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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tractor flower planter with apples
Tractor Planter
The apples are falling...the apples are falling!

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"Abundant And Lasting Fruit"

"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8). "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last" (John 15:16).

Photo of Tomato basketOne of the blessed sights of summer is a basket full of fresh locally grown fruit or vegetables. Over the last several weeks we have shared about our peach and apple harvest. To the left is a photo of an abundant tomato harvest from our home garden.

Plate of tomatoesThere are a lot of uses for tomatoes, however one of our favorite tomato preps is to slice fresh tomatoes, spread feta cheese on top, sprinkle chopped basil over the cheese. We then grill the tomato slices a couple minutes. Not only does it please the palate, the sweet succulent smell of basil blended with the roasted tomatoes and melting cheese fills the air with insatiable aroma. Prepare me a plate of these tomatoes and I am quite happy! No guilt feelings since the calories are miniscule and the health benefits are excellent.

Fruit can be grown from a tree, in the ground, or as an outflow of the fruit of the spirit implanted in the believer's heart. It's interesting that one of the common words used in the Bible to describe the healthy life of a faithful believer is "fruitfulness." There are basically two senses of spiritual fruitfulness in the New Testament:

1) Fruitfulness in the sense of impacting others to follow Christ and discipling them, which we speak of as being the fruit of our ministry. Paul used this sense in writing to the Romans (1:13): "Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles." One of the great joys of ministry is the observation of seeing healthy fruit in the lives of those we have served through our years of ministry.

Earlier this week we visited with Mike and Kathy Matangelo, friends whom we met 35 years ago. They are staying faithful to the Lord and both involved in prison ministry. We regularly hear from folks who have been a part of our ministry and what a joy to hear reports of faithful fruitfulness in their walk with Christ. An additional blessing we especially enjoy is seeing the generation that follows serving the Lord as well. The Matangelo's son Doug is now serving as a pastor in Washington state.

2) Fruitfulness in the sense of
developing Christ-like characteristics in our lives. John the Baptist stated, "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance." In Galatians 5:22,23 Paul wrote concerning the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.)

But today we want to highlight two phrases in our daily verses from the teaching of Jesus. He speaks of two special qualities of fruitfulness for Christ that is part of His will for us. "That you bear much fruit" and "fruit that will last."

Today let me ask you several questions for self-examination. In your life are you bearing much fruit (abundance)? Are you bearing lasting fruit? Are there those you've impacted who are staying true to the Lord and bearing fruit? Is the Fruit of the Spirit progressively developing in your life today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until You call me heavenward or until the day of Christ's return. May I willingly submit and quickly obey Your voice so that I will bear much spiritual fruit. I pray that the Fruit of the Spirit will characterize my life as I faithfully yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In preparing today's message and studying Biblical fruitfulness I came across this wonderful passage from Colossians 1:3-8 which is one sentence in the NASV. "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit."

Trivia note: Fruit is referenced in both the first and last chapters in the Bible, Genesis 1:11 and Revelation 22:2

Panoramic view in front of our home
We have had several beautiful days in Lancaster County and here is a panoramic view from the front of our home looking out over the farm field. However a price to living in the country several times a year is this farming activity we had yesterday as seen through the zoom.
(The terminally curious may click here for a photo.)

Tractor flower planter
Here's a side view photo of the tractor planter. Brooksyne picked up a broken off vine off the ground at Oberlin Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin where we vacationed in early August. She plopped it in some soil when we got home and you can see it in the tractor seat. Maybe somone who's good at houseplants can identify the plant
since we don't know what it is.

Years ago I enjoyed reading "Yankee" magazine which focused on New England travel. They had a monthly feature where someone sent in a photo of an old item found in a barn or attic. Readers were asked to guess what it was (I think "Country" magazine has or had a similar feature).

Mystery item
The other night we were out on a long walk through the neighborhood with the Matangelos and came across this large metal fixture along the road offered for free. Free is good but it will even be better if I find out this thing has some value! Although it's not cast I still sensed I could find some value in it and carried it home on my back. Do any of our readers have any idea what it is? It's about 8 feet tall and 30 inches wide. Respond here if you think you know. And tomorrow I will share what Brooksyne has done with it so far!

Carrying the mystery item home
Kathy snapped this photo of me carrying the item down the road as we neared home after sunset.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resource

"Lord, I Want To Be Like Jesus"  Video  Fernando Ortega, Kelly Willard

"Follow Me"  Video  Kelly Willard

"Willing Heart"  Video  Kelly Willard  Kelly Willard was popular young "contemporary" singer when we were young. What a blessing to see her stay faithful as
she, like all of us, ages.

A new photo of us:
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 9/11/12
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Mike took this photo before leaving for North Carolina.
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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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