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Monday, September 5, 2016

Amish corn harvest 9/2/16
Ronks Corn Harvest 9/2/16
(Click for larger view)

"He's Still Working On Me"

Message Summary:
This Labor Day let us invite God to keep up His good work in our life. Hold tight to His loving grip and be confident that He's still at work. In earth's journey we're always "Under Construction" but the hour is coming when God's work will be completed in our lives! Until then I want to be busy working for the Master as the Master continues working on me.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"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).

Today is "Labor Day" here in the USA. For most it's merely a paid day off from work and the unofficial conclusion of summer. Many will gather with family and friends and perhaps have a cookout. The swimming pools will be filled since many will drain or cover their pools until next year. It's shaping up to be a beautiful day here in rural Pennsylvania.

On Labor Day we usually prepare a message about the value and dignity of our labor. In an age when so many devalue labor this is a topic I address now and then.

However today let us consider "God's Labor" in creation, redemption and preparation for our future heavenly home. At the conclusion of Creation, "God saw all that He had made, and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). On the Cross Christ proclaimed the total price paid for our redemption, "It Is Finished" (John 19:30). In His final teaching to His disciples Jesus told them, "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). I am absolutely confident that this project, if not completed, is on schedule and on budget!

One "unfinished project" is His continued work in each of our lives. He continues to inform, perform, and transform willing subjects. Many of us will recall a song written years ago that describes the maturing process of the believer, "He's Still Working On Me."

He's still working on me
To make me what I ought to be
It took Him just a day to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be.
He's still working on me.

Now here's a spiritual lesson. Obviously our Divine Contractor can build as fast as He wants. After all, the Creation account is completed over a mere six day period. But spiritual growth is incremental over the course of our entire life. There are times when these increments are noticeable and dramatic, particularly in our early days in the faith. There are other times when they may be practically imperceptible and we may wonder if the Master Contractor is still at work.

However, we can be sure, based upon the trustworthiness of God's Word and His character, that He is continually at work. In our daily text Paul expresses confidence that the One who began the good work in the lives of the Philippian believers (and each one of us who has placed our faith in Christ) will be faithful to perform or complete it until the day of His return. The Greek word for "complete" means to "fulfill completely." Praise God – He doesn't do a half-hearted, incompetent or incomplete work!

Bible commentator William Hendriksen calls our attention to "how closely the apostle links human perseverance (“your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until the present”) with divine preservation (“He who began a good work in you will carry it on toward completion”). Any doctrine of salvation which does not do full justice to both of these elements is unscriptural. Although it is true that God brings His work to completion, it is equally true that when God has once begun his work in men, the latter by no means remain merely passive instruments!"   

This Labor Day let us invite God to keep up His good work in our life. Hold tight to His loving grip and be confident that He's still at work. In earth's journey we're always "Under Construction" but the hour is coming when God's work will be completed in our lives! Until then I want to be busy working for the Master as the Master continues working on me.

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, You began a good work in me the moment of my conception when You created me in Your own image. Incredibly, You chose to reflect Your divine Being through my thoughts, attitudes, and actions though I am still numbered among the "frail children of dust, … feeble and frail." I place my trust in You and have found that You never fail. You never give up or abandon the work You started in my life but Your tender mercies and divine plan continue to break me, mold me, and shape me into Your image. The process will not be completed until the day You call us home. Thank You, Father, for being my "Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend". Amen.

Amish corn picker 9/2/16
This Amish farmer prepares his horse and equipment for harvest.

Amish tow 9/2/16
An unusual sight is seeing a buggy getting a tow.
They don't have engine problems and can normally find the horsepower!

A walk across a recently harvested field 9/3/16
The last several days we have been varying our typical walk along the trail to trek the recently harvested corn fields. The dogs enjoy running through the open space and Stephen foraged for corn to feed the squirrels and the stalks for fall decorations.

Mount Pleasant teacher commissioning 9/4/16 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday we had our annual teacher commissioning in our church as we begin a new Sunday School year. We commend the millions of dedicated lay people in churches all around the world who are involved in the discipling process.
(Click to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. New Testament Commentary Set, 12 Volumes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House)

For further study: For many years I have benefitted from the online commentary compilation at a site called Precept Austin. Here is the link to the resources for Philippians 1:6.

"He Who Began A Good Work In You"   Video   Steve Green

"He's Still Working On Me"  Video  The Hemphills  I notice Mike Martin a friend of ours posted this edition!

"When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" Video  Twila Paris This song may be harder for younger people to understand since yesterday in church a young boy in Brooksyne's Sunday School class told her in his school they don't have roll calls. Well I suppose most of us our age recall the roll call!

We sang this song yesterday in our church and Brooksyne shared the background:

This verse is especially appropriate for Labor Day:
Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the Roll is Called Up Yonder (published 1894)- James Bank, a musician and Youth president in his church, was taking roll call one evening at a youth rally. The students responded, if they were present, by quoting a Scripture verse. When he called out one young girl's name there was no response. Bank was troubled by her absence and went home that evening thinking about it.

Mr. Bank had met the 14 year old earlier. Her father was an alcoholic and the ragged clothing she wore indicated neglect and poverty. He took her under his wing and invited her to Sunday School and the youth program which began a spiritual transformation in her life.

As he mulled over her absence that evening he considered the roll call from the Lamb's book of life in heaven and said, "That's one roll call I don't want to miss" which resulted in the words and music to "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder."

Bank would eventually learn that ten days after that meeting the girl died from pneumonia. which fully explained her absence. But the blessedness of this experience is that, though she missed the roll call at the youth meeting she answered the roll call up in heaven.

(Brooksyne's paraphrase as retold from resources: Ken Osbeck  "Amazing Grace" & Robert Morgan "Then Sings my Soul")

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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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