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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pittsburgh skyline at night (Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
 Pittsburgh Skyline Night view
(Photo by our friend Howard Blichfeldt)

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"A Successful Man"

Note: Today's daily encouragement is a follow-up to yesterday's message titled "A Tribute To A Laboring Man" concerning my dad. After writing it I want to share an aspect regarding my memory of him that's more personal but may be of assistance to others reading this:

"Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23).

Yesterday I shared that my dad was a hardworking laborer who never finished high school but had plenty of valuable training in the school of hard knocks. He modeled hard work and personal responsibility in his commitment to providing for his family.

Dad was a quiet man with some hurts in life that he never clearly vocalized.  Through the years, due to hints from him and discussions among my siblings, I have speculated it might be related to the following factors:
  • Although he was a superb athlete he was prohibited from playing football in high school. For a number of years he held the state record in Kansas for running the hurdles.
  • Although he served in the military during World War 2 he never left the states. It seems in his generation service to our country was a strong commitment and he felt he didn't fulfill his total duty.
  • He tried to start his own business several times but it never lasted long.
  • He was troubled by inconsistencies he saw in some claiming to be Christians. Throughout most of my childhood he didn't attend church, but began again in my high school years.
Of course I will have to await our reunion in heaven to get the full story, if such conversation about the ills of this life are discussed on the other side. I wonder, did Daddy feel less than successful through much of his life?

The measure of success is imposed on us by our culture and is expressed in varying ways:
  • Extent of formal education.
  • How much money one makes or possessions accumulated.
  • Amount of and quality of possessions.
  • How much power one has over others.
  • Awards and titles achieved.
Some of our readers may also struggle with the world's view of success.

There are many other more important measures of success in living life such as:
  • Genuine lasting friendships and family relations: The brief scene at the end of "It's A Wonderful Life" always gets to Brooksyne and me.  George Bailey opens the little book and reads the inscription, "No man is a failure who has friends." My parents had many lasting friends though most have now passed on but I am blessed that Juanita, a longtime friend now in her nineties, continues to read these messages as well as several in the Kansas City area. She and her late husband Warren were dear friends to my folks from their early adult years.
  • Living life with integrity: I can recall several times when my dad acted in integrity at personal cost because of people taking advantage of him. Daddy was faithful to my mom for over 50 years and he was faithful in tending to our family's needs.
  • Caring for others: Being raised in a non-alcoholic home I still recall my first memorable exposure to alcohol when my family was returning home after a visit to my Aunt Ruth's house. We came upon an automobile accident and Daddy wanted to help. Mom climbed in the back seat with my sister and me while the two very drunk men, bloody and slightly injured in the accident, sat in the front seat with Daddy as he drove them to the hospital. I still remember their senseless babblings and the unpleasant stench of alcohol. (These days 2 or 3 ambulances and a fire truck would be sent for!)
  • A quiet but determined desire to be a witness: Daddy went into Red China on a construction project in the early seventies. In many areas he would have been the first American many Chinese ever saw. On that trip he smuggled Bibles to distribute which I believe he would say is one his best accomplishments.
But the greatest measure of success or failure is yet to be determined while we are still living. Jesus Christ teaches that we will hear one of two messages at the beginning of our afterlife:
  • "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34) or
  • "Depart from Me, accursed ones" (Matthew 25:41).
Everyone one of us should aspire to hear these words from our Lord: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23). That will be the final and ultimate measure of success!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, the world often bases a person's success on his or her wealth, prestige, power, appearance, fame, youthfulness, education, etc. But we are often at conflict with the world since we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom. Obedience to Your Word, with its principles and commands, and the seeking of Your commendation will put us at odds with the view of a successful life here on earth. We don't seek commendations from this world where our rewards gather dust, rust, break or lose prestige. Rather we follow after Jesus who grants to us the inheritance of the kingdom You have prepared from the foundation of the world. May that future promise bring great rejoicing with overflowing thankfulness from our hearts this day. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Apple picking 8/30/14
Our neighbor, Tom, invites us to pick apples off his tree
every summer in late August. There is an abundance this year so Brooksyne will be busy with all sorts of apple canning projects and will surely bake us a fresh apple pie at some point!

Apples in barn 9/2/14
I stored the apples in our utility barn. Brooksyne sorted and packed them for storage but suggested that I picked too many boxes so we'll be sharing with others!

Front porch 9/2/14
Last week we shared about an extension we made to our front porch and thought we would like to share a finished photo. It essentially doubled the width of our porch.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Legacy of Love"  Video  David Phelps

"The Mark of a Man of God"  Video  Steve Camp  Excellent with powerful images. First time I recall hearing this song was this morning.

"Where are the Men of God?"  A powerful teaching video for the serious man who aspires to be a "Man Of God".

"A Man You Would Write About"  Video  4HIM

"The Measure Of A Man"  Video 

"7 Highly Effective Traits Of Godly Men"  Article  Interesting use of Biblical characters as examples.

Video scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" alluded to in today's message.

"Ephrata detective, wife to battle child-trafficking in Thailand" (Article in our local paper today) This will probably not make national news but is an example of what real Christians are doing to let Christ's light shine and fight evil.

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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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