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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Roxie with slacks
Roxie hanging onto some unwelcome slacks

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"Never In A Panic"

"Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days" (John 11:6).  "'Lord,' Martha said to Jesus, 'if you had been here, my brother would not have died'" (John 11:21).

Two nights ago our dog, Roxie, had a panic attack.  I'll let Brooksyne tell you about it:

Two nights ago I was awakened from a dream by Roxie whining (almost howling) rather loudly.  I thought at first it was part of my dream but finally I fully awakened and thought she probably needed to make a trip outside in a desperate sort of way.  I suggested to Stephen that he take her out and he willingly took on the dreaded job at 3 A.M.  Surprisingly Roxie was not on the floor beside our bed where she usually sleeps so he followed the whining noise that was coming from downstairs.  He came upon quite an unusual sight. 

Apparently Roxie had been sleeping on the couch in our living room. 
Roxie is rarely allowed on the couch due to her excessive shedding of hair. Aware that she might be caught she planned to resume her usual sleeping spot beside our bed but in the darkness of the night when she attempted the leap to the floor the ring on her collar latched onto the hook of a wooden hanger that I'd laid on the arm of the couch the previous night.  Stephen's dress slacks were folded over the hanger and Roxie was quite a sight.  She had dragged these black slacks all over the ceramic tile floor.  You could say that she was doing a little housecleaning for me as the slacks picked up plenty of dust and pet hair that I'd missed in my cleaning. 

She was quite shaken by the entire ordeal and was trembling as a result of her entanglement.  After we'd settled her down she happily returned to her little spot beside our bed for the rest of the night.  The next morning when she was coming downstairs I decided to be ornery and picked up the hanger with the pants and showed it to her.  Her head dropped and she immediately turned around and very slowly and sneakily climbed up the stairs.  Clear evidence that dogs can experience guilt!  Her punishment for nighttime misbehavior was having to pose for our story today!
Warren and Juanita are long time friends from northern Arkansas. During one of our visits to their home in Arkansas I noticed a thought-provoking plaque in the kitchen which simply states, "God is never in a panic."  That statement has stayed with me over the years.

As I consider the character of God revealed in the Scriptures this is surely true. How reassuring to those of us who have felt clinching fear that is a direct result of panic.  Panic is essentially intense and immediate anxiety. These are now called panic attacks but surely have been a part of the human experience from the beginning.  I can recall several specific experiences of panic in my life and I know there have been many others that escape my memory. I am sure all of you have had similar experiences as well.

John 11 records the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus, who along with his sisters, Mary and Martha, were friends with the Lord who had often fellowshipped in their home. The entire account is in verses 1-44. *

I just selected two verses from the account. The first shows Christ's response to the critical need. "Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days."  That's sure not what we would expect or desire. If I called up my pastor about a critical need that needed immediate attention I sure wouldn't want him to delay two days.  Why didn't Jesus rush right over to the home of Lazarus? Characteristically though, He shows no evidence of panic. In the preappointed time He would take care of the matter just as He purposed all along.

The second verse indicates Martha's perspective, which is so similar to the way we react in regard to God's mysterious ways. "'Lord,' Martha said to Jesus, 'if you had been here, my brother would not have died.'"  She felt if the Lord would have just listened to her and acted according to her expectations everything would be alright.

But God doesn't always act according to our expectations and that's a critical test of faith, particularly when we face an occasion of panic. He is always in absolute control even when the situation we face seems contrary to that truth.

Today I want to encourage each reader, especially those of you who are facing a panicky situation as you read this. May the Lord give you a deep and abiding assurance of His steadfast love and care as you continue to walk in faith. Tuck this faith verse in your heart's pocket and carry it with you at all times.  "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).   Indeed God is in control!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, when we try to work out circumstances with human wisdom we lose sight of Your supernatural power that brings all things into conformity in Your appointed time and in Your sovereign ways.  Whether our difficulties are of our own making or through no fault of our own, it is always Your desire to come alongside us and bear our burdens.  Help us to trust Your ways and Your timing for all that concerns our hearts this day.  Amen.

Just prior to the second verse there's an interesting contrast profile. "When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home" (v. 20). In another occasion Mary sat and learned at Jesus' feet while Martha toiled with the preparations. (Luke 10:38-40)

* Today's Scripture portion John 11:1-44

Personal note: This morning our daughter Ester began a program known as "school to work" that will help her with basic occupational skills and prepare her for a job. It will also connect her with community services that will help her to become more independent.  For the first time she is taking a bus to the school, which is about 12 miles away. As we prayed together before she left and all went out together to meet the bus, I recalled my mom and her joy in taking the mini bus to the senior citizen center. She got all dressed up and would be ready for the van way before the scheduled time. Then she would get anxious that Tom, her beloved van driver, might not show up. We continually reassured her that he would be coming. Here's a photo with Mom and Tom taken about 2 1/2 years ago.
Mom with Tom
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Yellow Dahlia
Another photo we took of a Dahlia during a garden tour on Saturday.

Yesterday we shared a photo of a bright, shiny purple leaf that appeared to be lit from within. An alert reader identified it as a
Persian Shield (Strobilanthes Dyerianus).  Since she's local and a friend she said she'd give Brooksyne a start, so displaying that photo worked in her favor!

Today's suggested music:
"God Is In Control" (audio)
"Floodgate" This is a powerful recitation of various selections of the Holy Scripture by three students from Central Bible College, where we graduated from in the mid-seventies.  We were so blessed when we watched this and considered the discipline needed by these three young men to memorize this much Scripture and share it so expressively. (video)

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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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