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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hershey Gardens butterfly 9/5/17
A beautiful butterfly from the Hershey Gardens Butterfly Atrium

"My Joy And My Crown"

Message summary: Christian ministry should influence people for Christ on our journey here below and for all eternity. It will surely have its disappointments when people reject us or turn away from the faith. But the greatest reward comes from those who are walking in the truth!

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"Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends"  (Philippians 4:1). "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).

Rachel with grandson
Rick and Rachel are friends who really enjoy their two grandchildren. Like many proud grandparents Rick recently showed us a photo of Rachel with their grandson, Noah. With a bright smile on his face he commented, regardless of whatever pressures he and Rachel might be encountering a visit with their grandchildren brings so much joy it just seems to melt the problems away. Many grandparents can share a similar testimony!

Most of us also have great memories of our own grandparents. However when it comes to great-grandparents I never knew mine and Brooksyne only remembers visiting with her great-grandmother twice. However it would seem very few would know any ancestor beyond their great-grandparents and actually most know very little about them as well. But we know genetically and in many other ways each previous generation has had an impact on who we are.

Today let us consider our spiritual heritage and spiritual legacy.

Our spiritual heritage - We can likely identify our spiritual parents, those who led us to Christ and discipled us when we were getting started in the faith. For some it might be our own parents. For others perhaps it's a Sunday School teacher, pastor, youth leader, camp speaker, etc. But we all also have spiritual grandparents going all the way back to the establishment of the church.

Our spiritual legacy - Genuine conversion results in spiritual growth and then it's God's plan that we in turn become "parents and grandparents" to others whom we influence for Christ.
Among the greatest sources of encouragement for earnest laypersons and those in vocational ministry are the people we've impacted who faithfully follow the Lord. Being fruitful they in turn are producing spiritual children through their witness and lifestyle. However, unlike our physical grandchildren, we generally do not know our spiritual "grandchildren".

Yesterday we quoted a note written by Ray Palmer, who wrote the hymn "My Faith Looks Up To Thee" in 1830. At the time he wrote concerning the hymn, "There was not the slightest thought of writing for another eye, least of all writing a hymn for Christian worship." And yet nearly 200 years later his hymn continues to stir many. Can you imagine that what you are doing today can have an impact 200 years from now!

Paul refers to the Philippian believers as, "my joy and my crown." These were the direct descendants of his ministry. But through his writings over the centuries imagine the scores of "spiritual grandchildren" he considers as his joy and crown. I think we are among them.

Won't you consider some people you've discipled that continue steadfast in their walk with Christ. The Lord gives us fruit for our labors and there is no more precious fruit than souls for the kingdom. Paul spoke of the Philippians as "my joy and crown" in the daily text.

Our word of encouragement today is for all of you involved in any form of ministry. Christian ministry should influence people for Christ on our journey here below and for all eternity. It will surely have its disappointments when people reject us or turn away from the faith. But the greatest reward comes from those who are walking in the truth!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are shaped and molded by Your Holy Word, through the Spirit living within us, and by the people You place in our earthly journey who take us under their spiritual wings as they impart truth in our lives. Their example, their teaching, their prayers, and their love for us further shape and mold us to be more like You. We thank You for these precious people of the faith. Just as they have been faithful to pray for us in our time of need, we lift them up to You and ask You to meet their every need. Encourage them in the faith so that they keep their eyes on the goal of the heavenly prize. We also pray for all whom we have impacted and are now impacting. May they in turn impact others. Some glad day we will all be united in heaven where we will forever worship You, King of kings and Lord of lords.  Amen.

Hershey Gardens butterflies 9/5/17
Brooksyne was trying to take a photo of the black butterfly at the lower side without realizing another butterfly that blended with the flower was also in the photo. (From Hershey Gardens Butterfly Atrium)

Leaping deer in Potter County 9/1/17 (Phil Huber's trail camera)
Men not only enjoy sharing photos of their children and grandchildren but earlier this week Phil, a friend in another company, shared a selection of trail cam photos from his Potter County, PA camp including this leaping deer.

Train crossing Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA 8/31/17 (Ester Weber)
Ester took a cruise on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg last week and caught this shot of a train crossing the river.

Hotel Hershey entrance 9/5/17
Regardless of the season you can count on Hotel Hershey having beautiful flowers including celosia (cock's comb) in the forefront!

Zimbabwe mission team
We are praying for a group of friends over in Zimbabwe on a mission trip that includes placing roofs on church buildings.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Joy, My Crown"  Video  The Masters Chorale

"No Longer Slaves"  Video  Voices of Lee

"Old Church Choir"  Video  Zach Williams

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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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