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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snowing morning in Lancaster County PA with 2 Corinthians 5:7
The sunrise view from our home on this very cold morning.
We are getting a light snow and the forecast for tomorrow is a chilling zero degrees, but it's the freezing windchill the forecasters keep talking about more than the low temperatures.

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"We Live By Faith"

"We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).

We are presently ministering to a number of people who are experiencing layoffs due to the stresses of the economy.  The uncertainty of their future is looming over them. I recently spoke to a supervisor whose team of workers was temporarily laid off. Usually I steer conversations in a direction that is uplifting in nature, but this time the subject of our talk was distressing to this worker as we considered the uncertainties of our time. We are praying that orders will resume for these companies and the employees will soon get called back to work.

About 20 years ago I served as a Civil Air Patrol chaplain and periodically flew along with pilots, sitting in the back seat as a non-pilot. We were based out of St. Marys in northern Pennsylvania. My role was to provide spiritual support and encouragement to the squadron.  Among my responsibilities as chaplain was to notify and update family members about the condition of their loved ones aboard a missing or crashed plane.

Civil Air Patrol planeI recall one time when we were flying to an airport in Clearfield Pennsylvania (in the Allegheny Mountains) where there was a steep dropoff at the end of the runway. The pilots were practicing their instrument rating skills. After take-off both pilots placed hoods over their heads to block their visual view outside the airplane, forcing them to focus solely on the plane's instrument panel.

I could see from my seat, but certainly I had no control of the flight. Each time I looked toward the front of the plane and saw the pilots in their strange-looking hoods I grew more and more uneasy.  It wasn't so bad when we were high in the air, but when we began to drop for our descent to the landing strip all I could notice was the drop-off at the end!

I began thinking about Brooksyne at home and visualized a police chaplain showing up at our front door and to notify her of a downed aircraft with her chaplain husband aboard.  I was so relieved when, just prior to landing, both pilots lifted their hoods and of course we had a safe landing!

We like to see don't we? We like to know what's going on, and we especially like to be in control of our circumstances. Much of the time we believe we really are. We think we've got it all figured out. It is imperative that we remember the Proverb, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).

"We live by faith, not by sight." Not seeing the full picture runs counter to our natural instincts.  God wants each step of our earthly journey to be a step of faith so that our eyes are not focused on the situation nearly so much as they are focused on Him and the continuing work He is doing in our lives.  If our physical vision is limited then we will hopefully stimulate our spiritual vision and see that God providentially allows these foggy periods in our life for His glory and for our good. Just as the hoods forced the pilots to rely on the instruments rather than their sight, so our trials will cause us to focus on God, our faith and the eternal, which is where our focus should be.

Several have written lately of going through deep trials in their lives. I consider a phrase from a great old hymn that expresses my heart today. "When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace." Oh, for that blessed rest to be upon each reader today is our prayer!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father help us to have the kind of faith prescribed in Hebrews 11:1 where "Faith is being sure of what hope for and certain of what we do not see. "  It is the kind of faith that is triumphant in the worst of circumstances because our faith in Christ is the victory that overcomes the world.  We will not be overcome by life's circumstances but we will overcome life's circumstances by the blood of the Lamb.  Praise God!  Amen.

CBMC team meetingYesterday we had a meeting of our local CBMC leadership team followed by an outreach meeting with Ken Hussar (left in photo) as speaker. Ken is a retired school teacher, writer, committed Christian and he is also very funny. In his introduction he spoke of growing up in a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia where Rocky Balboa was the Avon lady and among his first jobs he worked at the patent office. He quit though, because the man working next to him drove him crazy, when he kept saying after examining each application, "I wish I'd thought of that first."

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Step By Step"
 Video  This was among our congregation's favorite songs in New England, although I don't recall singing the verses.

"Open The Eyes Of My Heart" Video 

What a Civil Air Patrol chaplain does.  I did not take the photo of today's Civil Air Patrol plane, although observant readers can tell where it was taken!  Click here for a larger version.

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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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