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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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Friday, November 16, 2018
First snow 11/15/18
Yesterday we shared a photo of our first seasonal snow as it was starting in the morning. Here's a photo in late afternoon after the snow stopped and the wind blew snow off the trees. We ended up getting about 6 or more inches and it has sure caused traffic accidents and evening cancellations including an event we were to attend last night.

"Assumptions Can Be Wrong"

Message summary: We can make a lot of assumptions in life and sometimes they make sense based on the information we have at our disposal. If we don't seek further clarification there's a tendency to invest in those assumptions which can blind us to real facts once they are revealed.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

Photo of Roxie ready for ministryWe got our dog Roxie in early 2005 when she was a pup. The photo to the left shows her preparing to go to an assisted living center as a "therapy dog" when she was just a year old. But she's now 14 and experiencing symptoms related to old age. Though she still enjoys a couple mile walk with Brooksyne she has a hard time climbing stairs and has no interest in playing with Mollie, much to Mollie's disappointment. Prior to a couple of weeks ago she had never been to the vet under our care except when she was "fixed" as a puppy. We take her to Tractor Supply for her 3 year rabies shot. She's had a fulfilling life here in the country, including memorable encounters with skunks, electric fences and fox traps.

A couple of weeks ago Brooksyne and Ester took Roxie to the vet due to some medical concerns. Immediately following the vet visit we made a chaplain visit to our nearest company where I met a customer, Jim, who had come in to purchase some supplies. He was a very friendly man and, after I told him I was the company chaplain serving alongside my wife, he enthusiastically expressed his faith in the Lord. Like so many we meet he was not familiar with the concept of a corporate chaplain but expressed his full support toward our role as chaplains.

Jim then inquired about the warehouse supervisor, RoxRoxanne at Kleen-Riteanne (whom he called Roxie) pictured to the right. Over the past year Roxanne has gone through major cancer treatment and then her daughter, Heather, who was a long time employee of the same company, died suddenly in August.*  I had not yet talked to Roxanne that day but told him my wife regularly followed up with her.

After our chaplain visit that afternoon Brooksyne told me about an interesting conversation she had with a nice customer she had met. I'll let her tell the story:

As I was walking through the large warehouse a customer approached me and said, "So you're the chaplain!" I was a bit surprised that a complete stranger could pick me out as a chaplain but I responded, "Yes I am." He then inquired, "How's Roxie doing?"

It was one thing that he could pick me out as the chaplain, having never met me. But then, how did he know about our dog, Roxie, who was still fresh on my mind since I'd just been to the vet. A little flabbergasted all I could say was, "And how do you know about Roxie?"

He then went on to ask with genuine interest, "I just wondered how Roxie's doing since her daughter's death?" Then a bright light came on, and I felt like such an idiot, when I realized he was not inquiring about our dog, Roxie, but Roxanne, whom we never call Roxie! Once I realized who he was talking about our conversation turned to the kind of talk that chaplains often have with employees, and in this case, a customer of the company. BTW, Stephen shared this story with Roxanne, the supervisor, and she chuckled about the confusion in names, also giving us permission to share this story today.

We can make a lot of assumptions in life and sometimes they make sense based on the information we have at our disposal. If we don't seek further clarification there's a tendency to invest in those assumptions which can blind us to real facts once they are revealed.

Let's examine a portion of the Bible when an assumption was made that turned out to be wrong. Today's Scripture text concerns Samuel's selection of a king. Initially Samuel was focused on man's outward appearance and assumed these were the things that mattered to God.

He saw one of Jesse's sons named Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD." It might have been Eliab's height or muscular appearance that led Samuel to make the assumption this was the future king.

But he received correction from the Lord. The full verse states, "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him (Eliab). The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart'."

We can make a lot of assumptions based on appearance and sometimes we're correct but other times we stand corrected. Before jumping to conclusions we need to go beyond the outward surface and try to understand a person's heart.
Appearances can be deceiving; true character is shown by one's life and actions. We need to view people in the same light that God views them, though God sees and knows far more than we as humans can, so His evaluation far surpasses people's assessments. We often judge people by their appearance and actions, but God knows the very motive and intent of our actions.

A couple of thoughts concerning "Man looks at the outward appearance":

    * Outward appearance can be deceiving; a clean-cut, well-dressed individual on the outside may be altogether different on the inside, and vice-versa!
    * Acceptable outward appearance varies by culture and age. Features like facial hair, clothing styles and so forth vary generation by generation. Very few of us dress as those in the Bible times!

Since "the Lord looks at the heart" we also need to direct our attention to the heart of a person. He or she is someone God loves and wants to redeem or someone God has redeemed and may be in the process of transforming. Actually, we are all in that transforming process aren't we?

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, while the world obsesses about outward appearances such as good looks, muscular bodies or perfect figures Your Word is impassioned with teaching regarding the inner heart; the very character of who we really are that nobody can see except You. Help us to be more concerned about what You see on the inside than what others view from the outside. Peace, joy, love and many other Christian virtues come from within our redeemed spirit which no education, outward adornment, fashion accessory or muscular frame can produce or duplicate. Help us to be slow to judge and quick to pray for those who are different from us and help us to see them and love them as Jesus does. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

*Heather Leaman worked for Kleen-Rite for 21 years and had major health issues that eventually claimed her life at age 41. She had great enthusiasm for her workplace and has been greatly missed, not only by her family, but also by her co-workers and friends since her untimely death.

On A Lighter Note about false assumptions: We are glad Brooksyne's initial assumption was quickly clarified regarding her confusion between our dog Roxie and Roxanne when she talked to the customer. What if she would have gone into detail about Roxie's afflictions; how she was having trouble with her memory, how she wanders out of the yard, the mysterious round lesions on her back and so forth. What if she had said, "It's getting close to the time we have to consider letting her go!" (Scratch that last statement as Brooksyne gets very upset with me if I ever approach that subject! She quickly reprimands me by saying it's no teasing matter. She's right, of course.) Thankfully, Roxie's situation is treatable and we hope she will soon be back to her normal self as she has been a wonderful pet for the past 14 years!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Brooksyne is looking forward to a special service, which includes the choir, at our church this weekend. It includes a number of songs we enjoy including these two:

"What A Beautiful Name"  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  What a blessing and glimpse of heaven to watch and hear the multi-racial, multi-ethnic Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir! We attended a service at this church about ten years ago. About twenty-five years ago Brooksyne attended a choral training conference with Carol Cymbala the BTC director.

"Behold Our God"  Video  California Baptist University Choir and Orchestra.  We  enjoy the new emphasis of using joyful expression when you sing! For those who don't sing solo, in a choir, or choral arrangement may not realize just how hard it is to smile while singing! It takes a good choir director to get all the choir members on board for such a presentation.

Special Thanksgiving Resources

We offer these resources to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 22).

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. (Note: You will need a good reader who should be given the story ahead of time to review so that it's read with expression and clarity.) For many of us the Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Here's an idea for sharing together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns"
(printable webpage).

"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service many years ago. (blog post) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our long-time friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

We appreciate listening to and singing the Thanksgiving hymns and songs.

"In Everything Give Thanks"  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

"Now Thank We All Our God"  Video  Best Loved Hymns

"Come Ye Thankful People Come"  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

"Thanksgiving Medley" (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

"Give Thanks"  Video  Don Moen

"Thank You Lord"  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

 Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

"I Want To Thank You"
 Video  Karen Peck and New River This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives in big and small ways. It also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me"  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

"I'm Forever Grateful"  Video  Willow Creek

"Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Thank You, Lord"  Video  Dennis Jernigan

"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"  Video  Matt Redman

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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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