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Friday, September 7, 2007

Cape Cod seagulls
Cape Cod seagulls (click on photo to enlarge)

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"God Is Concerned!"

"Should I not be concerned about that great city?" (Jonah 4:11)
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

We have a prayer custom in our home. We often gather in a "prayer hug" or join hands in a circle particularly when we pray a blessing on our meals.  When we pray I usually begin with praise and thanksgiving and specifically express gratitude for the peace in our own circle. I then move out and pray for our neighborhood, community and on to the entire world. We pray for the chronic, ongoing conflicts such as wars as well as situations currently in the news. We regularly pray for our military families and the sacrifices they are making. I acknowledge the evil that is at the very basis of this world's troubles.

In regularly praying for the world conditions we tend to get a different perspective on the issues we are dealing with in our own home and family which may cause discouragement or at times distress.  We are sure that every one of you reading this material have issues in your own life that if dwelt upon can be very disheartening.

What a blessing that we can pray about these matters and commit them to the Lord and have an assurance that God is concerned! But when we consider and earnestly pray for those dealing with issues that are so often much, much more severe than our own it sure seems to give a reality check concerning our present dilemmas. I often will assert, after considering the intense heartache so many are dealing with, "I really don't have any measurable problems."

The first daily text is the final word from God to Jonah, who was consumed with his own personal issues. I have heard it described as the greatest missions verse in the Bible and it surely reflects the heart of God and is a model for us. The book begins with a call to Jonah and a description of the wickedness of the city of Ninevah (Jonah 1:1,2). The book ends with this question, "Should I not be concerned about that great city?" The clear answer to this question is surely, "I AM CONCERNED!"

Today we urge each reader to take up the burdens of the hurting world around us and live a life expressing in many ways,

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, tragedy, terror and trial seems to be the order of the day.  We can be overwhelmed and take on a defeatist attitude or we will recognize that Your power is not impotent in the storms of life.  It is in the midst of persecution that scores of people surrender their hearts to you.  It's in the foxholes and trenches of life that people recognize they cannot be rescued without turning to You.   It is often in the delivery of bad news that the Good News of Your Holy Word turns insurmountable darkness into radiant hope.  Though tragedy in this life befalls us, Your loving concern and provision for our temporal needs are quite adequate and fully sustain us. Your loving concern for our eternal soul is not diminished but rather made all the more special and anticipatory as we cast our eyes in Your direction and lay our burdens at Your feet.  Amen.

PS: I will periodically get inquiries questioning why I haven't referenced a particular tragedy and encouraged people to pray. Perhaps some have wondered if I even care. Actually hardly a day goes by that there's not something on a large scale where many are affected. That doesn't include the scores of smaller scale issues equally tragic to the individuals involved that don't even make the news beyond a specific locality. As a family we do pray for these issues and I periodically address these in the daily encouragements. However if I were to reference every crisis, it would change the entire way I would share these encouraging thoughts.

Personal note: Yesterday we received a most welcome and encouraging email from a young man we had hosted in our home some 20 years ago. Marvin was in the states twice as a young child for a medical procedure and we were his foster family. We had lost all contact with him and he had lost our address but found us by searching on the internet. His email note was mostly in Spanish so we want to get it translated (better than we can through an online translator) and expect to share more about this "reunion" in a coming message! Is there a Spanish speaking volunteer who can translate this short note for us? Email me and I will send the note to you.

He also sent us a photo and he is now married and has a child. Below is a photo when he was with us in St. Mary's PA in the late eighties. It's very interesting that the two sisters in the photo, Shawna and Sharon, will stop by to visit with us in early October! Both are now married with children.  All three in the photo are serving the Lord!
Marvin with Shawna and Sharon

Saint Bernard puppy
Yesterday we shared a photo of our neighbor's Saint Bernard puppy.  Many of you enjoyed the photo so here's another one of the three puppies!

Today's suggested music:
"Does Jesus Care?" (Listen)
"What A Friend We Have In Jesus" (Listen) Recorded here in our home with Amber on the keyboard and Lauren on the viola.

Men's Retreat - This weekend I will be going to a men's retreat in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. I look forward to the opportunity of challenging men and boy's to serve the Lord faithfully. I am also looking forward to a long bike hike that will include a ride through an abandoned tunnel on the PA turnpike!

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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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