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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hungry sheep and goat 6/4/14
Yesterday we stopped by to visit with our Amish friends.
Eli eagerly bore the burden of feeding an orphan lamb and kid goat.

"Bearing Burdens"

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"Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). "Pray for one another" (James 5:16).

Carry burdens Our church periodically has a time of "Prayer and Praise" where the congregation is given an opportunity to tell of the way God is working in their lives or they can present their need so others can pray for them.

This  last Sunday we had a moving time as our pastor walked through the congregation with a microphone and several shared in testimony while others bore their heavy hearts. We prayed for a man whose apartment has been sold and is in need of housing this month. A heavy-hearted grandmother wept as she shared concerning the rebellious choices her teen granddaughter is making. A woman with Down's Syndrome expressed a request from her heart that was barely understandable but Pastor patiently permitted her to share as the congregation listened quietly. Following the requests Pastor prayed an impassioned prayer uplifting each person's particular need.

Heavy heart What a privilege it is to receive prayerful support from caring believers when we are heavily laden with burdens. We both bear our burdens to others and we bear the burdens of others. It's part of a healthy church. As a congregation we seek to fulfill the two Scripture portions at the top of today's message, a mandate I believe that is intended for all believers; bearing one another's burdens as we uplift one another in prayer.

Generally speaking, when we bear other's burdens it's usually based on personal knowledge and is relationship-oriented, though we are often seeking God for people undergoing tragedy or difficulty we've not personally met. We must be cautious lest we become callous in regard to the burdens people bear in which we can't personally relate. In this age of instant information we are flooded with tragedies around the world such as earthquakes, bombings, wars, etc. I want my heart to be compassionate and soft so I can pray for and appropriately respond to the hurts of others when possible, whether they be local or in a distant land, whether it's something I've experienced or may never endure.

Likely Paul's counsel to the Galatians to
"Bear one another's burdens" was in regard to the specific burdens that fellow believers in that particular body had. But surely it pleases the Lord when we take an interest and bear the burdens of hurting humanity whether they're our immediate neighbors or not. Somehow in doing so we "fulfill the law of Christ".  (This is the only time in Scripture this phrase is used.)

Many years ago I recall standing before our congregation in New England and asking, "How can we, in praying for one another, be fulfilling a call to glorify God as a church body?" Several thoughtfully responded:

1)  We express our dependency on God, which is a fundamental aspect of faith.
2)  We obey God's call as expressed in the daily Scripture portions I have used today.
3)  We show our genuine love and care for others.
4)  We encourage and strengthen the weary, burdened soul.

Whose burden are you bearing today? Who can you pray for? It won't take long to identify real people in your life who need your prayers. Let's follow up our prayers with personal contact that brings encouragement. Aren't you blessed when someone informs you, "I prayed for you this morning…." or "The Lord laid this Scripture verse on my heart that I would like to share with you…." 

I have often had the weight of my heavy burdens lifted in this manner and I do well to help lift others' burdens in that same spirit. I want to be motivated by God's love and be a representation of Him in human form to one who needs to experience comfort and assurance from God.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, as ambassadors of Your heavenly Kingdom, we want to be keenly sensitive to those whose difficulties seem overwhelming. Some of our brothers and sisters are weighed down with troubling circumstances that might overtake them if not for those of us who take them by the arm and pull them up out of the quicksand of discouragement that ultimately leads to despair.  Help me to do my part to strengthen my brother or sister in their faith journey. Reveal to me the way that I can show genuine concern for the unbeliever, through my caring words and in my loving deeds, who needs to see the love of Christ represented in human form. In the blessed name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Note: Due to an early morning, busy schedule and long day away we were unable to post a message yesterday (June 4.)

Sam Smucker with magnifying glasses 6/4/14
Yesterday morning we stopped by to visit our friend Sam Smucker who now is burdened with serious vision problems. But he informed us that he's not giving up as he demonstrated with his new magnifying glasses he got from the Association for the Blind. We both tried them on and they really do work as they clearly bring the subjects much closer while maintaining a sharp focus with no blurring! (These glasses don't work for reading or close subjects.)

A Visit To An Amish Farm

Yesterday morning we stopped to visit our Amish friends and always enjoy sharing a few photos.

Barn cat on farm machinery 6/4/14
This barn cat found what would sure appear to be a rather uncomfortable resting place and potentially dangerous if the machinery is turned on. (Though this cat looks just like our cat, Dottie, it isn't!)

Barn swallow nest 6/4/14
Jesse pointed out this barn swallow nest on a beam in the barn. The resourceful swallow had used an old rusty nail driven into the wood as a foundation to build the nest around and then for reinforcement had found an old piece of baling twine!

Baby sheep and goat 6/4/14
Moses, Eli's older brother, sitting with the sheep and goat. They purchased the goat as a family pet but the sheep is an orphan.

Amish garden 6/4/14
Anna Ruth's garden is always so well-tended, vibrant green and healthily growing.

Fresh strawberries 6/4/14
We were blessed with this big bowl of freshly picked strawberries and several bunches of lettuce.

Summer kitchen playhouse 6/4/14
The girls were excited to show me the play house they had made in the summer kitchen and wanted to make sure I took a photo.

Amish buggy with number 6/4/14
As Brooksyne visited with Anna Ruth and the girls around the garden I visited with Jesse and the boys in the barn. Do any of our readers have any idea why he would have the number 10 on his buggy? Respond here. I'll answer tomorrow!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Lay Your Burden Down"  Video 
Chuck Girard

"Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary"  Video  Homecoming singers

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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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