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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yellow fields on Lebanon County PA farm 4/25/17 (Click to enlarge)
We passed these lush variegated patches of pasture land in northern Lebanon County PA yesterday.
(Click to enlarge)

"Staying The Course" (Part 1)

Message summary: May God help each of us to be faithful and stay the course! "God, help me to stay the course and persevere today!"

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"But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).

In the course of our chaplain visitation we meet many people in companies right where they work. Yesterday I met a new Hispanic employee at a company and introduced myself as a chaplain, but quickly perceived that the young man had limited English proficiency. He just wasn't comprehending what I was saying and looked confused, perhaps even a bit distressed.

Another employee familiar with our role as chaplains was working close by so I asked her to explain to the young man who I was. She spoke to him in Spanish and then explained how he had misunderstood me. He apparently thought I was saying I was El Chapo and he thought I was in the cartel. We all got a chuckle and I'm sure glad that was cleared up right away. Well, of course I am not in a cartel as the word is typically used today nor should I be confused with a rather infamous Mexican drug lord, El Chapo!

But in a historical sense a cartel is defined as "a coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest." Although our focus is certainly not political we are indeed in a vast coalition or cooperative arrangement intended to promote a mutual interest, the most important work on this earth, promoting the Kingdom of God. Many of us sang about that on Easter, "Christ has triumphed and we conquer by His mighty enterprise" in the song, "Alleluia! Alleluia!" As such we have a vital mission to stay on course.

Several years ago a Northwest Airlines flight flew past its destination by 150 miles. The pilots, in one way or another, were not paying attention, placing the entire crew and passengers in peril. I happened to fly with Northwest on a trip shortly after the incident. As I departed the plane I peeked in the cockpit and teasingly said, "Thanks for staying on course."

A vitally important duty of spiritual leaders is to stay on course.

The daily verse of Scripture has long gripped my heart. I first specifically recall its richness when I was preparing for my ministerial ordination in 1979. At that time I wrote down Bible verses pertaining to ministry and memorized many of them.

Paul is addressing the Ephesian elders in a powerful farewell message. "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."  The apostle was determined to faithfully finish the course of life and ministry God had called him to.
"Stay the course" is a phrase meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism. If you stay the course, you finish something that you have started, even though it has become very difficult.  (Collins dictionary)

Pastor Steven Cole writes, "To finish the course, you must put the ministry that you received from the Lord above even life itself."

May God help each of us to be faithful and stay the course! "God, help me to stay the course and persevere today!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, stir in my heart the desire to be diligently immersed in the Word of God. The deceiver is diligent in planting seeds of doubt, confusion and clever lies always intending to lead me off course in my spiritual walk. As I persevere in reading and applying truths inscribed throughout Your Word I ward off the incessant pleas from Satan to yield to sin. I desire to be Your faithful follower not just for a season but all the way to eternity.  It is my heart's desire to influence as many as possible to join me in this noble calling.  May You find me faithful so that those who watch my life daily may also find me faithful! Amen.

Yellow fields in Lebanon County PA 4/25/17
Another view of distant the yellow fields in Lebanon County.
Perhaps an informed reader can inform us as to what the yellow flowered plants are.

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"All I Once Held Dear"  Video  Graham Kendrick, Kristyn Getty & Jonathan Veira the All Souls Orchestra

"Keep Me True" 
Video  Jabu Hlongwane

"  Video  Big Daddy Weave

Pastor Steve Cole 7/10/16Finishing the Course (Acts 20:22-27) A lesson by Steven Cole from Bible.org Steven Cole is in my view one of the outstanding Bible teachers of our time. Last summer I attended the church he has served for many years in Flagstaff Arizona, Flagstaff Christian Fellowship. For many years I have benefited from the teachings of Pastor Steve Cole posted online. I was blessed as I visited and upon hearing the solid exposition of God's Word. I had the opportunity to meet Pastor Cole and thank him for his service for Christ.

Finally today:

Yesterday we shared a quiz based only on the numeric references to well-known Scripture verses. Below are the verses that I associate the numbers with. Obviously as long as there is such a reference there is not an incorrect answer and in several cases there are several well-known verses associated with the number. We enjoyed reading your responses to this fun quiz.

Linked to Bible Gateway
  1. Romans 8:28
  2. Ephesians 2:8,9
  3. Jeremiah 29:11
  4. Genesis 1:1 or John 1:1 (I think of both when I consider 1:1)
  5. Matthew 6:33
  6. Acts 1:8
  7. Acts 16:31
  8. John 10:10
  9. Romans 3:23
  10. Isaiah 40:31
  11. 1 Corinthians 13:1
  12. Hebrews 11:6
  13. Psalm 23:1
  14. Micah 6:8 (This was probably the most obscure verse)
  15. Psalm 119:105 (This is the only 119:105 in the Bible!)

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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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