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Monday, January 11, 2016

Wisconsin winter scene by Georgia
Wisconsin winter scene by my cousin Georgia
Lancaster County has had no significant snow this season!

"The Lord God Will Help Me"

Message Summary:
As we enter the second full week of 2016 our prayer is the Lord God will help you; therefore you will not be confounded. As you set your face like a flint, you will not be ashamed.

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"For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed" (Isaiah 50:7).

Tom and Marsha Neizmik 1/8/16
It's a blessing to catch up with long-time friends. Friday evening we joined Tom and Marsha Neizmik at Red Lobster in Harrisburg. They were down in central Pennsylvania to visit the Farm Show. Brooksyne recalls first meeting Marsha in the late 70's while driving a school van for special needs children. Marsha rode along as a substitute aid. Brooksyne invited her to a Saturday night coffeehouse at our new church which was located downtown in a store front in St. Marys, PA. We launched the coffeehouse with the intent of reaching young people in our community for Christ. Marsha and her husband Tom had recently accepted Christ and both had an earnest desire to be Christ-followers so they accepted the invitation.

As a result they began to attend our church plant and grew in their relationship with the Lord. They were a great blessing to the church and a personal blessing to us as they faithfully served in a variety of ways. A heartening example of their faithfulness is a ministry they have had for nearly 35 years. W
hile still in their early twenties, they began to hold a chapel service in a rehabilitation hospital which they maintain to this day, about 35 years later!

Aren't you thankful for the many folks you meet in life who put their hand to the plow and never look back. In a sense Isaiah expresses this same attitude in our daily verse. Contextually it is considered by commentators to be part of a Messianic prophecy concerning Christ, but I also find an application for all who steadfastly follow Christ. Let us consider four phrases with each building on the preceding:
1) "For the Lord God will help me." Have you accepted this truth in your life? Are you living with the peace that such knowledge brings? The underlying Hebrew word for "help" has a root meaning which is "to surround, i.e. protect or aid."  A foundational assurance we have as God's children is that of His constant help and care. Psalm 121:1 states, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

2) "Therefore shall I not be confounded." "Confound" is a word rarely used in our vocabulary today. It's an old word that means to become confused or perplexed. It has an underlying meaning of being wounded and other versions translate it insulted, disgraced, ashamed. There's a lot about life that can be confounding and as we face a new year this is a powerful proclamation

3) "Therefore have I set my face like a flint." What a proclamation of determination based on the preceding two truths! There are far too many weak-kneed, wavering, wimpy professing followers of Christ. The word "flint" conveys hardness. Jesus demonstrated this in a passage Luke records, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (9:51).  Though the "people there did not welcome Him" and He had "no place to lay His head" He was resolute in doing the complete will of His Father. He never looked back to His pre-incarnate state but "for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame..." (Hebrews 12:2). Likewise, we too must set our affection and sights beyond our present difficulty to the eternal joys of heaven if we are to remain firm and stay the course.

4) "I know that I shall not be ashamed." Now that's a faith statement. Notice the confident assurance Isaiah expresses in the words, "I know". He indicates that this attitude is not only for the present (I am) but for the future (I shall not be), no matter the circumstances. An interesting word study is the various uses of the word "ashamed" in Paul's letters:
  • "For I am not ashamed of the gospel" (Romans 1:16).
  • "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed" (Philippians 1:20).
  • "So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord" (2 Timothy 1:8).
  • "A worker who does not need to be ashamed" (2 Timothy 2:15).
Today, we encourage you as we enter the second full week of 2016 that the Lord God will help you; therefore you will not be confounded, as you set your face like a flint, you will not be ashamed.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we confess that Jesus is our Savior here on earth Scripture assures us that Jesus will acknowledge us in heaven as His children. As Your children there are sacrifices You ask of us here on earth; most especially a surrendered will so that we follow and obey You no matter the cost. We can't do this in our own strength but You will help us. Circumstances will test us yet we will not be confounded because we are resolute in our salvation experience knowing that our faith will grow and our Christian walk will be like flint, unshakeable and unyielding to ungodly influence. We will not be ashamed but rather we will glory in the cross of Christ who bore our sins. Amen.

Notsen and Toby 1/10/16
Friday we invited our Zimbabwean neighbors to join us for several chaplain visits. With their outgoing personalities they quickly made friends among the employees we visited and were especially able to connect with several African immigrants.

Church friends 1/9/16
We had a busy weekend but still had time to make a quick tour of the Swiss Alps on Saturday with friends from our church. Of course, if you look more closely you'll know that we actually were posed in front of a large mural in our host's home!

Brooksyne and church choir 1/10/16
Last night our church choir performed one last time "Breath of Heaven". Promoted as an After Christmas Concert at Pleasant View Retirement Home the choir sang to about 75 residents.

Adoree leading song 1/10/16
Before the musical the youngest choir member, Adoree, assisted Brooksyne and the choir in leading the residents in "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know." This song is always a favorite of all ages. Notice the stool we've been carrying around for the petite singer so she isn't hidden among the other singers!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Am Not Ashamed"  Video  Janet Paschal and Homecoming singers

"I Am Not Ashamed"  Video Damaris Carbaugh and Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  About twenty years ago Brooksyne attended a choir training conference with Carol Cymbala and Damaris Carbaugh.

"I Shall Not Be Moved"  Video  Homecoming singers

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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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