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Friday, November 16, 2012

Preying Mantis (photo by Nancy Martin)
Our friend Nancy Martin sent us this outstanding close-up photo of a praying mantis she took at the very top of a six foot pine tree in her yard. Click here to enlarge. She mused as to what the praying mantis might be thinking such as
"I'm on the top of the world!"  or
"I will stay up here and not eat until ....."
Nancy wonders if any of our readers has a suggested caption?
My suggestion: "What a great view!"
Brooksyne suggests: "The view is worth the climb!"

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"Being Satisfied"

"He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied" (
Deuteronomy 11:15). "They all ate and were satisfied" (Matthew 14:20).

Here in America and perhaps in other western countries the typical social greeting is, "How are you doing today?"  I'm not sure how often we really want to hear their true answer (the unabridged version, anyway).

Generally the socially polite response is, "Fine, thank you" or they may respond with a question, "Fine, how are you?" Perhaps we picked a moment when all is going very well and they simply respond "Great". Steve, a friend from our church in New England almost always responds with a big smile as he replies with an enthusiastic and emphatic, "Fantastic!!" Some say, "Better than I deserve." One lady in a nursing home we serve always responds, "I'm too blessed to be stressed."

I have a Laotian-American friend who has been in the states for 30 years, immigrating here as a young adult. He acquired an interesting nickname when the owner of the company couldn't pronounce his Laotian name and he came to be known as Sooner, which sounded similar to his Laotian name. He speaks good English and is a supervisor in his department at a factory where we serve as chaplains. He taught me a new perspective about our cordial greetings.

Sooner asked me if I knew the typical greeting similar to "How are you?" in Laos, China and other parts of Asia. Well I didn't and I suppose I never really thought much about it. I wonder if many readers know before I share this bit of trivia.

According to Sooner the earnestly asked question upon greeting one another would be "Did you eat?" Due to widespread poverty and lack of resources this is a very meaningful and thoughtful question in expressing concern for others.

If I greeted someone here in America using this phrase it would be seen as rather peculiar at the very least. We eat three times a day or more and can readily take our more than adequate resources for granted.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season we often use the common expression, "We have so much to be thankful for." In fact we heard it just yesterday in a meeting we spoke at with older people at a group called "The Golden Nuggets". And we really do!

The first daily Scripture text is a promise Moses gave the people of God prior to his death in his final sermon. "He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied." He was reinforcing the blessing they would receive when entering the Promised Land.

The second daily text is from the feeding of the five thousand recorded in Matthew 14:19-21. Before Jesus fed the multitude "He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds" (v. 20). Matthew's summary of the result was that "They all ate and were satisfied." Thank God for the fullness of satisfaction in all of Christ's provisions. Indeed, "all have I needed Thy hand hath provided."

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as we received Your Son, Christ Jesus as Lord, we continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as we were taught, and overflowing in thankfulness. May our words, our actions, and our thoughts be full of praise as we consider all that we have and choose not to dwell on that which we have not. Above every other blessing is the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who came into the world to save us from our sins. And the greatest gift yet to come is the inheritance that awaits Your faithful saints when we cross the stormy Jordan banks to our eternal dwelling in heaven. Our hearts are satisfied and filled with thankfulness to You. Amen.

In the course of study for today's message I came across this Scripture gem which I intend to develop further in a future message. "Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people" (Genesis 25:8). What a blessing to die, "satisfied with life"!

The Bible directs us to, “Give thanks in all circumstances”.  Do you find that hard? I sure do! Yet I know God’s Word is true and is to be obeyed. 

God desires that we have hearts of gratitude. Helen Keller, who overcame enormous obstacles in life dealing with both blindness and deafness wrote, “So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.” 

What a tremendous perspective!  We might well reason that if anyone had a “right” to complain that she had little to live for, Helen Keller sure did. Yet she was able to say “so much has been given to me.” 

This Thanksgiving season let us give thanks and embrace this healthy perspective:  Thankfulness is the soil in which joy thrives.

Some animal photos

Burrowing owl
Yesterday a friend shared this photo of a burrowing owl.
My, don't those eyes just seem to stare right through you?

Feeding squirrel at Weber home
My photo is not as dramatic as our other two today but I was entertained by this persistent squirrel who just wouldn't leave the bird feeder outside our office alone. However Brooksyne would just as soon see the squirrel scoop up leftover corn in the fields and acorns from the oak trees.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Satisfied"  Video  Red Mountain Church  As one comment states, "The idea of "satisfied" here is the answer to the old Rolling Stones song, 'I can't get no satisfaction.'"

Here's a more traditional version by the Gaither Vocal Band  Video  In December we will be going to the Homecoming concert at the Giant Center in Hershey!

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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