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Monday, March 31, 2008

Rozie's Purple Crocus
Rozie's Purple Crocus

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"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22,23). "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy" (James 5:11).

I sure enjoy preaching the Word of God so it was of special blessing when I accepted an invitation to preach
yesterday in a church in southern Lancaster County.  Lately there's been a lot of news about “appropriate” content in sermons (something that the secular press rarely pays much attention to, but it is election year, after all.) I am confident that in hundreds of thousands of local churches all around the world the Bible was faithfully preached and it is my absolute intention to be numbered among them!

When I resigned from my last church in early 2001 to become a chaplain I found many other sources of ministry fulfillment and effectiveness, but I sure miss preaching the Word of God on a regular basis. Yesterday I shared a message on the faithfulness of God sub-titled "Hope In The Midst Of Despair" and today's first verse was the central theme in the message.

Several years ago Jim Gambini, who was our pastor at the time made a point in a sermon that really blessed me. With no further explanation he declared “God is omnicompassionate.” Now I have never, in all my years of theological study, heard that word. My computer software underscores this word with a red line alert indicating that I’ve misspelled the word or there is no such word.  In speaking to Pastor Jim and his wife in the greeting line, following the church service,  he smiled when I told him that Brooksyne and I took note of his new term. He was intentionally seeking to express a truth, even though he could not recall ever seeing or hearing the word before.

The prefix "omni" means "all." It is used in several of what theologians call the attributes or characteristics of God, such as omniscience (all-knowing), omnipresence (all-present) and omnipotence (all-powerful). He is all-compassionate as well, thus Pastor Jim’s new vocabulary word, “omnicompassionate”! The second daily text declares that "the Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

Due to another wonderful attribute of God known as His immutability (that is, “He never changes”) this verse reveals that He is always "full of compassion and mercy." Since He is immutable His fullness is constant with a never-ending supply of compassion. In a time of chaotic despair Jeremiah's hope was restored by recalling that our Lord’s "compassions never fail."

God's fullness of compassion and His extravagant mercy is never depleted nor does it ever need replenished. Although He's been demonstrating His compassion and mercy from the very beginning, God is always "full of compassion and mercy." There is no less compassion available for our need today than there was for anyone else who has ever lived and there never will be.  So you don't need to lie awake tonight worrying about God’s compassion running out!

How blessed I am by this perpetual call to mercy from Hebrews: "Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." His mercy is absolutely abundant and thoroughly adequate. He is indeed omnicompassionate!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from You. As recipients of Your tender compassions and tremendous comfort help us to be like cisterns pouring out the mercies we receive from You into the lives of those who desperately need it.  In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

See II Corinthians 1:3

Here's the message on the Faithfulness of God I preached yesterday along with photos pdf

Jim & Rozie
Yesterday, following the service, we joined Jim and Rozie Kreider for a delicious meal around their table.  Their home is in Amish country and surrounded by beautiful rolling hills. Their daughter, Valerie, also joined us contributing to the warm fellowship we enjoyed among our new friends.

Andrew & Jessie

Andrew Hostetler is the worship team leader in the church and is pictured here with his wife Jessica.  He shared a song in the service he had written along with Valerie Kreider based on Psalm 33.  (Valarie is pictured above.)
It's a great song and use of Scripture!

Psalm 33
audio mp3

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous ones
It is fitting for the upright to praise Him
Praise the Lord with the harp and lyre, make music to Him
It is fitting for the upright to praise Him
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully, and shout!   for!   joy!!

For the Word of the Lord is righteous and true;
He is faithful in all He does…

He puts the seas into jars
He puts the seas into jars
The creator of the universe
Cares about each one of us
He puts the seas into jars

Words and Music by
Valerie Kreider and Andrew Hostetler

Amish open buggie
Southern Lancaster County is home to a large Amish population.  As we made our way home yesterday afternoon we fell in line with many open buggies. It was a crisp, beautiful spring day and we saw many young people going to youth meetings in their "convertible" buggies.

Mystery photo

Here's a photo I took yesterday in the course of my visits.

Can anyone tell me what it is or venture a guess? Most of you will be very surprised! (I'll share the answer later this week.)

Today's Suggested Music
Supplemental Resources

Great Is Thy Faithfulness"  Audio  This is Brooksyne's audio devotional based on this hymn. Here are other hymn story devotionals she has written.

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
 Audio with the hymn story from the Lifespring hymstories podcast.  Here is the podcast main page

An interview with Robert J. Morgan, who happens to be one of Brooksyne's favorite authors.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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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