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Monday, September 12, 2022

Our barn cat Gracie enjoying a cat video as a kitten. This photo was taken several days after her arrival at approximately 8 weeks of age on Sept. 1, 2022. Ester wasted no time introducing her to the iphone technology that appeals even to cats. Her behavior, now a year later, makes us think that she really does think she is of "noble birth"!

"Not Many Of Noble Birth"

Message summary: Paul asked the Corinthians to "Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth." Paul's description of the Corinthians also describes most people reading this!

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"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth" (1 Corinthians 1:26). "To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).

Saturday evening we went over to join some friends for dinner, passing through miles of the Lancaster County countryside. We drove by many farms in the midst of their corn harvest with farm dump trucks hurriedly driving back and forth from the fields to the large pit or silos to dump their loads where the silage is preserved for the winter months.   We enjoy the sights of the country, even the homemade signs that say "Free Kittens".

In fact that's what enticed us last year to stop at a farm and pick out little Gracie from three different litters. After 17 year old Dottie died we thought we would remain cat free and did so for over two years, but after we saw "Free Kittens" in a "weak" moment I turned the van around and we stopped at the farm just to have a look. Brooksyne said before she jumped out of the van, "We can just look, we don't have to get one." Yeah, right! Most of these free kittens are an overabundance of barn cats defined as "a domestic cat, usually of mixed breed, that lives primarily outdoors on agricultural properties". It's also common for people drop off a litter of kittens thinking the farmer could use a few around the barn.

Purebred barn kittens

But Saturday we passed a farm in Manor Township with an unusual sign that read, "Pure Bred Barn Kittens" which sure caused a chuckle between us. In our opinion it's a creative sales (or give away) pitch enticing some rather unwary passersby that they would really be getting something extra special since the barn cat kittens are "purebred".

But that got us thinking about our own lives especially with so much attention now being given to royalty at the passing of Elizabeth II, the queen of England, and royal succession by her son King Charles III. To use the phrase in our daily text, not many of us are of noble birth.

How many of you are of noble birth?

When we lived in New England about twenty-five years ago we walked by a fenced yard, day after day, on the way to Ester's school and passed a litter of disheveled pups kept in a squalid grass deprived back yard. One of the pups always ran up to the fence and gave us the puppy look that steals even the hearts of even non-dog lovers. After several weeks we could no longer resist and she became Ester's first dog. Up to that point Ester was very much afraid of dogs and screamed if they came near her. Problem solved with little Penny!

I called her a mutt, a term meaning mixed breed usually from a non-intentional breeding situation. We named her Penny. People often asked what kind of puppy she was and we'd respond, "She's just a mutt" since we really didn't know.

One afternoon I took a walk with Ester who was leading Penny on a leash. She was about eight at the time when she suddenly stopped, looked up at me and asked inquisitively: "Daddy, am I a mutt?"

This got me to thinking and please read my thought all the way through! You know, in a sense she is a mutt. She was born in Guatemala and immediately taken to an orphanage. Her birth mother was unable to care for her and there is no history of her birth father. She came to us at three months of age dying of congenital heart disease and spent the next three months in a major medical center all the while isolated from other patients because of scabies that spread from her head to her toes and salmonella was present in her blood. Many heart surgeries were performed over the next three years. And now years later she has the grand total of four pacemakers inserted and actually more overcomings than could be listed in this writing.

A mutt is defined as a dog that is a mix of usually undetermined breeds. Interestingly, in the human world, it can also mean an "insignificant person". Well, that's as other humans may tend to evaluate but with God there is no insignificant person. But "mutt" can also be used to describe a person who may not know his background or has a rather ordinary one, certainly not noble, elite or as they use in Boston, "blue blood".

Paul asked the Corinthians to "Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth." Does that describe you? It sure does describe Brooksyne and me.

Let me be somewhat blunt and ask you, "Are you a mutt?" Don't be insulted! Think of where you've come from, spiritually speaking, and your acceptance into God's family. Sure, many of you come from "good" families and that is such a blessing. But undoubtedly many others, like Ester, came into this world under very difficult circumstances and so many others come from homes far from ideal.

Consider this single phrase in our second daily Scripture, "He made us accepted in the Beloved".

What a glorious truth! We've been accepted in the Beloved and we are a part of God's family. Whether we were born into the most proper of families by this world's standards, we were still born into sin, thus we were born with the sin nature - everyone of us. Only through Christ's redemption are we accepted into God's family and admitted entry into heaven. This glorious transition cannot be earned, purchased or inherited, for it is made possible entirely by His marvelous grace!

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I'm not worthy to be here, but PRAISE GOD! I belong!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how marvelous is Your indescribable grace that You should love a sinner such as I. Though I deserve death You grant eternal life through the death of Your beloved Son, Jesus. I am accepted into Your family, into the sainthood of all believers, through my redemption in Christ. So, too, I want to accept those who have turned to You in faith and obedience, who might be different, who break into my carefully etched out comfort zone. In doing so I learn how to be more loving and tolerant of others different than myself in a way that pleases and honors You. I come as a mix of Your love, mercy, and grace as I extend myself to others around me. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Family of GodVideo  Bill Gaither

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I'm not worthy to be here, but PRAISE GOD! I belong!

"How You Love Me"  Video  Patrick Mayberry

Calvary Church platform

"Faithfulness worship set"  Video  From our church service yesterday at Calvary Church in Lancaster. Our church is celebrating 85 years, having been founded in 1937. During that time the church has had only five senior pastors. Yesterday we began a series on God's faithfulness.

"Goodness Of God"  Video  Triumphant Quartet  This song was in the set we sang yesterday but we have also enjoyed this southern gospel version for several years, especially the bass singer lead by Eric Bennett. It moves me to offer unending thanks to God for His goodness to me.

"Psalm 24"  Video  The Prestonwood Choir & Orchestra  Brooksyne suggest this video since our church choir is presently learning this beautiful psalm. It is almost word for word Scripture taken from Psalm 24.

Saturday morning Brooksyne had a "Super Saturday" choir rehearsal and Ester had a function at WJTL so I went for a 15 mile bike ride through the countryside between Manheim and Mount Joy.

Fresh flowers
These small roadside fresh flower stands dot many country roads all through Lancaster County for just a few more weeks.

1948 Mercury Model 76 Eight Convertible
I biked into a wedding venue parking area and saw this 1948 Mercury Model 76 Eight Convertible (as best as I can determine using Google image search); a pretty snazzy set up for the bride and groom and much more appealing than a stretch limo, in our opinion.
Click on photo to enlarge

Spookynook farm purple martin feeders
The purple martin feeders at the Spookynook farm on Landisville Road.
Click on photo to enlarge

Lancaster Junction train
I always enjoy seeing a train!

Finally today:

Don and Carole Musser
Yesterday we visited with longtime friends, Don and Carole Musser, who were our "pew neighbors" as they visited our church. They now live in Colorado but returned to their home turf to visit friends and family. Don was one of the first people we met in Lancaster County in 2001 when he was the sales manager at Engle Printing and Publishing.

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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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