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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Another photo of the Creekside Farm stand near our home in Mount Joy, PA

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"Able To Sympathize"

"For we do not have a high priest, who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses" (Hebrews 4:15a).  "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens" (Psalm 68:19).

Yesterday afternoon Brooksyne was working in the kitchen when she heard a loud thump from the living room window.  It's a sound all too familiar since we have many windows in our home and we also feed a variety of birds.  We've tried to deter them from flying toward our windows by hanging decals that are supposed to make them aware that it is a glass panel but to no avail at times.

Since early September we've had an influx of goldfinches who feed at our bird station about ten feet from our bay window and as it turns out one of the birds had crashed into the window.

Brooksyne, dreading what she might see, looked out the window only to look down and find that the goldfinch had crash landed onto the lawn chair adjacent to the window.  Its breathing was shallow and fast and its claws looked like they'd taken the brunt of the crash.  She took several photos as she observed the bird up close and began to think of how we might be able to help should it not be able to fly again.  But about 30 minutes passed when she went back and by that time the bird was gone. We looked in the nearby dense flowers and shrubs but could not find it anywhere so we assume it flew away.  Birds, animals and plant life have many difficulties to overcome much like we do.

Circle of prayerLast night we gathered with a small group of fellow believers and shared various burdens that we are in the process of working through or overcoming. Earnest, heartfelt prayers were offered up to God as we practiced the Biblical injunction to "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).

Our daily verse offers a tremendous assurance concerning the character of Christ who is our High Priest. Worded slightly different, but I believe altogether consistent with the original intent we can read it this way: "We do have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses."

Sympathize is an example of an English word that is transliterated directly from the Greek "sumpatheo", which means "to feel along with." Our Lord can and does feel along with us in the time of our weaknesses in whatever form they may be evidenced. And as we bear one another's burdens in earnest sympathy we fulfill the law of Christ.

We often read about the "law of Moses" but the "law of Christ" is an uncommon expression found in the Bible.  The law of Christ is to "love one another."  Jesus taught this law in both word and example.

Barnes comments on Galatians 6:2:  "This was the distinguishing law of the Redeemer; and they could in no way better fulfill it than by aiding each other in the divine life. The law of Christ would not allow us to reproach the offender, or to taunt him, or to rejoice in his fall. We should help him to take up his load of infirmities, and sustain him by our counsels, our exhortations, and our prayers. Christians, conscious of their infirmities, have a right to the sympathy and the prayers of their brethren."

"He Knows My Name" is a song that comes to mind as we conclude our message today.  Brooksyne and I recently gathered alongside some friends with whom we were praying when this worship song was quietly playing in the background. It was fitting for the occasion then and is most appropriate for summing up our devotional thoughts today. We'll post a link to an online video below.  We encourage you to listen to it.

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in His hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

What "weaknesses" are you dealing with today?

Receive this word of encouragement. Today our Lord Jesus, our great High Priest, sympathizes with our every weakness.  Thus we identify and echo the spiritual outlook of the Apostle Paul, "When I am weak then I am strong."  Weak on my own, but strong in the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we are so grateful that we have presence with You who knows every temptation we face and each emotion we feel. You know our areas of weakness where we are most vulnerable to our arch enemy, the devil. And so You remind us through Scripture and through caring brothers and sisters who bear our burdens that You are present to hear and prepared to deliver us as we draw near to You. We approach You through Jesus, our great High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses, and presents our every need to You. We are confident that You see and hear us.  Amen.

Here are some photos of the goldfinch that crashed into our picture window yesterday afternoon. Due to our camera equipment and capabilities we rarely can get this close to a bird. Note the claws which we feel must have taken the brunt of the collision.

Gold finch

Gold finch

Gold finch

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.)

"He Knows My Name"  Video   Tommy Walker  This is the song we referred to in the message. It has a simple but assuring message.

"Lay Your Burdens Down"  Video  

"I Cast All My Cares Upon You"  Video  We recall singing this chorus for many years. This version is especially nice as I sense such an earnestness in the singer's voice.

Yesterday I shared some photos concerning the tomato harvest on our neighbor's farm and shared how the tomatoes were going to the Furmano company for processing. I was so blessed to read their clear stand for God in their mission statement.  May God bless companies like this!

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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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