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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
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"A Faithful God"
"He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Musser and Anna Forry are friends of ours who just celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on Sunday so I took the above photo following our church service. They are solid long-term followers of Christ, both having served in many forms of ministry throughout their enduring marriage. Anna was the president of our local "Christian Women's Club" for many years and continues to be involved in this community outreach to women.
Nearly thirty years ago they faced a severe testing of their faith that few of us have ever experienced. The youngest of their three sons, Daryl, had recently earned his degree in aviation technology at Letourneau College in Texas. Upon graduation he returned to his home in Manheim and worked as an airplane mechanic at the small Maytown Airport which is only about a mile from our home. We often watch people parachuting from this airport right from our living room window.
In April of 1978 he and his girlfriend went for a drive. They had taken their tennis rackets with them so they had intended to play some tennis while they were out. As they were driving up Chiques Hill on Route 441 a drunken driver crossed over the line and collided head-on with Daryl's new car he had purchased only two weeks earlier. In that collision Daryl was killed and his passenger died three days later. The driver broke his leg but was otherwise uninjured. He served a light sentence for the murder of two young people who were just getting settled in their adult years.
Remarkably, Anna and Musser sought out the murderer of their son to let him know they forgave him. Without question this meeting came about because they spent a great deal of time in prayer and other believers were interceding on their behalf. They found where the driver lived and paid a visit. It turned out that his wife was a Christian but he was not. He expressed no remorse at the time which must have only added to the pain and seeming futility of Daryl's death, but surely it meant a great deal to his burdened Christian wife. Obedience to God brings blessing and most especially when it comes at great sacrifice.
Today's powerful Scripture text is from the Song of Moses, recited to the people of Israel just before he died. It's one thing to consider this verse in the context of a public reading of Scripture during a worship service in our churches in a time of peace and prosperity. I have used it in this way and indeed the entire "Song of Moses" is such a fitting portion to read aloud with other believers in making a profession of faith.
However consider the verse in the time of deep affliction such as our friends, Musser and Anna, experienced at the death of their twenty year old son. It certainly is no less true but the conflict between belief and unbelief can be stark. Why would God allow something like this to happen especially in light of the divine characteristics of this verse:
He is the Rock
His ways are perfect
All His ways are just
A Faithful God
Who does no wrong
Upright and just is He.
I especially want to consider the phrase "A faithful God who does no wrong." It seems the Lord laid this phrase on my heart as I prepared to write today's message and then I went to the Bible to find it. I was surprised that in eleven years of writing these devotionals I had never used it in a message.
I can't explain the phrase using my very limited human logic and based upon my rather blurry observations. But I accept it as true since I can only see through a glass darkly on this side of heaven. It's on the other side that much understanding will fall into place. Surely some of you today are facing trials of practically unimaginable magnitude. May the Lord give you faith that shines forth like gold as He helps you to accept His eternally good purpose in your life. In all things the true believer seeks to bring glory to God!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, since we live in a sin-filled world we're bound to experience the consequences of our own sins and the sins of others. There is tremendous consolation when we hold onto the promise that these pain-filled consequences will come to an end and not follow us to the promised land. Much of what we go through is a testing of our faith and we know that faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted. May it shape our attitudes so that we glorify You no matter what we experience in this life, for some of the greatest living sermons that show people the way to eternal life and righteous living, is when we're put to the test and we shine forth like gold. Many will not pick up a Bible to learn of Your principles but they will observe our attitudes. Keep us faithful. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: A quote I've shared many times over the years that has helped me to stay the course during a trial is from one of my favorite writers, Warren Wiersbe: "Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted."
In speaking to Anna on Sunday I learned that her deceased son, Daryl, would be celebrating his 50th birthday on Saturday if he were living. Of course he continues to celebrate this most eventful day but we don't get a glimpse of that on this side. As I conversed with her this morning on the phone she said she will always remember the last exchange of conversation she had with Daryl the afternoon of this death. She had prepared a sauerkraut dinner which must have been among his favorites and just before he left he said with much appreciaton in his voice, "Mom thanks for a great meal." What a great remembrance for a mother who, day in and day out, prepares healthy, appetizing meals for her family and it is often taken for granted. Those kind of "thank yous" go a long way!
I suspect I had a little unwanted help on yesterday's message. After Brooksyne proofed the final version she called me back to the desk so I could resume my work. I had been outside puttering around a bit. After I sent the message out I noticed that it repeatedly had the daily verse, pasted throughout the message "Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement)" (Acts 4:36). I wondered what in the world happened! Then it occurred to me that our cat Dottie loves to play on the keyboard and with the mouse. I suppose she managed to click something but I have no proof. Here's a cleaned up version of yesterday's message.
Today's message called to mind another similar story of overcoming loss involving my first pastor and his wife. Here's a photo taken last year when my brother and I visited Sister Howard, now in her late eighties, but still faithfully serving the Lord. Her husband, whom I only knew as "Pastor Howard", passed away about 7 years ago. They were a godly couple who left an impact upon many, faithfully serving in their sphere of influence. I called Sister Howard last night who now lives in an assisted living center in the KC area. She is still in ministry and is excited about going with her senior group to Branson. She said, "You're one of our boys!" She considers young people who went into ministry her boys and that's all right by me! She shared she was in a minister's meeting once with her husband many years ago and was sitting with a pastor she had just met. She pointed out around the room and pointed out her boys. The pastor said, "How many sons do you have?" and she replied "O, I don't know for sure" (which took a bit of explaining on her part.) Here's their story of overcoming loss.
Today's suggested music is a song we have really enjoyed the last several months by Shannon Wexelberg, whom we will hear in concert in a couple of weeks at Calvary Church here in Lancaster County.
"Faithful God" (sample audio)
Order "Faithful God" CD here through CBD
Yesterday's mystery photo was taken at Fenway Park.
Finally for anyone who has read down this far here is a tremenous video message unlike any I have ever seen.
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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.
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