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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Breezy Point Overlook sunset 6/26/19
Last night's sunset over the Susquehanna River at the Breezy Point Overlook.
Click to enlarge


Message summary:  What miracles result from the touch of the Master's Hand! Are you one of them?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

New stickerThis week I visited Audrey's, a wholesale distributor of home decor items where we serve as chaplains. I visited with a lady who had a roll of small stickers that merely stated "NEW" that she used for identifying new products.

I asked if I might have a sticker and I placed it on my forehead before resuming visits throughout the company. Reactions included a quick stare but then silence, I suppose not wanting to embarrass me. Others said, "Hey did you know you have sticker on your head?" and one lady said "You're not new!"

However I went on to use the sticker as a witnessing aid, informing them that based on Scripture I was indeed new, a new creation.

Later I visited two locations of another company that due to a vacillating work load hires a lot of temps. These souls come from a variety of backgrounds, many with a sad story. Tuesday quite a few were from a transitional house having just been released from prison. What an opportunity I had to share with them they could be made new.

Aren't you glad God can make new what appears to be a lost cause or a hopeless mess in those He redeems?

Touch of the Master's HandIn preparing for this message I consider an old song by Wayne Watson that was popular when we were just young Christians in the early eighties. Recently Brooksyne found a framed print of it at our local thrift shop and hung it in our office. The song tells the story of an old, decrepit violin that looked worthless at an auction and nobody showed interest until an old man walked to the front and began to play it. At the touch of the master's hand the old violin's value increased remarkably.

We know many people who have tremendous stories of overcoming life's hardships and sin's devastation, experiencing the wonderful truth expressed in the daily verse. Now they are serving the Lord and experiencing the process of transformation. I am always delighted to hear testimonies of how God, in His mercy, is bringing newness and restoration to broken lives.

In ministry we cooperate with the Lord in His work in the spiritual rehabilitation process. He ultimately makes new but we have a cooperative part in teaching the Scriptures, encouraging, being an example, serving in a host of ministries and in many other ways.

The Apostle Paul describes this wonderful change, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul experienced that change in his own life and he rejoiced in the transforming power of God in the people he ministered to.

The list of changed, "new" lives goes on and on and is being added to every day. What miracles result from the touch of the Master's Hand! Are you one of them?

You know there's many a man with his life out of tune,
Battered and scarred with sin and he's auctioned cheap,
To a thankless world, much like that old violin.

Oh, but then the Master comes,
And that old foolish crowd they never understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought,
Just by one touch of the Master's hand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the question in the old hymn asks, "What can wash away my sins?" The correct answer is "Nothing but the blood of Jesus." Only You can take a heart that is bent toward sin and completely turn it toward godliness. Thank You for Your redemptive love, seen in the death and resurrection of Your Son, that forgives my heart of sin. You take away the sinful way of thinking that leads to sinful living and replace it with a spiritual way of thinking that leads to life through Your Spirit. Master, the touch of Your hand empowers me to be transformed into newness of life, for which I am eternally grateful. Amen.

Columbia/Wrightsville Bridge 6/26/19
I always enjoy this view from Wrightsville of the the Columbia/Wrightsville Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River .

Lebanon County sheep 6/25/19
Tuesday morning I passed these sheep in rural Lebanon County.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Haven't Seen It Yet"  Video  Danny Gokey Dedicated to a very good friend going through a very hard season of life.

"Touch Of The Master's Hand"  Video  Wayne Watson from 1980

"Touch Of The Master's Hand"  Video  The Booth Brothers

Here are the entire lyrics to "The Touch Of The Master's Hand"

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch of a master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.

The Touch of the Master’s Hand was written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch who lived in La Verne, California. Her family had always been filled with a love of music, which, as a young woman, instilled in Myra a passion for playing the organ. Myra also loved poetry. So much so that her friends called her “The poet with the singing soul.”

One evening while attending a lecture to a group of students, Myra became captivated by the speaker’s message and, as she put it, "became filled with light". The words were so powerful that she wrote a poem that took just 30 minutes to compose. Believing it was a gift from God, Myra anonymously sent the poem to her church hoping it would be printed in the bulletin the following Sunday.

Not only was Myra’s poetry printed, as if by magic during a day when social media and the internet did not exist, its popularity spread throughout the country. Years later, when the poem had been forgotten, it was read at an international religious convention followed by the words, "author unknown".

Suddenly from the audience a young man rose to his feet and shouted, "I know the author, and it’s time the world did too. It was written by my mother, Myra Welch."

Background story

Finally today:

Brooksyne continues to serve at the Joni and Friends family Retreat.

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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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