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Monday, September 19, 2022

Lady's breakfast 9/17/22
The Lord was smiling upon us providing a sunny 73 degree temperature as a lovely group of women gathered at our home on Saturday morning. The smell of smoke from burning wood wafted in the air along with whiffs of chocolate from Cargill Chocolate Factory a couple miles away.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Smell Of Fire"

Message summary: Today we will consider "the smell of fire" and God's continual faithful presence

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"They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them" (Daniel 3:27).

Saturday morning Brooksyne invited a group of lady friends from our Crossroads Adult Bible Fellowship class and a few other local friends over for breakfast followed by a time of sharing and singing hymns together. She has been working on this for weeks and was looking forward to the gathering.

Last Wednesday farmers applied organic fertilizer (aka manure) in the nearby fields. Oh, no, we thought at the time but were quickly relieved when there was no pungent odor, thanks to the new method of infusing fertilizer deep into the ground. However early Saturday morning I stepped outside and caught a whiff of the rather objectionable odor and thought "Oh, my! Brooksyne is not going to be happy about this!" However in our backyard we had the competing fragrance of baking chocolate from a nearby chocolate factory and since the activity was in our backyard we were relieved that we got the pleasant fragrance rather than the pervasive one.

Brooksyne asked me to build a fire since the smell of a campfire is pleasant and inviting. It might also masquerade any undesirable odors so I built a fire in the fire pit and after breakfast the ladies gathered around it for a time of sharing with one another as seen in our lead photo. I had left for a bike ride when the above photo was taken so the fire had died down a bit but it was going strong when I left.

Saturday night I stirred the fire up again using my leaf blower (see below) and our family sat around it for awhile. By the time I came in my clothing smelled of smoke which I happen to like. I suppose it brings olfactory memories of Boy Scout camp-outs in the 60's. If you are around a fire you will inevitably have a fire smell of some degree on your person.

This brought to mind an interesting detail in the miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fire recorded in Daniel 3. Most of you know this wonderful story but today let's just note the observation of the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them after they came out of the fire.

Upon seeing and smelling them they make four points:

"They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies". They were delivered from the blazing furnace alive and unharmed. If they had not been but rather burned to a crisp the following would have never been noted.

But alas they further elaborate:
  • "nor was a hair of their heads singed"; (The fire had absolutely no impact, not even minor, on their physical bodies.)
  • "their robes were not scorched", (nor their clothing)
  • "and there was no smell of fire on them" (It was as if they had not even been near a fire!)
God was with them in the fire and in this instance they were completely delivered. But God is always with those who trust in Him through any fire in life although the short-term outcomes will vary. Sometimes it will be like what these three Hebrew men experienced. But other times deliverance is spiritual, as Martin Luther wrote, "The body they may kill, God's truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever".

A key detail in the story is that they were not alone in the fire! Even King Nebuchadnezzar observed a fourth person in the fire whom he described as looking like "a son of the gods". (Some versions say "Son of God".)  Nebuchadnezzar's describing what he saw enables us to know that God chose to be with His three children in the fire. He also chose to deliver deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the torturous death the king had ordered in his furious response to the three Hebrews who chose to honor God above man. The end result is that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were appointed to even higher positions in Babylon.

Yesterday our choir sang a moving song titled "Never Once" which reminds us that God is always with us, even through the hardest trials of life. May these words encourage you and bring you assurance.

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may we be strong and courageous enough to declare right along with the three Hebrews, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not we will not serve other gods." We have only one allegiance, and that is to You, Almighty God, our one and only true living God who birthed us twice: once in the flesh from our mother's womb and the second from the Spirit who gives birth to spirit, that we might have forgiveness of sins and have eternal life in heaven. Until we breathe our last here on earth may we be found faithful! Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Never Once"  Video  Matt Redman  I (Brooksyne) never weary of singing this stirring song. The choir sings in three services so I am especially moved by the third time we've sung it. It's a song that begins with the perspective of one having a mountain top experience (hands raised in praise to God), recognizing all that God has done in his or her life, and acknowledging He was with them every step of the way. Then Redman takes us to the actual battleground where we are not standing giving testimony but we are in a humbled, kneeling position pleading for God's help. It's where we got our scars from the sufferings we endure and where we struggled from the wear and tear of daily living here on earth. But the victorious line appears right away: "Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did You leave us on our own. You are faithful, God, You are faithful!"

Story Behind "Never Once" by Matt Redman  Video

"He's Always Been Faithful"  Video  Sara Grove

Some photos Ester took of the ladies breakfast with descriptions by Brooksyne.

Lady's breakfast 9/17/22
Since some of our readers will want to know the dishes (l to r):
Baked Oatmeal, Tomato Slab Pie, Quiche w/ Jimmy Dean sausage (in memory of Stephen's late friend Curt) and red pepper jam.

Lady's breakfast 9/17/22
Pumpkin and Date Nut Breads, Apple and Cherry Bars, Coconut Macaroons

Lady's breakfast 9/17/22
Unlike a restaurant buffet where you stand in line quietly, when you're gathered with friends the lineup is an opportunity to fellowship while waiting your turn.

Lady's breakfast 9/17/22
Stephen leading in prayer thanking God for the beautiful day amidst a light smoky haze from the fire. Not visible are women seated under the gazebo.

Lady's breakfast 9/17/22
The ladies had opportunity to select their favorite hymn as we went around the circle, followed by several joining in conversational prayer. From what we heard: "A good time was had by all!" It certainly was a good time for us as well!!

Nick's 83rd birthday gathering
Saturday afternoon Drema invited us to an 83rd birthday party for our longtime friend Nick Nichols. He's pretty excited to join us in his "Happy Birthday" song. "Happy Birthday to me..." he sang along! Nick continues to have quite a lot of overcoming related to his cochlear implant surgery. He describes others' conversation to him sounding like chipmunks talking. So we are praying that matters will improve and he will soon fully benefit from the surgery. As you can see in the photo Nick always has a very pleasant disposition no matter the difficulty he encounters.

Finally today:

Leaf blower on fire
Using my leaf blower to fan a back yard fire into flame. Sure a lot easier than blowing on it!

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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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