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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

White barn in Lancaster County, PA 10/11/19
A big white barn in southern Lancaster County garnished with fall mums, gourds and pumpkins.

"Thus Far Has The Lord Helped Me!"

Message summary: Today I proclaim,kk "Thus far has the Lord helped me!" But the completion of my goal, to follow Him all the days of my life, will only be fully realized when my time of transition comes, "safely to arrive at home."

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"Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us'" (1 Samuel 7:12).

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help Iíve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Last week we attended a teaching session that had us do a "life map". Since I was a child I have liked maps; the old kind you unfolded and spread out to look at; atlas type maps, globes and in the computer age sites like Google Earth. I suppose I have an unusual memory regarding places I have been and can recall the routes I took even in trips as a child and many vacations through our marriage. I have chronicled each airport I have flown into, which is now up to 51 airports. I remember the train trips I took.

Since I like maps I thought doing a life map would be an interesting exercise but it was different than a regular map. Essentially in a life map you are to place significant events in your life along a chronological line.

I did mine fairly quickly, noting events like my birth (which was necessary for the rest), childhood, my salvation experience, graduations, marriage and major vocational milestones and so forth. Brooksyne on the other hand had a much greater amount of detail in her life map. (She probably did it the way you were supposed to!) When I was finished I looked over and saw lots more writing and she was only into her thirties!

Today is a milestone point in my life map so this verse and concept have been on my heart for several days. One thing each of us could write for each point in our life map is today's text, "Thus far the Lord has helped me" (changed to first person singular)

Most of us have sung the great old hymn, "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" with one of the verses posted above. However many probably have never considered the meaning of the words, "Here I raise my Ebenezer" sung in the second verse to the hymn penned in 1757 by Robert Robinson who was just 22 years old at the time.

Samuel served God some 3,100 years ago as the last leader during the period of the Judges. In fact he anointed both Saul and David as kings. Samuel served his generation faithfully, overcoming dangers from without and apostasy from within (falling away from the faith).

In today's text Samuel made a tangible memorial to God's faithfulness to himself and the people. He set up a stone and named it Ebenezer (which means "stone of help"), and using that meaning applied it to the nation stating, "Thus far has the Lord helped us". That must have been a wonderful moment and it's my testimony today. I raise my Ebenezer and personally proclaim, "Thus far has the Lord helped me."

When Robert Robinson wrote the line "Here I raise my Ebenezer; here by Thy great help Iíve come" he was surely referring to today's Scripture text and declaring his faith and resolve in serving the Lord.

Have you placed your faith in Christ? Are you faithfully serving Him today? We sure hope so! Won't you raise your Ebenezer to join Samuel and millions through the ages in proclaiming, "Thus far has the Lord helped us!"

Today I proclaim "Thus far has the Lord helped me!" But the completion of my goal, to follow Him all the days of my life, will
only be fully realized when my time of transition comes, "safely to arrive at home."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as I daily partake of the Bread of Life I am led by Your hand. No longer my own, because Your only Son, Jesus, gave His life that I might experience forgiveness for sin and abundant life. Today I victoriously proclaim, "Thus far has the Lord helped me!" even though my heart and my flesh may fail, for You are my strength and my portion for my dwelling on earth and for my eternal home in heaven.  Amen.

Neck pumpkins on stairway in Lancaster County, PA 10/11/19
This is a great place to store some neck pumpkins as long as you don't need the stairs!

Smucker community day 10/11/19
Last Friday we visited the employees at the Smucker Home Improvement and Smucker Laser Cutting and Metal Fabrication companies at a community service day as they provided renovation work to a former orphanage that now houses Immerse International, a ministry to international students. Crew worked on many phases of improvement including installing new windows, carpentry work, lawn cleanup, etc. Smuckers brought in the food truck to feed the crew of some 50. We are pleased to serve this business as their company chaplains.

Smucker community day 10/11/19
These men were working on a chimney and had discovered there was a skunk inside which caused a lot of commotion,or so they initially thought. It turned out to be a squirrel!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing"  Video  All Sons & Daughters

Children's choir leading our worship at the service yesterday at Calvary Church  Video

"Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It" An interesting rest of the story regarding Robert Robinson

Here I Raise My Ebenezer! Article on today's text

Finally today:

Sprayer at Curt's funeral 10/13/19
Yesterday we attended a funeral service for Curt Haldeman, a local friend who arrived safely home after a long battle. Curt was a salesman who sold equipment like this huge New Holland sprayer which was parked in the church's lawn during the service. Years ago we shared an experience that Curt had and a spiritual application he gleaned from it.

Curt sang bass in the men's quintet called "Pleasant Passage". They sang a specially themed song written for a local tractor day by Mike Book who sings tenor with the group. It's titled "Life is like a Farmer's Parcel" Video  (the tune is from "Life is Like a Mountain Railroad" made popular by Johnny Cash.) Pardon the poor audio on this video. I had just learned to use the video record function on my "smart" phone and apparently kept covering the tiny microphone with my finger!

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Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, 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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