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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photo by Doris High

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"He Knows His Sheep By Name"

Note: For those who may be able to do so may we suggest you play this song in the background as you read our message.

"He calls His own sheep by name" (John 10:3). "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! (Isaiah 43:1).

Brooksyne and I have both been having some problems with names lately.  Due to the nature of our work we interface with a lot of people in a variety of settings and make a genuine effort to learn people's names.

Sunday we had a guest in church whom I wanted to welcome who had come along with his son who normally attends. I had one of those senior moments, and for the life of me, I just couldn't remember his name. I even delayed by greeting others first, thinking it would come to me, but it didn't. I finally just had to admit I couldn't recall his name!

Jesus, the good shepherdAren't you glad God knows our names! Jesus had a wonderful teaching in John 10 where He declares: "I am the good shepherd." Many of us have memorized that statement since it's one of the seven ego eimi "I am" statements of Christ recorded in John's gospel. But the teaching goes on to declare that this caring shepherd "calls His own sheep by name." What a blessed assurance to know that our Good Shepherd calls each one of us by name!

The Holy Spirit will use many different means to bring hope and strength to His children in time of need. It may be a special receptivity He gives us regarding a particular Scripture.  It may be a call from a friend or a prayer offered by a pastor, a Christian brother or sister. The list goes on and on. God often uses the text of a song along with the musical accompaniment to speak to our hearts. I find particular encouragement in the words of a song titled, "He knows my name." 

Today I want to share from a short verse in Isaiah that is easily memorized and packed with assurance for the follower of Christ.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you." Hear His words in your heart today. We have a command "Do not fear" followed by a present reality, "for I have redeemed you." 

"Do not fear" ("fear not" in the King James Version) is a common phrase found all through the Bible. In fact it is found 62 times from Genesis to Revelation!

"For I have redeemed you." The greatest gift in life is to be redeemed by God.  Fanny Crosby wrote, "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am."  The redemption for our sins was paid once for all and was fully complete to last for all eternity!

"I have called you by name; You are mine." I belong to Jesus today and indeed He knows my name! Today, in the midst of any frustrations, disappointments, fears,  discouragement or doubts you may entertain, I urge you to focus on the One who truly knows your name, who loves and cares for you.

Regarding this passage David Guzik observes: "God twice owns His people. He has right of ownership both as Creator and Redeemer. His ownership is personal, because He says "I have called you by your name." His ownership is certain, because He seals it by saying "You are mine."  Knowing we belong to the LORD is a wonderful answer to fear. We can know that He holds us, protects us, guards us, and cares for us. We can know that He would not have created, redeemed, and called us unless He intended to complete the work He began in us. How can we be afraid when we know this God is for us, that He is looking out for our interests?"

Thank God today I can declare, "He knows my name."  And so can each one of you!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, how special it is to know that we will not appear as a stranger before You in heaven, but You will call us by name for You are thoroughly acquainted with us.  As a loving father cares for his child so You care for us, your children.  You place us in the palm of Your hand and no enemy can snatch us from Your protective and loving care. What a tremendous and calm feeling this brings to our hearts on this day.  Amen.

I told of my earlier faux pas with forgetting a friend's name but the night before Brooksyne had an even funnier experience. In her words:

Saturday evening I was trying to call Deb Miller, a friend of ours, so I scrolled down my cell phone contact list, pressed her name, and waited for her to answer.  Instead a young lady named Christy answered.  I was a little thrown since Deb and Stan have three sons and neither of their two daughters-in-law is named Christy.  I paused for a second thinking she would explain why she was answering Deb's phone but she didn't.  I told her my name and then asked, "Do you know who I am, Christy?"  She said "Yes" but gave me no further leads from her simple but direct answer. Well, it turns out I had called Deb's home instead of her cell so Christy, whoever she was, gave me Deb's cell phone number.

I programmed it into my phone and then called Deb Miller's cell phone.  A man whose voice was certainly not Stan Miller, Deb's husband answered. Again, I was a bit confused and asked, "Is this Deb Miller's cell phone?" "Yes" he answered with a distinct Midwestern accent.

My brain began to do senior somersaults at this point causing me to flounder for words, but finally I asked awkwardly, "Who am I talking to?"  "Debbie's husband" he answered. By now I was thoroughly frustrated since I knew it wasn't Stan. In exasperation I blurted, "Who is this?" "Larry Miller" he answered which sounded distantly familiar but I was still stumped.  Was this her brother, uncle?  Who?

When I told him who I was, without hesitation and in a friendly voice, he said "Hello Brooksyne."  It was clear that he knew me since he said my uncommon name without mispronouncing it or asking me to repeat it for clarification. Then he said, "How's Ester?" OK, whovever this Larry Miller was he not only knew me but he knew my family.

