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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frosty tree
 We received a pleasant snowfall of several inches overnight.
It's especially pleasant since we are working inside our home office most of the day.

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"Abounding In Thanksgiving"

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6,7).

It's a beautiful day here in Pennsylvania with a clear blue sky and fresh coating of snow overnight. That's where Brooksyne, Ester and I live, along with many of our local readers. But when I started my computer we received a prayer request from a New Zealand reader regarding the devastating earthquake they just experienced. I checked the news and saw that there have been many fatalities. That sure is a perspective jolt.

Erma Bombeck was a writer and humorist, who later in her life battled with kidney disease and cancer.  In 1992 she wrote, "An estimated 1.5 million people are living today after bouts with breast cancer. Every time I forget to feel grateful to be among them, I hear the voice of an eight-year-old named Christina, who had cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she thought long and hard and finally said, 'I don't know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!'"

That's sure a great example of contentedness and thankfulness; two character qualities that are interrelated and lacking among so many today. One of the great sins against God is unthankfulness.  Yet it is so dominant today right in the midst of affluence and is actually predicted as a mark of the last times. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5.)

In our daily verses Paul is reminding the Colossian believers of the necessary foundational steps in the Christian walk.  Notice the key words: "received", "walk", "rooted", "built up", and "established in the faith". 

But today we want to focus on just a single phrase.  Paul ends this section of Scripture with the appeal to be people "abounding in thanksgiving". The Greek word used for abound means "to superabound." 

Paul writes here from a prison, surely a location very non conducive to a thankful spirit.  He could so easily be in the dumps of despair and legitimately so due to his unjust circumstances. But early on Paul had learned to praise God even while in prison (see Acts 16).  Earlier in the epistle he had himself expressed thankfulness to God for the Colossian believers.  Indeed thankfulness is a major theme in Paul's life. 

Once my computer's music program froze up while playing a song and it kept repeating over and over, "Thank you, thank you, thank you…"  I was growing in frustration, but then the Spirit prompted me to hear to the repetitious message instead of dwelling on the technical problem.  I stopped and gave thanks.  The Bible talks about the rocks crying out to God, but on that day the Holy Spirit spoke to me through the computer crying out, "Thank You, Thank You".

Throughout His Word God regularly calls us to thankfulness.  Erwin Lutzer has observed, "You can learn to give thanks even if you don't feel particularly thankful. If God gives a command, He expects obedience, whether you are in the mood or not. Thankfulness, like forgiveness, is not an emotion. Thankfulness is an intelligent response of gratitude to God."  Amen!  May God help us to abound with thanksgiving today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, our blessings come from a variety of sources, but they originate from Your generous and loving interest on our behalf.  You love to give!  In fact, You gave the ultimate gift in the sacrifice of Your Son who took the penalty for our sins.  When we consider the blessings of family, friends, work, food, and other daily comforts it stirs up a heart of gratitude. Help us to overflow in thanksgiving so that it spills out to those around us even in the midst of hardship or devastation.  When the "norm" of life is turned upside down we, in faith, look more to You and can find blessings that we hadn't considered on a normal day.  Help our brothers and sisters in the city of Christchurch as they recover from the recent destructive earthquake.  So much of our time, money and attention is given to maintaining buildings, programs and otherwise but when a community is stripped of these seeming essentials it is then that we more fully invest in one another's lives and their critical needs.  Bless, protect and guide the relief workers we pray.  In the name of Jesus we praise and thank You,  Amen.

Here's the prayer request we received this morning from New Zealand:

Hi Guys, the City of Christchurch New Zealand which was hit by a 7.1 quake last September, this morning was hit by a 6.3. Though smaller it was only about 10 kms from the city centre and 5 kms deep, making it far more lethal. The City has been devastated this time. Please pray for them along with us as they need the strength to endure this, there are fatalities this time with many injured. Our prayers are for families being able to find loved ones, or at least know where they are.
May God be with them, may he bring peace to their hearts.
Thank you again. I am so grateful that through people like yourselves we are all able to pray for each other around the world. Your site and others like it makes our spiritual family seem so close by, and that is precious in time like these. Thank you with all my heart.

Computerized training babies
I have a new post to my humor blog titled, "Pastor Discovers New Church Growth Method"  Note: This is fiction, humor and satire. Satire is often midunderstood so I caution you: do not write to encourage or rebuke Pastor Chip or the "Got Faith Community Church", as much as you might be tempted!  However I do allow moderated comments on the humor blog if you have additional suggestions based on this church growth method or have a response to the article.

Flying missions car
Friday afternoon a friend and I walked through the Mission Fest Lancaster mission exhibits and looked over this flying car designed by Nate Saint, son of missionary martyr Steve Saint, who was slain along with 4 others by the Auca Indians in Ecuador back in the fifties.  Here's an
article about the flying missions car along with an embedded video.

Flying missions car
I like to see Scripture reminders for witness and godly living. This sign is on the outside wall of the Kauffman's Fruit Farm &  Market east of Bird In Hand, PA.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart"
 Video  Don Moen

"Thank You Lord"  Video  Hillsong  This is a stirring song written by Dennis Jernigan that Brooksyne sang with her choir in New England years ago.  Every time we play the song it reminds us of all that Jesus has done and is presently doing for us.

"Give Thanks Unto The Lord"  Video  The Band from Plymouth  A thoughtful acoustic song with lyrics.

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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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