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Monday, July 7, 2014
A tidy Amish farm in Lancaster County, PA
"Strengthening What Remains"
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"Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die" (Revelation 3:2).
About eight years ago a friend in York County gave us a splice of her sprawling Crepe Myrtle that we had admired as we walked through her yard. We planted it and over the years the plant has grown and thrived, blooming each summer in vibrant beauty.
Due to the plummeting winter temps this past year many of the plants in our area died. We carefully examined the Crepe Myrtle late this spring when we saw no evidence of budding. Brooksyne scraped the bark several days apart looking for any sign of green life. None. The brittle dead branches broke off easily so I finally cut the plant back to the ground but did not remove the roots. I planted a Camelia plant right beside the spot where the crepe myrtle was and figured that was the end of that.
But the last several weeks we noticed the Crepe Myrtle was coming back shooting up from the underground roots that we presumed were dead! I decided to dig it out in hopes of transplanting it elsewhere but the roots were so strong I was unable to do so. I ended up removing the Camelia so we can transplant it elsewhere! Now we are nursing the tiny Crepe Myrtle back to the vibrancy it once offered our side yard.
Among our favorite places to buy plants is Lowes. Most of their stores have a deeply discounted clearance section of plants that are about to die, no longer suitable for selling at full price. Yet we often buy these plants and nurse them back to health with a little extra TLC so we can strengthen that which remains and give it a second chance to live.
Restoring plants is one thing, but restoring lives is quite another. The daily text is from Christ's message to the church in Sardis in the Book of Revelation. He writes to seven churches giving specific counsel concerning their condition. These were literal churches that existed at that time so let's consider the command to the Sardis church and how we too can apply it to the present church today. "Strengthen what remains and is about to die." Initially this verse and concept may be troubling. Most of us prefer to strengthen that which is already growing and thriving.
But in spiritual life, both in local churches and in individuals, there are times when "about to die" honestly describes the condition of our souls. We need to hear the words of our Lord, "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die."
We consider periods in our own life and in those we know whom for various reasons this verse is especially pertinent. An aspect of ministry to others will include a call to "Wake up! Strengthen that which remains and seems about ready to die."
What a joy it is to either experience this or observe it in others. Tomorrow's message will be about some friends who went through a very difficult trial and strengthened that which was about to die. The Lord continues to work in this way and will be faithful in your life as well. Always be ready to hear His word, "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die". Never give up!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Merciful Father of the second chances, thank You for seeing our plight and sending Your Holy Spirit to awaken us from our stupor of laziness, indifference, hardness and outright rebellion. It seems we slip into such a stupor without realizing how we even got there, but when we earnestly seek You we can rekindle the embers of trust and faith, servanthood and obedience. Just as the Psalmist found himself in the literal dry and weary desert of Judah where there was no water, we too can feel parched within our spirit. Yet deep within we know that You are our help; You will rescue us from the dryness of our spirit and refresh us with the dewdrops of Your Holy Spirit causing us to sing in the shadow of Your wings. Our soul will cling to You, while Your right hand upholds us strengthening that which remains which was about to die. We cling to You through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.
See Psalm 63
This last Saturday the Lancaster PA newspaper featured an article about our corporate chaplaincy work. We share this with many of our readers who inquire about what workplace chaplaincy consists of. In this photo by Jeff Ruppenthal we are talking to Gene in front of a large CNC machine used for making metal parts. We are pleased to see the article was also picked up by Bloomberg Business Week.
Some scenes from our weekend:
Arriving at our Amish friend's place this last Friday we were greeted by this site. It's an Amish church bench wagon used for hauling backless benches for church. They were preparing to have a church service in an old tobacco barn this last Sunday. Anna greeted me with a couple of pies she had prepared for the gathering including a Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Snitz pie.
We look forward to seeing this wrking windmill when we visit.
On Friday evening we took our Amish friends to a Lancaster Barnstormer minor league baseball game. It was the third largest crowd in the ten year stadium history and we ended up sitting out in the grass behind outfield. We had a great fireworks display following the game which the children especially enjoyed.
Yesterday after our church service Mike and Nicole departed from the parking lot on a big Harley. They have an inspiring ministry to motorcycle gangs and after many years of service have gained their trust and respect.
Our friend Lee Smucker sent us several photos from the New Holland horse auction held this last Friday that we will share over the next several days.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Back In His Arms Again" Video Mark Schultz (Acoustic) Mark will be in our area for a concert this coming Friday evening. See here for details.
"Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness" Video Collingsworth Family
"It Matters to the Master" Video Collingsworth Family
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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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