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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lane in New Jersey
Yesterday we had a trip to New Jersey on a beautiful day with vibrant autumn colors.

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"The Divine Cardiologist"

"Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind" (Psalm 26:2).

Longtime readers and friends are aware that our daughter Ester was born in Guatemala with extensive heart problems and came to the states at three months of age. She has endured six major open-heart surgeries along with many catheterizations, installation of two different pacemakers and several other procedures related to her heart malady. She's doing fine but has her heart examined regularly due to ongoing concerns that are checked through echocardiogram screenings. In fact she has an appointment coming up next week and for the remainder of her life she will need to be carefully monitored. I expect that there are a number of our readers who can identify with Ester's health matters.

A cardiologist physician is one who specializes in the heart. Ester is still seen by the same cardiologist, Dr. Mark Cohen, who diagnosed her heart condition after her initial arrival to America. He joined a practice at Hershey Medical Center about the same time we moved to Lancaster County so she has come to really appreciate his ongoing care and personal friendship for over 23 years.

In our daily text the Psalmist David speaks about a heart examination. He cries out to the Divine Cardiologist, "Examine my heart."

The Bible has so much to say about the heart. It's unlikely that in David's appeal he was thinking of the pumping organ as we know it. The Hebrew word "leb" conveyed the innermost or center part. The word used in the Greek New Testament for heart, "kardia", also has the sense of innermost part. Of course that's where the "cardio" in cardiologist comes from. Altogether the word "heart" is used 830 times in the Bible!

As I ponder these words of Scripture I am struck by the spiritual health tip in David's words.  He initiates the appeal:  test, try, and examine me. Likewise we do well to approach God in this way.  We willingly subject ourselves to thorough examination of our innermost part by the divine Cardiologist.

In Psalm 139:23,24 David cries out in a line familiar to many believers, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

When it comes to the work of the Divine Cardiologist I suggest not merely an annual exam but regular access. Daily is surely not too frequent to consult with the divine Cardiologist!

Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are the Divine cardiologist who knows the very inmost part of my spiritual heart. People see only the outward person when I am proficient at presenting myself differently than the person I really am inside, but I cannot hide from You that which comes from my inward parts. You liken the heart to that which is the most central part of our emotions and character. I invite You to not only search my heart, but I ask You to remove the offensive contaminants such as jealousy, bitterness, disobedience, rage, or any other impurity that destroys my soul, for no one but You can heal all my soul's diseases. *I praise You, Lord, for cleansing me from sin. Fulfill Your word and make me pure within. Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame; grant my desire to magnify Your name. Amen.

(*V. 2 of "Search Me, O God")

Brooksyne's Note: In visiting with the women at Christian Women's Club yesterday I heard various stories regarding the hurricane's damage of their homes. Once again, I was reminded to be faithful in prayer for these individuals and the upheaval in their lives. When you don't live among the disruption it is easy to forget. Please remember to pray and support these folks in whatever way the Lord lays upon your heart.

Ocean City Trip

Yesterday Brooksyne spoke at a Christian Women's Club near Ocean City, New Jersey. While she shared about the pilgrim's perilous voyage on the Mayflower and their first Thanksgiving, I went out with my friend Jim to see the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City.

Brooksyne next to Ten Commandment Monument in new Jersey
In southern New Jersey we passed a cemetery with this powerful Ten Commandment Monument. Brooksyne is dressed for her Pilgrim presentation, as you likely guessed already!

Jim and Doroothy Schmidt 11/14/12
Jim and Dorothy Schmidt have been our friends since we met them at a conference in Boston about thirteen years ago. We both had displays for our respective ministries. Jim worked with SEND Int'l at that time. They have a wonderful testimony that we hope to share some time here on Daily Encouragement. The have had some very tough hurdles this past year, most significantly their ongoing grief regarding the loss of their oldest son, but they press on in their service for Christ. Jim shared with me how he still leads a weekly Bible Study in a state prison at 78 years of age!

Ocean City NJ Ferris Wheel
Jim drove me around Ocean City, NJ which had significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. However the iconic Ferris Wheel on the Board Walk was left unscathed. He shared an interesting story that took place while riding the Ferris Wheel with his granddaughter, Krista who was about twelve at the time. It malfunctioned and their suspended seat was stuck at the very top. Jim inquired as to whether or not she had assurance of her salvation. She did not but made a decision for Christ that day. After they prayed the Ferris Wheel started moving again. Jim seized a golden opportunity such as a malfunctioned ferris wheel at an exceeding height. It would surely weigh on one's heart to consider eternal matters in such circumstances. Krista is a graduate of Grove City College, a public school teacher and a youth leader in her church. This last weekend she brought her fiance to visit Jim and Dorothy. She vividly recalls her Ferris Wheel moment of decision.

Water line in Ocean City home following Hurricane Sandy
We examined the summer home of Ed Berkey, who was my District Superintendent the first several years I pastored in New England. I am pointing to the water line at their entrance door. Thankfully they live on the second floor unit.

New Jersey trip 11/14/12
Yesterday afternoon after visiting with the Schmidts they took our photo. They live off the island where Ocean City is located and were not seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy. As you can see they still have a lot of green in this part of southern New Jersey.

Road in New Jersey
We took a beautiful road (Rt. 49) from Ocean City to Millville which was as rural as any road we travel in Pennsylvania, though we usually associate New Jersey with a lot of population. Here 's an interesting trivia point Jim shared: New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the US but also has the highest percentage of barren land.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Create In Me A Clean Heart"  Video  Keith Green

"Search Me O God, Know All My Heart"  Video  Christ Our Life

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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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