Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Friday, May 28, 2021

Yesterday morning we passed this "repurposed" outhouse near New Holland, PA.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Blessing Of A Repurposed Life"

Message summary: God has a purpose for each of us. Today let us consider the sense of how we have been repurposed. 

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples" (Acts 9:1). "This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel" (Acts 9:15). "You, however, know all about my purpose" (2 Timothy 3:10). "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation" (Acts 12:36).

Yesterday we were on the back roads of Lancaster County and passed the repurposed outhouse seen in our lead photo. It's not uncommon around here to see outhouses used in a similar way. About 20 years ago our community celebrated its 150th anniversary and a part of the "festivities" was an "outhouse tour". We went on it and it was very interesting!

The one that stood out in our memory was a two-seater. Brooksyne opened the door and what appeared to be a woman was sitting on one of the seats. Of course, she immediately shut the door out of embarrassment only to realize that the owner of this particular outhouse had dressed up a dummy to make it look more realistic and to pull a prank on those who looked on. We were not the only ones who quickly shut the door and walked away with a flushed cheeks.

Three seater outhouseI read a story about someone who had torn down an old three-seater outhouse and laid the pieces on the ground for disposal. A neighbor came by and, looking at the pile of boards, asked if she could have "the board with the three holes", not knowing how that board had been used. She was told, "Well I suppose, if you want it go ahead and take it" having no idea what in the world she would do with the outhouse seat. Sometime later she was visiting the neighbor and she proudly showed her how she had "repurposed" the board as a picture frame with photos of her three grandchildren in the holes! You probably never thought of that one, huh!

We enjoy the challenge and sometimes savings of repurposing, that is, finding a purpose for an item different than its original intent. The dictionary defines repurpose as "adapt for use in a different purpose". I have often used scrap material for projects around our home.

Today let us consider a much greater type of repurposing, repurposed lives, how in redemption God has miraculously repurposed our lives adapting us for a different purpose.

Prior to his conversion on the Damascus road Saul had a purpose described in Acts 9:1, "Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples."  He was a great persecutor. I suppose his mission statement would simply read "persecutor of Christians."

But his life was transformed and repurposed. At his conversion his new purpose was made known, "This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel" (Acts 9:15). You might say at conversion Saul's life was repurposed.

Paul, as he came to be known, is often considered the greatest missionary of all time and faithfully fulfilled that purpose. Toward the end of his life in his final letter he wrote in confidence to Timothy, "You, however, know all about my purpose" (2 Timothy 3:10).

A vital question we should ask is, "What is my purpose?" God created each one of us with purpose. One of the greatest innate needs common to all people is a purpose for our existence. Many aimlessly drift throughout their lives with little sense of direction or purpose. As a young Christian I learned to share my faith using a booklet called "The Four Spiritual Laws" which begins with the phrase, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life". Of course the noun "plan" can be equally understood as "purpose" and truly God has a purpose for each one of us.

There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my "personal mission statement" that I wrote many years ago. This, of course, could also be called my "personal purpose statement." I purposefully place it in the footers of each daily encouragement message.  It reads,

"I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

But we believe God has also specifically equipped each of us for the unique purpose He has for our life. This purpose varies depending on the gifts, challenges, and callings God has granted us. In Acts 12:36 we read, "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation". My goal is to serve God's purpose for my life in my generation. What about you?

Here are three questions to consider today as you live a repurposed life:
• Do I know my main purpose in life, both general and specific?
• Do the people who know me clearly observe me living according to my purpose?
• Do my priorities in life reflect this purpose?

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your purpose in my life is seen in a multitude of ways; whether it is in my vocational training; in the way I raise my children; in the relationships I engender or in the way I use my gifts to touch other lives. But Your purpose in my life is especially visible to others in my response to heartache, betrayal, disappointment, suffering, and loss. Your purpose can be seen when I choose not to repay evil for evil, but rather good for evil. Lord, as I keep Your purpose for my life always before me I will remember that much good spiritual fruit can be developed in me in the ups and downs I encounter daily. May I be faithful in making choices today that reflect Your purpose in my life. Amen.

Outhouse memories: Brooksyne and I both have childhood memories that we suppose are getting rarer and rarer, especially here in the USA. We both had grandparents that had and used an outhouse! In fact Brooksyne used an outhouse during her childhood in Tulsa.

By the time I (Stephen) was a child my MaMa and PaPa, who lived in tiny Harwood Missouri, had indoor plumbing.  It had been installed by my dad some ten years earlier when my grandparents were in their sixties. Prior to that they used the two-seater outhouse which was still standing at the side of the house and functioned. When there was a lot of family gathered it was convenient to have a second (and even third) bathroom. Few people are picky about the facilities when nature calls!

Brooksyne's grandparents lived in the Arkansas mountains and did not have indoor plumbing till she was a teenager. She writes,

"Grandma and Grandpa had a two-seater, two seats for humans and for anything else that decided to inhabit the rickety outhouse such as yellow jackets, wasps, mud daubers, and the likes. One thing's for sure, you didn't have long to wait to use their outhouse since we got in and out of there as quick as we could before being stung during the very hot and humid summer months. We also didn't piddle around in the freezing winter months when we dreaded going out in the cold. Nighttime was the worst time since my grandparents lived in the thick woods, known for bears, coyotes & wolves, even bobcats. Finally, my parents were able to pool their money with other relatives to install indoor plumbing so we could have running water which included not only a flushable toilet but also a bathtub and running water in the kitchen. It was very rusty water with a sulfur taste but at least it was indoor plumbing at last."

Repurposed garage
This "repurposed" garage near Martindale, PA is now used to display flowers.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Colorful backyard
What a colorful backyard! Notice the fire truck play set.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Mennonite produce stand
The homegrown produce stands are opening up and yesterday we stopped at this one near Ephrata, PA
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Purpose"  Video  Grace Life Worship

"Here For A Reason"  Video   Ashes Remain

"Christ Our Hope in Life and Death"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Papa

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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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