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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Porch on Longenecker farm in Lancaster County PA
 A country porch scene
Longenecker Farmhouse in Lancaster County
Living in Lancaster County one can easily understand the fly swatter presence! Even in the nursing home many residents have them attached to their walkers. Flies are plenteous in this agricultural area.

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"The Supremacy Of Christ"

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-17).

Ron and Bonnie Hoover on 50th anniversary
Ron and Bonnie Hoover
50th wedding anniversary celebration

Ron and Bonnie Hoover are friends of ours who serve as spiritual mentors to the business community here in Lancaster through a group known as Convene. We met Ron over five years ago through his leadership at our local Convene group. He has been very encouraging and supportive to us in our chaplain ministry through his many contacts.

Last Saturday we attended their 50th wedding anniversary celebration at Lancaster Bible College sponsored by their three daughters and their families. It was a joyous time as they renewed the vows they committed to each other fifty years earlier to the day. (We notice that couples celebrating their 50th anniversary seem younger to us all the time!)

Ron and Bonnie both have a dynamic faith in Christ, with a knack for finding ways to witness in the midst of life's circumstances.

CNC parts illustrating tolerance
Ron told a story illustrating this. He's an engineer and in fact has a doctorate in electrical engineering. He was in a meeting discussing a quality control issue with several others. There was some frustration in the room (not uncommon in the business world) and one of the exasperated engineers said, "Jesus Christ couldn't keep this tolerance." Ron said, "Oh...I didn't know that Jesus Christ worked down at our lab." Of course this quieted things down a bit and then Ron solemnly said, "As a matter of fact Jesus Christ could keep this tolerance" and went on to testify of his faith in Christ to the group.

Colossians 1:17
I treasure our daily text that asserts the supremacy of Christ in all things. For several years I have been blessed by a song, "God Of The Ages" based on this text.

Note the four times in these three verses we read the words "all things". But today let us focus on the final one. "In Him all things hold together." Similarly Hebrews 1:3 declares that He is "sustaining all things by His powerful Word." From the sub-atomic level to the farthest reaches of the universe Christ is upholding and sustaining all things, from the micro to macro.

The word sustaining is translated "upholding" in the KJV.  The Amplified Bible seeks to bring out the richness of the Greek by stating "upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power." The Greek word (pheron) is in the present active indicating a concept that is dynamic, not static. The Son's work of sustaining involves not only support, but also movement. He is the One who carries all things through on their appointed course.

Warren Wiersbe tells a story about a guide who took a group of people through an atomic laboratory. During the tour he explained how all matter was composed of rapidly moving electric particles. The tourists studied models of molecules and were amazed to learn that matter is made up primarily of space. During the question period, one visitor asked, “If this is the way matter works, what holds it all together?” For that, the guide had no answer.

But the Christian does have the answer: Jesus Christ! Because “He is before all things,” He can hold all things together. Again, this is another affirmation that Jesus Christ is God. Only God exists before all of Creation, and only God can make Creation cohere. To make Jesus Christ less than God is to dethrone Him.

There are many things in our lives that will bring us anxiety and distress. It may be a personal health issue or a family matter. It may be our finances or the condition of the world with all the turmoil and uncertainty.

At the present we don't know how these and many other issues will all work out. But we can experience great comfort in this eternal truth: God is sustaining all things by His powerful word! God is sustaining every single microchip and every single cell in my body and everyone else's. "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:15).

The God who is sustaining all things is also sustaining each one of us. He speaks through the prophet Isaiah to the ancient people of God and thus through the Scriptures to all of us: "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth" (Isaiah 46:3).

Let us rest in the wonderful assurance of this powerful truth and raise our eyes heavenward to declare: "You are sustaining all things by Your powerful Word and You will accomplish what concerns me for You are my Sustainer; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting" (Hebrews 1:3, Psalm 138:8).

So here's the word of encouragement today, fellow believer. He who sustains all things will surely sustain you. He is ever dependable. Troubles that weigh you down today are under His absolute authority and as they run their course Jesus calls us to trust Him – yes, even in the midst of them. Let's do that!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for sending Jesus who came as God in the flesh, revealing to us Your character and  personhood. You created all things and sustain them by Your powerful hand. That includes us, Your human creation. All that You created You also test. The plant life has tests of stress and endurance in the harsh elements and we, Your human creation, must endure the tests of endurance common to the flesh; whether it is relational, physical, spiritual, emotional or financial. We will endure these tests and turn them into a testimony as we rely on You, for "You will accomplish what concerns me; for You are my sustainer". You existed before anything else and You hold all creation together. We are immensely grateful.  Amen.

When your world seems to be falling apart,
look to Jesus who holds everything together.

Ron and Bonnie Hoover family on their 50th anniversary
A photo of the Hoover family  
A family of two expands to a family of twenty-two over 50 years.
God is good!

Brooksyne's Note: It was so moving to hear the solemn renewal of vows on a 50th wedding anniversary. How beautiful and Biblical that we remain faithful "till death do us part."

Restored wagon on Longenecker farm in Lancaster County PA
This week we are featuring photos of Bill and Peggy Longenecker's farm here in Lancaster County. Bill was our neighbor when we first moved to Lancaster County in 2001. I saw him several weeks ago in a hardware store and he shared about a wagon he had restored. He invited me to come over and take a look and it was quite a sight. But what impressed me the most was just how clean his barn was!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource

"God Of The Ages"  Video  Charles Billingsley  A powerful song based on our daily text.

"Indescribable"  Video  Chris Tomlin, Laura Story

"Laminin"  Video (snippet)  Video  (full message)  An interesting teaching by Louie Giglio from his message titled "How Great Is Our God" that relates to Colossians 1:17 and the phrase "in Him all things hold together."

"How Great Is Our God"  Video  Chris Tomlin

Call to fall

We want to encourage readers, wherever they may live, to participate in a special prayer time this coming Lord's day in falling to our knees and praying for our nation and world. For more information see this website.

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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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