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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joe Snavely, pumpkin harvest, Lancaster County, PA
Our friend Joe Snavely with evidence of an abundant pumpkin harvest!

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"More Than Conquerors"

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

"Please help me salvage this life."

What a heartfelt plea of desperation I heard from a loving father concerning his wayward daughter. And salvaging lives is at the very heart of the gospel!

Today's message is for those who need to be reminded of a wonderful spiritual truth. There's a tendency to view certain people as "losers". In fact there are some who walk about as though they had a label attached to their shirt with bold print shouting, "LOSER!" Please hear the Word of the Lord today. Although some of you will be unable to identify with the burden we share we urge you to read and pray for those who will relate.

Danny came into our church one evening, invited by a caring friend who had reached out to him, attempting to "salvage" a life. He was wracked by a series of difficult circumstances resulting from poor choices and sinful behavior. He was surely what the world would call a "loser" and that's the way he saw himself. Addicted to heroin and dealing with deadly disease he was a sad sight to behold when he walked into that evening service.

I preached the gospel and he responded to the altar call. What a wonderful transformation took place as he put his faith in Christ! We followed up on him and since he didn't live near us, we helped him get grounded in a local church closer to where he lived. A few times he came back to visit and once he joyfully reported to our congregation, "They made me an usher!"

Today some of you may be wearied by discouraging circumstances. Your story may be quite different than Danny's but you really do see yourself as a loser. You just don't know when it's going to turn around for you. You've placed your faith in Christ, began the salvage process, and yet circumstances just don't seem to be working out.  You're, like the Biblical character, who in a moment of weariness and despair said, "I have had enough, LORD."* You are weighed down by pounding waves of trials.  Life just doesn't seem fair to you.

"All these things", the Apostle Paul referred to in the daily text, were delineated a few verses earlier: "trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword." The essence of any situation we've ever encountered or ever will is included in this list.

But the inspired Scriptures declare that "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."  That's true regardless of any circumstance we encounter, how we view ourselves or how others may view us.  That's the good news I proclaim today!  God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He continues to salvage lives, for only He can make beauty from ashes.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, Your grace is sufficient to meet all my needs in the midst of trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword.  I am truly more than a conqueror because of Your love for me! I choose to believe Your Word and apply its wondrous truths to my life. I reject Satan's cunning lies that seek to convince me that I am an exception to Your redemptive power or that my troubles can never be repaired by Your almighty hand. Your power is unbiased, all-reaching, and ever merciful to those who call upon You in times of trouble. I'm so grateful that Your sufficiency exceeds my need. Thank you for salvaging my life by taking my feet from the sinking, miry clay and setting them upon the solid rock to stay. Amen.  

* I like to challenge people to dig so I didn't identify the character or the reference where this statement was made.  Here's a bit more context: "He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, LORD,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'"  I wonder how many can tell me who this pertains to and where it is found?

The phrase "more than conquerors" in our daily text translates a single Greek word "hupernikomen" which I have used for many years as a source of encouraging others. A couple of weeks ago we were traveling through New England when I had an inclination to call a longtime friend. Without identifying who I was (although I do have a distinct voice) I asked, "What are you?" Andrea replied w/o hesitation "I am a hupernikomen!"  Andrea indeed is an overcomer having sustained severe injuries in an accident as a toddler that resulted in her being a paraplegic. However she has a sunny  disposition and vibrant faith in the Lord.

Reader's Note: Yesterday we shared concerning my Mom and Dad's anniversary. Bev, a reader from Missouri and friend of my folks responded: "Your parents and my parents share the same anniversary except my parents year was 1947.  Mom is 86 and dad 90.  She has dementia and he still mows his lawn, drives, and cares for his tomatoes. But tonight we are going to the old Fun House Pizza on 40 Highway for pizza, dollar tacos and cake to celebrate with family & friends.  Last minute plans!  We did it up good for their 40th, 50th, & 60th and this is spur of the moment. Hope it goes okay. Why Funhouse?  They used to love going there but probably don't remember it now. I am glad I am retired and go to their house everyday.  They only live 2 miles away.

I miss your folks too.  I have lots of tales about your Mom's Great Depression frugality!"

Stephen's note: I recall that the Fun House Pizza on Rt 40 was a teenage hangout when I went to high school in the early 70's. Interesting to hear that it's still around!

Lancaster County
Pumpkin Harvest!

Joe Snavely, pumpkin harvest, Lancaster County, PA
These pumpkins will be used for decorations and in many stores are sold right out of the large boxes seen here. In fact many of you have seen these in retail and grocery stores.

Joe Snavely, pumpkin harvest, Lancaster County, PA
Safety tip: Don't tailgate a pickup with a load like this!
When I spoke to Joe yesterday we agreed there's just something about seeing large orange pumpkins that brings a smile.

Today's Suggested M
usic and Supplemental Resources

"In Heaven's Eyes"  Video  Matt Spencer  A great song reminding us that in heaven's eyes there are no losers.

"Rescue The Perishing"  Video  Billy and Cindy Foote  An old Fanny Crosby song with new arrangement. Nice sound!

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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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