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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Lancaster County sunrise 2/6/18
Winter sunrise in Lancaster County, PA
(Click on photo to enlarge)


Message summary: Thank God for His ever-abundant supply of spiritual nutrition that provides a foundation "rooted" in the living Christ!

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"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6,7).

After many years of Bible Study and familiarization we know many verses by their reference. In our teaching through the years we emphasized Bible memorization, always including the Bible reference, like the verses we post at the beginning of each encouragement message. It's important that readers know where Scripture is found in the Bible and practice the discernment of the Bereans, who "examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things (what Paul was teaching) were so" (Acts 17:11).

We often shorten a date by using just the numerals such as today, February 7, would be 2/7. As I was considering messages for this week I noticed 2-7 and today's verse came to mind just on that basis! Today for those interested I have a little quiz below the message to see how you may do in recognizing a famous verse solely by using the numeric date system!

Today's text from Colossians 2:7, "rooted and built up in Him...", is the basis of a two year discipleship program the Navigators developed simply called 2:7. We used this course in a church we pastored many years ago and have friends who testify of the blessing and spiritual growth they experienced while participating in 2:7. So now whenever I hear 2/7 I think of this verse!

Notice the elements of a fruitful relationship that should follow our conversion to Christ expressed in the phrase "
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
  • continue to live your lives in Him,
  • rooted and
  • built up in Him,
  • strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and
  • overflowing with thankfulness"
Colossians 2:6,7Today let us consider just the word "rooted" from this text. Paul is likely drawing here on a familiar agricultural analogy. Perhaps he had in mind the teaching of our Lord, who warned of the deadly spiritual condition of rootlessness in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus said of the seed that fell on rocky places, "but since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away" (Matthew 13:21).

Roots are a vital part of the believer's life. Our daily verse tells us we are to be "rooted and built up in Him." The Greek word for root is "rhizoo" and suggests stability, nourishment and life derived from contact with Christ ("in Him"). As a plant's roots sink deep into the rich soil for long term stability and nourishment, so too we should root our faith deep into sound Biblical doctrine and solid spiritual food that comes from knowing Christ. These well-nourished roots will keep us strong forever.

In our growing walk with Christ we find life-giving soil and a sustaining foundation. However, we have the responsibility to implement the means of grace that God has ordained for our "rooting." We all need a good, solid, ever-growing root system that reaches deep into the spiritual soil for our nourishment and stability that God graciously provides. This will render us both faithful and fruitful.

Developing and maintaining a solid spiritual root system includes an active, lifelong pursuit of reading, studying, meditating and memorizing God's Word; regular communion with God through prayer; sharing with others of the good things of God; influencing others to come to faith and helping them to grow in their faith. As we grow in Him there is more and more that Christ reveals to us through the Bible, His Spirit, spiritual leaders, everyday experiences, trials, and life's circumstances. One of the greatest ways we deepen our roots is by our Christian service and obedience to Christ's teachings.

Are you rooted in Him? Are your spiritual roots growing deeper and spreading like the roots of a tree? Thank God for His ever-abundant supply of spiritual nutrition that provides a foundation "rooted" in the living Christ!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we are so very grateful that our family roots are not the sole source of who we are nor does it dictate what we can accomplish. Our spiritual roots, because of our well-grounded faith in You, goes much deeper and spreads much broader. We are able to accomplish the impossible and overcome life's difficulties because our roots are connected to the Miracle Worker. May the living water flowing from Your Spirit quench our thirst and the spiritual food from Your inspired Holy Word satisfy our hunger causing us to grow in spiritual maturity so that we remain safe and secure, firmly rooted in You. Father, though the winds and storms may shake us from time to time, it is in You that we live and move and have our being! Amen.

Our message began today by an observation that in some cases a numeric date format may prompt one to consider a familiar Bible verse such today's date 2/7 caused me to consider Colossians 2:7 for today's message. Of course there are many references that these dates represent but I want to share this list and ask you to consider which verses they may prompt you to recall. Of course you must replace the month name with the numeric equivalent such as February 7 is 2/7 (2:7).
  • January 1
  • February 8
  • March 16
  • April 19
  • May 8
  • June 10
  • July 7
  • August 28
  • September 9
  • October 10
  • November 6
  • December 1
Some of these are verses many of you have memorized or at least considered but the reference isn't as familiar. There are several that I expect you will get quickly such as March 16! Several of them are the first in a series of verses we tend to memorize. I wonder how many of us will come up with the same verse? I'll share my list tomorrow.

Lee family 6/14/16
This morning I (Stephen) have one of those medical diagnostic procedures as part of preventive medicine. It is interesting to consider the brilliance and hard work of those who have the knowledge and skills to work in these fields. Of course we may consider our own physician and other we actually see but there are also many working behind the scenes. This morning I received an update from my LinkedIn page with this announcement. Dr. Nigel Lee, is the Chief Algorithmic Officer of Corista, a company delivers the industry’s most extensive array of workflow, analytical and collaborative tools for pathology. Dr. Lee is presenting “Deep Learning Workflow Design for Next-Generation Digital Pathology” on Tuesday, Feb. 13. He will discuss the implementation and workflow design of an automated system designed to detect glomeruli in kidney tissue images quickly and accurately for working pathologists. Nigel, along with his wife Laifong, happen to be the very first recipients of a Daily Encouragement back in 1996 when they attended the church I pastored in Massachusetts. They remain friends and two years ago we had dinner with them when we were visiting the Boston area.

A beautiful sunrise in Lancaster County!

Lancaster County sunrise 2/6/18
Yesterday as we headed out to our first chaplain call in Lebanon County we had a beautiful sunrise as reflected in our photos today. This spacious farm was across Hossler Road from our lead photo today.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Lancaster County sunrise 2/6/18
The Martin's farm off Mount Pleasant Road
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God of All My Days"  Video  Casting Crowns

"More About Jesus"  Video 
The Blackwood Brothers  (I sure miss singing old hymns like this that are so rich with meaning and spiritual challenge!)

"Colossians 2:6-7"   Video   Jack Gilbert

"My Faith Still Holds"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

The 2:7 Series

Digging deeper: Additional teaching on Colossians 2:6,7

Finally today:
Statue of Liberty tax man 2/6/18 Lebanon, PA
Surely one of the strangest advertising gimmicks is the Statue of Liberty tax man that you begin to see all over this tax prep season in our region. We passed this man driving through Lebanon PA yesterday morning. You must give credit to those who will robe up like the statue to make a living! Many times you'll see the "statue" doing a dance to get the attention of passersby. This particular "statue" simply waved and smiled.

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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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