The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, July 19, 2010
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"Bearing Fruit And Growing"
"All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth" (Colossians 1:6).
Here in Lancaster County we are at the peak of vegetable and fruit season, although the late varieties of peaches, apples and other scrumptious, healthy produce are yet to reach their peak. Early this morning Brooksyne planted new rows of summer lettuce and cilantro so that we keep a steady supply as we are now devouring the fresh vegetation from the garden. Roadside stands are abundant and well-stocked in our area. It can certainly be said that vegetation is bearing fruit and growing in spite of the long dry spell we experienced in our area this summer!
But today we want to consider something else that's bearing fruit and growing; that is, the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we were to dwell only on the watered down gospel message that some are preaching and the rather poor receptivity to Biblical truth in our country we could easily become discouraged, but at the same time we are reminded of the powerful message from Jesus Himself, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against My church."
One year during a mission's convention in New England we used a large, inflatable world globe to illustrate the work of Christ's ministry taking place all over the world. We tossed the large globe through the congregation sort of like a beach ball, although it was much larger than that. There might be several readers who would remember that particular missions service!
I have always liked maps and globes. One Christmas a few years ago I received a very nice globe on a stand from a church I pastored. I try to imagine the people living in various parts of the world and the continued impact of the Gospel even in the hardest to reach places, both spiritually and geographically speaking. I have also found this useful as a prayer guide.
The statement made in the daily text by the Apostle Paul to the early believers at Colossae illustrates the rapid spread of the Gospel in the first century. In fact it had extended into every quarter of the Roman Empire within three decades of Pentecost when the book of Colossians was written. As we prepare this message members of our spiritual family are planting spiritual seeds literally all over the world.
Brooksyne and I are greatly fulfilled knowing that readers of this devotional perspective come from all over the world and we're always blessed to receive feedback from these international readers in addition to our national correspondents. We are astounded at some of the countries readers come from, including many countries that are closed to traditional missions outreach. We have on our hearts today a special encouragement for these readers.
We are citizens of a variety of different countries and there is a sense of national pride that most all of us experience. But all who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior have an infinitely greater citizenship. Paul, writing from a prison to believers in the Roman colony of Philippi, declares a citizenship we all share and rejoice in today, "But our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). Although Paul found his Roman citizenship a helpful defense in a time of trial, undoubtedly he considered his heavenly citizenship of incomparably greater value. And so should we!
How Paul rejoiced as he wrote the daily text. Indeed "all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing." Paul didn't just focus on those he had direct fellowship with as is evidenced throughout his many writings. He had a spiritual interest in all of God's creation, both near and far, that the gospel would bear fruit and grow in their lives. We, too, need to broaden our circle and embrace those of other nationalities, skin color, and foreign cultures. We should pray earnestly for those whom we may never meet on this side but will regularly fellowship with through all eternity in heaven.
As we lift them up faithfully in prayer the gospel will be bearing fruit and growing in our lives today!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Prayer from Colossians 1:9-13: A prayer suitable for each of us to pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith, both near and far.
This weekend I received word from both my brother Pat and friend David that Pauline Harding passed away. Pauline was one of my Mom's best friends, first becoming acquainted in 1950 as I recall. I have many childhood memories of Pauline and her husband Joe, especially their wonderful garden. I've stayed in touch and our last visit was in 2006 when I stopped to see her in Belton Missouri, along with my two brothers at the time we buried our Mom's remains. It was a very blessed visit and as we left she looked up at the three Weber boys (quite literally!), wept and said, "I'm just so glad you came by." She was 93 years old at that time. Joe passed away about fifteen years ago. He was my 7th and 8th grade Sunday School teacher and put up with me as a pre-Christian rascal.
This last weekend we had our roof replaced and I thought I would share some photos for any who may be interested.
Friday afternoon the shingles were delivered and a crane lifted them up to the roof.
That sure beats carrying them up by ladder!
An Amish worker arrived first and had the sole task of unloading the shingles onto the roof. It was hot and he had already worked a full shift elsewhere. At my age unloading the shingles would have worn me out!
Two Amish boys helped out in carrying and pitching the old shingles into the dumpster beside our house. The boys worked several hours without complaining. They sure were tired though when we had supper together! By nightfall Friday evening the men had removed all the old shingles and installed the new tar paper and ice shield.
They started again early Saturday morning and we had five men working on the roof installing the new shingles.
This view is from the side of our house over our dining room.
They were finished and cleaned up before noon. I hope this is the last roof I will ever have to be concerned about, at least in this location!
Our favorite practical feature is a skylight that really brightens our kitchen. On the roof is a clear globe connected to a reflective tube that goes through our attic space.
In our kitchen it looks like a regular recessed light!
The manufacturer claims it can produce as much light as several 100 watt light bulbs.
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"This Kingdom" Video Hillsong
"Amazing Grace" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir w/ congregation
"Make My Life A Prayer To You" Video Keith Green
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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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