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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Longwood Gardens 11/11/18
Another view of the featured 1000 bloom Chrysanthemum shown yesterday from the other end of the conservatory pool.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Blessing Of A Smile"

Message summary: It can be a gloomy world with so much distressing news and for those going through hard times. What a blessing we can be to one another when our facial expressions are accentuated with a smile. Truth is, we'd much rather be surrounded by those who frequently smile, than those who rarely see anything to smile about!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Men listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears. They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; I dwelt as a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts mourners" (Job 29:21-25).

Smiley face on barn
Many years ago we passed a barn seen in the photo to the left here in Lancaster County that had a huge smiley face painted on it. It always prompted a smile. I tried to find it in recent years but wonder if the owner painted over it.

A sign in front of a farm house proclaims: "A smile is a curve that straightens everything out." Well, a smile is a curve and although it doesn't necessarily straighten everything out, it sure does brighten your countenance, improve your appearance and positively affect your outlook!

A smile is one of the blessings of humanity. We look for and rejoice in that first smile in an infant and all through life we appreciate smiling people. We even tend to impose the expression on animals such as a dolphin or a baby doll sheep, which gives the appearance of a smile.

Baby doll lamb on Old Windmill Farm
This "Baby Doll" Southdown lamb on the Old Windmill Farm appears to be smiling up at Brooksyne as she took this photo!

We both had a discussion last week with a man whose son has autism. He shared how he is on a new drug therapy that is showing promise and shared of the blessing he and his wife experienced as they saw their son smile and make eye contact, two easily taken for granted blessings.

I recall a time when I was out on a cold, blustery, rainy day and ducked into a small office area for a brief escape from the hostile weather. I was confident that I'd receive a warm, cheery smile from the receptionist and I was not disappointed!  She not only smiles with her lips, but her eyes exude genuine warmth that accompanies her smile.  A courteous or obligatory smile is not always reflected in the eyes, but a smile that wells up from the heart can be seen through the eyes as well as the lips.

What a blessing to be around smiling people.  We can think of many people all though life who have blessed us with their smile. Do you recall this chorus sung many years ago:

Smile awhile and give your face a rest
Raise your hand to the One who loves you best
Then shake hands with those nearby
And give to them a smile.

Interestingly the Bible doesn't have a lot of references to smiling. But today's portion is one of them. It's kind of hard to read this without smiling! Job is sharing his personal testimony while he is in the midst of his suffering. In this discourse he considers the blessing he had been to others prior to his trial, "in months gone by" (Job 29:1).

Now I would have a hard time saying this about myself but notice Job's words as he reflected on how life had been, "When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them". That's sure quite a description of the influence of a smile isn't it?

Consider an individual you personally know who has a great smile. It affects the entire face as though it were bringing light to a dismal setting.  Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that a smile isn't just confined to the lower part of the face, but it almost always brings sparkle and light to the eyes.

Consider these words as you receive smiles today and as you share yours with others. Smiles are much less frequent these days with so many playing or tending to their cell phones whether they're walking on a sidewalk, buried in their phones during a work break or in the lunch room, grocery line, etc.

It can be a gloomy world with so much distressing news and for those going through hard times. What a blessing we can be to one another when our facial expressions are accentuated with a smile. Truth is, we'd much rather be surrounded by those who frequently smile, than those who rarely see anything to smile about!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I consider the words of Nehemiah who wrote, "The joy of the Lord is my strength" and Solomon who reminds us that "A cheerful heart is good medicine." Both verses speak about matters of the heart where we store up Your love, joy and goodness. Help us not to rely solely on external stimulus to bring forth a smile, but let our smiles be contagious as they are evidence of Your abundance within in our lives. Help us to find a person today who has no smile so that we can pass ours onto her or him. May we be purposeful in making eye contact with others so they realize we value them as you would want us to. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today we share more photos from our visit Sunday afternoon to Longwood Gardens with our friend Jerry Smoker for the annual Chrysanthemum Festival.

Longwood Gardens Bonzai tree 11/11/18
This Bonzai tree at Longwood Gardens was started in 1909!
Click to enlarge

Longwood Gardens Bonzai grove11/11/18
A Bonzai tree grove that has already dropped its leaves.
Click on photo to enlarge

Longwood Gardens mum replacements 11/11/18
We were admiring this colorful assortment of mums when Jerry explained they were actually stored for replacements for any mums that were spent or damaged as the festival progressed.
Click on photo to enlarge

Longwood Gardens mum close-up photo by Ester 11/11/18
Longwood Gardens mum close-up photo by Ester

Longwood Gardens organ 11/11/18
The huge Longwood organ even has a grand piano built into it. We went to an organ recital that many enjoyed, but admittedly there were times when I dozed off for a bit.
Click on photo to enlarge

Longwood Gardens whisper bench 11/11/18
The whisper bench somehow amplifies sound based on the curved design and you can hear a whisper from each end. I checked and either it works or Jerry can read lips very well or is spiritually intuitive. I very softly quoted John 3:16 and he could hear me!

Longwood Gardens fountain 11/11/18
The Longwood Gardens main fountain is closed for the season but is an amazing spectacle.
Click to enlarge
(See this video or here for background video)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Smile A While"  Video  Rochelle Hanson

"Yours (Glory and Praise)"  Video  This is a song that has been blessing us as we sing it at church.

Finally today:

Rutts eggs 11/10/18
Our neighbors, Leon and Jane, have been gone the last several days visiting their son and family in Missouri so they asked us to gather the eggs laid by their hens. It was a very cold and windy day on Saturday when Brooksyne gathered these 11 eggs. There were 11 eggs this morning as well. Perhaps these hens need to learn that egg cartons hold a dozen eggs, not just 11.

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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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