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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Peaceful pond
A peaceful pond scene in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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"The Throne Of Grace"

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

We regularly pray for persecuted followers of Christ. Much of the persecution is taking place in remote areas and rarely makes the news. Some persecution is not reported due to politically driven motives. Regardless of whether the stories emanate from our own country or an isolated, unheard of village the  plight of the persecuted should get our attention and their suffering should drive us to our knees in intercessory prayer. We have a pastor friend who often prays this prayer for the persecuted, "May the Holy Spirit be as an anesthetic applied to the wounds of those undergoing painful affliction."

This last weekend there was a ruthless large scale and deadly attack on Christians in Nigeria and this did make some news outlets. When I read these accounts I get a perspective jolt that scales my own problems down to petty annoyances.

While certainly desiring to have a mature perspective on the extreme suffering such as my brothers and sisters are experiencing in Nigeria and other parts of the world, I'm glad that God is not limited concerning His interest in the various burdens we all bear daily. Today's Scripture text can bring encouragement for all regardless of whether our need is small or great.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence."  The writer of Hebrews implores us to approach the throne of grace with confidence!  This is the only reference in the Bible to the throne of grace and is a quite literal translation found in all standard translations. What a comforting description of this approachable place of mercy and grace.

We approach "so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  The Amplified Bible makes this distinction between mercy and grace in this context,
1) "mercy [for our failures]"
2) "grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]."

I am glad for God's presence in my time of need.  I have received His mercy and regularly experience His grace. Admittedly His grace is not always dispersed at the moment I may want nor always in the way that I have prayed, but as God in His providence has scheduled and apportioned it.  The declaration of faith is very hard at times like this, but truth is not dependent upon my circumstances.  God is faithful.

I recall a message Jim Gambini, a former pastor, shared many years ago about God's grace when he was preaching on the subject of worry.   He pointed out that we cannot "stockpile grace".  When we find ourselves worrying that is essentially what we are trying to do. When we get ahead of God's actual plan we try to figure out how the troubling scenario will play out which then gets us worked up about how we will respond. God's grace is always available in abundant supply during our time of need, but not ahead of the need.  I like this thought that my pastor shared,  "For the Christian our focus is not to be on the need or even the provision for the need but we are to focus on the Provider."

Be assured that God will faithfully provide sufficient grace during our time of need.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, keeping our focus on the Throne Of Grace remains a difficult task for many of us. We want to stockpile grace.  Help us to keep approaching your throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Amen.

Here's a further comment regarding today's text and specifically the phrase "our time of need."  "When is this time? When does He meet our needs? In one sense, it is all the time because we stand constantly in need of His grace! His grace is "tapped into" when we come in our time of need, and not until. We must not make the mistake of trying to "store up grace" for future emergencies, because God gives us the grace that we need when we need it. No trial is too great, no temptation is too strong, but that Jesus Christ can give us the mercy and grace that we need, when we need it.  And He gives it just when we have the need and not a minute before. Sometimes it looks like God waits until the last minute to send help, but that is only from our human point of view. God is never late!"

John Hus was condemned to burn at the stake. The night before in his cell he tested himself with a match and recoiled in pain.  Hus is quoted as saying “If I can’t withstand the fire of a candle, how the stake?” But the next day Hus not only bore the flames, he died singing. God's grace was sufficient and he went thru the flames in a manner that glorified His Father.

Ester's 21st birthday with Patty
Ester turned 21 yesterday and her friend, Patty, turned 64 so we took cake and ice cream and celebrated together.  Patty is an overcomer as she has been physically disabled from an early age. She resides at an Assisted Living facility and loves the company of friends and playing games.

Ester's 21st birthday with David & Adoree
Ester celebrated with a group of her friends, including David and Adoree, whom she babysits during a small group Bible study.  They each took turns trying to help her blow out the candles.  Adoree was unable to produce enough air to blow, but ended up saying, "Woooo!"

Ester's 21st birthday at Red Robin
We took Ester out to eat to the Red Robin for her 21st birthday
and sat underneath this colorful motorcyclist on his Harley!

First Spring bulbs 3/10/10
Little spring bulbs are popping up all over the yard.

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.)

"Before The Throne Of God Above"  Video  Selah

"Your Grace Is Sufficient For Me"  Video  (Has a long intro)

"Grace Alone"  Video  This song has outstanding lyrics.

Article concerning the vicious attack on Christians in Nigeria by Islamic assailants this last weekend.

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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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