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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Elk with newborn calf (Photo by Marsha Neizmik)
An elk cow from Elk County, right after her calf was born, giving her newborn a loving bath.
(Marsha Nezimik, a friend from the church we served in northern Pennsylvania, shared this photo she captured as she and her grandson were only a few feet away from this memorable birth.)

"Energy People"

Note: Saturday we leave for the Midwest where will be seeing family and friends and attending several family reunions in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Brooksyne will also be attending a class reunion in Tulsa. We do not expect the messages will be daily during this time but depending on our schedule, internet connections and so forth we hope to post several along the way.

Message summary: We encourage each of you to be an energy giver to those in your circle of influence on this day and every day!

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"Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings" (Romans 16:23). "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25).

Five hour energy drinkPopular new consumer items the last several years are products that supposedly give you energy such as "energy drinks" or "energy bars". In partaking you supposedly get a burst of energy. These products must sell well since you see them practically everywhere.

Geritol BottleActually products like this have been around for quite a while, just different incarnations. When we were children a popular product marketed to the older people was "Geritol" which supposedly helped with "iron poor blood". At that point in life we had lots of energy and just couldn't imagine what in the world they were talking about. Now we are beginning to know, especially trying to keep up with 4 young energetic children on Tuesday at Knoebels Park!

Today let us consider a particular group of "energy people"; people who energize us not for just a few hours but over a lifetime. 

Energy people will express personal interest in others and if you're involved in a ministry they'll likely express interest and offer prayer support. They're quick to share the ways God has worked in their life. You know the kind of person I'm describing - one who knows how to listen and when to speak in conversation, one who's more interested in others than talking about one's self.

Brooksyne met such a person who's pretty new in our neighborhood. She struck up several conversations with Ginger and visited shortly after they moved here. But just last week she arranged a morning walk with her and again this morning they walked four miles.  Brooksyne came home from the first visit and said, "Ginger is delightful. She talks a little, then asks questions about me. I talk a little and then ask questions about her. We became fast friends and conversation flowed so freely."

Think about people like this whom you know. Some are "energy givers", others are "energy drainers". You've probably heard the expression, "Some people brighten a room when they enter, others when they leave."

In his letters to the churches Paul often expressed heartfelt affection toward particular individuals who were like those we describe as energy people. They not only blessed and energized him in his work for the Lord, but also the rest of the body of Christ.

Most of the greetings in Romans 16 are from Paul to those in the Roman church. But today Paul sends greetings from a disciple named Gaius who had a hospitality ministry.

According to the daily text he and the whole church were enjoying the hospitality of one named Gaius. There are five different occasions Gaius is mentioned in the New Testament. First in Acts 19:29 and
Acts 20:4 where he is described as travelling with Paul. Gaius is one of the few believers that Paul baptized in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14). A Gaius is also mentioned in 3 John 1:1 as the recipient of John's final epistle who may have been another man by the same name. However in my study and consideration I see no reason to believe that the other references to Gaius including our daily text were not the same person. Surely Paul had an outstanding, long-term relationship with this brother, who likely was also one of the first converts to Christ in Corinth.

He had stayed faithful and now opened his home to Paul while he stayed there. Gaius had distinguished himself for his hospitality not only to Paul but to the other believers in the Corinthian church, as well. In fact his name means, "I am glad". He surely must have been an "energy giver". Note especially the words in our text, "enjoy". Isn't that a great way for people to describe being with you? And through the years we've met quite a few people like Gaius. We enjoy being with them and just being around them uplifts us spiritually, mentally and even physically.

Sharing hospitality is a wonderful dimension of God's plan for our lives. As Christians we often call it "fellowshipping together" and we maintain that an essential component of our Christian development takes place in the realm of fellowship, as we interface with one another in our homes, churches and other places of community with true believers.

We sure hope you have some folks in your life like Gaius! Brooksyne and I have so many, including many of you who read our daily messages, that we consider ourselves tremendously blessed.  We encourage each of you to be an energy giver to those in your circle of influence on this day and every day!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber 

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to be set apart as a people who care about others, regularly expressing care to them as we follow the Biblical mandate that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. Paul charged his readers to have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus who is the supreme example of putting other's needs before His own. May we be more interested in giving energy to others than taking it for ourselves, for when we refresh others, we ourselves are refreshed. We are replenished as we give to others, for Your reservoir never runs dry and we thank You for it in Jesus' name. Amen.

See Philippians 2:4-7, Proverbs 11:25

Brooksyne's Note: We've described in part what an energy giver is. Perhaps we should give the contrast meaning of what an energy drainer is: one who is very argumentative, monopolizes every conversation, finds fault with anything and everyone, only talks about him or herself, boasts endlessly about his achievements or possessions, feels his opinion is always the right one and worst of all, doesn't take a breath between sentences to let you excuse yourself from the energy draining situation you're stuck in! I'm sure you could add to the list. I hope and pray that I never fall into
this category or if I should be headed in that direction that a caring brother or sister will alert me and pray for me, according to II Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..."

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 Anthracite Coal Country

Today's selection of photos is a bit unusual and probably won't interest everyone. For several weeks I have been studying the history of the Anthracite coal regions which begin about 1˝ hours north of us. We have been through this area several times recently beginning with our trip to Rickett's Glen State Park in June. It's a very distinct geographical area and a very significant time in US history.

Old Saint Nicholas Coal Breaker 7/22/17
I passed the
old Saint Nicholas coal breaker last Saturday on the way to Jim Thorpe for a bike ride down the Lehigh Gorge.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Old Saint Nicholas Coal Breaker 7/22/17
The St. Nicholas Breaker was described as sounding "like thunder" during operation. Mined coal was sent to the top via a conveyor, processed into suitable sizes, and washed for distribution. It was capable of processing 12,500 tons daily!

Coal breaker or coal-powered plant 7/25/17
Tuesday we passed this on the way to Knoebels.

Old Saint Nicholas Coal Breaker 7/22/17
The coal is transported over the highway near the Saint Nicholas breaker.

Coal miner display at Knoebels Park
Coal miner display at Knoebels Park.
It's hard to imagine what a dismal, dirty, and dangerous job this must have been.

Breaker boys
This is a photo I took from the Anthracite Museum in Knoebels Park. I watched a long documentary on mining and one of the sad aspects was the exploitation of the immigrants and especially children. It's sad whenever the Golden Rule is not practiced.

Church in Gilberton, PA 7/22/17
The churches in many of the mining towns are especially ornate in light of the stark surroundings. This Ukrainian Catholic church is near Gilberton. Towns had churches for each ethnic group and the churches were a source of ethnic pride among the immigrant miners who came from various regions in Europe.

New fire truck made in Nesquehoning, PA 7/22/17
Although many of the coal jobs have left, firetrucks are assembled at a large plant in Nesquehoning, PA.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness"  Video  Collingsworth Family 

Grapple podcast  This message deals with the coal region, along with neat photos.

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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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