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Friday, December 30, 2011

Wisconsin barn (photo by my cousin)
Wisconsin barn
This photo taken by my cousin who wrote,
"Old....and still so beautiful!  
I just love those really old, stone foundation barns you still see around Wisconsin.
So do I, regardless of where they are!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"By His Hand He Leadeth Me"

“He leadeth me beside still waters, He restoreth my soul" (Psalm 23:3). "For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you" (Isaiah 41:13). "For He Himself knew what He would do" (John 6:6). "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever" (Psalm 138:8).

Marvin with Stephen
One of the great experiences and tender sights of life is watching a little child reach up to take the hand of an adult. Today I consider a specific experience I recall that took place nearly 23 years ago. For a season in our lives we hosted children from other countries who came to the states for critical medical care which is how Ester initially came into our lives (she was our fourth child from Guatemala).

In January 1989 Marvin, a small five year old boy, came to us from Guatemala due to an extremely critical breathing issue. You can only imagine how scared he was. Due to the severity of his condition we immediately took him to Erie, Pennsylvania where the doctor had agreed to care for him (prior to his arrival). Although we knew very little Spanish (actually next to none) and he knew no English we were to be his American family and provide the kind of love he'd received from his family back home.

He quickly recognized the security we offered as he reached his little hand up to take mine. Marvin instinctively knew that we had become an essential part of his life. He grew confident that we were his guide to better health, making it possible for him to safely return to his own family in Guatemala. As his caregivers we fully understood the intention of Marvin's trip to America and his stay with us during his surgery and recovery.  Yet for a five year old Spanish child to meet so many strangers that couldn't communicate with him, and to live among them in a strange land, without his loving parents, surely was a great mystery in his young mind.

The confidence he demonstrated when reaching up to take our hand is a great illustration of the confidence we can have in taking God's Hand even when we really don't understand, being fully aware that He always knows what He is doing.

In his daily devotional book titled "From Day To Day", Frank Gaebelein shares a perspective that has blessed me and is so pertinent to our own experience in walking with the Lord by faith. He is commenting on the third daily verse, "For He Himself knew what He would do."

"When the Lord Jesus asked Philip how bread might be secured for the hungry crowd, it was important for Him to test the faith of Philip-important not for Himself but for Philip's sake that he might have a lesson in the infinite resources of the Lord. "For He Himself knew what He would do." This is always true of our Lord. There is comfort in the fact that He can never be taken by surprise. Though the circumstances of our lives sometimes seem plan-less, when they are in Christ's control we may be sure that our Lord knows what He is doing. To really trust such a Master really means security from worry and concern.  Christ indeed knows His business; ours is the responsibility of obeying His commands."

As I seek to apply this verse to my life what a joy and comfort to know that the eternal Christ does not change. He knows exactly what He is doing, why He is doing it, who He  will use to bring it to pass, and how it will all come about. We become the wiser as we learn to trust His plan instead of our own. "We may make our plans, but God has the last word" is a Proverb that can instill peace in one's heart when God seems rather silent about a matter
(Proverbs 16:1). He perfects our plans or may choose to overrule them, even those with good intentions, for the greater good of our Christian walk as we submit our planning agenda to His management.

This is our final encouragement message for 2011. We can testify that God has led us and are assured that He will continue to lead us. The phrase "He leadeth me" is in the present tense so it is our present and ongoing declaration.

Brooksyne and I realize that the coming year will certainly bring challenges in various ways, as it always does. We find great assurance that indeed our Lord knows what He will do and we can confidently reach up and take His hand. We cling to this complimentary promise from the Psalms, "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me" (Psalm 138:8). And that is true for each dear child of God, including you!

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we want to be Your faithful follower as You fulfill Your purpose in our lives. The Psalmist traced Your hand to the secret place where all Your ordained plans were written for his life before he drew his first breath. We too can trace Your hand in the origin of our birth right up to the present day in which we close out another year. We need not fear when we take hold of Your hand, for You will help guide us through the uncertainties and puzzlements that will frequent our path, for You fully know what Your intentions are for our lives. We trust You for the days ahead and the new year that will unfold before us. We will not fear nor dread the future, since it is through eyes of faith, that we see the victory ahead!  In the precious name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

An observant reader inquired regarding the image of the praying man we use next to the daily prayer and Brooksyne found this interesting article. We are still looking for info regarding the similar image we use of the praying woman and welcome input from any readers who might be able to help us. In the course of searching we found this unrelated photo.

Make A DonationHave our daily encouragement messages been a blessing to you this last year? As we approach the end of the year, we ask you to consider making a year-end donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax-deductible.

Marvin recovered from his surgery, returned to his family in Guatemala, and returned for a second surgery the next year. The doctor informed us that he would need laser surgery each year until he was at least 12, but Marvin experienced a miraculous healing from God and required no more surgeries. We visited him and his family in Guatemala about 20 years ago and had a memorable meal in his grateful family's small two room village house. We lost contact but reconnected in recent years when he found us through Daily Encouragement and later Facebook. He periodically calls us and it's a blessing to hear his voice though our communications are extremely limited, though he does a little better with English than we do with Spanish!

Marvin at Zaculeu Mayan archaeological site
  This current photo of Marvin was taken at the Zaculeu Mayan archaeological site in western Guatemala (article). He is doing well healthwise and is now a forester with the Guatemalan Forestry Department. He is married with one son and a child on the way (last we heard). Most importantly he is serving the Lord and active in ministry in his local church! His favorite quote on his Facebook page is "Porque no me avergüenzo del evangelio, porque es potencia de Dios para salvación a todo creyente" (Romanos 1:16). Here's are two newspaper articles about Marvin when he was treated in Erie, Pennsylvania. in 1989. Marvin1Marvin2

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Over the last several days we've received numerous messages of readers bearing burdens both acute and ongoing. Today's message and song selections are intended to bring you assurance in the One who said,
"For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

"Precious Lord, Take My Hand"  Video  Selah, along with the Homecoming singers

"My Life Is In Your Hands"  Video  
Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers (a smaller road group from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir). I found this comment interesting, "To answer all who are curious this is a prison where the video was taken, that you are either on death row or serving for life. It was one of the most notorious prisons in the country until they hired Warden Burl Cain. He is a devout Christian and loves God. He fought the Louisiana government for the private funds donated to him to build a church inside the prison grounds. He was successful, thanks to God Almighty! More prisons need Wardens like him. He is a friend of mine and I'm a better man for knowing him. Praise God!!!!!"  

Listen to this song considering that context!

"Lead Me Lord"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"He Leadeth Me"
 Video  Candi Pearson
 Great version with outstanding fiddle solo

"He Knows My Name"  Video  Maranatha Singers

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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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