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Friday, March 1, 2013
Yesterday we drove through a beautiful part of Lebanon County and took this photo of Conewago Lake near Mount Gretna.
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"We Are His Hands"
"On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles" (Acts 14:27).
Yesterday we mailed a giant card to a friend of Ester's who is currently serving in missions in Spain. Renee has been a very good friend of Ester's since we moved to this area 12 years ago. They grew up together from their later childhood, teen years and now early adult years. I still recall Renee, along with several other new friends, attending a birthday party for Ester in March 2001 less than a month after we first moved here.
Ester is missing Renee a lot so she bought a giant card and for the last couple of weeks she's invited people in the church to sign it. We hope it is a source of encouragement to Renee.
One of the interesting goals that Paul had in ministry was to take the Gospel to Spain. He mentions his plans to go there in Romans 15:24 although the record in Scripture does not specify whether he made it or not. *
There's so much wonderful gleaning in the missionary journeys of Paul recorded in the book of Acts. In the daily text the church in Antioch rejoiced as Paul and Barnabas told them of the large number of disciples who were converted in Derbe following their preaching of the Good News. From there they traveled to other places of ministry where they "strengthened the disciples and encouraged them to remain true to the faith." Surely there were many other unrecorded adventure stories they told as they spoke of their travels to the Antioch church.
Baby dedications, water baptisms, and weddings are some of the important ordinances of the church that bring great delight to a pastor's heart. But there is no greater joy than to pray with one to invite Christ into his or her heart after hearing the Gospel message of salvation. Many have the mistaken notion that only those in vocational ministry have this privilege, but Seminary training is not mandatory for one to lead another to faith. All who follow Christ have the privilege of sharing their faith with others. It is God who converts the heart, but He most often does this through obedient followers declaring the gospel message, such as Paul and Barnabas who "reported all that God had done through them."
God works through us, for we are His mouthpiece, His hands and His feet, proclaiming the Good News and explaining the mystery of the gospel. How might we use the gifts that He has given us to grow His kingdom? As we seek Him He will show us where, how, and when we might be used for His purpose. God will provide us an opportunity and place to minister for Him just as He did for Paul and Barnabas when "He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles."
Our duty is to obediently serve God and in His providence He will open "the door of faith" and we will rejoice in what He does through our spiritual endeavors. My heartfelt prayer is that God may open the door of faith for many in these perilous times!
We are His hands, we are His feet,
We are His people, children of the Lord,
We share the hope, we share the dream,
Believers in Jesus, children of the Lord.
Some of us build, some are teachers,
Some can sing like angels,
But all of us can love like He loved,
Pure and simple so warm and gentle.
His Spirit lives within us, flowing like a river,
Filling us with strength,
So that we can reach out for our brother,
Help one another.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is no higher calling in our earthly pilgrimage, than to lead another to faith. The vast majority are looking for answers to life's challenges and many are learning that it doesn't come via prosperity, politics, vocational training, educational ranking, or anything else that expires at the end of this life. As You open up the door of faith, help us to communicate the gospel message that brings hope, peace, joy, and forgiveness through the person of Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that we have life everlasting and hope eternal. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"We Are His Hands" Video Whiteheart This was a "contemporary" song years ago which came to mind when I considered music for today's message. Someone did a great job of placing slides from a church missions trip up to the music.
* Regarding whether Paul ever made it to Spain: An older commentary, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown states, "Whether this purpose was ever accomplished has been much disputed, as no record of it nor allusion to it anywhere occurs. Those who think our apostle was never at large after his first imprisonment at Rome will of course hold that it never was; while those who are persuaded, as we are, that he underwent a second imprisonment, prior to which he was at large for a considerable time after his first, incline naturally to the other opinion." (that he did make it to Spain)
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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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