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Monday, September 12, 2011

Corner acre mums photo
Corner Acre Mums
A sure sign that autumn is around the corner is when our Amish neighbors' mums are ready for sale. Note the small self serve box hanging on the side of the barn.

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"When Your World Falls Apart"

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope" (Lamentations 3:21).

Flooded 230 in Mount Joy, PA 9/7/11
The ground is drying in our area after the heavy rains and severe flooding last week. As we continue to read the news and converse with others we hear more and more about the devastation and loss that resulted from the flooding, including three drownings in our county. Yesterday we remembered the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and the horrific devastation of that day that changed life as we knew it here in America and in many ways the entire world. Whether impacted by local, national or even worldwide events, for those directly affected, it can be as if their world is falling apart.

Flooded Pizza Hut in Hershey, PA 9/7/11
This is a subject we’d rather not personalize. After all, these kinds of things happen to "someone else" …until they happen to us. We learned on Friday that among those who perished in the floods in Lancaster County was an eight year old boy. He is grandson to a chaplain at a local nursing home. Now certainly for this Christian family it would seem as if their world has fallen part. Surely there's a dizzying array of “what if” questions streaming through their thoughts.

Many of you have had situations in life when your world seemed to be falling apart. Actually there have been a few times it seemed as though my world was falling apart, but in retrospect the problem was really a matter of my faith and perspective. For those directly impacted by 9/11 or people who lost loved ones or all their material possessions in recent floods it would seem their world is truly falling apart.

Some of you reading this right now may be in the midst of a personal, earth shattering trial. For most it will not make the national news; the abandoned wife and children, the sober report from the doctor or the phone call, "There's been an accident…" We receive emails from our readers who share of such trials and we know of many through our various ministry roles. 

Any brief perspective in this devotional might seem trite for those in the midst of such circumstances. In some cases the best ministry one on one is a silent presence, but since this is a written text I can’t approach this subject in that way.

But thank God for the enduring assurance and hope that is found in the Holy Scriptures. As I ponder what to share in this regard it occurs to me that it's the cumulative promises that will minister, although the Lord will often use one particular promise we especially personalize that enables us to keep on keeping on.

"When your world fall apart" graphic
In the midst of deepening despair, as Jeremiah’s world was falling apart, he recalled a couple of life saving promises, "This I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning." The promises of God’s steadfast, unending love, and His inexhaustible mercies transformed Jeremiah’s despair into hope. Today, some 2,600 years later, it will do so for us also. We do well to reflect on the standing promises and immutable attributes of God. “His oath, His covenant, His grace support me in the whelming flood. When all around, my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay!”

It is in this context that Jeremiah declared, "Great is Thy faithfulness!" Today, may God give each reader the grace to declare, especially in the midst of the most trying times, past, present or future, "Great is Thy faithfulness." It will keep your world from falling apart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father, we stand daily on the promises within Your Holy Word. Zephaniah reminds us that “Every morning You bring Your justice to light; You do not fail.” If we rely on ourselves, our abilities or our resources, we will utterly fail. Instead we look to You who faileth not, whose mercies are unending, and whose steadfast love never ceases. Our faith is strengthened and our hope is increased as we declare with the prophet Jeremiah, “Great is Your faithfulness!” Amen.

Amish children making apple sauce
We visited with our Amish friends and they invited us to come down in their basement where Mom, Dad, and the two young children were in the process of making apple sauce. One of the noble characteristics of the Amish is teaching their children to work with joy and these kids sure were.  They're using the Victoria Strainer which separates the pulp from the peel (a real time saver.)

Onions for sale on Amish farm
Have U had an onion today?

Team and wagon behind old-order Mennonite Produce Stand Lancaster County PA 9/9/11
We stopped by a roadside produce stand at an old-order Mennonite farm last Friday. As Brooksyne bought some produce I meandered around back to see the wagon backed up to the stand. We were buying fresh produce! Notice the unattached plastic chair on the wagon. It doesn't look very safe or stable to me but this is a common sight.

Backyard wedding 9/11/11
Yesterday our backyard served as a nice outdoor setting for the wedding of a Bosnian bride and Macedonian groom. We had some language comprehension issues but made it through!

Milan 9/11/11
Our association with the wedding couple is a result of some friends we regularly see in our business chaplain work who are from Bosnia, immigrating to America in 1999. They knew no one here but were sponsored by an American church. They also knew no English upon arrival but persevered and worked hard and are now doing very well. Each anniversary of their arrival they meet with their sponsoring family at the Lancaster airport for a meal. I was especially heartened to hear of the kindness Rick, another friend, showed them when Milan started working in his company shortly after they arrived. Milan was very unsure of himself, especially due to his language limitations and expressed this to the owner. Rick assured him that he would work with him, and now, some ten years later, he and other family members are among the loyal and productive workers in that company.

Brooksyne with Zekira, and her daughter, Dijana 9/11/11
Brooksyne posing with Milan's wife, Zekira, and his daughter, Dijana.  All three of them work at the same company and have become our friends over the four years that we have served as their chaplains.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"  Video  Selah

"Faithful God"  Video  Gateway Worship

"Sometimes I Cry"  Video  Jason Crabb

"Every Promise"  Video  Kristyn Getty

"The Soid Rock"  Video  Interface

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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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