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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Family fishing on Donegal Creek 4/13/13
A peaceful scene along Donegal Creek with a family out fishing together

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"When Terror Strikes"

"There will be terrors" (Luke 21:11). "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9). "Are your hearts hardened?" (Mark 8:17). "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7). "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:13).

In this series we rarely connect to current news events. After all something terrible happens somewhere everyday and such news events could drive these messages, which is not our objective. But yesterday's bombings in Boston hit a lot closer to home for us. We lived up that way for nearly eight years back in the nineties and have many friends in that region, including the very first recipients of a daily encouragement. We are especially mindful of our readers who live in that area.

One year we stood along the race route near the finish line very close to where the bombs went off. The crowds were so thick I held Ester up on my shoulders so she could see. We had a cousin in the race this year who was not affected. Nikki, a young lady from our previous church who completed last year's marathon, works near the bomb site at the Nike store and heard the bomb blasts. When we lived up that way we often walked down Boylston Street and ate at our favorite pizza shop which is very near the bomb site.

We pray for all those affected. The Boston Marathon is such a joyful event and anyone filled with enough evil to strike at such an event with the intent to cause personal death and devastating injuries is practically evil beyond comprehension. A new report I heard referenced the "collective shriek of terror" that followed the bombing.

Terrible times and terror have been the experience of the human race ever since the fall. Yet in many ways it seems that the type of terror we've seen in recent years is different than at any time in civilized history with the drastic increase in intentional efforts to harm large numbers of innocent people. This is distinct from a sad element often present in conventional warfare known as "collateral damage" in a military operation. That is, people who are harmed due to their proximity to combat but who themselves were not intentional targets.

I struggle today to share a spiritual word. I certainly have no profound explanation. In our daily text Jesus, in a teaching concerning the future, stated "There will be terrors." This is in a teaching concerning the last days prior to His return so we may indeed wonder if the increase in terrorism in our lifetime is a sign.

But I want to share a story that Jesse Dourte, an elderly pastor friend told me. In fact we shared a photo of Jesse and his wife Wilma in yesterday's message. In the late eighties/early nineties Jesse was pastoring a church in Kansas near Fort Riley and for a short time a young man was dating a young lady who attended his church. Jesse specifically recalls this young man attending on a Sunday evening and certainly at that time being exposed to God's truth. One can only speculate in what other ways the Lord was trying to get through but his heart hardened and this young man, Timothy McVeigh, was primarily responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured 600+ in 1995.

Based on latest press reports it is still not known who the bomber(s) were in Boston, although of course that is of great interest and importance. Whatever specific motivation they had, it can be stated with absolute certainty that an evil and hard heart was at the core of such a dastardly deed. It is extremely unlikely the perpetrators will read this message but I urge all readers to consider the danger of an evil and hardened heart for "the heart is deceitful above all things."

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, You warned that in this world we will have trouble, and certainly we see it in every direction. It especially speaks to us when it comes near our house or when we are personally affected by the trouble. Your Word speaks of those who "hate good and love evil" and warn of the results. We feel as though we're witnessing it firsthand in yesterday's bombings in Boston. Grant comfort to the family and loved ones of those who were killed. We pray for those who were physically injured especially the many who are dealing with severe injury or have been maimed by the horrendous act of terror. Would You speed their recovery and help those who must adjust to limited mobility. We thank You for the first responders who risked danger to themselves and assisted the injured and ask that You would help them recover emotionally from such horrendous trauma. In the midst of this horrible act of evil we pray that hearts will be softened, that justice will be carried out, and that people will see their need to follow You. It is in Your name, Jesus, that we pray. Amen.

Some pleasant photos from our part of the world

Riding great-grandpa's tractor 4/13/13
Janden is driving a tractor his great-grandpa bought new back in the forties and it looks great since his dad restored it. We were walking on our favorite trail when he came up behind us. As you can see it is really getting green in our area.

Pansies in washtub 4/13/13
A practical function was found for these old laundry tubs, a place to plant pansies!

Ducks in front yard 4/15/13
Yesterday we had two mallards visit our place and roam around a bit. This photo was taken from our front porch and Dottie, our cat, is lurking in the background sizing up the situation and preparing to spring on them. As she began to close in on them she got scared and ran the other way! Certainly we wouldn't have let her harm these beautiful mallards, but if it were a field mouse we'd cheer her on since that's one less to invade our house. Notice the buds on the tree!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"When The Tears Fall
" Video  Newsboys (with lyrics)

"Come To Jesus" Video  Chris Rice

"Soften My Heart"  Video  Phatfish

Last year I shared a message about our experience at the Boston Marathon finish line in 1997.

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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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