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Friday, June 27, 2014

Flowers on wall in central PA 6/21/14
Laurel Run Farm
Mifflintown, PA
(Photo by Brooksyne)

"Lay Your Burdens Down"

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"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens" (Psalm 68:19). "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

Doug Clay 6/25/14In our final session at the chaplaincy training conference this week we heard Doug Clay share a message on coming to Jesus for our needs. He based his message on the story of the blind man in Mark 8 who came to Jesus to be healed and then came back a second time because he saw men as "trees walking". Doug shared that this illustrated a persistence in coming to Jesus concerning our needs. One of the lines I really liked from his message was, "Starve your doubts and feed your hope".

Prayer at chaplain conference 6/25/14Following his message he asked the various leaders on our chaplain team to come to the front and then extended an altar call for any who may have come to the conference with a special need for which they wanted prayer. I think he was only expecting a few but long lines formed. As I observed the lines I thought of the burdens these people were bearing. For some it was a physical need, for others perhaps a matter in their marriage and family. For others it might have been a financial burden. Perhaps it was a special challenge or hard time for some in their ministry. Brooksyne and I sure recall going to meetings with a heavy heart due to ministry matters in past years.

As I observed the line I considered the burdens those we minister to are enduring. Encounters we have in the course of our chaplaincy, notes and prayer requests we receive from Daily Encouragement readers and those in our church and churches we have served. It was a long line in my mind as I considered specific situations people have and are experiencing.

One of our favorite writers is Robert J. Morgan, a pastor in Tennessee who shared an interesting illustration: he had been on a long trip and was travel weary as he walked through the airport. He was physically relieved when he spotted a long moving sidewalk and headed in that direction. It was here that the Lord spoke to his heart.

He had a bag in each hand but in his fatigue he didn’t even think to set them down. "I was still carrying my load while the moving sidewalk was carrying me. Not until halfway down the hall did I have the presence of mind to release my bags and let the moving sidewalk carry them for me."

Can you can identify with Morgan's illustration? In regard to my burdens I tend to set them down (trust) and then pick them back up again (doubt).

As we write this message today I consider several I know who face heavy burdens, part of the long line of people who need God's tender touch.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." In Scripture God often emphasizes the unit of time we call the day.  In fact it's the very first unit of time that is referred to in the Bible and the most frequently mentioned starting with Genesis 1:14.

Certainly each of us knows about burdens and we can readily identify with the Lord's statement that "each day has enough trouble [burdens] of its own" (Matthew 6:34b). A commentary considers the meaning of the daily text in this way: "God daily carries us as a manifestation of His protective and sustaining care." Such an interpretation brings to mind "Footprints in the Sand" written by Mary Stevenson during her teen years in 1936 as she endured major obstacles in her young life.

What assurance His Word brings. Believing friend, God is bearing your burdens today, and wants to lighten your load. He loves you, and the trial you are presently enduring does matter to Him. He is faithful and He will see you through to the other side! Don't try to shoulder your burdens for the heavy load will surely break you.  Instead lay your burdens down at the foot of the cross. Jesus will meet you there.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, our faith rests in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary.  Because of His tremendous sacrifice our sins are forgiven and a place is reserved for us in heaven.  We also find rest from our unending troubles in this life as we respond to Jesus' invitation:  "Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." Help us to look to You for needed strength and an overcoming spirit as we daily encounter challenges and ongoing burdens. Burdens are lifted at Calvary for that is where Jesus bore not only our sins but also our sorrows. Praise be to You, our Father in heaven, who daily bears our burdens.  Amen.

This Sunday I will be speaking to a Vietnamese congregation in Lancaster, once with the assistance of a translator and another to English-speaking younger people.

I arrived home from the chaplain training conference about midnight last night. Brooksyne picked me up at the Harrisburg airport and waiting for me she forgot the lights were on so we needed a jump! It's always good to be home. (And I, Brooksyne, was happy to sit in the van while Stephen went for help instead of me. I was once again mindful of those who go through life without a companion and the extra load they carry.)

Final set of photos from the Chaplaincy training conference:

Joanne Butrin 6/23/14
Dr. JoAnn Butrin has been in medical mission service for over 40 years. She shared in a session concerning "Compassion Fatigue" which was very informative. In the course of her service for our Lord she has been to over 90 countries working amongst some of the most tragic of human need, such as with refugees during the Rwandan Civil war. She is a choice servant of our Lord.

Joanne Butrin with Heber 1987
Here's a photo of JoAnn over 25 years ago when she was visiting our church in northern Pennsylvania. She's holding Heber, a precious child from Guatemala, who lived with us a couple of years while he had three heart operations. Through "Healing the Children" he came to us in 1988, one year before Ester arrived for her surgeries in 1989. Heber became very attached to Brooksyne after his arrival and was anxiously awaiting his return to her arms when we snapped this photo. We hosted four children with severe medical needs from Guatemala and what a rewarding experience it was to help these children and bless their families.

Dan and Kathy Peternel 6/25/14
Brooksyne did not go with me to this year's chaplain's conference. It's kind of hard to go alone but Dan and Kathy Peternel befriended me and sort of looked out for me, inviting me to join them for dinner. Dan is a chaplain's husband as Kathy is a hospital chaplain.

Dave Simpson 6/26/14
Dave Simpson has been my friend since we we were neighbors in first grade. Dave allowed me to use his vehicle while in Springfield as well as lodging before and after the conference and other expressions of hospitality. He is the owner of Holloway America, a business in Springfield. I snapped this photo yesterday afternoon when I met him for a ride to the airport. He is not posing but like many business owners Dave is very, very busy juggling irons in the fire and making decisions. His company has a payroll and employee benefits of nearly $1,000,000 per month. He has an interesting proposition: Any future president should have run a company for at least 10 years. I agree! Dave is a devout Christian.

William Cheney with Bible at work
In one of our chaplain worksites we visit a large heating and air conditioning company arriving early in the morning to see the men off to work. I was heartened to see William, a young college student, working through the summer carrying his Bible as he prepared to leave for the day.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Lay Your Burden Down" 
Video  Chuck Girard

"Lay Your Burdens Down"  Video  Great song, musicians not specified

"Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary"  Video  Gaither Homecoming singers

"He Knows My Name"  Video  Paul Baloche

"I Cast All My Cares Upon You"  Video  Kelly Willard  We recall singing this chorus for many years. This version is especially nice as I sense the earnestness in Kelly's voice.

Robert J. Morgan blog article referred to in message.

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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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