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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photo of fall porch arrangement
Porch arrangement in Lancaster County, PA

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"Considering The Outcome"

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

Today is Veteran's Day here in the United States, a day in which we properly remember veterans and consider their service for our freedoms.  Many veterans read these messages, including several we know personally, and there other readers who are in active service. We thank you for your service. My dad, who went to be with the Lord in 1998, was a World War 2 veteran and trained as a pilot.

Joe Carroll
Today I  consider Joe Carroll, who regularly listens to our podcast. Joe is a long-term member of a church we served in an interim role in the Harrisburg, PA area several years ago.  He served in the Navy during World War 2 and his ship was struck by a Japanese kamikaze plane, killing many of his crewmates.  The plane actually struck precisely where Joe's bunk was located, but he was elsewhere on the ship at the time. I wrote a story about him several years ago and link to it below.

But let me take us one step further and focus this encouragement message on spiritual veterans, those who enlisted in the army of the Lord on their day of salvation. Many have fought the enemy valiantly and have received their reward.  They join others in the great cloud of witnesses. And yet there are those who remain on this side in their senior years of life.  They have faithfully served God in their generation.  As they endure the pain and complications of aging they faithfully await the Master's call home. Today's message is again based on Hebrews 13.

Our daily verse begins:

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you." Without a doubt the Apostle is speaking of spiritual leaders.  Among all the qualities we may value in our leaders such as administrative skills, compassionate care, fervent prayer life, vision casting and so forth, the writer of Hebrews singularly highlights this description: "who spoke the Word of God to you."  This is consistent with Paul's challenge to Timothy; "Preach The Word" (2 Timothy 4:2)

What a blessing to remember and consider those who have been faithful in preaching the Word in our lives. I certainly hope that's been a pastor for all of you, but for many it's also a godly parent(s) or a close relative, a Sunday School teacher or other Christian leader.  For some it will be a camp counselor, a youth leader or another individual we met along life's journey who has impacted our life for Christ.

"Consider the outcome of their way of life." The Amplified Bible elaborates here that we are to "Observe attentively and consider their manner of living." I am so thankful for those whose lives I have personally observed as I witnessed the transforming change Christ makes. In some cases we observe the outcome in the sense of those who have now gone on to heaven after a life of faithful service to the Lord. In other cases they are still living on this side and we observe the present outcome as they demonstrate a steady, mature and disciplined life. The leaders whom our text refers to were real people who were known personally by those they served.

We are called to "imitate their faith." The word for "imitate" is a Greek word from which we get "mimic". For those of us in spiritual leadership this is an awesome call and responsibility. In his pastoral epistles Paul addressed this. To Timothy: "set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). To Titus: "In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us" (Titus 2:7,8).

Today, let us indeed remember our leaders, who spoke the Word of God to us.  Let us consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we march as soldiers in the army of the Lord. We thank you for the many spiritual warriors who have taken on added responsibility and assumed difficult duties leading us to victory in this war against sin and strife.  Bless our leaders who have poured themselves into our lives and set for us an example to follow; in their conversation, their lifestyle, their faith, their doctrine and in their purity.  We honor and bless the previous generation who passed onto us the Living Water and Bread of Life. We now extend the same message to our generation and the next, for with our mouths we will make known Your faithfulness to all generations. Amen.

* Here's the message we wrote about Joe several years ago.
Another story about Joe and his wife Jessie and an example of their labor for the Lord and a person they sought to reach for Jesus.

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.)

"Find Us Faithful"

"One Pure And Holy Passion"  Video "Give me one glorious ambition for my life, to know and follow hard after You." Amen!

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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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