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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Andreas Canyon Palm Oasis
Last week we took several hikes in the desert, including this one along the Andreas Canyon Palm Oasis on an Indian Reservation near Palm Springs.
Here's a short video on the YouTube channel "California Through My Lens".
"My Joy And My Crown"
Personal note: We arrived home last night just after 3:00am. The grass, looking more like green pasture right now, needs mowed after all the rainfall in our area last week, and we have lots of catch-up work but it is sure good to be home! Though it was the middle of the night at the time of our arrival our pets were over the top happy for our return home. It took a good half hour to settle them. And finally, after a few short hours of sleep, they're still so excited that we've just returned home. We spent our wedding anniversary traveling much of the day and all evening, so we celebrated not only our 47 years as husband and wife, but also our safe journey in both flight and in our vehicle driving back from Baltimore where we landed. Thank you to all who graciously sent a happy anniversary greeting.
Message summary: Christian ministry should influence people for Christ on our journey here below and for all eternity. It will surely have its disappointments when people reject us or turn away from the faith. But the greatest reward comes from those who are walking in the truth!
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends" (Philippians 4:1). "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).
A brief voice mail message we received while away is a real blessing and stimulus for today's message. Brian was just a little boy when he started attending the church we served in northern Pennsylvania in the late seventies, along with his parents and siblings (including foster children), all through his childhood till he went to college. I attended his wedding in California in the late nineties and am heartened that he has stayed faithful to Christ and is active in several forms of ministry.
He called to tell me that he had remembered an illustration from a sermon I preached when he was a child and had shared it with his current pastor who intended to use it in a message. Well, that's pretty neat when anyone remembers something you said 40 years ago, especially a child!
Brian's call prompted me to consider today our spiritual heritage and our spiritual legacy:
Ray Palmer, wrote the hymn "My Faith Looks Up To Thee" in 1830. At the time he wrote concerning the hymn, "There was not the slightest thought of writing for another eye, least of all writing a hymn for Christian worship". And yet nearly 200 years later his hymn continues to stir many. Can you imagine that what you are doing today can have an impact 200 years from now and indeed through eternity!
Paul refers to the Philippian believers as, "my joy and my crown". These were the direct descendants of his ministry. But through his writings over the centuries imagine the scores of "spiritual grandchildren" he considers to be his joy and crown. I think we are among them.
Consider some people you've discipled that continue steadfast in their walk with Christ. The Lord gives us fruit for our labors and there is no more precious fruit than souls for the kingdom. They are our joy and crown.
Our word of encouragement today is for all of you involved in any form of ministry. Christian ministry should influence people for Christ on our journey here below and for all eternity. It will surely have its disappointments when people reject our message or turn away from the faith. But the greatest reward comes from those who are walking in the truth! Like John we can say, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Daily prayer: Loving Father, we are shaped and molded by Your Holy Word, through the Spirit living within us, and by the people You place on our earthly journey who take us under their spiritual wings as they impart truth in our lives. Their example, their teaching, their prayers, and their love for us further shape and mold us to be more like You. We thank You for these precious people of the faith. Just as they have been faithful to pray for us in our time of need, we lift them up to You and ask You to meet their every need. Encourage them in the faith so that they keep their eyes on the goal of the heavenly prize. We also pray for all whom we have impacted and are now impacting for Christ and all eternity. May they in turn influence others for Your kingdom. Some glad day we will all be united in heaven as one big family where we will forever worship You, King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"My Faith Looks Up To Thee" Click to listen on YouTube Steve Green
While visiting the Palm Springs area we drove on the Palms to Pines highway, a recommendation from Rick, a friend of ours who had been out to the area for business. The highway is so named because it goes from the desert floor with Palm trees to a high elevation with Pine trees.
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On the way to Palm Springs from San Diego we stopped by the Temecula Olive Garden.
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We visited the Shields Date Farm which included a Bible-themed walk through the date trees. The garden path winds through our 17 acre date farm. It depicts 14 scenes and includes 23 statues that chronologized Christ’s life starting with his birth and ending with his ascension. It was very inspiring!
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We will share more photos of our visit to California in the next several days.
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