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Friday, August 12, 2016

Lancaster County sheep 8/11/16 (Click to enlarge) 8/4/16
We passed these sheep yesterday north of Mount Joy. It was a hot, muggy afternoon and they were gathered by the watering trough.
(Click on photo for larger view)

"Helping Another To Find Strength In God"

Message Summary: Is there someone you need to seek out today? It might be a walk down the hall, a phone call or maybe just a brief, "I'm praying for you". Will you be that source of strengthening encouragement today? 

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"And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God" (1 Samuel 23:16).

We're part of the family, that's been born again!
Part of the family, whose love knows no end!
For Jesus has saved us, and made us His own!
Now we're part of the family, that's on it's way home!

It was just a brief phone call but it came at an opportune time of great need. I was enduring some severe sheep bites over 30 years ago when a friend called and with a weeping voice told me he was praying for me. That brief call helped me to find strength in God and overcome that particular trial.

Thank God for friends, for people who care. We hope you have a lot of them and that you have several friends like David had with Jonathan. Their friendship is surely one of the greatest found in Scripture.

Today's text is a remarkable statement. At this point Saul was insanely jealous of David and was in hot pursuit of him to take his life. The previous verse states, "While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life."

However Saul's son Jonathan apparently saw his father's error and remained faithful to his friend, David, who just learned that Saul had come out to take his life. Surely Jonathan knew this as well and he was risking his own life and the resulting fallout from his father's wrath in order to help David. 

David and Jonathan
Notice that Jonathan "went to David."  He took the initiative and made the effort to help a friend in trouble. David had fled to the Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, which was a very desolate and remote region south of the Dead Sea.

The purpose of Jonathan's visit was to "help him find strength in God".  The NASV states, "encouraged him in God". This is surely one of the most powerful examples and images of strengthening encouragement found in the entire Bible.

You may know of people like David who are besieged by difficult circumstances. They need a friend like Jonathan. They need someone to help them find strength. But notice the very clear source of strength: "in God". This verse expresses the highest purpose of a truly godly friendship. 

Although God is the source of strength He uses people to be channels of that strength. Aren't you thankful for people that come to you when you need a helpful hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart! Those who do so have generally developed a spiritual sensitivity that helps them to see beyond surface conversation to sense the deeper needs that one might be hesitant to bring out in the open. The most practical way we can help strengthen them is to pray with them. Notice I say "pray with" rather than just telling them, "I’ll pray for you" and walk away. Right then and there lift them before the Father in prayer as you're gathered in His presence.

One of the blessings Brooksyne and I especially appreciate about our workplace chaplaincy role is being able to pray with a troubled employee. Many are burdened down with personal cares and are experiencing a very difficult day at work. We stop and pray, as long as the employee is comfortable with this practice, and we've often received feedback of how much this helped to lift their load while at work.

Praying for others is important, but we have experienced a great deal of spiritual strength when a brother or sister thoughtfully considers a verse that matches my need and prays with us. Today let us put this into practice in our life. We all know of weary, discouraged and fearful people like David. Let us help them find strength in God!

Is there someone you need to seek out today? It might be a walk down the hall, a phone call or maybe just a brief, "I'm praying for you". Will you be that source of strengthening encouragement today? 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I pray for a spiritually sensitive heart that I might be a representative of Your indwelling Spirit to those who have distressing needs. Develop in me a discerning heart that I might seek out those in need just as Jonathan did with David. While I don't have all the answers I do know that Your Word brings light, direction, and confidence as we must navigate through the twists and turns in our sojourn here below. We offer ourselves to You to be a blessing to others. We do this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

JK project managers 8/12/16
It was nice to get back to our regular schedule of company visits this week after a week's vacation and after my extended time of recovery from a serious back problem. It was a blessing to hear many say they missed me during my long absence, which is another form of strengthening words! In addition to their personal greetings we came home, got the mail, and there was a card from this company with many extending their prayers and well wishes for my healing and recovery. It worked and was truly a blessing. Here we are with several of the project managers at JK Mechanical this morning. It was heartening to speak to an employee who's had some challenging child-rearing challenges joyfully exclaim that they had a breakthrough - another answer to prayer!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God's Family"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"When He Carries Me Away"  Video 
The Collingsworth Family

"Fear Not Tomorrow"  Video 
The Collingsworth Family

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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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