Finally, the sparks went off and I realized that I had called Deb and Larry Miller instead of Deb and Stan Miller.  The big difference is that Deb and Larry live in Illinois. We came to know them through Daily Encouragement when they visited us about five years ago.  Two summers ago we visited their home in Illinois and I must have put Deb's number in my phone at that time, but never used it since.  The "mysterious" Christy is one of their five daughters, who we met at that time.  Once I got it all figured out Stephen and I had a long laugh, so did the Millers (both the Stan Millers and the Larry Millers!)  It sure reminds me that having a unique name has its advantages even if I've had to explain "Brooksyne" all my life which is a derivative of my father's name, Brooklyn, and sounds like Brook-seen with the accent on the second syllable.

Miller family
The Miller family in Peoria, Illinois (Deb and Larry and their five daughters)

Miller family 10/09
The Miller family in Lancaster County, PA (Deb and Stan with their son Phil)

Brooksyne with Tracy and Beulah SutherlandYesterday we shared about Tracy and Beulah Sutherland, a wonderful older couple we had in our church near Fair Grove Missouri when we began ministry right after we got married in 1976. (Yes, that's Brooksyne with the big hair.) Well, what a blessing to receive this note yesterday from a reader we've never met:

Grandma Sutherland! I grew up with her twin granddaughters, Tracy and Trudy in Fair Grove, MO! Grandma & Grandpa Sutherland lived across the street from the school and she would make us dinner anytime we had an event after school! She made the BEST fried chicken. I just spoke with Celia, their daughter-in-law a few weeks ago and we were reminiscing about Grandma's famous meals! What a blessing to see their pictures and hear their story! I will make sure the family gets a copy of this email!

Thanks so much for making me smile today!

Then this morning we received this:

Dear Brother Weber,
I just had to write and tell you the funny way I came across this article. My childhood friend from Fair Grove, MO, who now lives in Phoenix, AZ, receives you devotional emails and ran across this with a picture of two elderly people she remembers from her childhood—my grandparents! You see...I’m Tracy (Sutherland) Jewell, one of Bula and Tracy’s twin granddaughters!

Grandpa died 10 days before my wedding in the summer of 1984, and Grandma went on to live another 12 years, dying in the summer of ‘96, I believe.  They left our family a wonderful legacy, and apparently left many others who came in contact with them over their long lives with great memories too! Thank you for sharing this.  I’ve forwarded it to my family and we’re all enjoying it tremendously.

Follow Daily Encouragement on Facebook and Twitter:

We now post the Daily Encouragement messages on Facebook and Twitter
Daily Encouragement on Facebook The daily message on Facebook.
Daily Encouragement on Facebook
The daily prayer on Facebook. (Brooksyne's account)
Daily Encouragement on Twitter
 The daily message and prayer on Twitter.

I tend to be a slow learner with these types of programs so please pardon me if I didn't set this up right. I welcome suggested improvements as to utilizing them better and expect upon advice I will be making some adjustments.

Yesterday we wrote about Potluck dinners. Here's another Potluck Pleaser Brooksyne makes:

Rhubarb Slush (Makes about 3 quarts punch base to freeze)

8 C. rhubarb (fresh or frozen), chopped
8 C. water
2 C. granulated sugar
1 – 3 oz. pkg. dry strawberry gelatin (jello)
½ tsp. lemon juice

Cook rhubarb and water over medium heat, stirring until soft about 20 minutes. Strain and discard pulp; return liquid to saucepan. Heat liquid, add remaining ingredients; stir until sugar and gelatin dissolve. Freeze mixture in  pint or quart plastic food containers. When serving place 1 quart frozen punch mixture in punch bowl and add a 3 liter bottle of ginger ale.  With two forks break down frozen punch base so that gingerale and rhubarb mixture are mixed well.  (You might want to take the punch base out of the freezer about 20 minutes before mixing.)  Diet Gingerale works great as well and keeps this drink
lo-cal and low-sugar.

What makes this punch so refreshing is the unique taste of rhubarb.  I've served a few folks who don't usually care for rhubarb but ended up really liking the punch mix, so you might not want to tell your guests the "secret ingredient" until after you've served them.

Rhubarb is a hearty perennial plant that essentially looks like red celery (once the big green leaves are removed). It has a tart taste that is extra tasty in many sweet and savory dishes.

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.)

"He Knows My Name"  Video  Tommy Walker  This song really touches my heart.

"I know Who Holds Tomorrow" Video 
Alison Krauss & The Cox Family (Another great song written by Ira Stanphill, whom I referred to yesterday.)

"There Is A Redeemer"  Video  Keith Green

"Redeemed How I Love To Proclaim It"  Video   Homecoming Friends  (This is the Fanny Crosby song referred to in the message.)

"Now I Belong To Jesus"  Video  Old Haven Of Rest Quartet   This song came to mind based upon the latter paragraph of today's message.

Here's the answer to yesterday's trivia question: What other famous person is buried in the Belton Cemetery?  Answer:  Dale Carnegie

Today's photo of sheep was taken by our friend Doris High and was used with her permission. Doris and her husband Cerwin also live here in Lancaster County and she prolifically posts her outstanding photos here.

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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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