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Monday, July 10, 2017

Farmhouse and flowers near Myerstown, PA 7/9/17
Yesterday morning we passed this cozy farmhouse, with the splash of multi-colored flowers along the white front fence and side yard, near Myerstown, PA.

"A Commitment To Serving God's Purpose"

Message summary: We can live for self or in consecration to God's purpose.

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"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me" (Psalm 57:2). "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please" (Isaiah 46:10). "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed" (Acts 13:36). "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [His] purpose" (Romans 8:28 KJV).

Stephen speaking at Teen Challenge chapel service 7/9/17 Yesterday we drove up to Rehersburg, PA where I preached at the Teen Challenge Chapel. Teen Challenge is a ministry that serves people of all ages who are overcoming addictions with a major focus on the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ.

I challenged the men to serve God's purpose in their own generation alluding to
Acts 13:36, "David had served God's purpose in his own generation". I told them their past is behind them but from henceforth to seek to live for God's purpose.

Our life is a part of the overall fulfillment of God's purpose. Psalm 57 was written during a very low period in David's life. He cried out to the Lord and expressed confidence that ultimately God would fulfill His purpose in his life,
"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me".

We have a lot of information on David in the historical books. But the apostle Paul, preaching in a Jewish synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, makes a simple statement concerning David's life, essentially a summation, "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation." As we consider this phrase I would be honored if such an inscription was engraved on my tombstone such as, "Stephen Weber served God's purpose in his generation". (Place your name in the place of mine)

Note just a phrase from our second daily verse.  It's a source of great peace and assurance in the microcosm and in the macrocosm. "My purpose will stand". God is speaking here and I believe Him.  I don't always understand His purpose or how it all fits together. I probably spend too much time trying to figure it out since I have a very analytical mind and sometimes mixing analysis with faith is a little like trying to mix oil and water! 

What about you? What's in your heart and on your mind this day?  God ever calls us to seek and trust Him.  Elsewhere the Psalmist proclaims of this God of purpose: "I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me" (Psalm 57:2).

God places us on this earth for a season, a period of time known as our "own generation”. The amount of time we have varies; some die young, others in their middle years and yet others at a "ripe old age", (Genesis 25:8). But like David, each of us, except the final generation, will eventually "fall asleep". But for the believer, because of Calvary, our spirits will soar as our bodies return to ashes.

God knows what is good for us better than we know ourselves. Let us not make the mistake of judging God's overall plan for our lives by only that portion which may be our current experience. God has all eternity to bring His plans to fulfillment for our lives and for others whom we influence by what we say and do. Think not in terms of today, but in terms of eternity. After all, that's where we'll spend most of our existence.

We can live for self or in consecration to God's purpose. Many have heard the quote, “Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.” Today, let us, like David, choose to serve God’s purpose in our generation! We ask you, how are you impacting others for Christ and for eternity? At the conclusion of yesterday's service I called the men to consecration by urging them to repeat after me using their own names, "I, _____________, commit to serving God's purpose in my own generation." We urge each reader to make that same commitment.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we're grateful for men and women of faith throughout history who were the called according to Your purpose, who served Your purpose in their generation as they made Your purpose their own purpose. In the story of the lost sheep Jesus made it clear that You are not willing that even one would be lost. So we also make it our prayer, ambition, and purpose to reach others within our circle of influence so that they would not perish but have everlasting life. Help us to remain steadfast and strong as we press on in this race set before us. We're not in competition to be the only prizewinner, but instead we take hold of the hands of those who run with us and invite those on the sidelines to join us. We want to cross the finish line together so that we all receive the grand prize of life eternal with You. May we never give out or give up! Amen.

Trumpet vine in Schaefferstown, Pa 7/9/17
Trumpet vines are in all their glory during the summer months, this one supported by a garage in Schaefferstown, Pa

Lebanon Valley farm 7/9/17
To get to Lebanon County you cross the first distinct ridge distinguishing our coastal plain area with the ridges and valleys to the north of us where many of the farms have a mountain ridge scenery. One of the beautiful geographical features in eastern Pennsylvania is the ridges and valleys, with rich farmland in the valleys.

Lebanon Valley farm 7/9/17
Another Lebanon County valley/ridge farm scene

Ben Foose family 7/8/17
Saturday afternoon we visited with Ben Foose and his family, along with their extended family members on both sides. Ben is a supervisor at Val-Co, a company we serve as chaplains, who invited us to his home in Middletown for a cookout. Ben and his wife, Taphath (a Bible name), are devoted to raising their delightful three sons in the ways of the Lord.

Steven and sons, Teen Challenge chapel service 7/9/17
Following the Teen Challenge service yesterday we had an opportunity to visit with several of the residents and personally encourage them. This resident was pleased to have his two sons visiting with him and informed me that after he completes the program he has a goal of attending college to study addiction counseling. It sure seems like that will be a growing field and we hope his focus is always the life-transforming power of Christ. I also spoke to a young man (not pictured) who was in the program following detox from heroin. He shared how, although raised in a non-Christian home, he participated in a Christian scouting program, Royal Rangers. It laid a foundation for his return to faith following a period of rebellion. So we encourage Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, Bible Quiz, Royal Ranger leaders, VBS workers, and others who work with children or youth. Even though sadly some will turn away for a period their faint remembrances of God's plan for their life will become clearer and dearer when they fully realize that the devil only wants to "steal, kill and destroy" them but Christ came to give them abundant life.

Parents with young man in Teen Challenge 7/9/17
One of the great blessings of life is having the support of your parents. Brooksyne visited with this resident along with his mom and dad from the Reading area. They had come out to the service to visit with their son who has been at Teen Challenge for about three months. They are thrilled with the change in his life and the progress he is making.

Sonny and Pat Oliver 7/9/17
Last night at the "Singing in the Park" concert we visited briefly with Sonny and Pat Oliver. They ministered many years at the Rherersburg Teen Challenge. Pat is a dynamic  choir director and soloist. Sonny has a marvelous testimony of deliverance from the drug infested streets of Chicago and God's keeping power all these years later. We met Sonny in Bible College in the mid-seventies.

Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers, Lebanon, PA 7/9/17 (Click to enlarge)
Last night we heard the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers in concert at Coleman park in Lebanon, PA. What an incredibly inspirational time of worshipping with these gifted and dedicated singers. You'll want to click on some of their music below.
(Click on photo for larger version)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Take Me As I Am
"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir This was Brooksyne's favorite song from last night. This is the full choir version but the "singers" were as large as the choir in many churches and had an incredibly full sound. A great invitation song, along the lines of the classic hymn, "I Surrender All". In fact it would be a beautiful medley. Please listen.

"When We Pray"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Another moving song we heard last night. This is played often on our local Christian radio station, WDAC.

"Redeemed"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir This is presently Stephen's favorite Brooklyn Tabernacle song which if often playing on his computer.

"I Won't Go Back" 
Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  Today we prayerfully devote this song to all our readers but especially to those who are in the process of being delivered from destructive habits, whether it's in our attitudes and/or in our actions.

Finally today:
Train in Richland, PA 7/9/17
Returning home from the Teen Challenge service yesterday we purposefully went through some Lebanon County farmland we had never driven through, including the little village of Richland, where we saw a passing freight train! In fact Ester said, "Let's watch dad smile". Indeed I've enjoyed watching trains ever since they passed behind my grandparents's little house in Harwood Missouri. When Brooksyne is tending to her flowers I almost always see her smiling. I guess I'm like that with trains. Aren't you thankful for the things in life that bring a smile without our even knowing it!

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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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