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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mini-basket flower arrangement
Brooksyne arranges these mini-baskets and this fall arrangement brightened our window sill with the crimson and golden colors.

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"How Long, O Lord, How Long?"

"My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?" (
Psalm 6:3). "How long must your servant wait?" (Psalm 119:84). "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Today we consider many of our brothers and sisters who are in a waiting period. As we scan back over our ministry in churches we served to our present role in chaplaincy and pastoring we call to mind several who taught us a great deal about waiting. At the present, one individual comes to mind who has been enduring a long, arduous wait year after year after year and yet she still has no clue as to how God is going to work out the matter. And yet I can hear her say, "God is good all the time and all the time God is good."  (This is a great saying that we used to repeat about ten times on Sundays, for quite a while!  It still puts a smile on my face.)

Some twenty-two times (depending on version) the Psalmist asks the Lord, "How long?"  But in each instance he never received a specific answer. That's the way many issues in life are. We have an assurance, a promise from God that it will ultimately work out, but we just don't know when.

Today many of us are crying out, "How long, O Lord." We see before our very eyes the creation groaning as in the pains of childbirth (see Romans 8:22). Wars, hatred, deceptions, frailty; all are reminders of the fallen world we live in. You see for me the "how long" deals not only with conflict all throughout the world but also the specific conflict that I am personally dealing with.

Let us consider also the bigger picture in the cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil; between the one true triune God and the ancient enemy who has opposed Him. In regard to this battle may we have a deep, abiding assurance that we are on the winning side and one glorious day, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).

But for now the wait remains. On the personal level it may be a vexing job situation or a frustrated search for work.  It may be a chronic illness or the pain from the loss of a loved one. For others there's what seems like endless family strife. We want an answer to the "how long" question, but so very often we don't get it.

Paul also had a "How long" experience. He was troubled by a "thorn in the flesh" and had cried out to God for healing and deliverance.  His specific prayer was not answered as Paul had hoped, but God did speak to him.  That answer has brought hope and strength to millions over the years while they've waited.  I pray that it will also encourage fellow waiters today. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father, we find direction and sufficient grace as we follow Psalm 27:14: "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say on the Lord." The Psalmist tells us twice in the same sentence to wait on You. We're not to doubt, be despondent or give up in despair, but instead we are to go forward in faith, trusting You completely, since "no eye has seen, and no ear has heard what the Lord has in store for those who wait for Him." Help us to endure the wait and enjoy our faith walk with You. Amen.

* In yesterday's message on anger we left point three blank since we were unable to determine a suitable word to describe the concept we wanted and invited readers to make suggestions.

3) "And do not give the devil a foothold" This indicates there are to be self-imposed constraints on the _____ of anger.

Readers suggested the following:
exhibition, outward demonstration, danger, triggers, rootedness, complicity, pursuit, intent

Joe, a preacher friend, elaborates: In response to the concept about not giving the devil a foothold as it relates to anger, one possibility would be, "...there are to be self-imposed constraints on the triggers of our anger." That is easier said than done, but 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ, and the previous verse reminds us that we have a divine arsenal to help destroy our mental strongholds. There are things, of course, which should get us "fired up," like human injustice.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Thou O Lord"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Your Grace Is Sufficient For Me"  Video  Marty Nystrom  I also like this homemade acoustical version

"His Grace Is Sufficient"  Video  The Renaissance  (I suppose this is similar to how we looked like when we were young!!!)

"Everlasting God"  Video  Chris Tomlin  "Strength Will Rise As We Wait Upon The Lord"

"Wait On The Lord"  Video  The Martins   This is a simple chorus well worth memorizing since it's word for word Scripture (Psalm 27:14 mentioned in the prayer).  Ester and I (Brooksyne) have sung this many times at nursing home settings or hospitals while visiting ill patients.  It speaks great peace to my heart.  (I also enjoy the Martins harmony.)

"God Is Good All The Time"  Video  Don Moen  I remember playing and leading this song often and the joyous expressions I could see on people's faces in the congregation.  Too bad songs come and go, for this one should be a regular every Sunday.

"Glorious Day"  Video  Casting Crowns  (Also known as "One Day")

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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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