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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Backyard view 8/20/14 (Photo by Mike Weber)

Backyard view by Mike Weber (click for larger view)
Can you identify the unusual framing of this photo? (See below)

"Bucket Lists"

Please note: Each day we prepare these messages we are aware of the news around the world but rarely allow specific news to be the topic in our messages. This is not to say we are not extremely burdened regarding many contemporary issues such as the horrific bloodshed in the Middle East especially. We really wonder where all this is heading but are committed to hopefully bringing a bright spot to world full of bad news.

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"Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain" (Romans 15:28).

The last several years it seems the term "bucket list" has gained popularity. Many attribute this to a book written about places you should see before you die or a movie by the same title. Interestingly, I had taken the term in the sense of items in a bucket but also see some mean it in the sense of places to see and things to do before you kick the bucket (die).

Mike on lawn tractor
There is a website called bucket list.org which suggests 10,000 things to do before you die. I am pretty sure I won't get this list filled! I have been having fun using the term with my brother, Mike, who is visiting us. I like to tease him since he doesn't really like the term (nor does Brooksyne). Now when Mike does something I know he's wanted to do I say to him, "Now you can check that off your bucket list" such as when he drove my lawn tractor. Since he lives in the city he is enjoying helping me with country chores.

Bucket listThe concept of a bucket list is largely a product of the affluence many experience with freedom to travel and do things that many in previous generations wouldn't have even dreamed of. Sadly for many it probably just creates another reason to be discontent. We recall Tracy and Beulah Sutherland who attended the little church we pastored right after we got married in 1976. They had been sustenance farmers and likely didn't travel any farther than to see their daughter who lived several hundred miles away. They had very few material possessions, yet they sure lived a rich life.

As Christians we may have a desire to go certain places or do certain things which is not necessarily
a bad thing but a fulfilling life should primarily be based on our relationship with Christ and others (family, church and friends).

We should also have spiritual aspirations and goals. One goal Paul had was to go to Spain. I suppose you could say it was on his bucket list. His interest was not sightseeing but rather preaching the Gospel.  Whether he ever made this trip we're not told, at least as far as recorded Scripture.

Perhaps we can encourage our readers to develop a spiritual bucket list. This may include spiritual growth goals but may be guided by that convicting phrase we have heard since we were young Christians, "Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last."

What many may not know is that this phrase is based on a poem written by noted missionary C.T. Studd.

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, ”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

— extra stanza —

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

~C.T. Studd

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. From everlasting to everlasting You are God.  A thousand years in Your sight is like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; they quickly pass, and we fly away.  Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.  May Your deeds be shown to Your servants, your splendor to their children.  May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us as You establish the work of our hands through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Moses (Condensed) - Psalm 90

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Only One Life, It Will Soon Be Past"  Video

"Only One Life, Twill soon be Past"  Video   A short message by Leonard Ravenhill

Today's photo of our backyard was taken through a small knothole in our fence!

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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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