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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Monarch butterfly 7/26/17 (Photo by Ester)
This morning Ester took a photo of this yellow butterfly resting on our butterfly bush in front of our home.

"Apelles, Tested And Approved In Christ"

Message summary: Today we urge all of you who are enduring a testing to remember the highest goal of life is to be "dokimon en Christo" (tested and approved in Christ).

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"Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ" (Romans 16:10a).

During my summer breaks while in college I worked as a Quality Control inspector in a concrete company in Kansas. We made pre-cast, pre-stressed concrete; a product used in large construction projects such as decks in parking lots and bridges.

Precast concrete bridge deckThe concrete is poured into huge forms or beds which is the precast part. In order to increase the strength cables are run through the legs in the form and then stretched so they're about as tight as a rubber band ready to snap. Then a device clamps down over the already tight cable and forces it down into the form several more inches.

CableOne of my jobs was to reach into the form as the cable is being stressed and verify with a tape measure that the proper amount of stress was placed on the cable. If the cable snapped I would very likely be instantly decapitated! It's a haunting memory that I'm happy to say is behind me, but my work was important since many of our products were used for bridges in Kansas. I had a role in seeing that the product was tested and approved prior to shipment. So if you've lived in Kansas since 1973 or if you've driven through the Sunflower state, you might just think of me when you safely cross a bridge!

Mike is a longtime friend who for many years was a quality control engineer in a large company. There are many kinds of quality control experts that test machinery, tools, parts, and other materials that must meet standards before they are put into operation. This is true not only for material items, but there is also a testing process that people undergo before they are used in a particular service.

Many of these interesting people can be found in the Bible though some are only briefly mentioned. 

This week we are examining several
ministry associates in Romans 16. Interestingly, it is very unlikely that Paul had even been to Rome at the writing of this book. Yet we have an abbreviated hall of fame of faith representing the many lesser- knowns who have advanced the Kingdom of God through the centuries. Today, let us consider one of them, a man named Apelles, who is mentioned only this one time in the entire Bible.

It must have been nice to be remembered! If Apelles had a written copy of the letter and a yellow highlighter I imagine this part would be highlighted. It must have given him great encouragement to see his name acknowledged in such a positive way.

Most versions use the word "greet" and a few use the word "salute", but it's interesting to me the word for greet is "aspazomai", which means to "enfold in the arms".  When Apelles heard his name spoken in Paul's letter surely a big smile crossed his face as he recalled his warm friendship with Paul, who even at that time was a man of great renown.

But let us consider today the single bit of biographical data we have on this man. The NIV uses two descriptive words "tested and approved" to translate the depth of a single Greek word "dokimos". The word means tested, thus reliable, and therefore esteemed. "Dokimos" was used for coins and metals that had passed the quality control tests of that time.

Apelles underwent testing as well although the details are not specified. Maybe he suffered great persecution. Perhaps he endured major health problems. He might have fallen into sin and now, after a time of careful examination, he was being reinstated. We're not told the nature of his testing, but at this point he had proven himself faithful.  Apelles was "tested and approved in Christ".  What a notable recognition coming from the apostle Paul!  Many receive the recognition and esteem of man, but of Apelles it is said that his approval is "in Christ".

Today we urge all of you who are enduring a testing to remember the highest goal of life is to be "dokimon en Christo" (tested and approved in Christ).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is great temptation to seek the commendation of those around us so that we might be esteemed in the sight of others. But there is no honor or reward in this life that compares with the commendation that Apelles received, to be tested and approved in Christ. Father, You know the very intent of our heart through each word we speak and each action we carry out. May we honor You in all that we do in the daily battleground of forming attitudes and making choices. May we, above all, be dokimon en Christo.  Amen.

I've never heard anyone named Apelles but this is also true of many of the names in Romans 16

List of proper names in Romans 16:

Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus & household, Herodion (relative), Narcissus & household, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus & his mother, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas & brothers with him, Philologus, Julia, Neures and his sister, Olympas, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus

Some scenes from our trip to Knoebels Park

Your Heart's Delight devotional gathering 7/25/17
Each week we share a brief devotional message at "Your Heart's Delight", a wholesale distributor of gift and home decor items near Lebanon PA, for employees who choose to attend. Yesterday's message was on letting your light shine.

Children walking Appalachian Trail 7/25/17
Following our chaplain visit we walked a portion of the Appalachian Trail that we passed on the way to Knoebels Park. (A very short portion on the Blue Mountain ridge south of Pine Grove!) I teased the children and they liked the idea, "How would you like to walk the entire width of the Appalachian Trail?" Their eyes were like saucers, then they processed the question and caught onto the attainable measurement, "width" rather than length:  8' to 12' vs. 2200 miles. They happily complied and now can boast that they've walked the entire width of the Appalachian Trail.

Children arriving at Knoebel's Park 7/25/17
We arrived at the park before noon and stayed till about 9 PM, finally arriving home after midnight. The children slept practically all the way back.

Knoebel's Park swollen creek 7/25/17
Monday night the park closed at 7:00 PM due to heavy rains and flooding. But it was open as scheduled yesterday, although the creek that runs through it was still swollen. The park was very busy.

Knoebel's Park Impulse ride 7/25/17
The kids had a great time and rode every thrill ride in the park including the "Impulse".
On ride video
Off ride video

Knoebel's Park bumper cars 7/25/17
Everyone seems to enjoy the bumper cars, even Ester!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Still"  Video   Legacy Five

Knoebels Park is an old-fashioned park nestled in the mountains with lots of trees. A great day trip!

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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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