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Friday, October 16, 2015
High Point Knob in Sullivan County PA
That's not a lake but a sea of fog!
(Photo by Wendy McMichael)
"A Faithful God Who Does No Wrong"
Note: Today's message is a bit long since it essentially tells two stories followed by a brief consideration of Scripture.
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"He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4).
This last June we shared a message titled "When It Just Doesn't Make Sense" and wrote about Bryan and Lynn Koch, a pastor and his wife who were involved in a serious motorcycle accident in the Reading PA area. She was killed and he had severe injuries. We had visited this church for a meeting in May less before the accident. Upon hearing the tragic news we considered the extremely hard time it was for not only the pastor and his family but for the entire church.
The last several months we have prayed about the matter asking the Lord to give peace, strength, healing, and resilience. Bryan has undergone 17 surgeries and will preach for the first time this coming Sunday. He will give the final message in a series he was preaching when he had the accident called "EPIC", in which he was examining stories of impressive displays of faith and miracles. His message this Sunday will, in his words, "encourage anyone that's in a hard place that's going through tough things in life." I expect this to be a powerful message!
Bryan had a promising career in baseball and was with the Chicago White Sox organization but at age 21 his baseball career ended after his left eye was hit with a fastball. Shortly after this he began his service as a pastor in Reading Pennsylvania where he has remained for 27 years. Now, at age 51, he's not letting the accident end his career as a pastor. "I told my boys you're going to have a grandpa and a dad that doesn't have a left eye or a left leg, but I got a big heart for you and God and we're going to be OK," Koch said.
You can read or watch an interview in a link we will provide below but for me the most touching perspective he shared was, "I would rather lose my leg than my voice, because as a pastor and as a preacher that's a big part of what we do."
As is so often the case the accident was caused by a drunk driver who had crossed into the Koch's lane in an SUV. He was 4 times over the legal limit here in Pennsylvania and has been charged with homicide by vehicle.
In an interview Bryan was asked about Sean, the drunk driver, and he said, "I am praying Sean will come to Christ. That's what I needed and it's what everybody needs. It's why we exist as a church." Watching Bryan share this on the video interview I was really touched. Placing myself in his position I would likely be seething with anger and surely fighting off bitterness. But his caring, redemptive tone brings to mind another similar story.
Musser and Anna Forry are friends who will soon celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary on October 21st. I took the above photo following a church service eight years ago. They are solid, long-term followers of Christ, both having served in many forms of ministry throughout their enduring marriage. Anna was the president of our local "Christian Women's Club" for many years.
Nearly forty years ago they faced a severe testing of their faith. The youngest of their three sons, Daryl, had recently earned his degree in aviation technology at Letourneau College in Texas and had aspirations for ministry. Upon graduation he returned to his home in Manheim and worked as an airplane mechanic at the small Maytown Airport which is only about a mile from our home. We often watch people parachuting from this airport right out of our living room window.
In April of 1978 he and his girlfriend went for a drive. They had taken their tennis rackets so they had intended to play some tennis while they were out. As they were driving up Chiques Hill on Route 441 a drunken driver crossed over the line and collided head-on with Daryl's new car purchased only two weeks earlier. In that collision Daryl was killed and his girlfriend died three days later. The driver of the other vehicle broke his leg but was otherwise uninjured. He served a light sentence for the murder of two young people who were just getting settled in their adult years.
Remarkably, Anna and Musser sought out the murderer of their son to let him know that, with the help of the Lord, they forgave him. Without question this meeting came about because they spent a great deal of time in prayer and other believers were interceding on their behalf.
They found where the man lived and paid a visit. It turned out that his wife was a Christian but he was not. He expressed no remorse at the time which must have only added to the pain and seeming futility of Daryl's death, but surely the Musser's loving gesture meant a great deal to his burdened Christian wife. Obedience to God brings blessing and most especially when it comes at great sacrifice.
Today's powerful Scripture, that speaks of the steady attributes of God, is from the Song of Moses, recited to the people of Israel just before he died. "He is the Rock; His ways are perfect. All His ways are just; a faithful God who does no wrong. Upright and just is He." It's one thing to consider this verse in the context of a public reading of Scripture during a worship service in a time of peace and prosperity. I have used it in this way and indeed the entire "Song of Moses" is such a fitting portion to read aloud with other believers in making a profession of faith.
However consider this verse in the time of deep affliction such as Bryan Koch, along with his three sons and their families have experienced. Also consider the depth of loss our friends, Musser and Anna, who, along with Daryl's siblings, experienced at the death of their twenty year old son as well as his girlfriend's family. Some of you have had similar experiences. Why does God allow these things to happen, especially in light of the divine characteristics highlighted in this verse:
He is the Rock
His ways are perfect
All His ways are just
A Faithful God
Who does no wrong
Upright and just is He.
We especially consider the phrase "A faithful God who does no wrong." I can't explain the phrase using my very limited human logic and based upon my rather blurry observations. But I accept it as true since I can only see through a glass darkly on this side of heaven. It's on the other side that much understanding will fall into place. Surely some of you today are facing trials and loss of practically unimaginable magnitude. May the Lord give you faith that shines forth like gold as He helps you to accept His eternally good purpose in your life. In all things the true believer seeks to bring glory to God!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, since we live in a sin-filled world we're bound to experience the consequences of our own sins and the sins of others. There is tremendous consolation when we hold onto the promise that these pain-filled consequences will come to an end and not follow us to the promised land. Much of what we go through is a testing of our faith and we know that faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted. May this testing shape our attitudes so that we glorify You no matter what we experience in this life, for some of the greatest living sermons that show people the way to eternal life and righteous living, is when we're put to the test and we shine forth like gold. Many will not pick up a Bible to learn of Your eternal principles but they will observe our actions and attitudes. Keep us faithful no matter the cost or pain. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
A colorful window box in Lewes Delaware
Last Sunday morning we attended New Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA), a Bible faithful church in Lewes, DE. The large Bible displayed beside the "Forgiven" banner with the three crosses was a very fitting reminder before we partook of Communion.
Yesterday afternoon I passed this field with the Amish farmers harvesting corn.
(Click on photo for larger view)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Jesus Saves" Video Travis Cottrell
"At The Cross" Video Selah
"When Trials Come" Video Keith & Kristyn Getty
"On the Other Side" Video Dailey & Vincent
"It Matters to the Master" Video Collingsworth Family
"Church pastor who survived crash: 'I would rather lose my leg than my voice'" Video
"Pastor Bryan Koch Who Lost Wife and Leg in Crash Returns to Pulpit Sunday" Article in Christian Post
A video from Pastor Koch to his congregation.
Next week Brooksyne has a birthday. We both enjoy bird feeding and watching, but especially her. She saw these log jammer feeders and asked if I could make them for her so I snapped the photo. Let's see - find a small log or big branch, drill holes through it, saw an angle at the top and place an eye screw. I, pretty sure I can do that for under $28.99! Based upon the supplies on the shelf beside the log jammer feeder (called "tree icing") I guess you place something like peanut butter in the holes so the birds will get a very nutritious treat, high in calories, fat and protein; a nice diet for the winter months. I think we have that as well!
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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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