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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Old order Mennonite wagon in Lancaster County 8/7/15
Old order Mennonite wagon in Lancaster County

"The Source Of Spiritual Strength"

Please note: A podcast was not prepared for this message

"But David found strength in the LORD his God" (1 Samuel 30:6). "My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your Word" (Psalm 119:28). "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak"
(Isaiah 40:29).

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

Last week I stopped to visit a man working at a machine in the course of our business chaplain work. He was weak, in significant pain, and quite anxious about a serious health matter. In spite of his health dilemma he was diligent in his work and wanted to continue working. That very afternoon he had a doctor's appointment so I was able to pray with him right there at his work station. After praying with him my heart was heavy as I continued my walk through the company visiting other employees.

Yesterday I spoke to him again and he was feeling much better after a change in his medication. But my encounter with him reminded me of so many who are weak, weary, and in need of God's strength. This surely includes some of you reading this today. We hope today's message will encourage you with an infusion of spiritual strength!

In 1 Samuel 30 King David and his men were away at battle. While they were gone their foes came in and laid the city of Ziklag in ashes, carrying away their wives and children. When the men returned they were overwhelmed with grief. The Scripture says they "wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep." It isn't hard to visualize the deep, deep despair these warriors must have felt.

They also blamed David and were ready to stone him. In addition to the sorrow he felt from his own personal loss, now he faced his own men who wanted to strike him down, and this distressed him greatly. The circumstances surely couldn't get any worse!

In his dire situation Scripture records, "But David found strength in the Lord his God" (v. 6) and sought direction from Him. I've long enjoyed this brief verse and find it applicable for all believers when facing distressing circumstances.  It's a short verse to memorize and I believe, when we're weak in spirit, we do well to quote this verse prayerfully using our name in place of David's such as, "But Stephen found strength in the Lord his God."

The small conjunction word, "but" turns our focus from the very troubling circumstances David faced and redirects our attention to the Lord. I wonder what prompted his renewed strength to act decisively as the Lord led David in the remainder of the chapter. Was it a Scripture verse hidden deep in his heart? Was he reviewing in his mind previous experiences where God brought about miraculous deliverances from the enemy?

Like David we inevitably encounter hard periods in life and need renewed strength in the Lord our God. Let me suggest several means of finding this strength and encouragement:

1) Meditate on Bible passages and memorize key Scriptures that the Holy Spirit can bring to our recollection in time of need.
2) Make a lifelong goal of developing a network of prayer warriors and encouragers whom you may call upon during your time of need.
3) Visual reminders may be helpful. (When I go to my workshop I receive strength when I use my dad's tools.)
4) Inspirational music can be a very helpful source of strength.
5) Build a library of useful resources that reinforce Biblical answers for life's dilemmas.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, we're strengthened physically, emotionally and spiritually knowing that we can do all things through Christ who provides us with His strength. In ourselves we are weak and often distressed by the daunting trials of life. When they become our singular focus we are easily overtaken by doubt and helplessness. But when our primary focus is on worshiping the Lord Jesus who is our Provider, our Strength, our Sustainer, our Hope and our Soon Coming King our mourning turns into joy, our weakness into strength, and our hope is once again renewed.   Thank You for making that possible. Amen.

Old order Mennonite wagon in Lancaster County 8/7/15
Another view of the wagon with children near Martindale, PA. The Amish get most of the tourist attention here in Lancaster County. However we find the old order Mennonites very interesting as well. Their dress is not quite as distinct as the Amish but seems to us more like what you would have seen in a rural area when we were kids (or more likely when our parents were kids). We stopped at a little store in Martindale (Eby's Store) which is essentially very similar to how I recall a store looking in the small rural town where my grandparents lived in southern Missouri.

Old order Mennonite pick-up with dog in Lancaster County 8/7/15
Regardless of culture some folks just like to take the dog along.

Garden shed in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County PA
We passed this nicely manicured yard and colorful garden shed in Conestoga Township last Saturday.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"You Are My All in All With Canon in D [Live]"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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