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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Geese family in Donegal Springs 5/17/13 (Photo by Ester)
Geese family in Donegal Springs
Photo taken by Ester

ListenListen to this message on your audio player. Note: Due to my quality microphone not working with Windows 8 the sound is rather poor and occasionally has a very annoying feedback type noise. A new microphone has been ordered!

"A Refuge In Times Of Trouble"

"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him" (Nahum 1:7)

Like many of you we were stunned and deeply saddened by the
loss of life and widespread destruction  in Oklahoma from the massive tornado Monday. Being Brooksyne's home state and having many relatives from both sides of our family who live there we have an even more personal interest. At times like this especially we wonder how this all works together with the goodness of God. Why, we wonder do these things happen.

Of course in reality every day things like this happen somewhere in the world many times over in various scales. It just really hits us when it's either personal or on a scale such as the tornado that is very newsworthy. Actually events of a similar or on a larger scale in a remote location may not even make the news. Yet, regardless of the amount of publicity or lack thereof great sorrow remains for those left behind.

Today we share a word of hope and encouragement from one of the most obscure Old Testament prophets.  Nahum served and spoke for God during very troubling times, as Assyria was tormenting the people of God.  This oppression caused a troubling, yet frequently asked question; How could God allow such evil and inhumanity to go unanswered? Now of course we make a distinction between human-caused evil like the Boston bombing last month and natural disasters like the tornado but both result in "times of trouble".

In different ways we may ask the same question, particularly during "times of trouble". We often consider our Christian brothers and sisters throughout many parts of the world who are being persecuted or are otherwise suffering.  On a personal level you might be in the heat of a difficult trial and you may wonder, "Where is God when I hurt?"

We are reading a powerful book by Randy Alcorn titled, "If God Is Good" which delves into many of these issues and we recommend it to our Daily Encouragement readers who may want to go deeper. Of course no book we've read ever satisfies all our questions but this one has some interesting perspective. In today's message let us consider our refuge in times of trouble.

The prophet Nahum speaks through the Holy Scriptures, the inspired and inerrant Word of God, with a great message for us and our brethren around the world. 

1) "The Lord is good!" This attribute is insufficiently pondered today. It is so well assumed that it's taken for granted by most.  But what if the Supreme Being of the universe was not good? That's a thought that I find hard to even comprehend and have no desire to ponder in depth just how dreadful life would be if it were true. But Psalm 100:5 reminds us, "For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."

2) He's "a refuge in time of trouble."  The text does not teach that there will not be times of trouble for such has always been the experience of the human race. The Hebrew word for refuge conveys a fortified place; a defense: force, fortress, rock, strength. What a great assurance during the inevitable times of trouble! Jesus is the rock in a weary land.  He is an anchor in the times of storm. "The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil" (Proverbs 10:29).

3) "He cares for those who trust in Him."  Here's our part; we must trust God. When we are in the middle of a tunnel, with darkness behind us and darkness before us, God still calls us to trust, to lean hard on Him. When we're in the valley of deepest despair we must trust. When we're on the spiritual mountain we still must trust! A very familiar New Testament verse many have memorized instructs the believer not to carry the heavy burdens of life in our own strength but to "cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you" (I Peter 5:7).  Our Lord Jesus is the great Burden Bearer.

Finally today, hear the word of the Psalmist, "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8). Today let us lean hard on our steadfast refuge!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to trust You at all times – in times of rejoicing and times of trouble.  You promise to be our refuge who will rescue us from danger. Certainly we don't read anywhere in Scripture that we will not face danger, for it is in these intensely dangerous situations that we find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Daily we witness Your rescue from dangerous situations on this side of eternity, but we also daily witness (by faith) Your rescue that takes place on the other side of eternity. We consider the children who perished during the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma as well as scores of believers who, through other circumstances, passed on from here to eternity. Everyone of them found You to be their refuge as You rescued them from the many dangers, toils and snares that will always be a part of this life. Comfort those who remain. Give strength, hope and a determined faith to those who must rebuild their lives in the wake of the Oklahoma tragedy. May our faith increase and our devotion deepen as we lean hard on You. Amen.
See Isaiah 43:1&2

Note: Due to chaplain work from early morning and returning home in the afternoon we were unable to post a message yesterday (Tuesday, 5/21/13).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Cares Chorus"  Video  Kelly Willard

"You Are My Refuge"  Video  Shannon Wexelberg, Matthew Ward

"You Carry Me"  Video  Shannon Wexelberg

"Lay Your Burdens Down"  Video  Not specified

"Lay Your Burden Down"  Video  Chuck Girard

"Learning To Lean"  Video   Blackwood Brothers

Note: Today through Friday afternoon I will be attending a Watchmen On The Wall briefing in Washington, DC along with my Pastor, John Keefer and my brother, Pat Weber, who is a pastor in the Lehigh Valley. We expect to have a message prepared for tomorrow but do not expect to post on Friday.

Watchman on the wall logoThe "Watchmen On The Wall" pastor's briefing in Washington DC encourages pastors to be a "watchman pastor", standing up for Biblical values against the tide of evil that is sweeping our land. The conference is so very important due to a sense of urgency regarding the state of our land. This conference will challenge pastors to take a strong, uncompromising stand for Biblical truth. 

Our basic commission in this regard is to:
1) Pray for our nation.
2) Preach the Bible without apology.
3) Partner with those who also hold Biblical values.

Pastor friends:
I urge you to examine this ministry and join me in being a "Watchman Pastor".
Lay people: Consider sending this message to your pastor with a note asking him to look into this.

What is a Watchman Pastor?  The name is from Isaiah 62:6: "I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest." A Watchman Pastor is called to do the following:

* Watch what is going on in the culture.
* Pray for wisdom to engage Biblically, courageously, and winsomely.
* Sound the alarm from the pulpit.
* Take a bold stand with others to defend and advance faith, family, and freedom.

The music at the briefing we be led by
Charles Billingsley, a musician I have long enjoyed. Here is a song I expect we will sing. "God Of The Ages"  Video

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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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