The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Early yesterday morning we passed Mount Gretna Lake and Ester snapped this photo. Mount Gretna is an artsy residential community very busy in the summer months. Although it's only about 20 miles from us it's nestled in a ridge and feels like mountainous northern Pennsylvania.
Click on photo to enlarge
Message summary: God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my "personal mission statement" that I wrote many years ago. This, of course, could also be called my "personal purpose statement." I purposefully place it in the footers of each daily encouragement message. It reads, "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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"You, however, know all about … my purpose" (2 Timothy 3:10).
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born
and the day you find out why."
We had an interesting visit yesterday. Our daughter Ester, born in Guatemala, came to the USA at 3 months of age in 1989, with severe congenital heart problems. During the first three years of her life she had five major heart operations to correct the problem, most notably a procedure known as the Fontan. Her cardiac surgeon was Dr. Christian Gilbert, who was very attentive and compassionate during her long and difficult recovery period.
We moved from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts shortly after that and lost all contact with Dr. Gilbert. This last weekend I read that he is now the staff physician at a large Teen Challenge Center only about 35 miles away. So yesterday, following an early morning chaplain visit in that area, we drove up to meet him, along with Ester. He has quite a story of overcoming.
Following his years at Geisinger hospital where we met him in northern Pennsylvania he became the chief pediatric cardiac surgeon at a large children's hospital in Memphis. This had been his long term goal and I suppose he was at the top of his game. But several years later he had a cancerous brain tumor and almost died in surgery when the tumor was removed. Following the surgery, due to his type of cancer, Gilbert was told his life expectancy was only 13 months. That was twelve years ago! Following his recovery his faith deepened and he became a medical missionary performing some 950 heart operations in third world countries over a five year period.
He now serves an entirely different patient base; men recovering from addictions. The night before our visit he had dealt with five opioid intakes for detox so he stays very busy. As we walked through the facility what a pitiful sight to see a man lying in a fetal position on a couch going through withdrawal. Dr. Gilbert expressed that he finds great fulfillment not just in medically treating their physical addiction but also in dealing with their spiritual needs as he tells the men the ultimate answer for their overcoming addiction is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
As we had lunch together in a local pizza shop we discovered that all three of us were about the same age and graduated from high school the same year (1973). We are now in those years when life begins to wind down so to speak. But... not if you maintain the sense of purpose that God has for each of us. We believe God has a plan for our lives of serving Him and others all the days of our life.
Paul is often considered the greatest missionary of all time. Toward the end of his life in his final letter he wrote in confidence to Timothy, "You, however, know all about … my purpose" (2 Timothy 3:10).
God created us with purpose. One of the greatest innate needs common to all people is a purpose for our existence. Many aimlessly drift throughout their lives with little sense of direction or purpose. As a young Christian I learned to share my faith using a booklet called "The Four Spiritual Laws" which begins with the phrase, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Of course the noun "plan" can be equally understood as "purpose" and truly God has a purpose for each of us.
2 Timothy is considered the last letter that Paul wrote. The first nine verses in chapter three list over twenty-three godless characteristics evident in a period that Paul describes as "terrible times in these last days". In fact it could easily easily describe the world in which we live. He sums the list up with the phrase, "these men oppose the truth".
But beginning in verse 10 Paul lists a number of positive personal characteristics that he was confident Timothy had observed in his life and thus was well acquainted with: "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me…the persecutions I endured…". Paul demonstrated these characteristics day by day; during periods of peace and during times of testing, when he had plenty and when he was in need. It wasn't just the words Paul used to teach, but it was his way of life that reinforced that which he professed.
Among the characteristics he listed was "my purpose". The word purpose means a "plan" or a "resolve", denoting that a decision has been made. Another reference states this purpose to be "the guiding motive of my life and work".
God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my "personal mission statement" that I wrote many years ago. This, of course, could also be called my "personal purpose statement." I purposefully place it in the footers of each daily encouragement message. It reads, "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
But I believe God has also specifically equipped us for the unique purpose He has for our individuality. This purpose varies depending on the gifts, challenges, and callings God has granted us. In Acts 12:36 we read, "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation". My goal is to fulfill God's purpose for my life in my generation. What about you?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, to find lasting satisfaction and personal reward we must look to Your blueprints for our lives since we are Your creation. You have shown us by Christ's example what is good and that which You require of us; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. As we do that we will find great purpose, the kind of purpose that is not just for our earthly existence but that which lasts for all eternity. May we be faithful in making choices today that reflect Your purpose in my life and fulfills our spiritual calling. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
"Your Heart's Delight" is the newest company we serve as chaplains. They develop and sell wholesale home decor items which many of you have probably seen in gift shops.
I have the opportunity to share a brief devotional message each Tuesday morning with those who choose to come. Yesterday I used this verse on a small plaque that was designed by one of the company founders as a prop in my message.
Commonly we see Scripture verses in rural settings as we travel like this one we passed in Lebanon County yesterday.
Following our early morning chaplain visit we headed over to the Teen Challenge Training Center. Teen Challenge, serving teens and adults, is a Christian based drug and alcohol rehab center founded in the fifties by David Wilkerson. The emphasis is new life in Jesus Christ and the power of God to overcome. For nearly 16 years, while pastoring a church in Saint Marys, PA, I preached behind the same pulpit that David Wilkerson used while pastoring in Philipsburg, PA. He chose to follow God's leading to New York City to share the gospel with gangs and people dealing with drug addiction. The leadership from that church, knowing of our young church plant and the need for a pulpit, donated theirs to us.
During our visit at the local pizza shop we took this photo of Ester with Dr. Christian Gilbert, a cardiac surgeon who 25 years earlier, operated on Ester. He is now the staff physician for Teen Challenge of Rehersburg.
Here is three year old Ester during a follow up visit giving Dr. Gilbert a thank you card in 1992. She might have been singing a song for him as well, since she was quick to do those sort of things in her early years.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Ask Me Why" Video Legacy Five The video begins with a testimony about the song's background which is certainly worth listening to. However the song starts here.
"Your Heart's Delight"
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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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