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Monday, January 25, 2016

Snowy front view 1/24/16
A sunny view from our front porch yesterday following the big storm.
(Click for larger view)

"Digging Out"

Message Summary:
God who began the good work in us is fully committed to its completion which will come about when we draw our final breath. May the Word of God help us dig our way through the stormy messes that could easily slow us down or even trap us from reaching the other side of victory.

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"The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me" (Psalm 138:8). "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

Shoveling snow Our weekend snow storm, officially named Jonas, dropped over 2 feet of snow leaving Lancaster County and millions of others along the Eastern Seaboard with lots of snow to shovel. People began digging their way out yesterday and continue to do so today. We’re thankful our neighbor Leon and his son Jandon came over with two big tractors Saturday evening to clear our long driveway. We actually enjoyed being hunkered down on Saturday and watching the storm. Thankfully we never lost electric power which eliminates all our heat sources and water. There were a lot of cancellations with many spending yesterday digging out.

Yesterday our church service was cancelled, as were over 200 churches in our area, but I actually took on the chore of digging out and clearing a path around our van so if needed I could get out. Originally Ester was scheduled to go to work in the afternoon though she was later notified that the store was closed. Today she goes back to work and I am sure the store will be busy!

Digging out of debt "Digging out" is a phrase we typically use to describe our shoveling mounds of snow. But "digging out" is also figuratively used in other areas of life such as "digging out of debt". Our digging out from the messy storms of life along with our own personal messes we have made will require great direction, diligence and duration. 

Digging out can be a long process since many pile upon themselves layer after layer of poor decisions that have brought about years of sorrow and regret. God offers forgiveness and a new start, but in life and ministry we are all digging out or have dug out of something and hopefully are helping others dig out as a consequence of redemption.

Consider our life being a project; a long-term, lifetime project. What tremendous confidence the Psalmist expresses in the first daily text. I want to appropriate this truth to my life and encourage you to do the same. Read it slowly and consider its personalized truth. "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me." The KJV states, "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me." The NASV reads this way, "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me."

Philippians 1:6 God started the redemption work when we placed our trust in Christ. For some it's a new process, for others it's been over one's life time. But when God starts His redemption work in our life rest assured that He will complete it. Paul expressed this to the Philippians, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

I believe Paul was directing the believers' attention to Jesus who works in our lives and perfects our walk as we keep our eyes on Him. Whatever mess we are in when we turn to Christ He can dig us out! Paul traveled continuously starting churches and returning for visits so that he could inspire, instruct, and when needed rebuke those who in were in error.  Surely, at the end of each visit, a number of them wondered how they could grow in their faith walk without their leader's presence.

Pastors, teachers, evangelists, and lay leaders are the human messengers God uses to advance His kingdom and to mature His people.  But God's work is seen individually in those who seek after Him in their own devotional time, through Christian service, and through the daily experiences of life where we especially learn about Him. What a wonderful joy to know that the work of God in our lives is more than just a temporary project based upon a particular Bible study we're attending or whatever godly leader instructs us.

The good news is that God who began the good work in us is fully committed to its completion which will come about when we draw our final breath. May the Word of God guide and sustain us as we dig our way through the stormy messes that could easily slow us down or even trap us from reaching the other side of victory.
The good work which God began He begins in the individual heart.  It will be completed over our lifetime and it will be fulfilled according to His purpose and His time!

If the struggle you're facing is slowly replacing your hope with despair;
Or the process is long and you're losing your song in the night.
You can be sure that the Lord has His hand on you,
Safe and secure, He will never abandon you.
You are His treasure and He finds His pleasure in you.

He who began a good work in you.
He who began a good work in you
Will be faithful to complete it. He'll be faithful to complete it.
He who started the work will be faithful to complete it in you.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, here I am again; Your work in progress. Though I committed my life to you many years ago the finished work will not be revealed until I draw my final breath on this side. In the midst of my struggles, failures, and distrust I remain confident that You will complete the work that began the day I surrendered my life to You. You accepted me as I was and You lovingly began the reshaping of my life to reflect Your own nature. Not only are You continuing the good work You began, but You are digging me out of the attitudes and actions that weaken my faith and harm my Christian testimony. I thank You that You will fulfill Your purpose for me this day and all the days of my life as I commit all my ways to You. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Some Scenes from Our Place

Snow storm front view 1/23/16
Here's the front view we had on Saturday afternoon during the storm.

Snow storm deck view 1/23/16
Our side deck after Mollie diligently made a path to the deck steps.

Mollie playing in snow storm 1/23/16
The heavy snow storm did not keep Mollie from wanting to play on Saturday! It only made her more eager since "Find the Frisbee" through inches of snow was the perfect game for her. She still tried to catch the frisbee in the air if she could get there in time.

Snow storm 1/23/16
Here's the lower door I kept cleared out along with the path to my barn.

Snow storm tractor 1/23/16
What a blessing to see the big snow blower come roaring in on Saturday evening!

View of vehicles and barn following snow storm 1/24/16
Sunday morning it was bright and clear and I began digging out.

Mollie playing in backyard snow 1/24/16
On Sunday afternoon Mollie played with her rings in our back yard.

Bicycle ride following storm 1/24/16
After digging out I even took a short bike ride but didn't stay on the road long since it was very cold and I didn't outfit my bike with snow tires! (Notice the planter in the forefront with the buildup of about 28" of snow.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Who Began A Good Work"   Video   Steve Green

Just for fun: Ester is developin some film-making skillls, thanks to helps from Iphone software, as evidenced by this one minute trailer about an upcoming movie featuring her border collie Mollie. Video

Lancaster Central Market 1/22/16
I had asked the young Amish girls staffing the stand at the Central market and thought it would make a good quiz so on Friday we asked our readers if anyone could tell us what this sign says. The answer is... "Come Eat" A colorful memory from our current pastor's wife was during the years they pastored in Pennsylvania's Big Valley region with lots of Pennsylvania Dutch. "When we pastored in Belleville, the Deacon would often tell the people to Kom-Essa when we had carry in meals." Thanks for the many correct responses.

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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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