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Friday, June 23, 2017

Mill Creek dam at Mascot Roller Mill 6/17/17
Mill Creek dam near Mascot Rolling Mill

"Constantly Bearing Fruit"

Message summary: The gospel is bearing fruit and growing today!

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"We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth"  (Colossians 1:3-6).

Our small garden is bearing fruit! This year we downsized our garden to a smaller raised bed. We now have tomatoes on the tomato plants and peppers on the pepper plants but not quite ready to harvest, although a pepper may soon be ready. Hopefully all through the summer and early fall they will constantly bear fruit and increase! As we travel about our work we are seeing more and more roadside stands with vegetables, fruit, and flowers especially through a region of Lancaster County known as "Garden Spot" (the area around New Holland) where we travelled yesterday.

But today we want to consider something else that's
"constantly bearing fruit and increasing"; the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I were to dwell only on the watered down gospel message that far too many are preaching I could easily become discouraged, but at the same time I'm reminded of the powerful message from Jesus Himself, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against My church."

Inflatable globeOne year during a mission's convention in New England we used a large, inflatable world globe to illustrate the work of Christ's ministry taking place all over the world. We tossed the large globe through the congregation sort of like a beach ball, although it was much larger than that similar in size to the photo on the left. There might be several of our readers that would remember that particular missions service!

I have always liked maps and globes. One Christmas the church where I pastored gave me a very nice globe on a stand, which I thoroughly appreciated. I try to imagine the people living in various parts of the world and the continued impact of the Gospel even in the hardest to reach places, both spiritually and geographically speaking. I have also found this useful as a prayer guide.

For many years now I've done a lot of exploring on Google maps or Google Earth. I have examined portions of war torn countries like Syria and consider the persecution our fellow Christians are enduring.

The statement made in the daily text by the Apostle Paul to the early believers at Colossae illustrates the rapid spread of the Gospel in the first century. In fact it had extended into every quarter of the Roman Empire within three decades of Pentecost when the book of Colossians was written. Still today in an age some have called "post-Christian" members of my spiritual family are planting spiritual seeds all over the world.

It's so fulfilling that readers of this devotional perspective come from all over the world and I am so blessed to receive feedback from these international readers. I am astounded at some of the countries readers come from, including many countries that are closed to traditional missions outreach. I have on my heart today a special encouragement for these readers.

We are citizens of a variety of different countries and there is a sense of national pride that most all of us experience. But all who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior have an infinitely greater citizenship. Paul, writing from a prison to believers in the Roman colony of Philippi, declares a citizenship we believers share and rejoice in today, "But our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). Although he found his Roman citizenship a helpful defense in a time of trial, undoubtedly he considered his heavenly citizenship of incomparably greater value. And so should we!

How Paul rejoiced as he wrote the daily text.  Indeed "in all the world also it (the Gospel) is constantly bearing fruit and increasing". Paul didn't just focus on those he had direct fellowship with as is evidenced throughout his many writings. He had a spiritual interest in all of God's creation, local or distant, that the gospel would constantly bear fruit and increase in their lives. We, too, need to broaden our circle and embrace those of other nationalities, skin color, and culture. We should pray earnestly for those whom we may never meet on this side but will spend all of eternity with; those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ; those with whom we worship the One and only true God.

As we do so the gospel will be bearing fruit and growing in our lives today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  In prayer we lift up our brothers and sisters from around the globe, asking You, Father, to fill them with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that they may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in Your knowledge, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience. We joyfully give thanks to You, our Father, who has qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. Thank You, Father, that You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Your Son whom You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Amen.

Prayer from Colossians 1:9-13: A prayer suitable for each of us to pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Amish child with calf 6/22/17
Yesterday Ester did a photo shoot for the Old Windmill Farm Facebook page
and shares a number of photos from the farm including this one. Stephen was pleased to hear, during Ester's visit, that little Sarah Beth asked her mother in Pennsylvania Dutch "Where is Steveweber?" (The kids always run his name together as one word). She'll soon turn three but looks like a very experienced farm hand in this photo.

Ammon Graybill 6/22/17
Following our chaplain visits yesterday we stopped by Costco and visited with Ammon Graybill, a friend I met many years ago through CBMC. Ammon is a realtor and has had ministry in the business community since 1954! We commended Ammon for his faithfulness to God's work.

Lancaster County farm 6/22/17
The corn is growing well on this Lancaster County farm! This view was a van stopper. I (Brooksyne) pulled out my camera ready to capture this photo near New Holland, but Stephen beat me to it as he pulled the van over. Oh, how beautiful it is as the crops are growing, the corn fields are glistening, and people are out and about everyday.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Stumptown Road garden 6/22/17
We stopped by this beautiful garden yesterday on an Amish farm on Stumptown Road.

Garden on Stumptown Road in Lancaster County PA
The same garden in 2008
The Scripture reference is Isaiah 58:11.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Can Trust Jesus"  Video  The Collingsworth Family This is indeed a family; Mom, Dad and 4 children who have amazing harmonies.

"When He Carries Me Away"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"At Calvary"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening (June 25) the Collingsworth Family will be in Lebanon, PA for th
e Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you as we did two weeks ago with the Booth Brothers.

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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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