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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Eternal perspective

"Lessons From Coach Shepherd"

Message summary: We are all welcome on Coach Shepherd's team and into God's family…and this by His marvelous grace!

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"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7).

Ester told me a sad story the other day. She has a friend with a crippling disability. He spends a lot of time with his grandparents and Ester told us it's because his brother does not accept him. Now that would be crushing. There may be more to the story, but on the face of it the circumstances are disheartening.

Rejected stickerWe visit several large distribution centers with "pickers" darting about the huge warehouses pulling products or loading pallets. Once I visited a company where one of the pickers had a large "Rejected" sticker plastered on her green jumpsuit (The rejected sticker was intended for use on boxes of materials that had been rejected.)  Apparently a co-worker had placed it on her jumpsuit as a joke and I don't think she even realized it was there.

But it got me thinking. How many people often are or feel rejected by others? How many have experienced rejection by significant people in their lives? Though they don't wear a visual banner declaring "REJECTED" it's visible in their expressions, in their communication or lack of it, and they're often accessorized by a downward cast. Certainly a lot of people have experienced rejection repeatedly, including some of you reading this today. Read this message carefully and receive encouragement from a powerful Scripture phrase.

Chris Maxwell is a friend of mine who also has a writing ministry. I sure appreciated a message he shared using an analogy from the sports world. I believe it will bless daily encouragement readers today as well.

"A team I play for is going to win. The Owner knew I wasn't the best available free agent, but signed me anyway. He does that for many players. The team strategy is something like 'Whosoever wants to play for us, we will sign.'

Critics have called our team many names; "Failures", "Scrubs", "Losers", "Rejects". But Coach Shepherd says our team name, "Sheep", is a good fit. He treats us like we are really His Sheep. Our franchise has a promise of guaranteed eternal success! That fact can help us sleep no matter the score of any one game.

How do I know the eventual outcome? I read an advanced copy of the press release. "No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever'" (Revelation 22:3-5). Cursed no longer. Cured. Let that be our team!"

Consider the phrase in the daily Scripture verse, "just as Christ accepted you". What were we like before Christ accepted us? Romans 5 gives us a "thumbnail sketch" where Paul describes unbelievers as "helpless... ungodly... sinners... enemies".

What a glorious truth it is to be accepted by Christ and become part of His family. Whether or not we have known the acceptance and support of a loving family or faithful friends, when we come to God in faith and repentance we are accepted. He has said, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37). We are all welcome on Coach Shepherd's team and into God's family…and this by His marvelous grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have shown us through the example of Jesus that we are to accept others in the same way that Christ accepted us. Show us ways that we can effectively reach out to others, especially those who feel rejected by family or society as a whole. Help us to show them genuine love and to initiate a friendship in the same way that You reached out to many people groups and befriended them. As we do this in obedience to your command and as we are led by Christ's example Scripture indicates that we bring praise to You which is our heart's desire. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I'm Accepted"  Video   DeGarmo & Key  An old song with a great message

"The People In The Line"  Video   The Talleys  A song reminding us to be aware of the hurting people around us.

"The Broken Ones"
   Video  The Talleys

"She Still Remembers Jesus' Name"  Video 
The Booth Brothers  We dedicate this song to all who have a loved one dealing with Alzheimer's Disease

"Tears Are A Language"  Video  The Booth Brothers  This was popular when we were in Bible College in the mid-seventies and was among the first "specials" Brooksyne ever sang

Note to local readers: The Booth Brothers will present a concert this Sunday evening in Lebanon at Coleman Park, part of Music in the Park series. There is no charge for this service but an offering is taken. We plan on attending with John and Faithe Keefer, a pastor friend and his wife.
Perhaps we will see some of you there! Also take note of additional concerts all through the summer.

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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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