A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Cameron Estate Inn
Mansion Lane in East Donegal Township
(click on photo to enlarge)
Message summary: Today how and with whom might you be mutually encouraged?
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"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each otherís faith" (Romans 1:11,12). "The brothers there [Rome] had heard that we were coming, and they Paul (and his team) traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged" (Acts 28:15).
Almost every day on the calendar has been designated as a special recognition for something or someone. For instance today, September 14, if you want to celebrate something you have many choices including: "Eat a Hoagie Day", "National Coloring Day", and "National Sober Day" among others.
But I saw a day on our print calendar that especially caught my attention. I didn't know there was a "National Day of Encouragement" which was recognized this past Sunday, September 12.
The day originated in 2007 as a day meant to remind others that encouragement matters. It all started when a group of high school students attending a leadership forum were asked to come up with a solution to the biggest problem that faced young people in their day. They overwhelmingly agreed that young people lack encouragement.
September 11 will always be a day full of hurt, confusion and loss for Americans as we commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attack. But the very next day we acknowledge the National Day of Encouragement. It's a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the importance of coming together and encouraging others. Encouragement matters.
National Day of Encouragement is a day dedicated to uplifting those around us and making a positive impact, no matter the magnitude. Itís that simple.*
Today let us consider encouragement from a Biblical perspective.
Romans is a deeply theological book and chapter 1 has a panoramic view of the glorious Gospel and the depraved condition of the human race, which is foundational to an understanding of the necessity of the Gospel.
Paul had not been to Rome but a church had been established, perhaps as a result of those who returned from the Day of Pentecost which included "visitors from Rome" (see Acts 2:8-11).
Paul includes in his introduction today's Scripture portion, "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each otherís faith" (Romans 1:11,12).
The concept of mutual encouragement really stands out to me. That is so often the way encouragement works, it's mutually beneficial. As Proverbs 11:25 states, "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed".
When Paul finally reached Rome in Acts 28 there's a poignant scene, "The brothers there (in Rome) had heard that we (Paul and his team) were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged" (Acts 28:15).
Let me end with an illustrative memory of mutual encouragement from some 25 years ago.
I was serving a church in New England when I received news that my dad was nearing his end on this earth. I took the first flight I could get (out of Boston as I recall) and headed to Kansas City. I connected in Dallas/Fort Worth, a huge airport with many, many gates for American Airlines. I wearily got off the plane as I prepared to walk or perhaps run to the next gate for the short connection.
Lo and behold I ran into Dave Simpson, a great friend from 1st grade who "just happened" to be heading from Springfield, MO to a business meeting in Florida. Neither of us had any idea of each other's travel plans but it was ordained that we would each be in just the right part of the huge airport at just the right time (+/- only a few minutes and we probably would not have seen each other). But we met and were able to grab a quick bite and have a few minutes of fellowship with one another. I can say at the sight of Dave Simpson I thanked God and was encouraged and certainly hope I encouraged Dave as well.
Today how and with whom might you be mutually encouraged?
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we want to encourage another by imparting courage, spirit, and hope into their life. We have all been encouraged by another's words, actions, or example and we can also be an encourager by doing likewise, putting others before ourselves. We are mutually encouraged when we build up each other in the faith testifying of the good things You have done. Help us to be more concerned about blessing others than receiving a blessing, because it's in the blessing of others that we ourselves receive Your blessing which brings about the greatest encouragement one can receive. Amen.
Evangelist Lowell Lundstrom was the evangelist who preached the Gospel the night I got saved in August 1971. On several occasions I saw Lowell since the time of my conversion and was pleased to share of his impact on my life and he was equally pleased to hear it. The last time I saw him was in 1998 when I "just happened" to meet him at the KC airport following my dad's death. I was returning home and he had a connecting flight to North Dakota. He provided some comfort and perspective when he suggested to me, "Your dad took an early flight". I've used that illustration many times over the years when speaking to others who lost a loved one who was a believer.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Follow-up: In last Friday's message we used an illustration about an elderly lady I had visited about twenty years ago that spoke of going to her permanent home. Her grand-daughter wrote me just today and said, "Anna finally went to her permanent home in April of this year. She was 103."
"Jesus, Strong and Kind" Video CityAlight This especially blesses me to see the children sing!
* "National Sober Day" is another day I do not recall ever hearing about. We pray that God will help all struggling with addictions experience deliverance and freedom in Jesus Christ! I have several on my heart that I am praying for. May we all consider this verse. "Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming" (1 Peter 1:13).
