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Monday, November 12, 2018
Longwood Gardens 1000 bloom Chrysanthemum 11/11/18 (Click to enlarge)
The magnificent Longwood Gardens 1000 bloom Chrysanthemum is the premier attraction at the annual Chrysanthemum Festival
Click to enlarge

"The Blessing Of Spiritual Veterans"

Message summary: Let us indeed remember our leaders, the spiritual veterans of faith, who spoke the Word of God to us. Let us consider the outcome of their way of life and let us imitate their faith. They are a blessing!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

Today we commemorate Veteran's Day here in the United States, a day in which we properly remember veterans and honor their service for our temporal freedoms. Many veterans read these messages including several we know personally and we have other readers who are in active service. We thank you for your sacrificial service to our country. My dad, Eugene C. Weber, was a World War 2 veteran and trained as a pilot. Brooksyne’s father, Brooklyn Sherrell, served in the Army during the Korean War.

Veterans have been around as long as wars have been fought going back to the very first recorded war in the Bible in Genesis 14.

Grover DevaultToday we focus this encouragement message on spiritual veterans, those who enlisted in service for the Lord on their day of salvation and who have been in the good fight of faith for many years. Yesterday in church I visited for a few minutes with Grover Devault, a retired career army chaplain and long-time servant of the Lord. Now in his late eighties he remains on duty. We also sat with our very good friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt in church. Jim dutifully served in the navy.

Many spiritual veterans have fought the enemy valiantly who have received their eternal reward and joined with others in the great cloud of witnesses. And yet there are those who remain on this side in their senior years of life. They have faithfully served God in their generation and, even as they endure the pain and complications of aging, they faithfully await the Master's call home and continue to serve Him, offering their life's example, wisdom and prayers to succeeding generations including those who increasingly seem to have little interest in it. (See Job 12:12)

Today's message is based on a passage in Hebrews 13. It does not specifically address veterans as we use the term today but has a very needed lesson. Let me try to squeeze some juice out of our daily verse and outline it in three parts:

1) "Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you." Without a doubt the Apostle is speaking of spiritual leaders. Certainly not political leaders! They are the ones "who spoke the Word of God to you." Among all the qualities we may value in our spiritual leaders: administrative skills, compassionate care, vision casting and so forth, the writer of Hebrews singularly highlights the spiritual leader’s major duty as one, "who spoke the Word of God to you." This is consistent with Paul's challenge to Timothy, "Preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2).

What a blessing to honor those who have been faithful in preaching the Word of God which enables us to understand and assimilate Scriptural teaching into our lives. Hopefully, for most the face and name of a pastor(s) comes readily to mind when you recall a spiritual leader who spoke the Word of God to you. We consider Pastor John Keefer, Pastor Beau Eckert and many others. But the application surely also applies to a godly parent or close relative, a Sunday School teacher or other church leader. For some it will be a camp counselor, a youth leader or another individual along life's journey who has impacted your life for Christ.

2) "Consider the outcome of their way of life." The Amplified Bible elaborates here that we are to, "Observe attentively and consider their manner of living." I am so thankful for those whose lives I have personally observed as I witnessed the transforming change Christ makes. In some cases we observe the outcome in the sense of those who now reside in heaven after a life of faithful service to the Lord. In other cases they are still living on this side and we can consider the present outcome of their way of life as they demonstrate a steady, mature and disciplined life. The leaders whom our text refers to were real people who were known personally by those whom they served.

3) Finally we are called to "imitate their faith." The word for "imitate" is a Greek word from which we get "mimic". For those of us in spiritual leadership this is an awesome call and ongoing responsibility. In his pastoral epistles Paul addressed this. To Timothy: "Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). To Titus: "In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us" (Titus 2:7,8).

Today, let us indeed remember our leaders, the spiritual veterans of faith, who spoke the Word of God to us. Let us consider the outcome of their way of life and let us imitate their faith. They are a blessing!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are grateful for the men and women who are willing to lay down their lives to protect our freedoms here in the United States. We are indebted to them for their daily sacrifice and we pray for their safekeeping, including godly chaplains who serve as spiritual leaders among them. We also consider our many spiritual warriors who have taken on added responsibility and assumed difficult duties leading us, as believers, to victory in this war against sin and strife, as we steadily march in the army of the Lord. Bless these who have poured themselves into our lives and set for us an example to follow; in their conversation, their lifestyle, their faith, their doctrine and in their purity. We honor and bless the previous generation who passed onto us the Living Water and Bread of Life. We now extend the same message to our present generation, for with our mouths we make known Your faithfulness to all generations. Amen.

Yesterday afternoon following our church service we went down to Longwood Gardens with our friend Jerry Smoker for the annual Chrysanthemum Festival.
Longwood Gardens 1000 bloom Chrysanthemum sign 11/11/18
This sign explains how they grow the 1000 bloom Chrysanthemum.

Longwood Gardens 1000 bloom Chrysanthemum interior cutout 11/11/18 (Click to enlarge)
This half-dome form allows you to see what is inside a traditional Thousand Bloom chrysanthemum. It showcases the single stem, complex metal framework, and the labor-intensive tying technique that makes this form so spectacular.

Longwood Gardens Conservatory 11/11/18 (Click to enlarge)
We spent most of our time in the huge Longwood Gardens Conservatory since that is where the Chrysanthemum Festival was on display.
Click to enlarge

Longwood Gardens Conservatory 11/11/18
Interior view of a long hall in the Longwood Gardens Conservatory. The sheen on the floor is not polish but a thin coat of water.
Click to enlarge

"A Child's Wonder" Longwood Gardens Conservatory 11/11/18
When Brooksyne snapped this photo we thought it looked like a little girl saying to her mother, "Look, Mommy" as she marveled at God's vast array of flowers within His creation.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Soldier Fighting to Go Home"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"Preach the Word"  Video  Gold City

"Present in the Presence of the King"  Video  The Guardians

"I Want My Stage to be an Altar"   Video  The Akins

Longwood Gardens The annual Chrysanthemum Festival lasts through next Sunday.
Finally today:

Martin at Kleen-Rite 11/9/18
Martin is a friendly man from the Dominican Republic. We see him hard at work weekly at Kleen-Rite, a company that distributes car wash supplies.

Finally today 2:

We recently got an Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) free as part of a promotion. It's a nifty little device and very polite. This morning I had a question come to me from another user and had a little fun:

Question: Does it work in Chile?
My answer: Ours works great and we have one in our barn that still reaches our Wi-Fi but I wouldn't put it into anything with liquid, especially if it's hot like chile.
Note: I know the food is actually spelled chili!

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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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