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May 30, 2018

View from Country View Farm Market & Greenhouse, Lancaster County, PA 5/29/18 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday afternoon we shopped at the Country View Farm Market & Greenhouse along Rt 743 south of Elizabethtown, PA and saw Farmer Stoltzfus getting ready to plant.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Importance Of Growth"

Message summary: God calls us to grow!

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"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" (1 Peter 2:2). "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).

Over the last several days we prepared our small raised garden of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. We also planted flowers all around our property, one of Brooksyne's favorite hobbies. We will have plenty of work through the summer with weeding and keeping the plants watered and fertilized. Our goal is growth and eventually a harvest of vegetables to add to our salads.

I mowed the lawn again late yesterday afternoon, one of my favorite duties, that I carry out often during the rainy season.

Monday I had an opportunity to participate in a Memorial Day service in Ephrata PA at the football stadium. When I entered the stadium I noticed how green the grass was which was not surprising since we've had a lot of rain this spring. Then I walked out on the field and realized it was fake grass! Fake grass is pretty from a distance but it doesn't grow and is really not very pretty up close.

God has ordained that living things grow and that is the case with our living relationship with a living Savior. But growth can be messy requiring attention and maintenance.

Growth in the transforming grace and infinite knowledge of Christ is a lifelong process. It begins the moment we believe and continues till we rise to meet Him on the other side.

Healthy living means growing. God's Word tells us that we should continue to grow in our faith. In Peter's first epistle he uses this illustration:
"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" (1 Peter 2:2). What a timeless, cross cultural illustration. Healthy babies have healthy appetites.

Peter ended his final epistle with a powerful challenge. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The word translated "grow" means to enlarge or increase. It's in the present, active, and imperative, which means this call to growth is ongoing, non-optional and we have an active part in it.

It was a challenge to his initial readers and now we apply it to our spiritual growth. This verse was modeled by the Lord Jesus Christ, "And the Child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him" (Luke 2:40). "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).

Today we encourage you to continue to grow in your faith as you dutifully carry out the spiritual exercises that nurture your spirit; Bible reading and study, prayer, fellowship with other Christians, Christian service, witnessing for Christ, standing up for Biblical truth, enduring hardship and overcoming trials, etc. And, painful as it is, we also grow through our mistakes – if we've learned the lesson that will keep us from repeating them.

At times your spiritual growth is rapid, while at other times it's very slow and practically indiscernible. But growth, stability and faithfulness over the long term are what really matters. Let us stay faithful as we, step by step, walk in the footsteps of Jesus! Indeed, let us never stop growing!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to grow in the grace and knowledge imparted to us through the teachings of Jesus and Your faithful servants inspired and led by the Holy Spirit. We know this involves much more than simply reading the Scriptures, but it includes meditating and memorizing principles and portions of the inspired text. It includes saying "no to ungodliness and worldly passions and living self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." As our world continues the slide into decadence and self-indulgence, it means that we, with great intention, set our heart's desires on that which is pure and holy so that we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

Yesterday afternoon following our chaplain calls we visited Hershey Gardens

Hershey Gardens 5/29/18

Hershey Gardens tree 5/29/18
Look carefully and you'll see Stephen resting beneath this mammoth shade three. I forgot to get the name of it, but it was so comfortable and cool that we didn't want to move on into the hot sunny afternoon.

Hershey Gardens butterfly 5/29/18
We always enjoy spending some time in the butterfly atrium.

Hershey Gardens rose 5/29/18
Hershey Gardens is known for roses and was originally opened in 1937 with Milton Hershey’s request to “create a nice garden of roses".

Hershey Gardens rose 5/29/18

Hershey Gardens bearded tongue iris 5/29/18
Apricot Bearded-tongue Iris

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Hershey Gardens is located here on Google map

Country View Farm Market & Greenhouse (This Amish owned greenhouse is one of the cleanest and well-maintained we have seen. It's run by the Stoltzfus family. Location on Google map

Today we will feature some of our favorite Jason Crabb songs.

"He Won't Leave You There"  Video  Jason Crabb

"Love Is Stronger"  Video  Jason Crabb

"He Knows What He's Doing"  Video  Jason Crabb

"Worth"  Video  Jason Crabb  (backed up by some very enthusiastic college students, I believe from Lee College in Tennessee)

Finally today:
Lebanon County PA donkeys 5/29/18
Early yesterday morning on the way to our first chaplain service location we passed a farm in Lebanon County where we often see a lot of donkeys. We can't say for sure but it looks like the farmer is repurposing the tops of silos to provide shelter! This pasture is off Union Road here on Google map.

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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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