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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Red flower cart near Greensboro NC 4/7/10
Red flower cart
"Don't put the cart before the horse" is a phrase that means we need to keep things in their proper order and for those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ that means we always need to follow!

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"Called To Follow"

"'I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then He said to him, 'Follow me'" (John 21:18,19).

Larry Burkett had a ministry for many years assisting Christians with their personal finances. Many of us may recall his radio program or we have read his books. Larry had a severe form of cancer and
shortly before he died I heard him speak at a meeting in Lancaster.  He shared concerning the interesting lessons he was learning from a perspective of one living with a terminal illness.  The certain projection of his death was only months away.

I read a story about a middle-aged doctor afflicted with an incurable disease.  He was initially resentful and angry with God.  Then over a period of time he humbly committed the remainder of his life to God and determined that he would leave a godly heritage.

The daily text is the final recorded personal exchange between Christ and Peter prior to Christ's ascension to heaven.  Jesus told Peter how he was going to die.

I wonder how this revelation of truth might have affected Peter.  Here he is, gloriously restored after his ignominious denial.  He's ready to take on the world.  But our Lord's final words to him were in regard to the manner in which he would one day die.  Peter went on to live and faithfully minister for Christ another 30 years before he was crucified upside down (as tradition asserts).

Consider how the knowledge of his future death might have crippled him.  He could have become an emotional basket case!  But there is no hint in his apostolic preaching recorded in Acts or in his two epistles of this being a factor at all.  In fact he never mentions it.

I wonder about this when I read the account of his imprisonment in Acts 12.  His long-time friend and fellow apostle James had just been beheaded and Peter surely knew that Herod was on a "killing spree".  Yet he is soundly sleeping when the angel awakened him for his deliverance.  Perhaps he had laid down his head and reasoned, "I'm not old yet so the death Jesus foretold will not take place at this time."

The purpose of this revelation to Peter was that he might know the way in which he would glorify God in his death.  I consider people who have glorified God in their death.  I'm inspired each time I read of Stephen's bold proclamation of faith at the very time of his stoning.

Some of the greatest stories ever passed down are of those who remained faithful in their final hour, whether it was suffering at the hands of other people or suffering from the pain of death.  

When I read their stories I'm all the more determined to remain true no matter the difficulties I might have to endure before I transition to the other side.
It seems to me the right outlook is seeing death as merely God's appointed means of transition from this life to the next.  Surely this is a time when we can, as believers, indeed glorify God.

Today let us, like Peter, again hear the words Christ spoke, "Follow me."  We are all called to follow.  Let's do it!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Jesus, help me to determine in my heart that Your words, "Follow Me" will far surpass the importance of any other mission I am called to in my life time.  I pray that my goals, achievements, and ambitions never conflict with the major calling You have placed on my life.  Lord, may all that I pursue establish for me a firm foundation where my faith will grow and where I bring glory to Your name, both in life and in death.

Chest of drawers High Point NC
Yesterday we drove by a huge furniture store in High Point, NC. That's Ester standing at one of the feet of this large chest of drawers at the entrance in order to demonstrate just how large it is! This kind of reminds us of when we passed a really big rocking chair last summer along old Route 66 in southern Missouri (see photo)

Chest of drawers
Here's another big chest of drawers in downtown High Point.
Looks like somebody didn't put their socks away! Maybe they're airing them out for a second day of usage.

Genelle & Cesar 4/7/10
We have enjoyed spending the last couple of days with my sister Genelle and her husband Cesar here near Greensboro, NC.   Last night we enjoyed a delicious meal that they prepared together. It was a colorful spread and good to the last bite!

They recently celebrated their 30th anniversary and Genelle shared her family wedding photo which also shows Brooksyne and me when we were very young. (I shared this in a daily encouragement message several weeks ago).

Today we are heading back toward Pennsylvania and will have dinner this evening with Phil Miller, a young friend of ours, who is a student at Liberty University in Virginia.

Stephen & Brooksyne 4/8/10
Today we were podcasting and suddenly the family Papparazzi ascended and got our photo.  You can see us in action as we prepare our message on the deck of the Sankarsingh home.  It is a gorgeous, sunny morning with a light breeze.  The birds seem to be very happy as they sing their merry songs in the trees that line the back yard.

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.)

"Follow Me"  Video  Kelly Willard.  We both  enjoy the unusual thought provoking lyrics of this song written by Ira Stanphill.

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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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