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Friday, August 2, 2019

Utah Canyon 7/25/19
A scenic portion of Utah

"Kindness And Love"

Message summary: Let us accept His kindness and love with gratitude and live as His children expressing kindness and love to others.

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"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).

My brother and I had a rather eventful experience during our journey across the country last week. Michael is 74 and is now experiencing some health challenges. Living at sea level (he has a view of the Pacific Ocean from his San Francisco apartment) he is not used to high altitudes and neither am I, living at a breath-taking 360 feet above sea level here in Lancaster County.

Michael had oxygen with him but as we climbed Vail Pass in Colorado at nearly 11,000 feet he did not have it running. I was feeling light-headed myself and Michael was really struggling so we pulled over in a truck rest area at the top of the pass to put his oxygen on. He stepped out of the car and fainted face down. I couldn't rouse him at all and for a heart stopping moment I actually feared he had died. I managed to call 911 and thankfully the phone worked.

Within minutes three truck drivers came over to help. Their kindness was astounding as I was kind of a mess myself. Michael finally did rouse so they got him up in a chair and worked on his oxygen, rendering helpful aid until the official help arrived. What a blessing these three men were; a black man, a Latino man and a big white Italian man, none who knew each other, working together to help in this random act of kindness to two old men* crossing the country.

Michael was transported by ambulance to Vail Hospital and after an examination and breathing treatment he was released several hours later with his oxygen working. We resumed our journey without incident although I was sure relieved to get off the high elevations to the relatively low elevation in Denver.

Today we want to consider another act of kindness. But it wasn't a random act.
It was eternally deliberate, decidedly purposeful and lovingly planned. The daily portion of Scripture surely contains some of the richest theological truths in the entire Bible. Every phrase is rich and loaded with truth.

It begins, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared". The Greek word for kindness "chrestotes" is used rather infrequently in the New Testament, and only five times does it refer to a characteristic of God. Theologian Charles Hodge points out that "God's grace is manifested through His kindness towards us, and that kindness is exercised through Christ and for His sake. The ground of this goodness is not in us but in Christ, and hence its character as grace, or unmerited favor."

Isn't it wonderful that one of the eternal qualities used to describe the God of the Universe is "kindness"!  In fact one of the richest expressions of His kindness is found in a teaching in the gospels that can be easily overlooked, since it primarily deals with our love for one another.

Jesus, in teaching that we are to love even our enemies, describes the Most High as "kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35). All over the world today His kindness is being demonstrated even to the ungrateful and wicked, many whom defiantly deny Him. God's own kindness is without measure.

Christ's willingness to offer Himself to save the lost world shows the extent of God's kindness. As God's chosen children we are to imitate His kindness in our relationship with others. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12).

Let us accept His kindness and love with gratitude and live as His children expressing kindness and love to others.

How kind and gracious is the Lord, how kind and gracious is the Lord.
He my ev'ry need provides, my soul is satisfied.
How kind and gracious is the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, throughout Scripture You show us practical ways that we can show kindness to others. Though it is easier to show it to some more than others, You command us to show kindness to all people, both friend and foe. Help us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to treat others as we want to be treated, to consider others before we consider ourselves, and to give of ourselves without expecting anything in return. When we do these acts of kindness it will give us opportunity to represent You, Father, as an obedient vessel through which Your Spirit flows. Flow through me today.  Amen.

* I'm really not that old but consider how old 64 seemed when I was in my twenties!

My father-in-law Brooklyn Sherrell (now deceased) drove a truck for 40 years and frequently stopped to help people whose car was broken down. On occasion this got him into trouble since taking the time to help others in need was not on his work schedule. Deliveries needed to be on time. Sometimes he would take the people home with him whose car was in repair.

Once while Brooksyne was attending Bible College in Missouri a group of young people were broken down in Tulsa and Brooklyn towed their car so it could be fixed. As a way of expressing thankfulness they gave him a 10 speed bicycle and some Christian record albums. Brooklyn passed on the bicycle and albums to Brooksyne and she remembers this incident very well. There's a lot of evil in the world, but there's also a lot of "random acts of kindness" taking place for which we are thankful.

Today I will share some more photos from my trip across the western states.

Bonneville Salt Flats 7/25/19
I drove out on a long road to the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah. This was in some of the most desolate land I've ever seen.

Cold Shivers Point, near Grand Junction CO 7/26/19 (Click to enlarge)
Appropriately named "Cold Shivers Point" is in the Colorado National Monument, near Grand Junction CO. No one was on it when I took this photo but a photo search reveals people will stand out on this rock to have their photo taken, which indeed gives me the cold shivers!
(Click to enlarge)

Glenwood Hot Springs pool, CO 7/26/19 (Click to enlarge)
The Glenwood Hot Springs pool cost $28.00 to swim in. We chose to stay dry!
(Click to enlarge)

I-70, CO 7/26/19 (Click to enlarge)
This stretch along I-70 took some creative engineering and great expense since it ran through a narrow canyon along the Colorado River.
(Click to enlarge)

The Golden Spike observation tower near North Platte, NE 7/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
The Golden Spike observation tower near North Platte, Nebraska looks out over Bailey Yard, the world's largest railroad classification yard.
(Click to enlarge)

Kregel Windmill factory, Nebraska City, NE 7/30/19
I enjoyed a tour through the Kregel Windmill factory museum in Nebraska City.
Here's an interesting video

Steincross family 7/30/19
The Steincross family are the descendants of George Washington (PaPa) and Nelly Mae (MaMa) Steincross, my (Stephen's) grandparents. They passed away in the early seventies and my aunts and uncle started a reunion in 1975 to stay connected since even at that time we were spread all over the country. We had our 45th family reunion early this week. Now all the aunts and uncles are passed on and we cousins (MaMa and PaPa's grandchildren) are aging (of course!) The youngest attendees at the reunion were great, great, great grandchildren.
(Click to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Kindness"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"Show A Little Bit of Love And Kindness"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

Finally today: Yesterday's mystery photo was on the approach to the San Francisco airport looking over the Silicon Valley. If you look carefully you can see the distinctive Apple headquarters which we visited last fall.

Mystery photo
Today's mystery photo probably will not be hard for most readers to identify.

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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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