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Friday, June 29, 2007

Three Mile Island
Three Mile island nuclear power plant

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"Troubled Hearts"
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" (John 14:1).
We live near the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.  Periodically we drive right past the plant and it is a very imposing sight, particularly the huge cooling towers (which actually are not the "nuclear" part of the plant.)  We find it interesting that right up the road from the plant is an establishment known as "The Radioactive Bar and Grill."   Sure does stir up one's appetite doesn't it!
Yesterday Three Mile Island had a test of the alarm system and the local radio stations frequently announced that it was only a test.  In 1979 there was an accident at the plant and many locals were affected. We didn’t live in this area at that time but recall how newsworthy the event was nationally and it still casts a lasting shadow in the area to this day. The loud warning sirens are certainly capable of causing distress and increasing anxiety when listeners associate it with Three Mile Island.  Unwelcome remembrances from the accident 28 years earlier must surely flood the memory bank for those who lived through it.
Many, many hearts are troubled all around the world today. Very likely some of you reading this today have a troubled heart. You're struggling with anxiety about certain matters. Instead of seeing earthly troubles grow dim in the light of God's glory and grace, troubles of this earth dim the light of God's glory and grace.
There are numerous issues that trouble our hearts, such as accidents, health matters, addictions, financial woes, family problems and tough decisions that you can no longer put off. And of course all over the world we are aware of just how vulnerable we are to determined, murderous terrorists.
Jesus gave a word of assurance in the daily text as He was preparing His disciples for the climactic events over the next several days. However I believe His words are very applicable to any situation or trouble that His followers all through the ages are dealing with. Let us hear these words from Scripture:  "Do not let your hearts be troubled" Jesus forthrightly commands.  We need to recognize that "peace of heart" is available to the Christian believer and most desirable in the midst of troubling circumstances.

When emergency workers are in training instructors continually remind them, "Keep your head at all times." This repetitious statement reminds workers that the dire circumstances they're dealing with should not overtake the proper response to the disaster at hand.

In a similar way God wants His children to respond to unexpected and unwelcome troubles with a peaceful heart at all times. Hearts that are full of peace will respond to tumultuous situations and ongoing troubles with a faith-filled trust in God who is more than able to handle any sudden disaster or ongoing struggle.  To "keep your hearts in peace at all times" is a matter of obedience to Christ's command.  I consider the volitional choice I have in regard to a troubled heart.  When I am confronted with an anxiety provoking or distressing event I want to recall these words and act upon them.
"Trust in God; trust also in me," Jesus said.  The key to having peace in our heart in the midst of trouble is to keep our trust and focus on the Lord. Today in whatever trouble you face I pray that trust and assurance will flood your heart so that you will be filled with the peace that surpasses understanding. 

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er.
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more!

The antidote for a fearful heart is a trusting heart.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer:  I look to You, God, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.   I have experienced Your miraculous touch time and time again as You console me in all my troubles.  In my distress I learn patient endurance as I place my confidence in You rather than the changing circumstances of the day. "Trust in God; trust also in me" is a creedal statement by which I want to live my life each day. I choose to trust You in obedience to Your command and because You are ever trustworthy. Amen.

Recommended resources
pertaining to today's message

In our experience trusting God through life's challenges remains an ongoing need.  Here are some resources that we have found helpful. Brooksyne shares some personal insight about these books today.

Trusting GodTrusting God  By Jerry Bridges / Nav Press
(Stephen has appreciated this book for years and I am presently reading it alongside my morning devotions. Already I'm captivated by the resounding theme of learning to trust God no matter what...)
you find it easy to trust God---until adversity strikes? When life clouds over, do you suddenly begin to suspect that you only imagined His care for you?  Bridges uncovers three essential truths about God: He is completely sovereign; He is infinite in wisdom; and He is perfect in love.  Building on these three rocks, Bridges shows how we can learn to trust God, even when we don't understand what He is doing.

Then Sings My Soul, Volumes 1 & 2Then Sings My Soul, Volumes 1 & 2  By Robert J. Morgan / Thomas Nelson  This set includes Then Sings My Soul Volume 1 and 2. (I've read through both of these books and refer to them often.  Morgan presents hymn writers who were famous theologians as well as unrecognized names who have left an indelible mark on all believers who enjoy singing hymns.  I like his style of presenting the songs in historical sequence. Also he features four or fives songs in a row penned by the same writer so that you get more than just a glimpse but get a pretty good history and inspiring lessons. Rob Morgan's inimitable style will help people reacquaint themselves with the hymns of the faithful. His goal is to keep these traditional hymns vital and meaningful to all generations. Don't look for a dry recounting of boring stories. These devotional-style stories will show the emotion and drama behind the hymns of faith that have changed many lives throughout history--the people whose faith led them to write these wonderful hymns and the people whose faith was affected by reading, hearing, and singing the songs. Designed to be personally reflective, these stories will speak to your soul and add depth and meaning as your worship God through song.

When Life Gets ToughWhen Life Gets Tough  By Henry Gariepy / David C. Cook
Troubling times can happen in our lives-challenging times, life-shaking, even faith-shaking. It's during these times we need an anchor for our soul...and our faith. With short reflections that take just a minute to read, Henry Gariepy helps you understand the big picture of life. Just when you think you can't go on, God will be there and His words providing the peace you needed to move ahead.

Faithful God CDFaithful God CD  By Shannon Wexelberg / Discovery House
Audio sample of "Faithful God" song.

Suggested music to reinforce today's theme:
"Forever Faithful God" (mp3) (lyrics) from the "Gift of Music" site. This is an example of a brother who really wants to share his music and the fine sounding music that can be recorded in a non-professional studio setting.  May God bless his labors!
"He is Able"
"The Steadfast Love of the Lord" 
"He's Been Faithful" by "The Celebration Choir"
"God is Faithful" by "The Collingsworth family"

Final note: Steve Sparks is a friend of ours who pastored a church in Middletown Pennsylvania near Three Mile Island at the time of the accident. He had quite a sense of humor and I recall he would quip that they had quite an active "Women's Aglow" group in his church! (Women's Aglow is an organization of Christian Women.)

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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. Used by permission; 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 I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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