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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Amish open cart on Donegal Springs Road 6/17/14
We took Brooksyne's sister Elaine for a ride around our neighborhood
on a nice early evening and encountered these Amish men in a horse-pulled open cart. It was a nice scene to welcome a Texan to Lancaster County. (Photo by Ester)

"When Through Fiery Trials"

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"I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10). "
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12,13).

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.

We've had several days of very hot weather here in central Pennsylvania, the first really hot weather of the (unofficial) summer season. Early yesterday morning we visited with some employees at a home improvement company who were preparing for the hot day by filling their ice chests from the company hotel-style ice machine, a rather thoughtful company benefit for that type of work!

Russ with ice pack vest at Mac-It 6/18/14 At another company we visited with Russ, who works with a furnace that heats up to 1550 degrees used to heat treat metals. It's a hot room even in winter but in summer it's...really, really, really hot! Russ is shown wearing his new ice pack vest which he testifies really helps make his work more bearable and less of a fiery trial!

But today let us consider another type of fiery trial, the kind that scores of our brethren are now enduring all over the world. A news report stated, "Attacks on Christians and other minorities in the Muslim-majority world are increasing and an already terrible situation is worsening. Kenya, Pakistan, Egypt -- it is now open season on Christians. The attackers very specifically targeted non-Muslims and they identified them by asking  their captives either to name Muhammad’s mother or to recite the shehada, the Muslim profession of faith."

Today we especially consider the awful plight of those facing the recent terror attacks. The remaining tiny remnant of Iraqi believers are caught in the middle. In Syria, Nigeria and so many places we hear regular reports of horrendous persecution. In Kenya, where we have many readers, a recent attack specifically targeted Christians.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of our ministry is sharing encouragement to our brothers and sisters in "closed countries", where traditional means of ministry are prohibited or severely restricted. A reader from
one of the most oppressive regimes in the world wrote, "The enemy is working double time in this place. Every now and then they're conducting raids on houses and camps even at dawn. Our underground church was ransacked and they're taking everything. But this doesn't move us to surrender. Again we regroup into small groups and the good thing is we become so close to each other."

Look at the daily text again. ""Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."

Many of us who have lived our lives in areas of peace and affluence consider a fiery trial in regard to a health issue, financial difficulty, family conflict or job loss. Most of the time these matters are not directly a result of following Christ. We certainly believe these issues can be fiery and very difficult. The principle of the daily text can be applied to these types of trials.

However reading on through the context of 1 Peter 4 it's clear that Peter is speaking here of persecution and suffering that is a result of following Christ, something scores of our brethren around the world know very well.

A Biblical outlook is that these fiery trials should not surprise us. Jesus warned us of them, the early disciples experienced them, and the apostolic writers, like Peter candidly wrote about them. May the Lord prepare our hearts today to experience these types of trials. Based on observation and discerning the times they may soon be coming.

We especially want to encourage our brothers and sisters today and let them know that we have prayed for them as they endure these fiery trials. We also know that many reading this message will pause and consider their blessings even as they pray for our persecuted brethren.

This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father God, today I thank you for the blessings I share with my brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world. It's great to be a part of the family of God, sharing redemption through your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray for my family right now asking You to be a very present help amongst the turmoil from these enduring fiery trials. We pray that many turn to you through this for you are the God of peace. We pray for our brothers and sisters enduring fiery trials whom we've never met and probably won't on this side. But we have a spiritual kinship although our present lives are vastly different. Encourage and strengthen them today. May all who suffer find assurance from the prayers and interest of believers half way around the world. Finally we pray for all suffering through a fiery trial regardless of the nature. May they have eyes of hope and faith to see the glorious truth and "rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" In the mighty Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Smucker Laser oversize load sign 6/18/14
While visiting a company that does laser cutting yesterday I saw this sign and suggested that Brooksyne hold it while I take her photo. She quickly informed me that I was to hold the sign and she would take the photo!

Thelma White beginning 50 years at Vallorbs 6/18/14
A special day yesterday for Thelma as she began her 50th year of working for the same company!

Kember print Isaiah 45:22
Another Kember print received yesterday with this note: "I recently purchased this print at my local goodwill store and I absolutely had to get it!! I researched the name on the back of the print to know more about it and came across your website. Attached is the picture or the "Kember print".
See here (scroll down) for info on Kember prints and we always welcome a Kember print photo from anyone who may have one.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Can't Feel At Home In This World Anymore"  Video  Bruce and Jeff  Some good pickin and singing down home, front porch style!

"I Believe"  Video  Dailey and Vincent  My kind of bluegrass music!

"How Firm a Foundation"  Video 
Chelsea Moon with the Franz Brothers

A recent news report on Muslim terrorism and specific targeting of Christians. 

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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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