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Wednesday, November 28, 2007
A horse and buggy passing in front of our house.
The distinct sound of clomping horse hoofs and rolling buggy wheels!
(This photo was taken last fall when our daughter Ester went out to eat with our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth.)
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"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8).
I recently received a note from a friend who shared concerning the lengthy transition he is going through. Several years ago he left a long-standing position and his family business has been going through hard times. In addition to this he and his family have had several major health challenges. I sent him a brief note of encouragement and reminded him that in a sense we are all in a lengthy transition but then we always will be on this side of eternity!
Seven years ago Brooksyne and I served as chaplains in a large printing plant in New England. We were there for 2½ years before the corporate office chose to close its doors, but many of these people had worked together for 20 years or more. I still recall the deep felt emotions that Bruce, a machine operator, expressed as he left work for the final time. He walked through slowly and said a tender farewell to his fellow employees. Some wept as they acknowledged the end of a long term work relationship which lent itself to a long enduring friendship. I walked to the door with him and saw him off as he left a company he had poured his life into throughout most of his adult years. I found this to be a valuable ministry time in reminding these employees of the things that matter most in life. (Though we've moved 400 miles away from New England we're still in contact with several of these employees who are now our long standing distant friends.)
Transitions are a part of life. Some people have little stability and in a sense they're accustomed to transition. Many have gone from marriage to marriage, job to job and place to place. It's become a way of life to them. I have ministered to people who have had more jobs by their early twenties than I've had in my entire life. As former foster parents we had children who by the age of six had lived in more places than we have in fifty-three! Many years ago I had a request to perform a marriage. In ascertaining the request they told me they wouldn't need pastoral counseling inasmuch as they knew all there was to know about marrige since they had both been married several times before! (I chose not to officiate since this marriage was very likely doomed to fail even before the vows were spoken.)
Menno Brubaker at 100 years
But others know the blessings of long term stability. We have many friends who raised their own families in the same house where they were born or in the neighborhood where they grew up. The most remarkable example is Menno Brubaker, who turned 100 shortly after we moved here to Lancaster County. What a blessing to sit right in the pew in front of him Sunday after Sunday for several years. After hitting the century mark he lived to be 102 years old. We visited with him and his daughter and shared a meal in the very farmhouse where he was born, where he lived his entire life, and where he received his promotion to glory. He was a life-long member of the same church. He was carried to this church as a baby and we attended his funeral in the very same church! Menno wholeheartedly lived for Christ and scores of people recall, in one way or another, his lasting impact upon their lives.
Transitions can be an especially difficult faith challenge. Later in life Abraham, quite settled in Haran, was called into a transition. "He obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." Consider he had no maps, gps and only the most primitive means of transportation and he didn't even know where he was going!
Not knowing where we're going is the hard part of transition isn't it? And some of you are there right now. On the short term you simply don't know where you are going. You don't know what tomorrow holds. (I sure hope you do in the long term!)
Your transition, like Abraham's, may be prompted by a direct call or leading of the Lord. Or more likely it may be due to circumstances beyond your control, such as a plant closing, a lengthy illness, or the death of a loved one. For some it may involve a transition with the church you're attending where you have given so much of your heart, your time, your finances, and your spiritual gifts.
But the powerful assurance believers have is that these circumstances are ultimately ordained by God. He is reigning. He is in control. He will be with you. Stay faithful and experience the wonderful assurance of His love and care through this God-ordained transition!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, year after year our lives are marked by change which brings growing transformation in our lives just as You rotate the seasons of the calendar bringing about distinct change in the weather pattern transforming all of nature. As Solomon writes, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Our pilgrimage includes a time for gain and a time for loss, a time for plenty and a time for want, a time of understanding and a time of perplexity, a time for listening and a time for speaking, a time for searching and a time for finding. In the midst of all these changes we are assured that You do not change, for You are the same yesterday, today and forever. And in all these changes we are assured that You are working for our good, for we know that in all things You work for the good of those who love You, who have been called according to Your purpose. We thank You for Your immutable nature that remains when all else changes. Amen.
Today let us share with our readers a revised ministry update.
"God Is In Control" (Audio)
"Worth It All" (Video) is a powerful song by Rita Springer.
"All My Days" (Video) another song by Rita Springer.
"Yesterday, Today, Forever" (Audio) from here.
"Yesterday, Today, Forever" (Audio)
I was actually looking for an audio of this old hymn I recall singing as a young Christian that has a great message! I am sure a few of you have sung it but it's rarely heard these days.
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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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