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Tuesday July 8, 2014
"I Have Decided!"
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"Come, follow Me" (Matthew 4:19a).
Early this morning in the course of our chaplain visits we stopped by Lowes to check out the clearance flower section (a favorite hobby as we mentioned in yesterday's message). While there we met another shopper with a t-shirt with these words, "I Have Decided". She was there for the same reason and we enjoyed our special buys. We didn't think her radiant smile was due to the special buys so we probed!
I (Stephen) had a good idea what "I Have Decided" meant but asked her, "What have you decided?" She smiled and said, "I have decided to follow Jesus!" She explained it was a t-shirt her church gives to those who are being baptized, which we think is great idea and a question provoking witnessing tool.
Many of us recognize the phrase as part of a song of commitment often sung at baptisms. In fact it may have been one of the first songs I learned as a young Christian. Like most songs there's a story behind it, the true story of a family in India who lost their lives because of their faith in Jesus Christ; a family whose sacrifice to follow Jesus influenced their entire community.
This story took place in the small village of Assam in northeast India where a man came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. He, along with his family, was converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary. This agitated the village so much that an angry mob gathered and shoved them into the public square.
The lyrics are based on his last words. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief who confronted his family and said to the man, "If you and your family will not recant your faith, you will all surely die!" The man didn't know what to say or do. The only thing that came to mind were the words of a song that he himself had composed when he first surrendered his life to God. The convert declared, "I have decided to follow Jesus."
In response to threats to his family, he continued, "Though no one joins me, still I will follow." His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, "The cross before me, the world behind me." This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village.
Christ calls us to decide to follow Him and make a lifelong commitment that will, of course, extend into eternity. "Come, follow Me" was the call to decision first issued to the disciples and it is the call we all must decide upon. There are far too many who sing this song during the height of their Christian experience perhaps even in a baptismal service where they're surrounded by fervent believers. But when they depart from that inspirational circle they delve right back into the ways of the world and the words are quickly forgotten or even trampled upon.
Today we urge all our readers to make this earnest declaration whether for the first time or the thousandth time, "I have decided to follow Jesus!" Let no circumstance or individual sway your private and public declaration even if no one else joins you.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, when Your tender Holy Spirit stirred the spiritual slumber of my heart strings, I awakened to my need for a Saviour who could save me from the mess I had made of my life. I invited Jesus to come into my heart, save me from my sins, and restore my broken relationship with You. It was then that I decided to follow Jesus all the days of my life. The cross before me and the world behind me became the theme of my life. Like the martyr who declared, "Though no one joins me, still I will follow" I want to be one hundred percent sold out to You. I choose not to fear man or the things he can do to me, but to fear You and hate all evil. I have decided to follow Jesus and there is no turning back for me all the days of my life. Because of Jesus' amazing grace I come to You in prayer. Amen.
We found this "Hopeless Cause" plant today at Lowes.
Do you suppose we can bring it back to life? Stay tuned!
(Brooksyne's's Note: I'm afraid Stephen has just a little too much confidence in my gardening skills. I tried to sway him away from this burned up plant but he thinks I can make it grow again. Hmmmm! We'll see......)
A few more photos of the New Holland horse auction taken by our friend Lee:
It was the place to be for many of the old-order groups in our area.
We are accustomed to one style of old-order buggies used in our area. Lee explained that this is a courting buggy.
Lovely petunias graced this horses stall as the horses awaited their number. I wonder if their new home will hang flowers in their stall?
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus" Video Marissa
"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus" Video Selah (An African version)
"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus" Video (This version includes the story behind song)
"We Choose The Fear of The Lord" Video Maranatha Singers
"Today, I Choose" Video Brian Doerksen
"Take Up Your Cross" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
"Follow Me" Video Kelly Willard
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.
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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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