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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tulips (photo by Georgia)
Wisconsin tulips
Photo taken by my cousin Georgia

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: We began a 40 day New Testament reading plan on April 3. If you want to participate and have not been following the reading schedule up to this point we suggest starting with today's reading and reading previous portions after this reading period ends. Here's the entire 40 day scheduleThe links below will open to the selection to be read along with a built-in listening device. 
  • Today's reading (May 5): 1 Timothy 6 - Hebrews 1 beginning here.
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"A Refreshing Spirit"
"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints" (Philemon 1:7).

Yesterday afternoon we had some friends stop by from North Carolina. We've known Mike and Kathy Matangelo since 1977 when they attended the very first service in our church plant in Saint Marys, PA. Through the years they have been very supportive of our ministry and a great blessing to have as friends. They shared in our midweek service last night about a ministry in which they are very active; mentoring & discipling young men in prison. 

Matangelo visit 5/5/11
Mike and Kathy Matangelo and Tina

We enjoyed a country breakfast together this morning and then they headed up to Rhode Island to visit with Mike's mom, who recently entered an assisted living center. Our visits with Mike and Kathy are always refreshing and truly give us great joy and encouragement, similar to the Apostle Paul's very personal commendation to Philemon: "Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints."  We sang the chorus of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" prior to praying a blessing over our breakfast, and these words really spoke to me, "Morning by morning new mercies I see". I asked God to help us see the mercies of this day; fresh, anew, and ever-abundant!

Elevator operatorSo today let us consider that one of the merciful gifts God gives is a refreshing spirit. Several years ago I heard an interesting teaching of two types of impact we have on other people using an elevator button as an illustration.

Consider being around those who are like an "up" button on the elevator. When you are around them they are energy givers, encouragers, people who have a powerful way of uplifting others. As I consider my long strand of friends through life I am blessed to have so many friends who have this characteristic such as Mike and Kathy.  Just a few minutes of "catch-up" conversation with them is uplifting and refreshing.

Then there are those who seem to have only one button on their elevator; "down", sometimes all the way down to the basement! They are energy drainers, discouragers who just have a way of sucking the very life right out of you. And yes, I have met my share of these types of people as well. Getting on the elevator with them is not an "uplifting" experience!  In fact, I'd be eyeing the emergency button to escape if it were possible!

Let me encourage each daily encouragement reader to consider the blessing of having a refreshing spirit. As the Proverb states, "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25).   I hope you are blessed by those having this quality today. In the tiny one chapter book of Philemon Paul writes a powerful commendation concerning Philemon: "Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints" (Philemon 1:7).

I encourage you to conscientiously demonstrate this quality and let it resonate from your heart. We're all gifted differently in our personalities and will thus express refreshing qualities distinct to who we are. As I think about my long list of those who have brought joy, encouragement and refreshing through life I consider how they are all different, yet each uses their giftings to uplift others.
Today you will interact with others in various settings. There will be those who encourage and refresh you today.  May they strengthen you and take you up on the elevator! Perhaps you will be the merciful provision for the weary, discouraged soul whom you meet in the course of this day who is in need of an uplift. Today you have a choice; will you be an up button or a down button?
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we're reminded in the book of Romans that no one lives unto himself.  We affect others both by what we do and what we don't do; what we believe and what we don't believe; what we say and what we don't say.  We want to be a conduit of Your grace and mercy to others along life's way.  We don't want to bring them down but lift them up in refreshing ways so that they are strengthened and encouraged by our presence.  There will always be those who tear down but we want to build up others according to their need.  With Your help, Father, we can be a blessing to those You bring in our path. We pray this in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:
 As we sang "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" this morning I also considered the words, "Morning by morning new mercies I see."  The Father brought to my remembrance the cold night that we experienced last night here in Lancaster County.  I hadn't listened to the weather forecast and just yesterday morning had removed our electric blanket considering the cold season to be past.  I was so cold in the night that, after a miserable battle of half asleep vs. half awake I finally got up and got a blanket.  No more chill but a wonderful comfort level for sleeping resulted.  I was reminded of this blessing during the song as I considered those without comfortable bedding or warm clothing when the night is cold.  I'm so thankful for the "Great Provider" who provides all that we need.

Note: Today is a National Day of Prayer here in the USA and we certainly pray for revival here and everywhere! Here's the official prayer written by Joni Eareckson Tada

Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust.  As our nation faces great distress and uncertainty, we ask your Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon your people — convict us of sin and inflame within us a passion to pray for our land and its people.  Grant the leaders of our country an awareness of their desperate need of wisdom and salvation in You until sin becomes a reproach to all and righteousness exalts this nation.

Protect and defend us against our enemies and may the cause of Christ always prevail in our schools, courts, homes, and churches.  Lord God, send a spirit of revival and may it begin in our own hearts.

Remember America, we pray.  Remember the foundations on which this country was built.  Remember the prayers of our nation’s fathers and mothers, and do not forget us in our time of need.

In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Molly "herding" Dottie
Mollie practicing her "herding" instinct on Dottie, which includes locking her eyes into position toward the target. One of the characteristics of a border collie according to breed info is that "it can master any type of herd by crouching down and mesmerizing the animals with its intense stare".   However Dottie is not amused and was definitely not mastered.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"  Video  Chris Rice

 Video   Michael W. Smith

"He Hideth My Soul In The Cleft Of The Rock"  
Video  Brookwood Church worship team

I chose this song because of this verse:

With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God
For such a Redeemer as mine!

"Satisfied"  Video  Red Rock Church

"All I Have Is Christ"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

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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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