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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Hummingbird 7/27/19
Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird
I, Brooksyne, snapped a photo of this hummingbird while I was sitting on the front porch talking to my sister in Texas. It flew right in front of me unexpectedly so I said, "Elaine, hold on for a minute!" I snapped the photo and apologized to her for making her hold. I explained and before I finished she said, "I knew you saw a bird!"  Our families know us well don't they! The male hummingbird came right after I took this photo but flitted about so much I couldn't snap his photo.

Note: Late last night I (Stephen) returned from a trip to my family reunion in Nebraska. I picked up my oldest brother Mike in San Francisco Monday 7/22/19 and we drove east to Nebraska over the next 6 days. I am very thankful to be home with my family, resuming and sharing our Daily Encouragement messages!

"Abounding In Thanksgiving"

Message summary: May God help us to abound with thanksgiving today!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6,7).

After ten days of travel I am thankful to be at home back in the country setting. My trip began in San Francisco the day of my arrival, Monday 7/22/19, although that very evening my brother Mike and I began heading east. A few hours in a big city, especially San Francisco, is enough for me! It was nice to pass through some of California's rich farming areas on the way to Sacramento where we soon hit the Sierra foothills and then the mountains.

The music on my computer froze up while playing a song and it kept repeating, "Thank you, thank you, thank you". Initially I became frustrated, but then the Spirit prompted me to pause and really listen to the repetitious message instead of dwelling on the technical problem. I did and gave thanks. The Bible talks about the trees and the rocks crying out to God, but on that day the Holy Spirit spoke to me through technology as the recording cried out, "Thank You, Thank You".

Erma Bombeck was a writer and humorist, who later in life battled kidney disease and cancer. In 1992 she wrote, "An estimated 1.5 million people are living today after bouts with breast cancer. Every time I forget to feel grateful to be among them, I hear the voice of an eight-year-old named Christina, who had cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she thought long and hard and finally said, 'I don't know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!'"

That's sure a great example of contentedness and thankfulness; two character qualities that are interrelated and lacking among so many of us today. One of the great sins against God is ingratitude. Yet it is so dominant today right in the midst of affluence and is actually predicted as a mark of the last times. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-5.)

In our daily verses Paul is reminding the Colossian believers of the necessary foundational steps in the Christian walk. Notice the key words: "received", "walk", "rooted", "built up", and "established in the faith".

But today we want to focus on just a single phrase. Paul ends this section of Scripture with the appeal to be people "abounding in thanksgiving". The Greek word used for abound means "to superabound."

Paul writes here from a prison, surely a location very non-conducive to a thankful spirit.  He could so easily be in the dumps of despair and legitimately so, due to his unjust circumstances. But early on Paul had learned to praise God even while in prison (see Acts 16).  Earlier in the epistle he had himself expressed thankfulness to God for the Colossian believers. Indeed thankfulness is a major theme in Paul's life.

Throughout His Word God regularly calls us to thankfulness. Erwin Lutzer observed, "You can learn to give thanks even if you don't feel particularly thankful. If God gives a command, He expects obedience, whether you are in the mood or not. Thankfulness, like forgiveness, is not an emotion. Thankfulness is an intelligent response of gratitude to God."

Amen! May God help us all to abound with thanksgiving today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, our blessings come from a variety of sources, but they originate from Your generous and loving interest on our behalf. You love to give! In fact, You gave the ultimate gift in the sacrifice of Your Son who took the penalty for our sins. When we consider the blessings of family, friends, work, food, and other daily comforts it stirs up a heart of gratitude. Help us to overflow in thanksgiving so that it spills out to those around us even in the midst of hardship or devastation. When the "norm" of life is turned upside down we, in faith, look more to You and can find blessings that we hadn't considered on a routine day. In the name of Jesus we praise and thank You, Amen.

Today and tomorrow I will share some photos from my trip.

Jelly Belly factory tour 7/23/19
I stopped by the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, CA.
One of my favorite traveling experiences is factory tours!

Tractor in Solano County California 7/23/19
A tractor in Solano County, California

California sunflower farm 7/23/19
Field of sunflowers near Vacaville, CA

Lake Tahoe inspiration point 7/23/19 Click to enlarge
Although most of our trip was straight through on interstate highways we did go around Lake Tahoe. This photo was taken at inspiration point.
Click to enlarge

Train through tunnel in Nevada 7/24/19
Nevada was rather desolate but still beautiful in its own way. On I-80 we often drove along a train line that I was on, along with my Mom and sister, during my first trip to California back in the sixties. At that time we had taken the train out to see Mike and his wife Billie and their baby daughter Greta, the first grandchild. Mike's wife died in the eighties from cancer and he has lived as a widower ever since. He wanted to drive east to the reunion and to see his daughter Greta, who is now in her fifties and lives with her family in Saint Louis. Greta and her husband Dean met us at the reunion in Nebraska.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart"  Video  Don Moen

Finally today:

Mystery photo 7/22/19 Click to enlarge
Can you identify where this photo was taken and what this area (in the distance) is typically called?
Click to enlarge

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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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