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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Amish team planting corn
Eli planting corn in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.
(Photo by Doris High)

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"An Anxious Heart"

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up" (Proverbs 12:25).

Have you personally experienced the first part of today's verse?  That is; an "anxious heart" which "weighs a man down."  Of course I know what your answer is to that question.  Someone once defined worry as "a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind, cutting a channel into which all other thoughts flow."

The perspective of trust is at the very heart of being a child of God. It's great to be a child of God today!  My sins are forgiven and the God of the universe beckons me to call Him "Father."  I have an assurance that He cares for me and His promise is that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Wow, if I just keep that bright perspective the troubling "things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

But I still find myself identifying with the first phrase in the daily verse.  An inner battle rages between trust and worry. Trust dispels worry, but much like the popup figures in an arcade shooting gallery, worry tends to keep popping back up!

The anxieties of this life really do weigh one down.  Sometimes it seems they really press on the heart and one can literally feel the weight (the KJV says it "maketh it stoop").  I'm sure most of you know what I mean.  And I wouldn't be surprised if some of you reading this message are experiencing a heavy anxious heart even now.

Thank God for the power of a kind word!  I have so often been the recipient of such words.  An earnest "I'm praying for you", a caring "How's your health?", or a sincere "I really appreciate you."  Words like these really cheer the heart up and in each of the above examples I can recall a specific instance that I continue to draw energy from. The word for "cheer" is literally derived from a Hebrew word meaning to "brighten up." 

I hope you receive some kind words today and dispense some kind words yourself, as you fulfill the Biblical principle of sowing what you desire to reap.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the cares of this world often press in on us and weigh our hearts down.  It's not your desire that we carry a heavy load because You are the Burden Bearer.  You use the difficult circumstances of our lives to bring glory to Yourself as You bring spiritual maturity into our relationship with You.  Our faith is strengthened and our understanding deepened as You take the evil that Satan hurls at us and turn it into glorious occasion for Your power to be released and deliverance to take place.  You are the same God who led us into battle that will also lead us to victory in Jesus name, amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  In our Tuesday small group we've been studying the exciting and very intense life of Joseph from Genesis 37 - 50.  Though I've known this story since childhood I never tire of re-reading it and being reminded of the importance of trust, forgiveness, and reconciliation.  If anyone could be filled with worry and fear, certainly Joseph was a perfect candidate.  But God had a sovereign plan for his life that could not be changed though he was abandoned, enslaved, framed, falsely imprisoned, and forgotten.  God's plan was not thwarted in the midst of all that would seem to indicate God had forgotten Joseph.  But the scene was only setting up in slow motion for unfolding drama and uncontrollable emotion as Joseph rose to second in command in his adopted country of Egypt. 

I'm so blessed in reading Joseph's perspective to the extremely difficult circumstances of his life over the previous twenty years as he sought to comfort his guilt-ridden brothers in Genesis 45: 7 & 8, "God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives….so then, it was not you who sent me here, but God." We, like Joseph, need to recognize that God is working behind the scenes in every circumstance of our life – whether it is the workplace, home, the church or any other uncomfortable matter that we are dealing with. If we want the spiritual maturity of Joseph we also must undergo the testings that brought him to such mature perspective.  Ouch!

I am thoroughly enjoying reading the book "The Red Sea Rules" as I continue to heal from my broken ankle.  A kind reader sent me this book not knowing that I had almost ordered it a couple times but never followed through.  Robert Morgan is among my favorite writers. "Red Sea Rules" is ministering to me as I am trusting God about an ongoing troubling matter that sometimes causes my heart to fear.   I need reminders that God is working behind the scenes and that He is a God of miracles. Morgan writes: "No sea is deeper than the ocean of His love. There is no army stronger than His hosts, no force greater than His throne of grace, no enemy who can overcome His direct and indirect work in our lives.  The reality of the Rea Sea, in a word is this:  God will always make a way for His tired, yet trusting, children, even if He must split the sea to do it." -  Robert J. Morgan

The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult TimesThe Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times  By Robert J. Morgan / Thomas Nelson - Using the story of the parting of the Red Sea, Robert Morgan reveals how this remarkable story has implications for our lives today. In the midst of seemingly impossible situations God promises to make a way for us. Each of the ten chapters focuses on one "Red Sea Rule" that will soon have you moving away from fear and toward faith in God. Ordering info.

Three babies
Last night prior to our home Bible Study we had three babies line up on our couch for a photo shoot! Adorée, David, and Veah enjoyed having their photo taken but couldn't quite figure out why all those silly big people were making those goofy noises.

Pistachio nuts
There is only one reference to Pistachio Nuts in the entire Bible. Can anyone tell us how and where they are referenced?  Brooksyne served them during small group last night since they were mentioned in our Bible study.  

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"I Cast All My Cares Upon You"
 Video  We recall singing this chorus many years ago. This version is especially nice as I sense such an earnestness in the singer.

"He Knows My Name""  Audio

"God Will Make A Way"  Video

"Kindness"  Audio

"When I Am Afraid"  Audio

Cerwin and Doris High

Cerwin and Doris High are friends of ours from here in Lancaster County. Doris took today's photo of their neighbor Eli planting corn.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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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