A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
"No Greater Joy"
Message summary: When you, as a believing parent, observe first hand or hear from others of the spiritual fruit they are seeing in your children you are doubly blessed! This is also true for those of us who have children in the faith, such as Paul, who referred to Timothy as his son in the faith.
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"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).
The main reason we went out to California last week was to visit my older brother Michael, who is approaching his mid-seventies. We had hoped to see him this last summer at a reunion in Colorado but as it turns out we were both unable to attend (me due to an asthma attack several days before the trip that landed me in the Hershey Medical Center ER). We'll share more about our visit with Mike in another message.
We also had a special visit with Brian and Bryanna Matangelo and their family. Brian serves on the pastoral staff at Redwood Chapel, the church we attended on Sunday morning, where we heard an excellent sermon from Pastor Jeff and robust singing from the choir and congregation. What a pleasure it was to visit with Brian and his family and enjoy a Nacho bar they generously prepared and shared with us in their lovely home.
I last saw Brian and Bryanna some twenty years ago at their wedding. We first met Brian and his family in 1977, when right out of Bible College we planted a church in northern Pennsylvania. His mom and dad were a vital part of that plant and we remain close friends to this day.
As parents one of the most blessed events in life is seeing evidence of spiritual life, growing faith and spiritual steadfastness in our children. We concur with the apostle John who wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth". Earthly treasures and outstanding opportunities afforded us on earth cannot be transported to heaven, like our children who walk in the truth.
When John wrote the daily text he was likely referring to his spiritual children, those whom he had impacted for Christ. We have often used the passage in this way when we consider the growing blessedness of our impact on others over the long-term. It's a great joy to visit someone, like Brian, and others who have been in our spiritual sphere of influence and to learn of their continued faithfulness to the truth.
When you, as a believing parent observe first hand or hear from others of the spiritual fruit they are seeing in your children you are doubly blessed! This is also true for those of us who have children in the faith, such as Paul who referred to Timothy as his son in the faith (I Timothy 1:2). When I walked through the church last Sunday I asked several if they knew Brian Matangelo (expecting that they did) and then to hear numerous heartening reports of the blessing he and his family are to the church warmed our hearts!
Many of you know what we're talking about and rejoice in the godly choices your children are making. But some of you reading this have children who are not presently following in the ways of the Lord. What wrenching heartache this brings to believing parents. Continue to pray unceasingly for your prodigal(s) and keep believing God for that joyful spiritual reunion when he or she again chooses to "walk in the truth". As much as we want to prevent them from crashing or falling deep into the "bottom of the barrel" it is often these heartbreaking events that finally moves them from their spiritual slumber into a spiritual awakening.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Brooksyne's note: I have often reflected upon the old adage: "More is caught than is taught." Of course this means we could give daily discourses on how to live, but to be a picture of what we teach is even more powerful than a thousand words which prompts consideration of another adage: "A picture is worth a thousand words".
Brian and Bryanna and their seven beautiful children who welcomed us graciously. Brian's parents, Mike and Kathy Matangelo, who now live in the Hickory NC area were our first friends in St. Marys, PA and attended the very first service we held in our upstairs apartment. Here's a photo of Brian (in red sweatshirt) and his younger brother Doug at our very first baptismal service! I was preparing to baptize their father, Mike, who is testifying of his faith in Christ in the photo and the boys don't appear to be paying much attention! How heartening that 40 years later Brian is serving the Lord! And so are his younger brothers Doug, also involved in ministry, along with Nick and their sister Tina.
On Saturday afternoon we drove down the Pacific Highway to Santa Cruz and had many nice ocean views like this along the way.
When we visited the Pigeon Point Lighthouse (lead photo) we engaged in an extended conversation with this friendly young couple who put a nice face to the many young professionals working in the Silicon Valley. He works for Facebook and she works for YouTube. Pigeon Lighthouse is here on Google map.
In Santa Cruz we had a seafood dinner out on the long pier (Google map) with this scene looking back through the bay to the mountains beyond.
Late Saturday afternoon on our way back to our hotel we stopped by the Apple Visitor's Center with the humongous "spaceship" Apple Park headquarters in the background. Here's a better photo and one I took from the air leaving San Jose seen from a far distance. Here's the unfinished view on Google Map.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"What Children Believe" Video Gold City
"My Lighthouse" Video Rend Collective We sang this when we saw the lighthouse in our lead photo today!
Finally today: Any idea what this means?
Reply here if you know and I will provide the answer in tomorrow's message!
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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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