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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Philippians 4:13
It's snowing this morning and we thought the view from our front porch would serve as a good background to our daily Scripture text. We devote today's message to a friend who has been experiencing some difficult times and pray that he and all our readers will find that God's strength is perfect.

"His Strength Is Perfect"

Message Summary:
What are you facing today? God's grace is sufficient. His strength is perfect. You can overcome through Christ who gives you strength!

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"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength,
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me;
No great success to show, No glory on my own,
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . .

Do you ever gain strength by looking back over a hard period in life and recall God's help in your time of need? This last Sunday our pastor asked for testimonies and Brooksyne shared an experience from nearly eight years earlier, since the Scripture verse (Philippians 4:13) on the cover of our bulletin that morning prompted her memory. Although I hadn't forgotten Brooksyne's experience, I hadn't considered it for a long time. It does us good to recall.

Brooksyne's broken ankle
We had been walking together on a tractor trail across from our house when our dog Roxie darted across the trail in front of Brooksyne. She stumbled and fell, screaming out in pain while holding her dangling ankle. I made a feeble offer to go get a wheelbarrow to wheel her back to the house (I suppose I was in shock too!). However it was quite clear when she screamed out her response, "Get the van!!!" that her suggestion made perfectly good sense.

Actually I was able to back our van onto the trail and our neighbor helped me carefully lift her into the back of the van. I then drove her to Hershey Medical Center about 17 miles from our home with Ester joining us. The ER was full and it was about six hours before she was finally seen by a doctor.

Once her foot was X-rayed it didn't take long to diagnose that she had broken her ankle. It was after midnight before the doctor met up with her in the hallway where she lay on a gurney since the ER rooms were packed.  He brought with him two huge syringes with thick, long needles to lessen her pain before setting her ankle. Her body was already in shock, the pain seemingly unbearable, and the sight of those syringes filled her with even more fear.

Philippians 4:13
Ester leaned over Brooksyne's shoulder and quoted Philippians 4:13 over and over, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". This was a verse we had often shared with Ester during her numerous heart surgeries and hospitalizations and a song Brooksyne taught her during her childhood years. We certainly believe in the power of the Word of God!

Brooksyne testified in church last Sunday, "God's supernatural peace settled over me reminding me of the power of His Word. I was also reminded that which we give to our children will come back to us!"

We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes;
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end.
He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .

Many of you have memorized Philippians 4:13. I suppose it's one of the most commonly memorized verses in the Bible. In fact it's helpful that this is a verse placed to music (see below).

A pastor in Iowa was preaching on the text, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13) in the children’s sermon and wondered how he could illustrate to help the boys and girls understand the meaning of that verse?

Finally, he got an idea. He lined the children up in front of one of the front pews and told them to jump across the aisle so they would be in front of the pew on the other side of the wide aisle. One by one they tried. They could jump one foot, two feet, even three feet, but none of them could jump all the way across the aisle.

When he came to the last little girl, he told her to count to three and jump. Then he put his hands under her armpits, and as she jumped, he lifted her and carried her across the aisle.

“See,” he said, “she did it!"

"NO," said the other children, "you helped her. You carried her."

Then he explained: "That’s the way it is with us. We can’t jump out of our sins but Jesus can lift us out of our sins. We can’t jump into the presence of God, but Jesus can lift us into the presence of God. We can’t jump into heaven, but, when the time comes, Jesus can lift us into heaven. We can’t jump out of our selfishness and fears, but, if we let Him, Jesus can lift us out of our selfishness and fears."

Thomas Watson
Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, "A Christian's strength lies in Christ, How is a Christian able to do duty, to resist temptation—but through Christ's strengthening? How is it that a spark of grace lives in a sea of corruption, the storms of persecution blowing—but that Christ holds this spark in the hollow of His hand? How is it that the roaring lion of hell has not devoured the saints? Because the Lion of the tribe of Judah has defended them! Christ not only gives us our crown—but our shield. He not only gives us our garland when we overcome—but our strength whereby we overcome."

What are you facing today? God's grace is sufficient. His strength is perfect. You can overcome through Christ who gives you strength!

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He'll carry us when we can't carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I ask You be at the center of my thoughts, my attitudes and my conversations today. Would You keep me spiritually sensitive to opportunities for Christian witness. As You reign in my life You are my Master and I choose to be obedient to You, my Lord. Grant me the strength to trust You in the dark trials I may face today as I release my worries and fears to You. I confess that Your strength is perfect and altogether adequate. Help me to remember that I walk by faith and not by sight. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" I desire to follow You, my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Val-Co visit with broken ankle (Photo by Brenda Harry)
Brooksyne's Note:  Shortly after breaking my ankle, followed up by surgery several days later, which included a plate and screws to hold my bones together, I managed to get back to making chaplain visits and learned a new perspective; a view from a wheelchair. It made me much more aware and appreciative toward those who have a view from the wheelchair permanently.  I also realized the tremendous blessing of independence that I had taken for granted all my life.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"His Strength Is Perfect"  Video   Steven Curtis Chapman  This is the song quoted throughout the message today.

"I Can Do All Things - Philippians 4:13"  Video  Steve Green This is the very arrangement, written by Frank Hernandez, that Brooksyne taught Ester and her many students in Sunday School over the years.

"Life Is Tough But Love Is Stronger"  Video  Jason Crabb  I just heard this song for the first time (at least that I recall) this last weekend and it really touched me.

"He Won't Leave You There"  Video  Jason Crabb

"Life Is Hard (but God is good)"   Video   Pam Thum

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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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