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April 17, 2012

Geese Family on Donegal Creek 4/17/12
A photo of our new Donegal Creek geese family taken this morning on our walk. The gosslings were born sometime Saturday or Sunday. We'd been waiting for the big day when I took this photo Saturday morning.

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"The Start"
(Lessons from Life's Marathon Part 2)

"For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11). "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). 

How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Nikki Higgins in Boston Marathon 2012This week we are studying lessons we can learn from the marathon since in many ways the Christian race is like a marathon. The study is prompted by the running of the 116th Boston Marathon yesterday.

Last night Ester spoke to Nikki, a young lady in the right forefront of this photo, who grew up in the church we served in New England. She ran the marathon yesterday and finished the race which is the goal for all competitors. But only a tiny fraction of those who start have any reasonable chance of actually winning the race. Her twin sister Jackie took this photo.  Ester reported that Nikki was very tired, and her body ached right down to her toenails.

Hopkinton MA start of Boston MarathonToday I want to consider the start of the race. The Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton, MA. Over the next several days we will share some of our experiences witnessing the Marathon at different points along the race course but we never were there for the start, although many thousands view this part of the race and all the excitement that precedes the start.

Bill & Pat PrestonThis morning I called Bill and Pat Preston, friends from New Jersey. They recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary and demonstrate a committed walk with the Lord, both turning to Christ early in their marriage. Bill is a longtime college cross country and track coach (retiring this year). He has run in many marathons including the Boston Marathon. At 74 years of age he remains in excellent fitness and is a beloved coach to many.

Boston Marathon starting lineWhen he ran in the Boston Marathon in 1982 he was in a group of some 7,000 starters and it took him two minutes after the starting gun went off to get to the official starting line! In tomorrow's lesson I will share some points he made about the training that goes into running a Marathon.

Sign in Hopkinton, MABeginnings are exciting. My brother Pat is expecting a new grandson as his daughter will give birth any day now. That's an exciting time for the whole family!

Spiritual beginnings are also exciting and we all have one. Jesus called it being "born again" (see John 3).

For many the spiritual new birth experience is a memorable event, especially if the believer rejected Christ prior to his or her conversion. The apostle Paul certainly had a memorable and demonstrative salvation experience!

For others the specific memory of their salvation start may be rather foggy, especially if they first believed at a young age. I have seen some in this category who deal with some questions regarding the validity of their salvation experience. The real issue is present belief and a desire to follow the Lord and walk in His ways.

Life's most important decision is whether you have made your spiritual beginning by believing in Christ, confessing your sin and choosing to follow Him. We encourage you to do that today. Our daily prayer will be a common format for this "starting the race" prayer.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner. There is nothing good in me, and there is nothing in You but good. I choose to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for my sins so that I can receive forgiveness. I confess my sins, for they are many. How thankful I am that Your blood covers all my sins, for Your Word indicates that even the foulest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. I have determined that I will walk with the Lord and follow His Word all the days of my life. I pray this in faith through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

I developed this prayer as the ABC's of my salvation prayer.

This week our series will be on lessons from life's marathon:
Yesterday's message: "Running In The Path Of His Commands"
Today: "The Start of Life's Marathon"
Wednesday: "The Disciplines of Life's Marathon"
Thursday: "The Trials of Life's Marathon"
Friday: "The Finish
of Life's Marathon"

Watercress sandwhich
Many have read stories regarding the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I read an article about the final ten course meal served, which included watercress. This morning we picked some fresh watercress from Donegal Creek and had a watercress sandwich!  In the past two days we talked with three couples who raved about fresh watercress on a mayonnaise sandwich.  So Brooksyne put together  melted cheese, red pepper, onion, boiled egg, watercress, and mayonnaise on toasted panera bread.  And it was goooood!!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Hour I First Believed"  Video  Karen Peck and New River

"He Who Began A Good Work In You"
 Video  Steve Green

"A New Name In Glory"  Video  Gaither Homecoming singers

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  Let There be Praise Singers

I chose this song recalling these lines,

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace.

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  A group of Canadian young adults at a camp in Nova Scotia.  This song has a line I recalled in the message that states, "So bravely run the race till we see Christ".

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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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