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Friday, May 17, 2013

Amish buggy hauling plants 5/16/13
Signs of "seedtime" are all over our area.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player. Note: Due to a microphone issue the sound is rather poor and occasionally has a feedback type noise. A new microphone has been ordered!

"Sowing In Tears"

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22). "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy" (Psalm 126:5). "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:7-9).

Sometimes the day seems long, our trials hard to bear.
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear to catch His bride away!
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day!

John Deere sprayer
This is a very busy time for the farmers in our area. A drive through the country reveals a buzz of activity on farm after farm as it's planting time or "seedtime". We came up behind the buggy in our lead photo yesterday near New Holland PA. We see a lot of different farming methods in our area from modern hi-tech such as the huge sprayer that just prepped the field across the road from us this morning to old order methods using horse (or mule) teams. It sure makes for some colorful sights as we go about our work.

Genesis 8:22The word "seedtime" is used only once in the entire Bible (in most commonly used versions). "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22). This is known as the Noahaic covenant, the promise that God gave to Noah following the great flood. The flood occurred many thousands of years ago but this covenant promise has and will continue unabated "as long as the earth endures." Seedtime is otherwise known as sowing or planting as a physical phenomenon and we see this promise being faithfully fulfilled all around us.

But there is a great spiritual truth
as well in seedtime and harvest, in sowing and reaping. The second daily verse states, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy" (Psalm 126:5). I don't believe farmers typically "sow in tears" but as they sow they are sure aware of the many dangers that face their growing crop till harvest (drought, flooding, disease, insects, etc.). It's sure that way for us, also, as we sow in a spiritual sense. Many reading this devotional have sown their faith seeds in the midst of sorrowful experiences.

Sowing in tears
1) There may be some matters in your life that you have committed to the Lord but they aren't yet fully resolved. At times we may cry out to God in tears petitioning for His help. Yesterday I spoke to a young man who shared that he is overcoming a particular matter in his life but it remains a source of temptation for him. He is earnest in his desire to follow the Lord and live by His commands. I encouraged him to press on in faithfulness and gave him several specific tips. As he stays faithful I am confident that he will overcome based upon this wonderful Scripture, "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

2) You are seeking to faithfully follow the Lord and sow His seed in the lives of others. You have such a burden for loved ones who are not following the truth. But they are unreceptive, perhaps even hard, and you see no evidence of a forthcoming harvest. You continue to sow, at times in tears. For some of you this has gone on for years and years. You are weary and perhaps discouraged. But God's Word states, "
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."

Galatians 6:7
Let me share with you a great, great promise. Read it slowly and accept it by faith. Brooksyne and I memorized this passage early in our marriage and have so often drawn strength and much needed perspective from it: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:7-9).

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there have been many times that we acted in faith when it seemed futile in doing so. When we get our eyes on the  challenge it takes our eyes off of you, the One who heals the sick, raises the dead and casts mountains into the depths of the sea. Father, we choose to walk by faith and not by sight. Since all things are possible with You, we choose to believe in those things impossible with man. We do believe and choose to walk in faith until the invisible is made visible either here below or in the eternal heavens. It is in the name of Jesus that we come to You in prayer. Amen.

Stephen's Note:  This weekend I have the opportunity to share three messages at a men's retreat in the Poconos. I will share with the men the importance of remaining faithful as we "bravely run the race till we see Christ". I expect there will be men in various stages of overcoming life's trials including those who have sown in tears.

In our visit earlier this week with Mike and Kathy Matangelo, longtime friends from the seventies, we were considering those we impacted for Christ in our years of service in Northern Pennsylvania. We saw many through hard times and recalled the names of those we had worked with. Prior to receiving our evening meal a man emailed me who had seen Mike's photo on Daily Encouragement earlier that day. This was a young man whom we mentored during a major crisis he faced about twenty five years ago. What a joy to see him faithfully serving Christ all these years since then.

Some folks we met in the course of our chaplaincy ministry yesterday.

Randy Whitfield 5/16/13Randy works at the front desk at a hotel where we serve as chaplains. We actually serve in two motels and our service is primarily to the hotel staff but we are also available if a hotel guest would care to speak to us. Randy is a very outgoing, friendly man easy to engage in conversation with. I appreciate the way he treats the guests as I observe him at work. He is a follower of Christ and a thoughtful student of Scripture. He shared with us that his favorite verse is Psalm 89:9: "Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them." Randy is one of those people who passes on encouragement not only by what he says, but also because of his positive outlook!

Elvin Martin 5/16/13Elvin has worked at the same company for many years, and is celebrating his 51st service anniversary today! For several years I have enjoyed my visits with him at the toolshop where he works and several years ago he and his wife had us over for a meal. He is a member of one of our old-order Mennonite groups and his normal mode of transportation is by horse and buggy.

Several years ago we shared a message about Elvin and an interesting work friendship that is also quite distinct.

Elvin and Mary are proficient canners, especially apple sauce. They put up 250 half gallon jars of home-made apple sauce annually!  It's a staple food in their diets everyday.  So... they practice the adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Each and every day he has about three cups of apple sauce with his meal. Based upon his fitness at 71 years of age I think he may be on to something!

Colorful pantry

Martin's bike shop near Ephrata PA
We stopped by Martin's Bike Shop near Hinkletown PA along RT 322. We are considering purchasing bikes suitable for our age. They have an interesting museum of bicycles including this display of antique bikes. An interesting feature is their outspoken witness for the Lord including a sign in front of their business.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

We devote today's selection of songs to those who are sowing in tears.

"When I Cry"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  What an honest heart-felt song!

  Video   Laura Story

"Field Of Souls"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Tears Are A Language"  Video  Heritage Singers

"He Understands My Tears"  Video   The Isaacs

"When There's No Hope, There Is Grace"  Video  The  Dunaways

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Musicians not identified

"It'll Be Worth It After All"  Video   Terry Terrell

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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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