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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Old car on Kraybill Church Road, Lancaster County, PA
A pleasant view from our front lawn as we watched the sunset.
(Click on photo for larger view)

"Strength For The Weary Soul"

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"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word" (
Psalm 119:28). “This is the resting place, let the weary rest” (Isaiah 28:12). "Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees" (Hebrews 12:12).

Sometimes the day seems long,
Our trials hard to bear.
We´re tempted to complain,
to murmur and despair.

Sore kneeWe've been doing a lot of lawn and garden work the last several days. We both feel the physical effects afterward especially in our knees. I (Stephen) had a knee injury nearly 40 years ago with surgery at that time and was warned that I would likely have arthritis in that knee as I aged. Periodically it flares up and at one point, about 20 years ago, I had arthroscopic surgery which helped. In reality I'm also dealing with the aches that come with aging. We encounter a lot of people in our age bracket that have knee problems in one way or another. Well there's only one reference in the Bible to weak knees so let's take a look today!

The nature of the ministry Brooksyne and I have places us in contact with a lot of people. One by one many share with us the burdens they bear. Often listening to their stories and bearing their burdens can be wearying.  It may be those we see as chaplains or those we hear from through this writing ministry, a family member or a church contact.

An occupational hazard of 'people work' is either failing to really sense the pain others are going through (becoming desensitized) or of burning out. Many in ministry for Christ will know what we mean. We need to prayerfully be cautious about either of these dangers.

Our first daily text is a candid petition from David,
"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." Many will identify with the colorful vocabulary of the KJV translation, "My soul melteth for heaviness." The NASV states, "My soul weeps because of grief."

Our third daily text comes from a section of Hebrews where followers of Christ are implored to be persevering. The chapter begins with a call to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us." This is one of the great Biblical texts describing the long-term nature of our service for Christ. The strenuous race we run is not a brief sprint but a life-long marathon.

The verse that immediately precedes our third daily text states, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (12:11). As we run the race for Christ sometimes everything seems to be going great; runners describe this by using the terms, "having the wind" or being "in pace".

Sore kneeBut at other times the going is really tough. It may be like the famed "heartbreak hill" in the Boston Marathon. These providential hard times are ultimately a part of God's disciplinary work in our lives.  We will groan in despair if our emotions and focus are solely fixed "at the time" upon our painful discipline. Instead we must, through eyes of faith, look ahead to the "harvest of righteousness and peace" that are a result of our unshakable walk with God in the shakable events of life.

Are your arms feeble or your knees weak today? Are you dealing with setbacks that weary you along the way or increase your fear of tomorrow? Corrie ten Boom wrote, "Worrying about tomorrow will rob you of strength for today." Who would know more about anxiety, setbacks and uncertainties than Corrie who saved hundreds of Jews during the holocaust, and was imprisoned for doing so in the concentration camps.

Strengthen or lift up your arms today in faith and praise to God. This must primarily be an act of willful obedience rather than an emotional response. As you lift them up in obedience I believe you will experience the uplifting spiritual, physical and mental revitalization that Isaiah writes about in 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Choose to gaze upon your permanent destiny and only glance upon your present difficulties. This will enable
you to praise God with a sincere heart. Thank Him for the discipline He is bringing into your life to conform you to His likeness and to prepare You for the joys of heaven where sorrow, loss, pain and disappointment no longer exist.

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we are encouraged and emboldened when we consider that in everything we experience today You go before us preparing the way.  As we fix our gaze on the eternal peace that awaits the faithful believer we can deal with the temporal conflict here and now. We wait upon You in prayer and faith so that we are renewed in our strength emotionally, physically and spiritually.  We are thankful that You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak.  And thank You most especially for Your spiritual renewal that not only meets our needs now but for all eternity.  Amen.

Jeanette Steudler beside oak treeWe dedicate our message today to our friends Rick and Fred Steudler whose 96 year old mother, Jeanette, passed away on Saturday. We've featured her photo numerous times on DE over the years. She always had an expressive and beautiful, full smile - the kind that show both upper and lower teeth.

A kind, godly woman, we visited with Jeanette only a few weeks ago at LGH, prayed over her, and sang "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus".  She was speaking incoherently the entire time we were there, but in the middle of the hymn she looked right at Brooksyne, coherent for just a moment she responded with such warm sincerity, "Thank You."  Brooksyne always sang hymns to Jeanette on our visits. In recent years we rarely had meaningful conversation but she could still joyfully sing out the words of the dearly loved hymns. We rejoice that she now enjoys the eternal life that we must all fix our hope upon.

In this photo, taken several years ago, she is in front of a very large oak tree that she planted as a tiny sapling some 70 years earlier!

Here is her obituary

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Press On"  Video  Selah

"Be Strong And Take Courage"  Video  Don Moen

Be strong and take courage, do not fear or be dismayed,
For the Lord will go before you, and His light will show the way,
So be strong and take courage, do not fear or be dismayed,
For the One who goes before You will be strong in You today.

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video 

"It Will Be Worth It All When We See Jesus"  Video  Ben Markley

"It's Gonna Be Worth It"  Video  Rita Springer. We need to hide the truth deep in our hearts that our labor is not vain and it is going to be worth it!

"God Will Take Care Of You"  Video  Antrim Mennonite Choir

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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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