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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Maple tree
This beautiful maple is about two miles from our home.

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"God's Providence"

"Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him" (Daniel 2:20-22).

The daily Scripture portion is a powerful proclamation of the providence of God.  Here's a historic definition of this theological term: "God's works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing of all His creatures and all their actions."

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and God revealed to Daniel both the dream and the meaning, a panoramic sweep through hundreds of years into the future and the rise and fall of various kingdoms. We look back now and see how this has marvelously been fulfilled.

"Praise be to the name of God forever and ever."  Before Daniel revealed the dream to the king he offers praise to God. He "blessed the God of heaven" (v. 19). 

"Wisdom and power are His."  This timeless truth is so instructive and encouraging in light of the many issues of uncertainty we face; those things which cause us anxiety and fear. Some we commonly deal with such as world turmoil and especially at this time here in America with the forthcoming election as to where the nation is headed. Others are personal and unique to us.  It may be a health need, a job situation, a family matter or many other issues that trouble your spirit. 

"He changes times and seasons." Once again as we are in the midst of a very predictable seasonal change we see the hand of God in the changing of the seasons as He ordained at creation.
Following the great flood God made a covenant with Noah and seasonal changes have been an evidence of God's faithfulness ever since. As I was preparing this message, Tom, a friend from northern PA, sent a photo of the first snow in that area.  We have had some very cold weather here in Lancaster County the last several days but no snow yet!  

"He sets up kings and deposes them." History sure validates this. Some 2,600 years have passed since Daniel made this statement and history abundantly demonstrates that many kings and kingdoms have come and gone. We live out our lives in a tiny window in the scope of God's providential dealings. Our perspective is narrowly skewed if we don't constantly observe the bigger landscape of God's dealings with humankind.

"He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things." We must look to God as we direct our focus toward Him.  A great need for the earnest follower of Christ in this information overload age is godly discernment.  It seems that we are awash in outright lies, distortions, spins and misleading information. We need revelation from God's Word concerning the deep and hidden things not revealed by man, but revealed to our hearts by the inner working of the Holy  Spirit.

"He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him."  This last phrase really, really blesses us as we prepare this message. Daniel needed the light of God's revelation to interpret the king's dream. God revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel in the middle of the night.  Rather than rushing to the king and boasting of his interpretive skills Daniel broke forth in praise to God and made this glorious declaration about our omniscient God: "He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him." 

Since we're unable to see "what lies in darkness" let us walk with God everyday of our earthly journey since "light dwells with Him."  Then we'll be assured that the light of His glory will illumine our path and give us the needed light to see our way through the troubling and narrow passages that await us.  God will replace our fear of the future  with His promise of provision for that which lies ahead.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, Your vast wisdom is given to those who seek godly wisdom and Your knowledge to the discerning believer.  You are the bright light that comes bursting forth when darkness seeks to blind the godly.  All foes are rendered powerless in Your presence.  Thank You for the marvelous standing we have as Your children.

In studying and preparing today's message I discovered another very relevant verse: "Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them" (Hosea 14:9). I am doing a lot of study on discerning the times.

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

"Praise To The Lord, The Almighty"  Audio  This line is especially pertinent to today's message: "Praise to the Lord who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth."

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"
 Video  A beautiful Michael W. Smith version that begins with a violin instrumental followed by vocals.

We want to share two songs by Brian Doerkson today on God's faithfulness that we find a blessing:
"Faithful Father"  Video
"Your Faithfulness"   Video

"These Things Are True Of You"  Audio instrumental  I chose this song due to the title, which I had never heard. It turned out to be just the instrumental but I still enjoyed the tune!

The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good?The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good?  By R.C. Sproul / P & R Publishing
I read this book many years ago and found it a source of instruction, encouragement, and assurance when facing the mysteries of life.  In a world steeped in anguish and evil, how can God be in control? Do all things really work for good? With head-on honesty and biblical insight, Sproul examines the difficult doctrine of divine providence. Discover how your Lord lovingly guides the events of your life without creating human wickedness or destroying human freedom. 224 pages, softcover from P & R. Excerpt  Ordering information  

Philly world series victory 2008One of the great moments in sports is a championship victory! Last night we watched our local team, the Philadelphia Phillies win the world series and celebrate. I have written about these joyous sports celebrations in the past and look forward to our spiritual victory and future celebration!

Today's photo of the beautiful maple is located here (googlemap).

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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