I am also heartened to see people working through overcoming such as the man we see each week at work who has a small post-it note attached to his monitor reminding him of the days since his last drink, which is over 100 now! I remember when it was double digits.
"Chainbreaker" Video Zach Williams (sung in a prison). Here's a comment from the song that will bless you:
"I spent 10+ years of my life in addiction, lost, miserable and on the edge daily of dying. Jesus changed my life in a 5'x8' cell after more times in jail/prison/rehab than I can count. Over 6 years now since He took that devil of drugs and all chemical dependency from me and I give glory to God daily and hope one day I can get into prisons to testify and hopefully change some lost men's lives. These videos of Zach in prison sharing the gospel are so powerful for me to watch I can't begin to describe. I pray every man finds God and sees that there is SO much to gain from giving their lives to Him!"
Just yesterday I received word that Tom Hanley (right in photo above), died due to complications in his recovery from a motorcycle accident. Tom came into the church we served in New England, recently saved out of a very rough life. He had been a bar bouncer in the tough "Tenderloin" section of Boston, among other illustrious experiences in life. We called him over the years after we left that area and I was heartened when he said he prayed for us daily! I once told him, "Tom, I recall you telling me you had been stabbed in the chest." He told me, "Preacher, I've been stabbed all over." Isn't redemption wonderful! He leaves behind a devoted wife named LuAnn whom he married while attending our church in Taunton. We believe Stephen conducted the service but can't remember for sure. Another friend, Rick Masciantonio (left in photo above) from the church, got him involved in prison ministry and he served for many years. Rick is now a pastor out on Cape Cod and had Tom speak last spring and thankfully has the video of Tom preaching. Rick also has a great testimony, getting saved while serving in the navy in Newport, RI.
Cameron Estate Today's lead photo is of the Cameron Estate which is down the trail we often walk on across from our home. It was initially a mansion built for Simon Cameron who was Lincoln's Secretary of War during the Civil War. It is now a hotel, restaurant and wedding venue https://cameronestateinn.com/
Yesterday Brooksyne made her second batch of strawberry/rhubarb jam this year and decided to share the process pictorially. Many of our readers have eaten a jar or two (or more) of this delicious jam.
The first step is filling a large dutch oven with chopped rhubarb, strawberries and sugar. No need to cut up the strawberries. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a rolling boil for ten minutes. This will take a while to get it rolling. (A small pat of butter helps with the foaming.)
After boiling the rhubarb mixture remove from heat. Thoroughly mix strawberry jello to rhubarb and pour in canning jars or you can also freeze this jam. I find it easier to fill jars from a container that has a spout than using a ladle which is why I'm filling this two quart mixing bowl to pour mixture into warm jars. Wipe off any spill before topping with flat lids.
The jars will need to be boiled ten minutes in a water bath or a steam canner which is what I have used for the past ten years. I like the steam canner because it only requires two quarts of water and heats quickly between batches. It's much easier to empty water after usage as well. Unlike the water bath the lid is deep and the bath is shallow, whereas the water bath is deep and the lid is shallow. With the steam canner the jar flats usually pop as I pull the lid off - a sign that they are sealed and after they have fully cooled down they can be stored for a year or two.
Fifteen fully sealed jars of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
(The recipe below will make over 22 six ounce jars.)
Oh so good!
Brooksyne's Strawberry/Rhubarb Preserves
16 Cups Rhubarb, chopped several ribs at a time (no need to peel)
8 Cups whole strawberries, no need to chop
12 to 13 Cups Granulated Sugar
3 1/2 large boxes Strawberry Jello (give or take a box)
Cover rhubarb with sugar for several hours or overnight as it easier to stir the mixture before boiling. It will be syrupy and will soften rhubarb and strawberries. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for ten minutes. You can add a pat of butter to lessen the foam that gathers at the top. If you get a lot of foam try to remove it before filling jars. Take jam mixture from heat and thoroughly mix in jello powder in. Pour in 6 oz. jelly jars and seal 10 minutes in water bath or steam canner. You can also freeze in freezer jars or containers.
I have been making this jam for 30 years now and have never had the jam not set. It is a very flexible recipe allowing you to mix with the rhubarb whatever you have such as fresh or canned pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, or cherries, (I've used them all successfully and sometimes two different kinds of fruit). You might want to match the jello flavor to the fruit you are using. I often pull the rhubarb and strawberries from the freezer as I did today before turning them into jam and there is no difference in the results! I hope you'll try making your own jam cause it's so tasty, inexpensive, and a nice little gift to share with others. You can also make half this recipe as it is not required to be exact as are typical jam and jelly recipes. If you have any questions just
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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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