years of ministry in that congregation.

I suppose my most interesting memory was when John took me quahogging (a quahog is a type of clam) in a bay near their home on West Island in the Atlantic Ocean. We collected some quahogs and when we got back to their home he insisted that I eat at least one raw quahog right from the shell. He wanted to make my experience authentic and memorable which it obviously did as I easily recall the experience 15 years later.  I still prefer to have my clams mixed in the chowder!

John once shared with us a story about a visit he and Hope made to England.  They were touring the "The House of Lords" in the Parliament Building. He was getting up in years and was weary from travel so he took an available seat to rest a spell.  A security guard approached him and asked, "Excuse me, are you a lord?" John honestly replied "No", and was bluntly told, "Only lords are allowed to sit here."  I wonder if John's face reddened as he was escorted out of his seat to where the regular folks are seated.

Now John was not a "lord" and being asked that question must surely have shaken him a bit since he was a factory worker and unaccustomed to hearing the title of lord given to people; it is reserved only for the Lord Jesus Christ here in America. But in England some members of nobility, depending on their ranking, are given this title.  John thought a bit about this encounter and later told me, "I got to thinking; I may not be a lord but I am a child of the King."

What a joy today to serve the one and only true Lord and the One whom the Bible calls "the Lord of lords."  The Psalmist calls us to "give thanks to the Lord of lords" and gives a reason for doing so. It recurs over and over in this Psalm, "for His mercy endures forever."

Three thousand years have passed since the Psalmist declared this truth and yet His mercy is still enduring. Today's date, especially here in America, reminds us of the awfulness of sin and certainly there are many questions we have that still await an answer.  Some will be answered in this life but others will not. And yet we are strengthened by God's glorious power so that we are "able to pass through any experience and endure it with joy" (Colossians 1:9).

The amazing love and endless mercy of God continues to pour out on the fallen human race.  All who turn to Him in faith are recipients of His great mercy in providing salvation from sin and guidance in our daily lives. "In His great mercy He has given us new birth." His mercy endures even in the hardest, darkest places and during the most baffling of times. We continue to "receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Are you serving the "Lord of lords"?  Reaffirm your commitment today as you give Him thanks for His mercy that truly endures this day and forevermore!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your infinite mercy is the greatest gift You impart upon Your creation alongside the marvelous truth that Your compassion knows no bounds.  Your power and authority far exceed any human role or title established on this earth, yet You love us personally with an inexhaustible and enduring devotion.  We are never cast aside as being unimportant or unranked in Your sight, for You refer to us repeatedly as Your "treasured possession."  As we reflect upon the 9/11 disaster eight years ago in America we're reminded of the scenes of evil played out at its very worst and the response of goodness seen at its very best. People worked together on both sides of the political spectrum,  heartfelt prayers resounded throughout our land.  Though we may not see it as clearly as we did during that tragic time, we are fully aware that Your loving mercy is never-ending, always extended to us in our time of need.  We continue to pray for revival in our land and healing in our nation.  In Jesus name.   Amen.

Another Memory of the Winchobas

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (Revelation 14:13).

Hope WinchobaHere's a photo of Hope Winchoba. I was unable to find a photo of John Winchoba in our vast pre-digital collection, although I know we have some. Hope had been a part of the church since it's founding in 1928 when she came as a child and John since his marriage to her. They were married nearly 65 years.

I visited with John and Hope the day before he died and recall a tender moment of kneeling with them and thanking God for their lives. We knew at that time that the time of his departure was very near and we spoke frankly with one another. A great peace enveloped that home and I left grateful for the privilege of pastoring such fine people. They had been unable to attend church for some time but before I left John handed me his monthly financial contribution for the church and reminded me that, "it’s the Lord’s money."  That’s being faithful to the end!

When Hope called me to inform me John had died I told Brooksyne and Ester.  Ester ran into my arms crying and we prayed together for Hope and the family and expressed thanks to God for John Winchoba’s life. What a joy to share this special moment and express the assurance that Mr. Winchoba did indeed know Jesus and was now in His very presence.

What a healthy, realistic view of death can be held by the earnest believer.  Here is the view from God’s perspective: "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints." Perhaps man’s perspective is best expressed by the Apostle Paul who wrote, "to live is Christ and to die is gain."  We miss John and Hope but know they are in a far better place and that one day all who have followed Jesus Christ and accepted His salvation will see them again!

Everett DeWalt 9/10/09 (74th birthday)Yesterday we visited Everett's factory and he told me it was his 74th birthday. He was excited about joining his family for a meal at the Olive Garden. Everett began working at this factory in 1951. It was close to his home and he figured it would be a good place to start. Well, he started and hasn't stopped for 58 years now!  He always has a pleasant disposition. One of his supervisors told me, "I don't think Everett ever wakes up on the wrong side of the bed!" I've heard it said:  "Everyone lights up a room; some light it up when they enter and others light it up when they exit."  I assure you Everett lights it up when he enters and cheerfully mingles with his co-workers.

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.)

"A Child Of The King"  Audio from a local church

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"  Video  Fernando Ortega version

Information about Quahogs

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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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