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Monday, April 18, 2016

Amish farm near Spooky Nook 4/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday afternoon we went for a bike ride on the Junction Rail Trail near Spooky Nook and had this beautiful view of an Amish farm from the trail.
(Click to enlarge)

"A Prayer For The Persecuted"

Message Summary: Brooksyne wrote a prayer for yesterday's service and we are going to adapt it today for use in this daily encouragement.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body" (Hebrews 13:3).

Yesterday our church had a special time of prayer for the persecuted church along with a video clip. It was part of an effort called "Stand With The Persecuted Sunday". We post a link to the video below. Since we follow the news and try to especially keep up with persecution we were already aware of most of the examples. However just the sheer reminder of them in a summarized rendering was sobering. We must never forget the persecuted and keep their plight ever before us. But what especially touched me was interviews (through a translator) of several little Iraqi girls and their expressions of deep faith.

Brooksyne wrote a prayer for yesterday's service and we are going to adapt it today for use in this daily encouragement:

Praying man Father, we pray for the persecuted church today.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in distant lands suffering at the hands of those whose lack of compassion and evil means knows no bounds. May the comforting presence of Your Holy Spirit be as soothing salve and a healing ointment deep within their souls. We pray for the family members separated from their loved ones. Speak peace and divine purpose into their spirit as You remind them that their loved one is standing with fortitude and courage in the very face of evil.

We pray for those who persecute and hold these innocent believers captive. May the very testimony and courage of these believers be as a shining light in the darkened prison of these captor's very troubled souls. Convict them of their sins and deliver them from Satan’s army of evildoers.

We pray for the families, churches, and communities of those who have paid the ultimate price for standing firm in their faith. Like Stephen, James, John, the disciples, and millions throughout the centuries, they laid down their temporal mortal flesh below and put on their eternal immortal spirit on the other side. You use these human tragedies to stir people’s hearts and to broadcast the message of salvation often bringing about repentance and reform. Nothing we do for you is in vain but works for the greater purpose of spreading the gospel.

And lastly, we pray for our own country that is changing drastically day by day. The god of secularism is trying to wipe out Your presence in every public forum: the media, our government, the schools, the workplace, the marketplace. People who hold deep convictions based upon the Holy Word of God are being maligned, mocked, persecuted and fined for their firmly held beliefs, costing them their savings, their livelihood. Especially prone to attack are those who hold the Biblical view concerning the sacredness of marriage and the sanctity of life.  The Bible is being removed from the military even as it has been removed from the public schools in recent decades. Father, we might despair but instead we pray for a mighty revival within the church spilling out into all the places of influence, especially the family unit. May revival start right here within our own hearts, helping us to stand firm in these troubling times. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Singing Ancient Words with upraised Bibles 4/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday Brooksyne led the worship in our church service and during the service she was prompted to do something that was quite moving. She asked everyone to hold up their Bibles as we sang "Ancient Words".
(Photo by Ester)

In regard to the persecuted church this line is especially pertinent:
Martyr's blood stains each page
They have died for this faith
Hear them cry through the years
Heed these words and hold them dear

A link to a video of "Ancient Words" is below.

Triple Tree presentation 4/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Our friends Mike and Nicole, whose home base is our church, minister to motorcyclists called "Triple Tree". Yesterday they gave a presentation concerning their ministry.
(Photo by Ester)

Pastor John and Faithe Keefer singing 4/17/16
Pastor John and Faithe Keefer singing the classic,
"He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need"

Mervin driving 56 Dodge home from church 4/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Mervin drives his '56 dodge to church now and then. It certainly grabs our attention!

Home project
I began the process of replacing my decking material. We had tried to refinish the old deck (which is over 20 years old) about five years ago but the wood is increasingly splintered and in places rotting out. So this last weekend I began the time consuming chore.

Deck replacement 4/16/16
The first step was cutting off the old deck boards as close to my house as possible. Ed, a friend from one of our companies, lent me a Versacut mini-circular saw which worked great for this.

Deck replacement 4/16/16
Handyman friend Ken helped me with some demolition as we removed the old deck boards.

Deck replacement, unattached joists 4/16/16
I always noticed my deck was spongy. After removing the deck boards we discovered that several of the joists weren't even attached! Thankfully, I know how to fix this!

Deck replacement, water problem 4/16/16
However we also noticed another problem. When Ken removed the first course of vinyl the wood behind it was wet. It is not wet under the second course and there is no evidence at all that the water is coming from above. Thus I assume it was splashing or even wicking up from the deck when it rained. This is also on a side of the house that gets little sun. Do any of our readers have thoughts or suggestions on this? Send an email to this address.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Today, due to the prayer our message did not have the Bible study exposition we normally like to have. Here are some helpful study notes on Hebrews 13:3. When this verse was read aloud yesterday I especially considered the words "since you also are in the body."

I just read of another type of persecution taking place in Turkey with the Islamic government confiscating Christian churches and considered this verse: "You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions" (Hebrews 10:34). However I also consider the heavy fines and confiscation of assets some in our country have faced for remaining true to their religious convictions. See here.

"He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need"  Video 

"Ancient Words"  Video  Michael W. Smith

"It Matters To The Master"  Video  

"My Eyes Are Dry"  Video  Keith Green

"Life Is Hard But God Is Good"  Video  Debra Talley

"Stand With The Persecuted"  Video clip used in our service yesterday.

Here are links to some ministries to the Persecuted:
"Triple Tree" motorcycle ministry

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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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