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Monday, October 6, 2008

Colorful mums and dry corn ready for harvest on an Amish farm in Lancaster County, PA

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"A Dose Of Stability"

"It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace" (Hebrews 13:9).

Jack and Millie ProvardFriday evening we joined some long-time friends for dinner at the Country Table Restaurant in Mount Joy.  We've known Jack and Millie Provard for many years and at one time he pastored in a neighboring community in Punxsutawney which was about sixty miles south of the church I pastored at the time. They retired from active pastoral ministry in the mid-nineties but continue to serve the Lord in various ways including chaplaincy and interim pastoral work. We were looking forward to getting together since one of the blessings of visiting the Provards is evidence of rock solid stability.  Being with them a couple of hours brought a good dose of stability in an unstable world!

God uses people like Jack and Millie who are spiritually mature to strengthen our hearts by grace. I sure hope you have people like this in your life and consider the blessing they bring to your life.  It is also something that Brooksyne and I desire to convey to those who walk along beside us in life.

Consider the instability of this present world, yet we long for stability and security.  But don't be deceived, the world is unable to offer any real guarantee for this stability.  Wars and rumors of wars, terrorist actions and threats, and financial upheavals will always exist on this side of eternity. It's real and a part of our fallen world that is a result of man's rebellion against God Almighty.

The epistle to the Hebrews was written to encourage early believers who were tempted to return to their old way of life.  The writer is unidentified but the Holy Spirit is most certainly identifiable as He gives the initial recipients and all of us a good dose of inspiration and spiritual stability.

These believers were enduring both persecution and false teachings that sought to undermine their faith. In fact the phrase immediately preceding the daily text says, "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings."  There are all kinds of strange teachings in our day as well so the Biblical admonition is pertinent to all generations.

But let us ponder this phrase today; "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace."  Perhaps you would like to personalize it even further by declaring, "It is good for my heart to be strengthened by grace." The word "strengthened" conveys the sense of being established and stabilized.  

God's grace is so amazing in a multitude of ways.  We primarily and properly consider grace in regard to our salvation; we are saved by grace.  But God's grace strengthens our hearts all through life's journey.  Terror threats may distress us; we may grow weary; discouragement may set in; friends may forsake us; financial security may crumble and false doctrines abound, but God's grace continues to strengthen the heart!

The Psalmist knew this; "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD" (Psalm 27:14).  He cried out in soulful honesty, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26).  Paul's beautiful prayer for the Thessalonians is always needed, "May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones" (1 Thessalonians 3:13).  Today, my friend in Christ, may your heart indeed be strengthened by God's amazing grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your exceeding grace is evident as far as the eye can see and reaches way beyond my limited imagination.  But the greatest aspect of Your grace is that You choose to reside within my heart.  Your abundant grace brings me assurance when the world speaks of trouble.  Your abiding grace brings me consolation when others would forsake me.  Your sustaining grace is manifested more in the trials of life than in the mountain top experiences.  Thank You for supplying me with Your sufficient grace in the height and depth of my existence. Your
amazing grace is supernatural; it never ceases to be amazing and it is good for my heart to be strengthened by Your grace!   Amen.

Lady's breakfast
Saturday morning Brooksyne hosted a ladies breakfast at our home and thirty ladies showed up. Here they are lined up and getting instructions from Brooksyne before entering our front door for the food.  I guess you could say this is "the breakfast line".

Lady's breakfast
After breakfast the ladies gathered in our driveway for a time of singing, sharing, and memorizing Scripture through song.

TFC BanquetSaturday night we attended a banquet sponsored by Transport For Christ and I had the opportunity to share concerning Daily Encouragement.  TFC is a ministry for truck drivers that places mobile chapels in major truck stops and provides ministry at terminals. Chaplains staff these chapels and provide ministry to truck drivers and all who pass by.  I have an interesting ministry partnership with them as they use my online daily messages and I also take crisis calls.

TFC Chapel
Transport For Christ Mobile Chapel in the Rocky Mountains on the way to British Columbia. Cerwin and Doris High are very much a part of  this ministry and she took these photos. Doris blogs regularly with outstanding photos and tomorrow I will write about an interesting experience she shared with me today.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to play)

"Grace Alone" Video This is a beautiful song with a rich meaning.  We often sang it in the church we pastored in New England.  Today I want to especially dedicate this song to the Larrimore family in that church.  Last night Andy wrote that his son Eric is being deployed to Afghanistan in the next couple of weeks.  Andy writes about Eric's attitude, "He is a little nervous but has told us he feels very comfortable with his training and knows that he is in God's hands." May the Lord fill this family with His strengthening grace.

"Your Grace Still Amazes Me" -

My back - I am better but still very, very stiff, especially when I stand up after sitting or laying down!  I sure have greater empathy for those with longstanding back problems.

Spritual Stability - I have written a longer article on this topic available here.

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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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