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Monday, November 23, 2009

Donegal Creek 11/09
We often walk along Donegal Creek on our favorite walking path from our house over to Colebrook Road using a long abandoned path known as Meeting House Road.

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"Make Me A Blessing!"

"Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23).

DL MoodyD.L Moody was a faithful evangelist who lived over 100 years ago. The very last sermon he preached was 110 years ago this month in the Convention Hall of Kansas City, Missouri.  He used today's Scripture text to preach about "Excuses". He concluded his message, as was characteristic of Mr. Moody, with an appeal for salvation as he alluded to the Marriage Feast in heaven.  He pleaded, "I beg of you, do not make light of it.  It is a loving God inviting you to a feast, and God is not to be mocked.  Go play with forked lightning, go trifle with pestilence and disease, but trifle not with God."

Moody, not an orator seeking to tickle ears, spoke bluntly and passionately. So physically weak he could scarcely get up to the pulpit when he preached his last message, he nevertheless preached the Word of God from his heart. Some 50 souls responded to his invitation to be saved that evening.  It was only four weeks later that he went home to be with the Lord.

The daily text remains a call to obey!  The "highways and hedges" represent the uttermost call of the Gospel, elsewhere worded by Christ as "the least of these."  We all have "highways and hedges" around us, people who need the invitation to come to God's house.  We are to compel them to come in.  This speaks of the seriousness and persuasiveness we must have as we present the claims of our Lord.  It's what drove D.L. Moody and so many others.  Why?  "That my house may be filled."  This phrase powerfully speaks of the Father heart of God.  He wants His house full.

Commentator Matthew Henry writes:  "The apostles were to turn to the Gentiles, when the Jews refused the offer; and with them the church was filled. The provision made for precious souls in the gospel of Christ has not been made in vain; for if some reject, others will thankfully accept the offer. The very poor and low in the world, shall be as welcome to Christ as the rich and great; and many times the gospel has the greatest success among those that labour under worldly disadvantages and bodily infirmities. Christ's house shall at last be filled; it will be so when the number of the elect is completed."

Today, let us all take up Christ's call and seek to be a blessing to others out in the highways and byways of life!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we thank You that You are no respecter of persons.  You are not willing that any should perish but that all would have everlasting life.  Thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve.  Instead You deal with us in Your mercy and love through the provision of Your Son's death offered as a sacrifice for our sins.   Just as we have received Your mercy, we want to reach others with the message of forgiveness as we seek to fill Your house.  In Jesus' merciful name we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  The Scripture "You reap what you sow" is visible in D.L. Moody's last train ride to his home in Northfield, Massachusetts under the imperative order of his physician.  He reluctantly consented to cease work, and, leaving Kansas City by the evening train, travelled directly home without breaking the journey, which required a day and two nights on the road.  On the way an incident occurred that cheered and encouraged him greatly.  From St. Louis to Detroit the train was delayed due to the locomotive's mechanical failure.  It was feared that connections would be missed at a later point.  The new engineer, assigned to take the train from Detroit to St. Thomas, learned that Mr. Moody was on the train, returning home sick.  He sent word to him that he would do his best to make up the lost time.  "Tell him," he said, "that I was converted under him fifteen years ago and I owe everything to him."  The division from Detroit to St. Thomas was covered in the darkness of that night at a speed averaging a mile a minute, including stops, and the connection for the East was secured. (From the book, "The Life of Dwight L. Moody" by his son, William Moody, 1900).

Mr. Moody was seeking to be a blessing as he presented the gospel message of salvation to the engineer 15 years earlier.   The engineer in return sought to bless D.L. Moody as he wanted to get him home as soon as possible so he could be with his loving family.  As we bless others we ourselves are blessed, aren't we!

DL Moody quote
Flyleaf from the book, "The Life of Dwight L. Moody".
The cover has fallen off the book so we included a photo of the flyleaf.

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.)

"Make Me A Blessing"  Video instrumental

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We want to offer these ideas to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.
(We'll be posting these resources through Thanksgiving.)

"Thankful For The Thorns":
A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table (printable webpage) The Thanksgiving celebration includes family coming together along with the turkey and trimmings. Often there's a lot of food with little meaningful conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns" or the questionnaire we've provided in the link below.  
A Thanksgiving family exercise - We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal. (pdf) Perhaps you could just use it as a discussion guide to provide stimulus for other's reflections.

A Thanksgiving prayer: (written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago.)  Webpage  For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Day of Rest in Plimouth Colony: This is a summary of a chapter in the lives of the pilgrims that Brooksyne uses to teach about their Sunday worship.  (pdf)

Resources used in Brooksyne's research on the Pilgrims:
Saints & Strangers  By Vision Video
Three Young Pilgrims  By Cheryl Harness / Simon & Schuster

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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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