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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Amish church service on Sunnyside Road, Lancaster County  1/15/12
On the way home from church yesterday we passed an Amish farm with distinct evidence that they were also having a church service. (The Amish meet in homes for church services purposefully rotating among the homes of church members.) This farm is along Sunnyside Road near Mount Joy, PA.

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"Intended For Good"

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).

I heard a dynamic testimony from Larry Wright, a Christian businessman friend that really touched my heart. He shared how he had worked hard all his life, arising in position and stature until he was the president of a large national company. Under his leadership the company did very well and he was really enjoying his work. However, due to a principled stand he took on an issue, he was fired.

He shared of his deep hurt and the budding bitterness that began to consume his emotions. But he kept his faith through the painful testing, and in God’s timing another position opened up where he was able to use his business skills for the Lord in a parachurch ministry. He felt led to write a letter to the man who fired him and testified of God's work in his life. He actually expressed thanks for this man's part in the fulfillment of God's plan!

When we are hurt by others our faith and character are tested by how we respond, forcing us to settle this question: Is God really in charge or isn’t He? Of course He's in charge, absolutely, completely, all the time, even when others have hurt us with intent, the most painful type of hurt.

Joseph certainly knew hurt and he had a long wait to see God's greater plan come about. Yet he stayed faithful to God and when things finally came together he could reassure his fearful brothers as he did in the daily text. He realized that, although his brothers had intended him harm (and they surely did!), God has an amazing way of overriding the evil intent of others and aligning the "fallout" from their actions to His intended purpose.

Living here below we've all been hurt by the words or actions of others. Yesterday we sang, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", written by Joseph Scriven in 1855. The line gripped me: "Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?" Brooksyne shared an interesting background to the hymn: Scriven, who lived in Canada, had been away from his mother in Ireland for ten years and learned that she was going through difficulty; some accounts speak of a misunderstanding that she had with a close friend and others indicate that she was ill. He wrote a comforting letter, enclosing the words of his newly written poem, with the prayer that these brief lines would remind her of a never-failing heavenly Friend.

I still wince when I pull from my painful memory file some particularly vicious sheep bites over the years of my pastoral ministry. But since I now view them in hindsight, I can more clearly see how God worked through the situation and how He worked in my life, building strength of character as He tested my faith for genuineness as I was put through the scourge of refining fire (I Peter 1:7).

Keep your faith and wait for God's timing as He most assuredly is working out His purpose in your life. Don’t allow bitterness to brew lest you sip on the poison afterward and develop a tainted view toward God and others in general. One day perhaps you'll write a letter of thanks to the one who hurt you and, like Joseph, testify that God intended it for good, for He always has a much bigger and better plan!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we’re reminded of the amazing and unpredictable way You work all things together for good when we read the story of Joseph, from the time of his youth to his final breath. Instead of scheming for revenge he sought to relieve his brothers. He comforted their troubled hearts with the reassuring message; You sold me, but God sent me. Help us to recognize that when we are hurt by other’s words or actions, You surpass their debilitating impact on our lives by the greater plan You’re working in us; teaching us to trust You implicitly, forgive unreservedly, and to be molded into the character of Christ who gave His all in the midst of hateful injustice. Evil was present, but the much greater purpose was that we might be saved from our sins through His submission to Your overall plan. We thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jesse & Wilma Dourte and John & Faithe Keefer
Saturday morning we had our friends John & Faithe Keefer and Jesse & Wilma Dourte over for breakfast and several hours of great fellowship.

Mike & Nicole Martin and Ron & Shirley Sipe
Yesterday afternoon Mike and Nicole Martin as well as Ron and Shirley Sipe joined us as we enjoyed some pizza and several hours of fellowship again!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Trust His Heart" Video  Brooksyne's note: I remember when I first heard this song in 1992 as I was praying at my kitchen table.  God had revealed to Stephen and me that He wanted us to move on in our ministry after serving a church in northern Pennsylvania for nearly sixteen years, but He had not shown us when or where the place was to be.  As I listened intently to these words I was reminded that our future was in His hands and in the midst of our uncertainty we could "trust His heart." It was a very memorable spiritual experience and I pray that this truth will minister to your needs as well.

"What A Friend We Have In Jesus"  Video  Homecoming series with Larry Ford. Here is a background story of the hymn prepared and read by Brooksyne. mp3  

"Follow Me"  Video  Homecoming series with Larry Ford  An Ira Stanphill song with a testimony by his wife shortly after he died.  An outstanding song of commitment to Christ.

"I Will Not Offer Anything That Costs Me Nothing"  Video  Bobby Michaels

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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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