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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hummingbird at feeder (Doris High)
Hummingbird (Photo by Doris High)
As I prepare today's message I have a hummingbird that looks just like this one
feeding on the flowers in front of our office window!

"Mutual Encouragement"

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"For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine" (Romans 1:11,12).
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

Front lawn flowers 8/4/13

Photo of Butterfly on day lily
In front of our home we have a large cluster of flowers that is an attraction to insects which feed on them. This flower haven is a busy place these warm summer days and a pleasant setting where we sometimes watch and listen to the buzzing and fluttering wings of the many insects that thrive in our area. My brother shared a video with me of some amazing videography titled, "What Goes On In The Garden When You Aren't Watching" (link in resource section). We encourage you to take a look at this stunning video and indeed consider a world that we normally really only see on the surface at best.

Spider 8/6/13 Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, spiders and all sorts of other insects frequent our flower haven. Some we especially enjoy observing such as the hummingbirds and butterflies; others we find a bit creepy like the spiders, though we enjoy the amazing designs they weave into their webs. Brooksyne claims they make a zig zag design better than she can on her sewing machine. This morning we took the photo on the left of a very colorful spider that's been camping out for about five days among our Black Eyed Susans. Invisible through the camera lens, yet this large spider has practically built a fort with its intricate web weaving from one plant to the other.

Bee (photo by Mike Book click to enlarge)Last week we pointed out how many plants and insects have a mutual symbiotic relationship.  The plant provides nectar as food for the insect and the insect is a means of pollination for the plant. Thus they both benefit and so do we as humans. One creation website I enjoy calls this relationship "pollination partners".

Today we consider a similar relationship we enjoy with each other as Christians, in the sense that we too have opportunity to mutually encourage and spur one another on in our walk with Christ and in the cause of the Gospel.

Paul's epistle to the Romans is well known for its rich theological content followed by several chapters of practical theology on living out the Christian life.

In the introductory verses Paul writes very practically, "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you." He expresses here the joy of ministry that many of us have experienced; the blessing of imparting meaningful spiritual input into the lives of others.

I see here a powerful reminder of the necessity of real face to face relationship. Although the Romans surely benefitted from Paul's written letter, just as we do thousands of years later, as part of the Holy Scriptures. However he longed to see them in person. Now, especially with modern technology, we have many ways of having a virtual relationship with others who live at a distance but I don't believe it replaces the blessing of actual one on one fellowship.

"That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." As a result of imparting spiritual truths to the Roman Christians Paul stated they would be "mutually encouraged by each other's faith,
both yours and mine." We normally consider that we receive encouragement in the sense of being on the receiving side from a Bible teaching, musical group, drama team, etc. But anyone who has been on the dispensing side knows the encouragement we receive from seeing faith expressed in a heart receptive to the Truth and the blessing of helping someone along the way.

I recall a song from many years ago by Ray Hildebrand that describes this mutual encouragement titled "We Really Do Need Each Other."  The Lord has ordained our fellowship with one another for our mutual benefit. Today may you and those you impact experience mutual encouragement.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, kingdom principles that Jesus taught and modelled such as, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" is especially true when we give ourselves fully to the work of the Gospel, encouraging and spurring one another on toward growth in Christ and the good deeds that follow. When we share with others and invest in their lives, we find ourselves mutually blessed, encouraged and built up in the faith as Christ is at work in our hearts. It in His name that we pray. Amen.

Front lawn 8/4/13
Due to cooler weather and above average rains our lawn and plants are healthy and vibrant especially for August!

Hummingbird (photo by Georgia M.)
My cousin's wife Georgia shared this photo of a hummingbird outside her window.

Butterfly (photo by Greg Schneider)
This photo was taken in Centre County PA by our friend Greg Schneider.
Click here for larger version.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What Goes On in the Garden When You Aren't Watching"  Video  The type of photographic equipment used for such a presentation is amazing.

"Make Me A Blessing"  Video  Congregational Singing

"Make Me A Blessing"  Video  Mark Auza (a song I had never heard before today which includes thoughtful words).

Our friend Doris High recently posted a remarkable collection of butterfly photos here.

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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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