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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lancaster County stone farmhouse built in 1774
Lancaster County stone farmhouse

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"I Am"

"God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you'"" (Exodus 3:14).

Lotus software "I AM" signWe once walked by the headquarters of the Lotus Software Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I was intrigued that many windows had a sign stating merely, "I AM".  I learned it was a marketing slogan the company was using at that time. I doubt if too many of the employees had any idea of the long history of this two word phrase. (Frankly it wouldn't surprise me if it has new age connotations.) 

Austin 3:16 mockeryBut I also believe that many times when the world copies a Biblical theme they do have some idea what they're doing. Many years ago a wrestler used the theme "Austin 3:16" as a slogan, which was a very intentional jab at the Bible's most famous reference (John 3:16). *1

For me though the signs in the windows sure made me think of the One who first said, "I Am".  Some 3,500 years ago God spoke to a very reluctant Moses, who was called to lead His people out of Egypt. Moses was very concerned about what he would say when the people asked who was sending him.

God Almighty answered that question in the daily verse. Moses was to tell the people,
"I AM has sent me to you." The name "I am" became rich with meaning throughout the Old Testament. It is an affirmation that God is always free to be and act as He wills.

Jesus asserted His deity in using this phrase to describe Himself, particularly in the Gospel of John. They are known as the
 ego eimi (ἐγώ εἰμι) statements from the Greek words for "I am".

1. I AM the bread of life.  John 6:35,48
2. I AM the light of the world.  John 8:12, 9:5
3. I AM the door.  John 10:7
4. I AM the good shepherd.  John 10:11-14
5. I AM the resurrection and the life.  John 11:25
6. I AM the way, the truth and the life.  John 14:6
7. I AM the true vine.  John 15:1,5

And among the last words in the Bible is our Lord's powerful self-declaration, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:13)

Today let us believe in and serve this faithful God, who is indeed the eternal "I am".  He continues to send forth His people like He sent forth Moses to speak His words and share His light with the world.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, when You call upon us to do a task You give us signs along the way. On rare occasions they're revealed in a supernatural way, but more often our calling is confirmed through prayer and Scripture, through the counsel of other believers, and through faith that You are directing our footsteps according to Your designed purpose.  Just as Moses feared that people would not listen to him we also fear rejection.  In the midst of such a struggle remind us that we do not seek personal attention or credit for anything we might do, for that would lead to pride and certain failure. Instead it is You, I AM that I AM, who commissions us, directs our steps, sustains us, and empowers us to carry out Your will day in and day out.  We trust Your leading.  Amen.

A humorous story: On Sunday afternoon following our church service Brooksyne asked a young lady to join us in attending a fellowship meal at a neighboring church.  A rather humorous story developed from the invitation and Brooksyne will share the account:

Gas guage on emptyI suggested to Ashley that she follow us in her car to the church but she explained that she was low on fuel so she needed to head straight home. I thought the dilemma over for a minute before Stephen walked into the sanctuary.

I told him, "I asked Ashley to join us for the fellowship meal but she has a gas problem."  As soon as those last two words rolled off my tongue I knew I'd described the situation rather poorly.  All was quiet and I was hopeful that no one noticed.  I was about to quickly move onto a better explanation to quickly cover up my faux pas when Ashley, with a perplexed look on her face, suddenly blurted, "I didn't know I was gaseous."  At that response everyone in the room broke into a roaring laughter and of course the jokes from every direction poured in at the speed of bullets.

Ashley rode over to the neighboring church with us which solved her "gas problem" temporarily at least.  We were fellowshipping with some of our friends in that church when I introduced Ashley to Naomi.  I explained that Naomi lived only five doors up from the church and then I did it again as I said, "Ashley, if you lived where Naomi lives your gas problem would be solved."

Once again the strange looks and laughter practically shook the table, me laughing the hardest wondering how I could have possibly messed up again.  People looked toward our rowdy table and certainly did not miss my beet red face as I realized my error.  Poor Ashley!!  Of course I was trying to say that Ashley could have walked to the church and wouldn't need gas in her car if she lived only five doors away.  Surely after my second gaffe we would not speak of it again, or would we…

Gas plantFollowing the meal we went to visit our friends Jason and Amber.  We toured their historic farm house and beautifully manicured flower gardens.  There was a beautiful flower bush that Amber pointed at and said, "That's called a gas plant!"  Ashley and I looked at each other and of course we got to giggling all over again and had to explain that we'd been having a "gas problem" all day!

I wondered aloud why the beautiful plant is called the Gas Plant. Amber explained that its leaves give off a strong aromatic vapor which can easily be ignited, hence the name gas plant. It is also referred to as a burning bush which brings to mind Moses' experience at the burning bush in Exodus 3 which is the portion of Scripture today's text came from.  It's a real stretch but I read that some historians believe the burning bush that Moses saw is the same bush that we saw at Amber's house.

Please note: Ashley is a very good sport who has given permission for me to share this story.

Here are some more photos of our visit to the 1774 farmhouse of our friends Jason and Amber

Long gravel farm lane
We enjoyed driving down the long gravel farm lane. For me (Stephen) it brought back a specific childhood memory of Sunday afternoon visits we made as a family to see the Willard family. They were friends of my folks who lived on a farm near Higginsville, Missouri. To this day I still recall driving down a long gravel lane just like this one to get to their house!

Sycamore tree with 1774 stone farmhouse
This huge Sycamore tree is beside their house. The stone farmhouse was built in 1774 and has been in Amber's family the entire time (10 generations).

Ester with Ashley on tree swing
Ashley pushing Ester on a tree swing hanging from the Sycamore tree.

Gaillardia (aka blanketflower)
We viewed plenty of beautiful flowers in Amber's garden including this close-up of a Gaillardia.

Shelves built into stone wall
These wood shelves are built right into the stone interior wall.

Shelves built into stone wall
This wall hanging quilt has an interesting feature.
Can you identify it? see
*2 below

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.)

"I Am"  Video  Mark Schultz

"Names Of God"  Video  

"Here I Am Send Me"
 Video  Keith Green

"Children Go Where I Send Thee"
Video  Tennessee Ernie Ford

"Here Am I Lord, Send Me!"  Video  MercyMe

Here is a video of the Lotus "I am" marketing campaign.

The gas plant is described here.

*1 Regarding the origination of the phrase Austin 3:16 see here.

*2 The star has seven points!

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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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