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Monday, August 11, 2008

Floyd Miles
Pastor Floyd Miles with the "armor of God"

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"Finding Strength"

"But David found strength in the LORD his God" (1 Samuel 30:6).

Yesterday we visited some friends in Indianapolis and I had the opportunity to share the Word of God with the congregation at Victory Christian Center. Prior to the service I met with Pastor Floyd for prayer and noticed his large sword and shield.  He explained that he keeps these in his office to remind him of the strength and encouragement we have in the Lord as we apply the armor of God  listed in Ephesians 6.  When Floyd faces discouragement (as do all pastors), these are visual reminders of God's armor that gives him renewed strength as he does battle with the enemy.

In 1 Samuel 30 King David and his men were away at battle. While they were gone their foes came in and laid the city of Ziklag in ashes, carrying away their wives and children.  When the men returned they were overwhelmed with grief. The Scripture says they "wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep."  It isn't hard to visualize the deep despair these warriors must have felt.

They also blamed David and were ready to stone him. In addition to the sorrow he felt from his own personal loss, now he faced his own men who wanted to strike him down, and this distressed him greatly.  The circumstances couldn't get any worse!  "But David found strength in the Lord his God" (v. 6) and sought direction from Him.  I've always enjoyed this brief verse and find it applicable for all believers when facing distressing circumstances.  It's a short verse to memorize and I believe, when we're weak in spirit, we do well to quote this verse prayerfully using our name in place of David's such as, "But Stephen found strength in the Lord his God."

The small conjunction word, "but" turns our focus from the very troubling circumstances David faced and redirects our attention to the Lord our God. I wonder what prompted this renewed strength to act decisively as the Lord led David in the remainder of the chapter.  Was it a Scripture verse  hidden deep in his heart?  Was he reviewing in his mind previous experiences where God brought about miraculous deliverances from the enemy?

Like David we will inevitably encounter hard periods in life and will need renewed strength in the Lord our God. Let me suggest several means of finding this strength and encouragement:

1) Meditate on Bible passages and memorize key Scriptures that the Holy Spirit can bring to our recollection in time of need.
2) Make a lifelong goal of developing a network of prayer warriors and encouragers whom you may call upon during your time of need.
3) Like Floyd you may find certain visual reminders helpful. (When I go to my workshop I receive strength when I use my dad's tools.)
4) Inspirational music can be a very helpful source of strength.
5) Build a library of useful resources that reinforce Biblical answers for life's dilemmas.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  In ourselves we are weak and often distressed by the daunting trials of life.  When they become our primary focus we are easily overtaken by doubt and helplessness.  But when our primary focus is on worshiping the Lord Jesus who is our Provider, our Strength, our Sustainer, our Hope and our Soon Coming King our mourning turns into joy, our weakness into strength, and our hope is once again renewed.  Thank You for who You are and the way You work in our lives this day.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  When I was in the Emergency Room on May 7th and the doctor began to set my broken ankle I had no medication to ease the pain.  It was extremely painful, likely the greatest pain I've physically endured besides the break itself.  For some reason no Scriptures of comfort came to mind - only pain, but God used Ester as she began to say over and over, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13.)  I vividly remember how that Scripture gave me strength to endure the pain.  I began to get my focus off the pain and considered the strength God gives in the midst of trouble.  It was also a blessing to hear Ester pouring forth sustaining Scripture in my physical distress.  Many times when she underwent heart surgeries as a baby and young child recovering in the ICU unit I would quote Scripture after Scripture and trust her to God's care.  God's Word is "Our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble!" (Psalm 46:1).

Ken and Vickie Bender
Saturday afternoon we visited with Ken and Vickie Bender whom we met about ten years ago through this online ministry. We are visiting here in front of a Cracker Barrel Restaurant near Columbus Ohio following our meal. Ken and I share similar interest with ministry to the marketplace and he is interested in chaplaincy. Vickie is a schoolteacher.  They have an interesting experience of marital reconciliation as they were remarried to each other after having been divorced for five years.  We sure enjoyed our time of fellowship with them.

Miles family
Yesterday following our church service we joined Floyd and Mary Miles and their children along with their Associate Pastor, Troy, and his wife Janet for dinner. We ate at a very interesting Italian Restaurant known as Buca Di Beppo. We sat at a huge round table with a giant lazy suzan and the food was served "family style".  I met Floyd about 15 years ago when I was pastoring in New England and he worked at Teen Challenge. He now pastors in Indianapolis and welcomes the prayers of Daily Encouragement readers for his church and ministry.

Steam engine
In Richmond Indiana we stopped by a museum of old machinery, something that I found very interesting. Brooksyne courteously walked along with me and Ester stayed in the van!

Steam engine

Please note: Today (Monday AM) we are in Indianapolis and after a visit to the Indiana State Fair we will be heading to Peoria, Illinois to visit with some friends, the Miller family, as we continue our journey west to a family reunion near Lincoln, Nebraska. We hope to keep these daily encouragements up each day but realistically expect we will miss several days over the next couple of weeks. Here is our trip route for those of you who may enjoy maps like me. We will update this as needed and share if we come across something interesting!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

"Because Of Who You Are"  Video  Yesterday we sang this inspiring song that reminds us of who God really is!

"Father"  Video

"Your Faithfulness"  Video

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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