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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Amish watermelon harvest
neighbor Eli harvesting watermelons to take to market and a few leftover for us "local folks" who can't eat enough watermelon over the summer.

"The Blessing Of Fruitfulness"

Message Summary:
One of the common illustrations in the Bible regarding the evidence of spiritual health and life is fruitfulness. In the second daily text John the Baptist shares a lasting spiritual command, "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). In bearing fruit we bring the Father glory and demonstrate that we are indeed Christ's disciples. In Scripture fruitfulness is used in the sense of the impact of the Gospel (Colossians 1:6) and in the development of Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22,23).

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"We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic" (Numbers 11:5). "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (
Matthew 3:8).

Tomato basketWe are enjoying a season of abundant fruitfulness and vegetablefulness (if there is such a word). Our tomato patch is covered with ripening tomatoes, so much so, that we are trying to give some away. Anyone interested please drop by! But then, of course, many of you are in the same situation where you have an abundant harvest and are sharing your blessing with others who would otherwise have to eat store bought tomatoes. And you know they aren't nearly as good as homegrown tomatoes!

Sweet cornWe've shared photos in the last couple of posts about corn, a project Brooksyne plans on doing today (freezing). It's quite labor intensive but sure tastes good in the winter. Ester and Stephen will do their part by shucking the corn, some 72 ears, but Brooksyne takes on the job of blanching (first boiling water then ice water with the corn still attached to the cob), then cutting off the corn, and finally placing in freezer bags so that we can enjoy it throughout the year. Although there's something special about fresh corn on the cob it will taste very good on a cold winter evening.

We've also been eating a lot of small to medium sized watermelons the last several weeks. Our Amish neighbor Eli grows them commercially and also sells them along the road for $1.00 each. Our favorite melons are seedless and he grows both kinds. It's a smaller melon, just right for cutting in and digging out the sweet juicy flesh. We've had grilled watermelon, trying to find a creative use, but really, in our view, you just can't improve on the traditional way of eating cold watermelon.

Watermelon contains about 92 percent water and 6 percent sugar. Since it consists mostly of water, its name makes perfect sense! Our friend Rick grows watermelons and muses about the marvel of going out to his patch and observing that the soil around the plant is bone dry so he wonders aloud, "Where does the watermelon get all that water?" I wonder that as well.

The first daily text contains the only reference to "melon" in the Bible. The children of Israel had been miraculously delivered from Egypt. Their conditions as slaves were horrific affecting many generations. But during their journey in the wilderness when their only food supply was manna day after day after day they began to talk and dream about the variety of foods they enjoyed in Egypt.

As miraculous events began to fade from their memories the Israelites became hardened. Their attitudes, instead of expressing gratitude, they expressed badditude (another new word). They began to grumble about their present circumstances and fondly remember the food they partook of in Egypt. It's a dangerous thing to park your brain in a place where it should no longer reside. The grumblers began to test the Lord as they grumbled about their daily provisions. Many lost their lives as a result when the death angel passed by. There's a lesson in this story for us as well since we can easily fall into the grumbling attitude of the Israelites. (See 1 Corinthians 10)

Instead of grumbling today we want to consider the blessing of spiritual fruitfulness.

One of the common illustrations in the Bible regarding the evidence of spiritual health and life is fruitfulness. In the second daily text John the Baptist shares a lasting spiritual command,
"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8).

In bearing fruit we bring the Father glory and demonstrate that we are indeed Christ's disciples. In Scripture fruitfulness is used in the sense of the impact of the Gospel (Colossians 1:6) and in the development of Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22,23).

There are three foundational qualities to this fruitfulness:

We are to bear much fruit (quantity), "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8).
• We are to bear good fruit (quality), "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matthew 7:17).  and
• We are to bear lasting fruit (longevity). "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last" (John 15:16)

We have been appointed to go and bear fruit. The word "appointed" is also translated "ordained" (KJV). We all have a high calling from our Lord. This day let us indeed seek to be fruitful!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Jesus taught Your followers that He is the vine and we are the branches. If we remain in Him we will bear much fruit. Fruitfulness in our lives is not automatic nor can it be purchased or inherited since Jesus is the sole source of our fruitfulness. And yet You provide many wholesome examples of those who bear fruit; those in Scripture, throughout history, and even within our own church, community and family. We want to be healthy branches bearing much fruit, especially bearing the fruit of forgiveness, so that we bring glory to You and increase to the kingdom of God. Amen.

Watermelons for sale
Our neighborhood produce stand. Seedless watermelons to left are just $1.00!
(Sold at the corner of Kraybill Church Road and Colebrook Road)

Horsepower 8/19/16
The storm on Tuesday last week damaged a tree where the melons are sold but it was cleared out by Friday. We passed John's house as he was stacking the splintered tree on Friday. He and his wife were rejoicing that, though the heavy branches fell on their porch, the children were safe inside and the only damage was the spouting. Another inch or two and he would have had roof damage.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt"  Video  Keith Green

"That's Just What Grace Does"  Video   Brian Free & Assurance

Yesterday I mentioned a song that had an impact on me prior to my conversion "I Wish We Had All Been Ready" and had intended to place a link up. But I forgot! Duke, an alert reader from Delaware shared this one. Video

Then a note from our friend in Texas:

Stephen and Brooksyne, I always love it when you share your testimonies on your spiritual birthday. Mine is May 12, 1968. Don't apologize when you tell it over and over again. Two things come to my mind.

One is 2 Peter 1:12-15: "Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind."

The other is the old hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story." Especially the last two stanzas:

"I love to tell the story;
'tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God's own holy Word."

"I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long."

Happy Spiritual Birthday! I raise my Ebenezer with you.

Information about the watermelon

Recipe for grilled watermelon

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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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