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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colonial home in Mount Joy, PA
This quaint colonial home on Main Street in Mount Joy has been beautifully restored, giving us a sense of a bygone era, as we walked by  during an afternoon downtown walk yesterday.

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"When Little Is Much"

"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" (John 6:9).

Nathan Hayes in movie "Courageous"There's a scene in the movie "Courageous" that really touches me. It shows a young man handcuffed in the back of a squad car after being arrested from a shoot-out with the police officers. Nathan Hayes, one of the officers, knowing the young man was just with the wrong crowd at the wrong time, asked him, "Derrick, what are you doing? Why are you with these guys?" Through a tear soaked faced the boy cried, "I ain't got nobody, Man. I just ain't got nobody." Nathan places his arms on the boy in a compassionate gesture.

Due to his crime Derrick is sent to prison but late in the movie Nathan Hayes is seen
visiting him in prison and studying the Bible with him.

Today I consider three men I know who are actively doing this very type of work; Jim, Mike and Rick, each serving the Lord as volunteers in prisons in New Jersey, Massachusetts and North Carolina. Their faithful week after week, year after year (Rick has been leading a weekly Bible study for 19 years). They, as a result of God's grace, are fulfilling the Biblical command by Jesus.  They have many challenges to work through as they obey God in sharing the gospel within the prison walls.

All over the world I believe that most of what will happen today to honor God and help others will be rather "small things". They may even seem insignificant at the time. You can be virtually certain they will not make the news. These are the scores of encounters when food will be given to the hungry, water to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, visits to the sick and those in prison (see Matthew 25:34-40).

Today's Scripture portion is taken from the account of the feeding of the five thousand. Our human inclination in dealing with the dilemma described in this story would be to hire a huge catering service or expect a government agency to come in and deal with the problem. But it didn't work that way. And so often it still doesn't today!

Boy with fish and loaves
I want to consider the boy in today's story. Seeing the need, he approached one of the disciples with his lunch and the disciple in turn went to Jesus: "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

I wonder if the boy was mature enough to feel sort of foolish to think that his small offering could really make any difference. I wonder if any of his friends might have taunted him for his apparent irrational thinking. But Jesus used that little lunch, miraculously multiplying its impact and meeting the needs of all who were present.

I recall a phrase from my years of ministry training, "Do something big for God" which is a great aspiration. But something big for God is often a series of small, seemingly insignificant attempts to be the salt of the earth Jesus called us to be. Most of us just aren't in a place today that we can do something really big for God, but we can find ways to spread the salt and let our light shine to a dark world in the small things that touch other's lives. Let us take the proper steps to step out in faith, believing God will use us for His glory!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer:  Father, my little becomes great as You inspire me to do good works in Jesus' name. Help me not to reach a standstill based upon my limited abilities, wisdom, or resources.  I don't give to others according to my limitations but I give to others from the abundance of blessings that You've poured into my life.  Grant me creative means and willful determination to extend myself to someone who needs a lift today. Direct my footsteps according to Your Word as You give opportunity for divine encounters this day.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Several years ago we joined another couple for dinner in a restaurant in York, Pennsylvania. Following the meal I called the server over to thank him and also gave him a small magnet with a photo and Scripture verse on it. He looked at the card, read it and thanked me as he went back to his work.

Ten or fifteen minutes later as we were leaving the restaurant I heard someone behind me calling out, "Mr. Weber!" I turned around to respond and realized it was the server. He told me, "You just wouldn't believe how much I needed to read the message on this card today!" Boy, that little act sure made my day! (I'm not sure how he knew my name as I had never met him before and it was not on the card. As I recall we were being treated so he wouldn't have got my name off my credit card, but perhaps we had signed in as Weber party as we waited for a table.)

In regard to today's message consider the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians: "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him" (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Amish pallet makers in Mount Joy, PA
Yesterday we stopped to visit Stan, a friend of ours who runs a business restoring pallets, employing several Amish laborers.

Restored tow truck in Mount Joy, PA
This restored tow truck can be found along Main Street in Mount Joy.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Little Is Much When God Is In It"  Video  Ernie Haas and Signature Sound.  Video  (Another version by Larry Ford)

"Ordinary People"  Video  Danniebelle Hall

"Shine"  Video  Evie

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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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