A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Daily Encouragement on
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
This photo was taken in our back yard seven years ago with a super-sized sunflower voluntarily growing in our then garden area. We're not accustomed to seeing a flower right outside our 2nd floor bedroom window. Sunflowers are "happy" flowers, since they make us think of the sun and happy faces are modeled after them. They are a beautiful flower to see early in the morning prompting a consideration of the song "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" which I awakened the Lapp children with this morning.
"A Lesson On Christotropism"
Message summary: In our lives we all need to have a characteristic I will call Christotropism, that is, we need to turn or orient our self to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:15-17).
We have written about the enjoyment we have in planting flowers all around our property. Brooksyne has grown them from seed in the past and of course we give greenhouses a good business. But one of the most prominent plants in our landscaping typically grows on its own and requires little care; the Helianthus, usually called the Sunflower.
Each summer we have a variety of sunflowers growing. No telling how many seeds germinate from seeds that fall from our birdfeeders! The lead photo today was taken seven years ago and is the largest sunflower we have ever grown. I would guess it was between 10-12 feet tall. The world record tallest sunflower measures 30 feet 1 inch and was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany.
It may be assumed that sunflowers derive their name due to their sun-like appearance but they also demonstrate an interesting characteristic known as heliotropism, a word derived from the Greek words "sun" and "turning". The growing sunflower turns or orients itself to face the sun.
Brooksyne slightly laments that we cannot get the sunflowers to face us wherever we happen to be but this Creator-designed feature is a marvel in design.
When we travel Brooksyne often reads devotional materials to me as I am the main driver in our family. Last Friday she was reading the daily edition of "Our Daily Bread" which was titled "Son Followers" which makes this point:
Young sunflowers are just as patient in their growth. Following the sun’s movement throughout the day, they turn sunward daily in a process called heliotropism. Mature sunflowers are just as deliberate. They turn eastward permanently, warming the face of the flower and increasing visits from pollinator bees. This in turn produces a greater harvest.
In our lives we all need to have a characteristic I will call Christotropism, that is, we need to turn or orient our self to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Let us examine a passage in 2 Corinthians which has this phrase, "but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away".
Bible teacher A T Robertson notes that the scripture portion, "a veil lies over their heart", is a "vivid and distressing picture. With willful blindness the rabbis set aside the word of God by their tradition in the time of Jesus (Mark 7:8,9)." The veil is a symbol of spiritual blindness.
"But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away". What a blessed truth!
There is a sense that this is a onetime turning, speaking of our conversion when we repented and turned from our sin and to Christ.
But there is also an ongoing aspect of turning to the Lord. The world clamors for our attention and we must willfully seek to stay focused on the Lord. This is well-expressed in the old song "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus".
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, You have given us so many beautiful and colorful sites to enjoy as we journey here below. The sunflowers are certainly among the more pleasurable flowers we watch growing each summer, whether they were planted by the birds or by humans. Just as the sunflowers must be nurtured by the rays of the sun, we too must be nurtured by the light of Your Word if we are to grow in maturity and devotion to You. Keep our eyes firmly fixed on You all our days we pray. Amen.
Ester and Brooksyne standing among our "Mammoth Sunflowers" growing right outside our front door 6 years ago. What a "happy" view we saw each morning when we opened our door.
Another pond we passed on Sunday on our drive through the Lancaster County countryside.
Click on photo to enlarge
With all the rain we have had this summer the corn is very green.
Click on photo to enlarge
We arrived home late last evening from our trip to Knoebel's Amusement Park with the Lapp children. this morning we'll take them back to Strasburg where they live and then will have breakfast with Joel and Adrienne Charest and their children who are missionaries to Mozambique. Joel and Adrienne faithfully worked for several years with the children in the church we served in New England. Ever since we met them in the mid nineties, while students at Zion Bible Institute, they had a mutual call to missions. We attended their wedding and shortly after that they went to Africa where they have served ever since (about twenty years).
On Thursday and Friday we hope to share some more photos of them as well as some from our Knoebel's visit.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" Video The Living Stones Quartet
"Oh What A Beautiful Morning" Video from "Oklahoma" Brooksyne's home state!
Tallest Sunflower - Guinness World Records Video
Time Lapse: Sunflower Following The Sun Video The bud of a sunflower is heliotropic - meaning it follows the sun. This behavior stops once the flower blooms. Take a look at this time lapse - a full day of movement in 2 minutes!
"Richard Kent's Fun Facts - Heliotropism" Video
Today's message was in part prompted by a recent entry in the "Our Daily Bread' titled "Son Followers"
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