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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ebenezer stone

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"His Abiding Peace"

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us" (1 Samuel 7:12). "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Come, Thou Fount, come, Thou King;
Come, Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride, to You we sing,
Come, Thou Fount of our blessing

Yesterday afternoon we received word concerning a Christian brother who experienced a very difficult loss. His 5 year old grandson was killed in a traffic accident earlier in the afternoon. These are not uncommon tragedies but generally we read about it in the paper or it happens to someone else, not those close to us.

We have been praying for our friend and his wife along with their son, daughter-in-law and their 3 year old granddaughter. In the midst of this most difficult, pain-filled trial may they experience their Ebenezer, the kind of help and peace that comes only from the Lord. (For a message regarding the background of the term Ebenezer see below.)

Today's second text is from John 16:33, "These things.." is a verse I learned with the words set to music so it is permanently etched in my memory.

I am so thankful for the words of our Lord Jesus in this passage! "These things I have spoken unto you." He is giving His final teaching to His disciples prior to His death on the cross. He knows that their future will include uncertainty and peril due to their decision to follow Him. Our Lord readily acknowledged and prepared His disciples for tribulation (or "trouble" listed in other Bible versions) in His matter of fact declaration, "In the world you will have tribulation."

This may seem a strange question, but have you considered that the presence of tribulation in your life is evidence of Christ's truthfulness and faithfulness? Have you ever met a believer going through a difficult trial who in faith joyfully declares to others, "God is keeping His promise" in regard to the trial in progress? I heard a brother give a testimony to the veracity of Scripture regarding this promise as he was going through a great trial. It stunned those of us who listened on as we witnessed his victorious testimony in the very midst of trouble.

Thankfully the stirring promise includes an underlying peace: "in Me ye might have peace."  Christ's desire is that His followers have this peace, surely meaning in this case the sense of emotional and spiritual rest and much needed assurance that can only come through a fervent relationship with the Peacemaker Himself.  The apostle Paul wrote, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:8)

Gil's exposition of the Bible says this: "There is a peace by Christ, which he has made for his people by the blood of His cross; and there is a peace in Him, which is enjoyed through faith's looking to His blood for pardon, to His righteousness for justification, to His sacrifice for atonement and satisfaction; and by having communion with Him, and discoveries of His love, and by seeing safety and security in Him."

Hear the assuring message of our Lord and apply it to your heart today. "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world!"  I've added the exclamation point because I believe that's the tone of how Christ spoke these encouraging words.

He said it with absolute confidence even before His agony in Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the cross at Calvary.  He knew His Father had everything under control. And our Father still has everything under control. He always does! Let us experience His abiding peace today as we commit ourselves to His unfailing love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, Prince of Peace, thank You for calming the raging storm in my soul when You took up residency within my heart, as You removed my sins and replaced them with Your righteousness. This eternal exchange has brought me countless joy, abiding peace, and a home in heaven. It is once and for all established in the heavens and serves as an anchor to provide unwavering hope even while the torrential waves of world tragedies, wars, fears, strife, and personal difficulties attempt to shatter my peaceful state of mind. We raise to You our Ebenezer whereby our help has come. You have overcome the world and You will also help me to overcome my troubles. Amen.

For a message regarding the background of the term "Ebenezer" see this daily encouragement titled "Raising My Ebenezer".

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Chris Rice

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" Sovereign Grace Music Here's a beautiful congregational version with a powerful Scripture reading introduction (open this page and click on the audio player at the top)

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Gateway Worship This is the version that has the new line about peace as quoted in our message today.

"Raising Ebenezer" An interesting article about the merit of maintaining the original words in hymns rather than seeking to modernize them along with suggestions such as adding a new verse rather than changing the original verses.

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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