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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
"The Word That Sustains The Weary"
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"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the One who sustains me" (Psalm 54:4). "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22). "The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught' (Isaiah 50:4). "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you" (Isaiah 46:4).
One of the pleasant blessings we're experiencing as we are aging is that we still make new friends in all seasons of our lives! About 8 years ago I was visiting Al Worthley, my chaplain supervisor, in his office in Springfield Missouri when another preacher dropped by. Tommy Carpenter was immediately likable and expressed interest in our particular type of chaplaincy. He signed up for daily encouragement and our friendship developed, initially through his encouraging emails and phone calls.
In time we learned that he was very familiar with the mountain in Arkansas where Brooksyne's grandparents lived and personally knows some of her relatives who are in ministry. Within a few years Tommy and his wife Nelma visited us in the course of their traveling ministry. They were a dynamic ministry team full of spunk, energy, wisdom and giftings. Nelda was not only Tommy's closest companion but also his accomplished accompanist as he has a wonderful singing voice.
Their last visit to our home was in October two years ago when they stopped by for some fellowship. We took the photo above in front of our home before they headed out planning to leave the next morning for their home in Little Rock, Arkansas. A week later we received the tragic news that Nelma and her grandson were killed in a car accident in Little Rock Arkansas on Thursday, October 20, 2011.
What an incredibly hard time Tommy and his family entered into with their double loss. But immediately we sensed an overcoming faith as he shared with others his grief journey on his Facebook page. We were also impressed by the many, many people he and Nelma had impacted through the years of their ministry and by the high esteem in which they were held. A testimony to that fact is that Ester immediately bonded with them and called Nelma "Grandma" and Tommy "Grandpa" with their approval and blessing.
Last week, when we wrote a message on "Keeping Grace", Tommy who never really retired but continues to minister and sing shared with us a personal perspective on "keeping grace" in light of his own experience when Nelma died. We share his thoughts here:
"On Saturday morning, October 22, 2011 (2 days after the accident), I was up early reading my Bible and sipping black coffee. Everyone in the house was asleep trying to rest from the tragic events over the past forty-eight hours.
Soon my daughter Dana peeked around the kitchen door and saw me sitting at the table. She poured herself a cup of coffee, stirred in cream and sugar, and sat across from me at the table.
I asked her, 'Dana, do you know what the right pedal of the three piano pedals is called?' 'Oh, Dad, you know!! It's called the sustain pedal!!'
I believe that our Heavenly FATHER is playing Amazing Grace and using His great foot to hold down the sustain pedal for us!!!"
Isn't it wonderful how the Lord can give such a a perspective of assurance even in the midst of such pain and loss? These are truly words that sustain the weary that Tommy and his daughter experienced that morning. The dictionary definition of "sustain" is to "strengthen or support physically or mentally". I would add to that definition "spiritually" and that's primarily the type of sustaining we are referring to in this message.
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me" (Psalm 54:4). "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you." Our role is the casting of our burdens upon the Lord, the Lord's role is the sustaining!
In the final Scripture portion we shared above the Lord is speaking through Isaiah. "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." What a wonderful assurance this statement brings to the believer, especially as we grow older. How powerful to read a proclamation by God made over 2,700 years ago that remains just as true and effective today!
It looks back to the self-revealing One that Moses encountered at the burning bush some 700 years before this who said, "I AM THAT I AM." It looks ahead to the One who spoke the words again some 700 years later stating, "I am." And today He still declares, "I am He."
I want to encourage each reader to draw strength from God's promises in this verse:
I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you.
I will carry you.
I will sustain you.
I will rescue you.
"I am He who will sustain you." Notice the promise that God will sustain is repeated twice in the text as to give us double the assurance. Sustain is also translated "I will bear you" (NASV) and "I will take care of you" (New Century Version).
"I have made you and I will carry you." This is a contrast to the inanimate false gods that are made by man and must be carried from place to place.
"I will rescue you." He will rescue us from the inevitable problems of life.
A study note summarizes this: "He has cared for us from the beginning of our lives, continues to act on our behalf, and will sustain us even to the end." *
What troubles you today? What big problem are you dealing with that just seems insurmountable? God is a lot bigger than any problem. Remember to give Your problems to Him as He cares for you moment by moment, day by day. Don't get ahead of Him or that will lead to worry and anxiety. He reveals His grace as the problems unfold but doesn't reveal how His grace will work out for the "What if's" our troubled mind dwells on about future events (most never come to pass in the first place). Let us be careful not to rob ourselves of the peace He grants us today.
God will not fail you. You can stand on that promise for it is based on His inerrant, enduring Word of truth!
There is no problem so big, God cannot solve it.
There is no mountain so tall, He cannot move it.
There is no storm so dark, God cannot calm it.
There is no sorrow so deep, God cannot soothe it.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Loving Father, I am full of gratitude today as I consider Your abiding presence in my life, day in and day out. When events in my life shake the very foundations of who I am or the path before me is unclear I gain courage and direction when I remember the inspirational words of Moses, *"The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged." You sustain me in my wilderness journeyings and even if others forsake me, You remain faithful. Remarkable as it seems, even if I am faithless, You will remain faithful, for You cannot deny Yourself. Thank You for being my Supreme Savior and the Sustainer of my soul, my hope and my joy. In the name of Jesus I pray Amen."
See Deuteronomy 31:8
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation see here for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you!
* Note from the "Full Life Study Bible"
Update on Tommy Carpenter: Tommy is in short term mission's work in Belize with his new bride preparing to return to the U.S. for Christmas. They united in marriage on November 8th and we wish them every blessing as they have found renewed companionship and love as husband and wife. Tommy picked up on the phrase we shared in last Friday's message, "God will never lead you, where His grace cannot keep you" is an inspirational quote that is derived from a poem written many years ago by the well-known poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
THE WILL OF GOD
By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you--where the arms of God cannot support you--where the riches of God will not endow you.
The will of God will never take you where the spirit of God cannot love through you, where the wisdom of God cannot teach you--where the arm of God cannot protect you--where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you where the love of God cannot enfold you--where the mercies of God cannot sustain you--where the peace of God cannot calm your fears--where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears--where the Word of God cannot feed you--where the miracles of God cannot be done for you--where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
The backyard from our bedroom window as the fresh fallen snow was piling up. It's hours later now and the snow continues to fall. I think there's going to be enough accumulation for snow ice cream (at least that's what Ester is hoping for.)
This morning we had a hungry squirrel drop in and try to nibble on the snowman birdfeeder.
Wayne and Yvette are friends of ours who are planting a church in Southbridge, Massachusetts and getting very involved in their community, including serving as Salvation Army bell ringers!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"He Will Carry You" Video Scott Wesley Brown
"He Will Carry You" Video The Gaither Vocal Band (acapella)
"The Warrior is a Child" Video Twila Paris
"Friend of a Wounded Heart" Video Wayne Watson
"Lay Your Burdens Down" Video Chuck Girard
"Lay Your Burdens Down" Video Willow Creek Church (This is a different song than the previous with the same title)
Correction: An alert reader caught my mistake in a recipe I submitted yesterday for Glazed Mixed Nuts. From the top of my head I simply wrote 4 ozs. for the 1/2 stick of butter. But longtime reader, John Bucher, an excellent bread baker from Manheim, caught my error. He asked, "What is it? 4 ounces or 1/2 stick?" Correction is 4 Tbsp., not 4 ozs. of butter which is the same as 1/2 stick.
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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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