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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lancaster County PA mailbox post on tree
This farmer reckoned there's no point in wasting good money on a mailbox post when a tree will do just fine!
He might have had his post knocked over a time or two by a snow plow and figured the tree should hold up better.  What's more, the supporting brace makes a great place to post your address.

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"A Vital Reminder For All In Ministry"

"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them" (Hebrews 6:10).

One of the emotional struggles common to those in ministry is that of discouragement. We may not see the results we would like. In fact at times we may see little or no evidence that our work is making any difference. This is true whether we are in vocational ministry or serving the Lord in various ways in a lay capacity. Sometimes God calls ministers to places where there is no receptivity to the gospel message.  Other times we see people who once claimed to know the truth walk away denying the power of God in their lives.

Sometimes specific verses of Scripture become real to us in most memorable ways.  About 20 years ago I went on a short-term mission trip to Fusagasuga, Colombia, about 50 miles south of the capital, Bogota. I, along with the team who traveled, assisted a local church in a construction project.  I had the opportunity to preach to the national believers through a translator.  One of the most memorable affirmations in my entire ministry was the pastor saying to his congregation upon the completion of my message, "Perfecto!"  (Although my message was certainly far from perfect I was so heartened by the comment.)

Jack Mansfield with Columbian child Fusagasuga mission trip 1991My friend and fellow church member Jack Mansfield was with me on the mission team. He was the general manager of a large lumber processing mill at that time and was accustomed to running things efficiently. However we experienced a painful lack of efficiency in the construction process both in regard to the equipment (or lack thereof) and work practices.

Our work mostly consisted of digging large holes for footers by hand that took hours in the hot sun. This could have been done in minutes with a back hoe. Since we followed the pace of work done by the Columbian church members who worked alongside us, we took a few more breaks than we would here in the U.S. when desiring to finish a project!

I recall being discouraged and candidly expressed my emotions to Jack, "Is this really worth it?" As we talked it out, we both received a breakthrough in God's assurance that our labor was not in vain.  Our work was more than just physical labor, for we were called to build people which included hours of fellowship working alongside Columbian believers at their pace.  It was part of God's plan for the mission team who went to serve as well as the nationals.

The final night we gathered in the national pastor's home for a special meal and he expressed his gratitude to the mission team for helping with the project.  Through a translator he shared the daily verse with great earnestness.  It meant a great deal to me at the time and ever since:  "God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them." 

Most of our readers are involved in some type of service for the Lord.  You are showing your love for Him in a variety of ways as you help His people and continue to help them.  That's the very heart of ministry. Some of you are in vocational ministry, others are faithfully ministering as dedicated lay people.  Anyone involved in ministry knows that one of Satan's most vicious and persistent attacks upon the servants of Christ is discouragement. That's why I value the opportunity to encourage our readers on a daily ongoing basis! 

Today's verse offers much encouragement.  Look at the first part.

"God is not unjust." Did you get that?  He's not unfair. So much discouragement ultimately stems from a failure to accept God's justness (we walked about that in yesterday's message).  He truly does everything well, although we may not understand until the other side.  Remember the entire scope of God's plan will not be fulfilled or revealed on this side; the best and lasting is yet to come.

"He will not forget your work."  Fellow servant, you may feel underappreciated, rejected, taken for granted; you name it.  But God's Word says, "He will not forget your work."  I want to hide these truths deep in my heart today and encourage you to do so as well.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our hearts are warmed and encouraged when we remember that our labor for You is never in vain.  You see our hearts and equip us to carry out the mission of helping Your people. We don't want to look to others for affirmation since that could lead us to vacillate in our calling.  Instead You bless us as we are faithful to You and remain steadfast in our commitment to help others.  May we not rely on just the immediate results, but rather recognize that You are storing up treasures from our work here on earth, many that will only be revealed in heaven.  Amen.

Fusagasuga mission trip 1991
We so enjoyed the children.

Fusagasuga mission trip 1991
Some of our team with some of the nationals.

Fusagasuga mission trip 1991
I have to admit, I'm still pretty proud of this hole I dug!

Fusagasuga mission trip 1991
A larger photo of Jack and one of the many children who clamored to be held.
Jack and his wife Chris and their three children still stay in contact with us.

Fusagasuga mission trip 1991
Me preaching while missionary Myrna Wilkins translates.

Fusagasuga mission trip 1991
I still recall the way the people earnestly and enthusiastically entered into worship.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Little Is Much When God Is In It"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  Dallas Holm

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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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