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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunset from our porch 1/13/10
Yesterday afternoon we had a stunning sunset view from our home.
However it was many times more beautiful than this photo conveys!

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"When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved" (Acts 27:20).

Like scores of churches all over the world, last night we spent time in intercessory prayer for Haiti and the scores of workers who are lending aid to this devastated country. A number of our people have personal connections. The news reports are understandably horrific with large loss of life, suffering, destruction, and homelessness. But it's also at times like this that we witness the best in humanity with people coming together from all over the globe to bring aid and relief to those in utter despair.
When we lived in New England we periodically attended minister's fellowship meetings on Martha's Vineyard.  With no land accessibility apart from the ferry ride, it is a beautiful island off the coast of Massachusetts that Brooksyne and I enjoy visiting.  I recall once riding a freight ferry on the return trip to Cape Cod when the deep, ferocious waves persistently battered against the side of the ferry, about 15-20 feet above the water.  Spectators were growing increasingly nervous as the fury of the waves did not die down, but rather they increased.

Several pastor friends joined me at the front of the boat and as the waves continued to rage we began to discuss some of the fear and turmoil Paul and his shipmates likely experienced before their ship crashed. Looking back now, we might have been able to turn the bow of that ferry into a sanctuary and preached a salvation message resulting in a number of conversions (the foxhole kind). Well, we didn't do that, but needless to say, we were quite happy to finally reach land safely on that particular stormy afternoon.

The daily Scripture text is the account of a horrific storm. Today let us ponder the phrase, "We gave up all hope of being saved."  What utter despair the 276 men on board must have felt as experienced sailors on the boat accessed the severity of their situation.  Even the chronicler Luke, who wrote this narrative in Acts, includes himself among the hopeless. 

But Paul, who had earlier warned them not to take the journey, had a powerful word of hope and encouragement for the crew:  "But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed" (27:22).  As the authorities on board took their orders from their prisoner, Paul, it  happened exactly as he prophecied.

We consider the present suffering in Haiti, which in many ways makes our present suffering, in any form, pale in comparison.  Still some of you reading this today find yourselves in the midst of a severe storm, figuratively speaking.  It may be a health crisis, a family meltdown or a financial catastrophe.  Pertaining to your situation you may even sense in despair, "it's hopeless."  That's a lie! 

There is always hope, as we serve the God of hope.  Brooksyne and I pray for you as we send this message out, as we do for each message. We urge each reader to receive this Biblical benediction today, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit"  (Romans 15:13).

Your situation may seem hopeless and perhaps it is, from our viewpoint. But the God of Hope does not work in the natural, rather the supernatural.  Jesus said "Humanly speaking, it is impossible, but not with God. Everything is possible with God." (Mk. 10:27 NLT). God's supernatural work is not limited to human resources, earth's time clock, nor man's understanding.  Aren't you glad for that!  Today let us pray and hope for the impossible because it is the impossible realm that we can be certain God is at work.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Heavenly Father, when those aboard the ship in Acts 27 were looking at the gloomy forecast that appeared for many days their hopes diminished day by day.  So often that's what leads us to defeat; we fear the raging storm and the damage it will do, instead of looking for the Peacespeaker who controls the wind and waves.  When we consider the scores of relief workers in Haiti we're reminded that it is their duty to go beyond the dangerous ransacked rubble to search for life.  They must expect the impossible in order to save lives where it would seem there could be no one alive.  We trust You for the miraculous stories that will eventually be reported, reminding us that You are a God of the impossible, bringing hope in the midst of devastation, restoration in the midst of loss.  We entrust every one of these workers to Your care and pray for their safety as well as those who are presently entrapped by the rubble.  We pray that there will be Christian believers who will bring the life-saving message of Jesus Christ to the hearts of surviving Haitians so that their hope is not based on what they see, but in the hope we have through the Holy Spirit as we trust in You.  Amen.

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.)

"My Hope Is In The Lord"  Video

I stand in awe within the presence of the Lord.
With whom the wisdom of the ages lie.
Of whom the raging of the seas subsides.
The living sacrifice, the only source of life.

My hope is in the Lord
From this time on and evermore.
Oh my hope is in the Lord forevermore.

His tender mercies come with every rising sun.
To meet the sinner in his brokenness.
To offer healing and forgiveness.
And those who trust in Him will find their hearts at rest.

"The Solid Rock"  Video

"I Know The Peace Speaker"  Video

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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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