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Monday, August 31, 2015
Towering Sunflowers in the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail Garden
"Share His Love"
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"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well" (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
The love of God is broader than earth's vast expanse,
'Tis deeper and wider than the sea.
Love reaches out to all to bring abundant life,
For God so loved the world His only Son He gave.
Brooksyne led in worship during our morning service yesterday and especially focused on hymns with a mission theme since we had missionary guests, and being the 5th Sunday the musicians especially focus on hymns for that Sunday. We sang "Share His Love" which I don't recall singing until the last few years. Written in a minor key its melody is not your everyday hymn tune, but the simple lyrics are very touching. Each verse ends with the first part of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world His only Son He gave."
For several messages this week, perhaps all week, we want to consider the many ways people are sharing the love of God. Many years ago a popular chorus stated, "What the world needs now is love sweet love; it's the only thing that there's just too little of." The theme of the song is the great need for demonstrating human love and kindness which is certainly true. But for those of us who follow Christ we realize an even greater need is God's love.
Friday afternoon following several company chaplain visits in the area we took a 14 mile bike ride along the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail leading from the quaint village of Cornwall to downtown Lebanon. This is a newer section of trail we had never been on. Along the way I saw a sign inviting riders off the trail to "Midway's Family to Family trails garden" to "refresh, renew, relax, recharge-super food for the body and soul". On the way back being an explorer I said to Brooskyne "Let's go see what this is all about!" And Brooksyne, being the good sport that she is, said, "Why not!"
After riding up a steep bank we then saw a beautiful garden with a church in the distant background. The garden is an outreach of the church seeking to share God's love with walkers and bikers throughout the community. I suppose they realized how many people were passing by their church property daily that they decided to show love and be a blessing as they prepared the ornamental and fruit garden.
Initially we recognized it to be a garden but as we went row by row we realized that fruit was growing in nearly every row and we were invited to partake - no strings attached. The red raspberries, black raspberries, golden raspberries, thornless blackberries, and cherry tomatoes were ALL delicious. The plump strawberries were irresistible. I (Brooksyne) felt a little like Eve in the garden of Eden partaking of God's goodness and blessing in the fruit that was hanging from every vine, but unlike Eve I was fully clothed as I partook. There was a beautiful grape arbor though the grapes were not yet in season nor the blueberries. In addition to the variety of fresh fruit there were over a dozen extra-large hanging flower baskets with a Scripture attached to each one. All I can say is that each hanging basket, every row of fruit, and the gesture of love extended to total strangers overwhelmed us.
We considered how many hours we spend preparing, planting, weeding, watering, trimming, fighting off plant disease and predators and the list goes on and on, for all that is required to grow ornamental, fruit and vegetable gardens for ourselves to enjoy. On another trail we saw the opposite kind of signage from residents' back yards that grew raspberries. Signs were posted that boldly stated, "NO PICKING!" Certainly we understood why these folks wanted to save the raspberries for themselves. So we were doubly blessed by these gracious and generous folks who do it all for passersby to enjoy. It really touched our hearts.
All over the world today God's love is being shared in a variety of ways. Amidst all the bad news and crumbling of the societal foundations, a constant remains, God's love for the human race and those who share His love. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers, "Because we loved you so much." Genuine ministry is foundationally motivated by love.
This motivating love compelled Paul and his associates to declare, "We were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
Share His love by telling
what the Lord has done for you,
Share His love by sharing of your faith,
and show the world that Jesus Christ
is real to you ev'ry moment, ev'ry day.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we could bemoan the fact that there are so many heartless people in the world, that evil dominates the headlines, that people in general are not trustworthy, and that terrorism is always a looming threat. But we are heartened and find deep joy in knowing that there are scores and scores of good people who seek to make this world a better place. One of the best ways we can do this is to share Your love by telling others what You have done for us, by sharing of our faith and showing others that Jesus Christ is real to us. Grant us courage to witness to others of the salvation You provide to all who surrender their hearts to You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Some scenes from the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail garden
Brooksyne sampling the large variety of berries, though blackberries are her favorite. The church building is in the background. While we were partaking a friendly church member came back to pick some flowers and explained to us the intent of the garden. Among other garden maintenance chores he mows the area once or twice a week.
The garden has a dozen hanging flowers from poles.
Each has a card with a Scripture verse attached.
An example of the Scripture tags attached to the hanging flowers.
Here's the sign that greets you as you exit the trail and approach the garden (click for larger image) The church webpage regarding the garden is here.
Brooksyne riding across the rail trail bridge in Cornwall, PA
I sure enjoy old iron railroad bridges!
Closer to home today:
My neighbor Eli is harvesting watermelons
My neighborhood produce stand. Seedless watermelons to left were just $1.00!
(Corner of Kraybill Church Road and Colebrook Road)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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