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Friday, July 18, 2014

As we were driving along Brooksyne saw this boat filled with lantana (one of her favorite flowers) and insisted, "Stop! Let me take a picture."  And here it is!

"Peace In The Midst Of Trouble"

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"Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

ChildrenYesterday afternoon we watched three young children. Since we needed to make a chaplain visit near Hershey we took the kids along and took turns watching them in a school playground as we each made a visit across the street to White Oak, a company that designs and build displays. Afterwards we took them to Hershey World where they had a great time.

I went through White Oak first and then Brooksyne. When I came back to the playground the oldest child, Adoreč, inquired, "What do you do in there?" as she pointed toward the large building. I explained, "We visit the people who work there and often listen to them as they share problems they are having."

I asked her, "Do you ever have any troubles?" She thought for a moment and then answered, "Yes when Mabel died." Thinking Mabel was an elderly great Aunt I expressed sympathy and asked who Mabel was. Turns out Mabel was her cat and since she had this cat for as long as she could remember her death left her very troubled.

I consider Adoreč's innocence in regard to the heartache and troubles she will certainly witness and likely experience as she gets older. About the time I spoke to her I read about the airliner shot down over Ukraine and several other international situations of deep heartbreak. Then I considered the burdens I encountered just that day in the course of talking to people.

We do indeed share a lot with people who have troubles. I suppose we are a listening ear and hopefully offer some comfort, perspective and sound advice.
We know some of our readers are facing trouble today.  It may be concerning your health, a family matter, a financial issue, a work-related problem or something we can't even imagine. For some it's undergoing persecution as a result of living for the Lord, which I believe is certainly what Jesus foundationally had in mind when he first uttered these prophetic words, "In this world you will have trouble."

SparksJob had a lot of trouble. In fact he's most famous due to his troubles. His three friends came over to comfort him although their advice was faulty and certainly not the final word. But Eliphas offers a rather timeless observation in our first daily text. "Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). What a pithy, timeless description of the inevitability of troubles! Observe a fire to this day and the sparks fly upward.

Today's second text is from John 16:33, "
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This is a verse we learned as young Christians with the words set to music so it is permanently etched in our memory.

I am so thankful for the words of our Lord Jesus in this passage! "
I have told you these things..." "These things" are His final teaching to His disciples prior to His death on the cross. He knows that their future will include uncertainty and peril due to their decision to follow Him. But He shares with them the way to find peace in the midst of conflict, "so that in me you may have peace."

Our Lord readily acknowledged and prepared His disciples for trouble  (or "tribulation" in some other Bible versions) in His matter of fact declaration, "In this world you will have trouble."

This may seem like a strange question, but have you considered that the presence of trouble in your life is evidence of Christ's truthfulness and faithfulness? After all he did say,
"In this world you will have trouble."

Have you ever met a believer going through a difficult trial who in faith joyfully declares to others, "God is keeping His promise" in regard to the trial in progress? I heard a brother give a testimony to the veracity of Scripture regarding this promise as he was going through a great trial. It stunned those of us who listened on as we witnessed his victorious testimony in the very midst of trouble.

Thankfully the stirring promise includes an underlying peace, "
so that in me you may have peace."  Christ's desire is that His followers have this peace, surely meaning in this case the sense of emotional and spiritual rest and much needed assurance that can only come through a fervent relationship with the Peacemaker Himself. The apostle Paul wrote, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

Hear the assuring message of our Lord and apply it to your heart today. "
But take heart! I have overcome the world!"  I've added the exclamation point because I believe that's the tone of how Christ spoke these consoling words.

He said it with absolute confidence even before His agony in Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the cross at Calvary.  He knew His Father had everything under control. And our Father still has everything under control. He always does! Let us experience His abiding peace today as we commit ourselves to His unfailing love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Jesus, Prince of Peace, thank You for calming the raging storm in my soul when You took up residency within my heart, as You removed my sins and replaced them with Your righteousness.  This eternal exchange has brought me countless joy, abiding peace, and a home in heaven. It is once and for all established in the heavens and serves as an anchor to provide unwavering hope even while the torrential waves of world tragedies, wars, fears, strife, and personal difficulties attempt to shatter my peaceful state of mind.  You have promised to keep me in perfect peace when my mind and heart are fixed upon You* rather than the besetting problems that confront me daily.  Help me to wholeheartedly seek You and rely on Your Holy Word so that I will experience perfect peace.  It is in this spiritual attitude that I will fully trust You to work out the problems that greatly concern me and it will help me not to take matters into my own hands which only leads to more trouble.  You have overcome the world and You will also help me to overcome my troubles.  Amen.

Wheaton Arts general store 7/15/14
Earlier this week we walked the peaceful shady grounds of the Wheaton Village Arts Center near Millville, NJ which has restored buildings from the early 1900's.

Wheaton Arts general store interior 7/15/14
The interior of the general store has lots of interesting articles hanging from beams on the ceiling and items no longer available at a typical store.

Wheaton Arts brownstone 7/15/14
A Wheaton Village brownstone.

Hershey Chocolate World entrance 7/17/14
Closer to home, here is the entrance to the Hershey Chocolate World visitor's center in Hershey, PA.

Henry and Marion Leaman 7/18/14
This morning we visited with Henry and Marion Leaman whose devotion is evident not only in their enduring marriage of 67 years but also their interaction with one another. They remain active in their late 80's, though the land that Henry farmed was sold many years ago. When they moved into this retirement home they felt God smiled upon them (Brooksyne's words) when He provided the Amish farm right across the street from their house (as seen in the background). In 2010 Marion wrote an extensive history for their church's 300th anniversary.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Perfect Peace"  Video   Laura Story

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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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