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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Willows budding along Donegal Creek
Donegal Creek in Lancaster County PA
Brooksyne and I walked past this beautiful scene on our afternoon trail walk yesterday.
(However this photo was taken several years ago, a bit later in the season.)

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"The Blessing Of Rain"

"They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted--twice dead" (Jude 1:12). My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (John 15:8).

Rainy day viewWe are receiving a gentle rain here in Lancaster County as we prepare today's message. The view outside our office window is displaying the impact of this rain as we see our world growing progressively greener. Yesterday on our trail walk we saw the early faint wisps of lime green as the willows are budding in our early spring season. It was a beautiful day but the clouds coming in from the west were indeed clouds filled with rain, slowly blowing our way by the wind.

I don't know how much rain we are projected to get but each inch of rain spread over one acre is equal to some 27,000 gallons of water. That would be more than a million gallons over 40 acres and of course we often get several inches at a time! It's amazing how much water fills the clouds above us, isn't it?

Yet consider this aspect of common grace: the water is spread over the earth incrementally in drops rather than poured out all at once in one place, as we would empty a bucket. That to me is another powerful, yet often overlooked, evidence of "intelligent design" that points to our Creator.

Over the last several messages we have been considering passages from Jude. In the first daily text Jude describes false teachers who had secretly slipped in among the faithful believers that he was addressing in his short letter, those believers with whom Jude shared a "common salvation" (v.3).

Among Jude's stinging indictments of these false teachers was that they were like clouds without rain and trees that are fruitless. Clouds are the very instruments by which rain is distributed upon the earth. Interestingly, God's teaching is compared to the intended use of rain in Deuteronomy 32:2, “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” This “green” passage makes you want to breathe deeply and run barefoot through small puddles formed during a spring rain as tender plants are popping up through the ground and buds are forming on the trees.

Rain cloudsConsider a contrasting scene where the land is parched and barren due to drought. The very appearance of a cloud is being carefully observed by farmers and gardeners. Their excitement is increasing as, finally, there might be some relief in sight, but then the sudden winds pick up and diffuse the clouds. The clouds had the form but produced no results. Jude likens the false teachers to be like useless clouds.

Adam Clarke comments regarding this passage, "These false teachers are represented as clouds; they have the form and office of the teachers of righteousness, and from such appearances pure doctrine may be naturally expected: but these are clouds without water - they distil no refreshing showers, because they have none; they are carried away and about by their passions, as those light fleecy clouds are carried by the winds."

Tree stump and rootsJude also likens false teachers to diseased trees that have no fruit. Their doom is slated for being pulled up by their roots. Not a pleasant sight to behold!

I want to examine my own life and ministry for Christ. Of course I encourage each of you to examine yours as well as we take a stand for Christ in this decadent age. I don't want to be like a cloud without rain or a fruit tree that does not bear fruit. In John 15 Jesus taught the paramount importance of being fruitful. Fruitfulness is a means of glorifying God and a proof of our discipleship.

Let us faithfully teach the ways of God. Let us be like rain poured upon a parched and needy world even as the Fruit of the Spirit is also produced in our lives!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, through the apostle’s writings you warned us that “in the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” Some of these scoffers are easily spotted while others have an outward appearance of godliness but teach or endorse a false gospel instead. They bring about confusion and divide the flock as they follow their natural instincts instead of the teachings of the Holy Spirit. They are as useless as rainless clouds or diseased trees. Their doom is certain, but until that hour of expulsion, sharpen our discernment. Let us be careful to follow the teachings of Scripture and test the spirit of the messenger, to see that he or she is of God. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


Yesterday within minutes of sending out our message we were corrected for a mistake in our prayer that really was not intended to be a test!  It was indeed a mistake that, certainly, we should have caught.

Here's what was written, "But we also see Moses who labored for years building an unprecedented mammoth boat for the torrential flood waters You warned him about." (Of course Noah built the ark!)  Brooksyne writes the prayer and I pray along with her when we make the podcast. I recall as we prayed being struck by the word mammoth boat but really missed whom she said built it as did she!

Several alert readers informed us such as this one: In Our Daily Prayer I found a {Type-o}. You misspelled NOAH!  "Iron sharpens iron." Blessings, Bro. Jeff  (Jeff was a board member in our church in New England and I am heartened that he acted as a Berean)

Note: We can edit the archive version but once the email goes out to the list we can't change that!

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planNew feature Beginning Sunday, April 3, 2011 we are encouraging Daily Encouragement Net readers to read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This will take about 30 minutes per day. We will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day (and several links for the weekend daily readings).

The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day.

See Bible.is for an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful.
For international readers there may be a version available in your native language. Just click on the ESV tab to access all languages available.

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planJoin our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook

A schedule for the entire reading period is here.

Here is what the daily reading reminder will look like:
For Sunday, April 3 read Matthew 1-7 beginning

This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Bring The Rain"  Video  MercyMe

"Showers Of Blessing
"  Video  An interesting video to use as background for this older hymn!

"Living Rain"  Video  Parachute Band

"Healing Rain"  Video  Michael W. Smith

"Grace Like Rain"  Video  Todd Agnew

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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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