The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
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Friday, September 29, 2017
Yesterday we were refreshed as we viewed Plain Mennonite children sitting in the lawn having their lunch at the Linden Grove School near New Holland. "Plain" is a respectful term used for the old-order Amish and Mennonite groups. Plain people are characterized by separation from the world and by simple living, including plain and modest attire.
(Click on photo for larger view)
"Hope Does Not Disappoint"
Message summary: A steadfast hope in the promises of our faithful God dissolves disappointment. Our daily challenge is to keep our hope focused on the Lord. Indeed this hope will not disappoint. So I especially encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ today who are in the midst of a disappointing situation. Keep your hope in the Lord!
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"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us" (Romans 5:3-5a).
We are all in some way familiar with disappointments, some far more profoundly than others.
We can have disappointments that are relatively trivial but still very emotionally painful. Last weekend I watched a college football game that went down to the final play with just 4 seconds left when one team snatched a victory with a touchdown. One team and fan base were utterly elated, the other profoundly disappointed. Throughout my life I have been on both sides of the elated/disappointed spectrum as both a fan and in my younger days, a player.
However in comparison to other disappointments in life sports losses are trivial. We've all had shattered dreams haven't we? We've been disappointed by something that just didn't work out as we had planned or hoped it would. Most likely each of us has had several profound disappointments in life and many lesser ones.
A phrase from a song written in the seventies speaks well,
"When grief has left you low, it causes tears to flow,
When things have not turned out the way that you had planned.
But God won't forget you, His promises are true.
Tears are a language God understands."
We don't always understand the Biblical truth expressed in the daily verse. Specifically we have trouble rejoicing in suffering. But the equation is a continuum and interrelated: "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." The last two characteristics character and hope result from the first two; suffering and perseverance. I desire godly character and eternal hope but they are the end result of suffering and perseverance. But during times of suffering and requisite perseverance we may face disappointment.
The sense is surely not that we rejoice because of suffering but rather we rejoice in it. A maturing spiritual outlook realizes that this is a part of God's plan in forming the character of Christ within us. After all, if we want to share in Christ's glory we must also share in Christ's suffering (Romans 8:17).
In faith, cling to the last portion of our encouragement Scripture. Read it slowly and appropriate it to your need today; "Hope does not disappoint us". The ultimate hope we have in Christ will not disappoint! One thousand years into eternity no one is going to regret having placed their full confidence and hope in Christ. May God give each of us the awareness today that our times of suffering do indeed work for our good, providing us with deep assurance that "hope does not disappoint".
A steadfast hope in the promises of our faithful God dissolves disappointment. Our daily challenge is to keep our hope focused on the Lord. Indeed this hope will not disappoint. So we especially encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ today who are in the midst of a disappointing situation. Keep your hope in the Lord!
I don't know the story He's unfolding
But, I know in His will, He has a plan
So every day my prayer is to surrender
Even when it's hard to understand.
I choose Christ when everything around me says give up
I choose faith, I choose to trust
To believe He is good,
He'll come through like He said He would
Every time, oh, I choose Christ.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father of all compassion, may each of us come to know the sweetness, the serenity, and the strength that comes from knowing You personally and fully trusting in the One who gives to us a "hope that does not disappoint". When we lean upon You for all that concerns us we embrace eternal hope, the kind of hope that reminds us that much of this world's problems and even our own troubles may not be fully resolved here and now. But eternal hope brings to mind that, even when all is not well on this side, we have a fixed hope that cannot be diminished by life's trials. In fact it is in our suffering that we can choose to develop godly character and a persevering spirit. After all, it is those who share in Christ's sufferings that also share in His glory. Be glorified in our lives we pray. Amen.
Note from Brooksyne: Though our desire in life is to live happy lives free from trouble, God's purpose in redeeming us is to make us more like Jesus. I think of a dear sister named Jody who was diagnosed with cancer about twelve years ago. Her extremely difficult battle with cancer brought about tremendous spiritual growth and an intensified commitment to seeking God when medical doctors and health providers could not provide the needed solutions. I remember Jody, early on dealing with the "why me?" when the cancer just wouldn't go away. Surgery after surgery did not stop the insidious cancer, but in the midst of this raging battle the Word of God began to feed Jody's soul. I witnessed such a maturing and unswerving faith as she shared with me the truths God was speaking to her heart. She was quoting one Scripture after another and I was deeply touched by the growth I'd seen over the years. Yes, in the midst of her suffering, her unswerving perseverance brought about godly character which produced eternal hope. And I am absolutely convinced that in heaven today she is saying to all of us who remain, "I'm in the presence of Jesus, and I assure you that my eternal hope in Jesus did not disappoint!" She left behind two young daughters and a husband. Several years later Darryl met a widowed young mother; they married and blended their families together. Romans 8:28 is such a consoling Scripture when it comes to extremely difficult matters such as the above story.
From yesterday's travels....
We have had many ministry opportunities expressing care to people affected by recent hurricanes and natural disasters. These two brothers have not yet heard from their family in Puerto Rico. In another visit yesterday I spoke to a man whose wife was down there for her grandmother's funeral and was unable to get out before the hurricane and he still has not heard from her.
Brooksyne is visiting with Maria from Mexico, who has shared with us about the deadly earthquake in her city.
Last week the barn burned down on this property and the Amish neighbors and friends banded together to quickly build a new one! Don't you wish our government worked this well!
Moses and I played a game of horse at the barnside basketball goal.
Over the last several weeks we've shared several photos of Daisy, a baby goat born August 10 on the Old Windmill Farm. She is growing rapidly and now follows people around the farm.
Miss Daisy taking in the view from the barn loft.
Miss Daisy's first time at the wheel. With only a permit she has to have the assistance of a licensed driver:), thus Stephen assisted her today.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Tears Are A Language" Video Gordon Jensen
"I Choose Christ" Video Karen Peck & New River
"He Sees What We Don't" Video 11th Hour
"Life Goes On" Video The Talley Trio
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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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