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Monday, March 28, 2011

Donegal pondview
A view at dusk along Donegal Creek

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"Spiritual Fitness"

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life" (Jude 1:20,21).

Ollies signBrooksyne and I enjoy shopping at a discount store named Ollies. Ollies makes no pretense of being sophisticated or classy. No one tries to impress others by carrying a shopping bag that has "Ollies" logo on it. Our Ollies shopping card has wild colors with a wacky character and certainly isn't as distinguished looking as our American Express card.

Ollies exit signIt's worth walking through just to read the witty signs posted throughout the store such as "Don't Wake Up The Employees", "If You Don't See What You Want… Look For Something Else" or "Keep America Beautiful - Please wipe your feet before leaving" (posted at the exit)!

We were shopping at Ollies in the Harrisburg area Friday night where there's a long aisle of nutritional supplements. Powders and mixes that build your body up such as "Muscle Milk" are of special interest especially to young men. It brought to mind a "problem" I had many years ago when I happened to find these products of interest.

When I was in high school I was very skinny and recall hearing Aunt Mary tell my parents, "You need to take that boy to the doctor." I recall trying nutritional supplements to put on weight and build myself up. I was still skinny when I got married but over time with 35 years now under my belt the other "problem" has surfaced and the belt has expanded several sizes as it accommodates the “problem”!

When seeking to stay physically fit the healthiest method is diligently practicing the incremental disciplines of diet and exercise and the same is true for those who want to maintain spiritual fitness.

Today's text from Jude leads to the conclusion of the small book intended as a warning against false teachers. Jude begins a short section with the emphatic phrase, "But you, beloved." This is a pointed reminder regarding our personal responsibility in regard to spiritual fitness and includes four
lifelong components that lead to good spiritual nutrition and fitness:

1) Building yourselves up on your most holy faith
2) Praying in the Holy Spirit
3) Keeping yourselves in the love of God
4) Waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life

Godliness Through DisciplineMany years ago I read a small book by Jay Adams titled "Godliness Through Discipline". He made a point pertaining to this matter that has stuck with me for years:

"The Bible is very plain about how godliness does come. Paul wrote about godliness to Timothy. In his first letter to that budding young minister, he said, in contrast to all of the ways that will fail (mentioned in the first part of the verse), "Timothy, you must discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (I Timothy 4:7). Discipline is the secret of godliness. The godly man leads a life that reflects God. Godliness is the goal of the Christian life; we must please God by being, thinking, doing, saying and feeling in the ways that He wants. If you are going to learn discipline, you must first learn patience. Discipline means work; it means sustained daily effort. The word Paul used is the one from which the English words "gymnastics" and “gymnasium" were derived. It is a term clearly related to athletics."

Today we encourage you, faithful followers of Christ, to practice the spiritual disciplines and build yourselves up in your most holy faith.

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Father, we know that our faith is increased and strengthened as we pray often in the Holy Spirit, as we keep ourselves in Your love instead of the love of the world. We direct our hearts to You in faith, prayer, and love as we anxiously await eternal life which is the greatest gift given to the believer because of Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf. Keep us faithful and ever looking to the prize of the high calling we have through Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Here in Lancaster County we have a fundraising method for ministries that we never saw anywhere else. Ministries host a dinner in a large restaurant and offer a free meal (The meal is actually paid for by the people who sponsor a table.)  After the dinner there is a speaker, testimony and/or music as well as an opportunity to give an offering toward the ministry.
There's probably a fundraiser meal like this for some ministry or non-profit just about every weekend in Lancaster County.

Saturday evening we went to a banquet for Transport For Christ, a ministry to the trucking industry. 

Amish buggy with hay load
The meal was held at Yoder's Restaurant east of New Holland PA and on the way through town we were slowed down by a buggy hauling a load of hay before it finally turned left.

Charlie and Hazel Sensenig at TFC Banquet 3/26/11
Charlie and Hazel Sensenig are readers from here in Lancaster County I periodically see at events like this. Charlie is a retired truck driver and often responds when I have a note or question about local trivia such as identifying a Santa Claus in a photo a couple of weeks ago and anything farm related. I also appreciate Charlie informing me that the form on our contact page didn't work. I fixed that Saturday night.  We request that any readers inform us of broken links. Please just use the form on the contact page that now works! (Thankfully the email link worked and we were not inaccessible).

David and Laura Hertle at TFC Banquet 3/26/11
David and Laura Hertle are friends from Omaha Nebraska where David serves as a chaplain at a TFC chapel at the Sapp's Truck Stop. I stopped by to see him several years ago when we passed through that area. He is a colorful man who surely fits in well with the trucker culture. I wrote a message and posted some photos about that visit here.

Amish buggy at traffic light
It was after dark when we left the banquet Saturday. We followed a buggy out, likely a young Amish couple who had come to the banquet on a date.

We heard an outstanding testimony at the banquet that was also shared in our church service yesterday. We plan to write about that tomorrow along with a video version.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading plan 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

"More About Jesus"  Video  Metro Singers from Hyattsville, MD   Very nice!

"Oh, I Want To Know You More"  Video  Steve Green

"Knowing You"  Video  

I was pleased to see that the Jay Adams book I referred to in the message is still available! I heartily recommend it.

Godliness Through DisciplineGodliness Through Discipline  By Jay Adams / P & R Publishing
Here is a practical booklet for anyone who wants to become a more godly person. In it Jay Adams shows clearly that, while there is no such thing as instant godliness, genuine and lasting holiness is indeed possible.

For the curiou
s: "Ollies Bargain Outlet"  Good stuff, cheap.  I see that it's a bigger chain than I thought and they just might have one near you!

Transport For Christ  Video  

"The Grace Card"  Friday evening (before we went to Ollies!) we went to see this movie followed by dinner ar Crackerbarrel. We recommend it to others as it has a clear redemptive story.  See here for information.

A good thought for preachers and all earnest followers by RC Sproul: You are required to believe, to preach, and to teach what the Bible says is true, not what you want the Bible to say is true.

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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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