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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Yellowstone National Park (Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Yellowstone National Park
Photo taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt

"May The Peace Of God My Father"

Note: Last Sunday we concluded our church service by singing the hymn, "May The Mind Of Christ My Savior".  As I listened to the Biblical content of the six stanzas I considered they would be a good foundation for a week of daily encouragement messages. We're using a verse from the hymn each day, although we'll double up on the 5th & 6th stanzas. A video link to the song is posted below our message. The song was written by Kate B. Wilkinson, who sojourned on this earth from 1859-1928. The accompaniment is St. Leonard's tune. Today we will consider the peace of God and how it forms a foundation so we may be calm to comfort others in this world of turmoil.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:2-4).

We consider recent and in some cases ongoing situations we deal with in the course of our ministry. Due to confidentiality we intentionally muddle some details here but it will give you a sense of the types of needs we regularly encounter in our workplace chaplaincy as well as from those who may write us with burdens.
  • A young lady (the daughter of a friend) is caught up in a form of perversion as she is living in a fantasy world. She is now homeless, has forsaken her child and husband, is addicted to her phone and living in a world of make believe. We have read articles that this "living in a fantasy world" is increasing and just yesterday read a sordid story about this in our newspaper (link below).
  • A man deals with his wife's recent cancer diagnosis and is processing the forthcoming days of uncertainty.
  • A young lady confides to Brooksyne that she is pregnant and is being physically beaten by her boyfriend.
  • A man struggles as his son is in and out of rehab. Periods of abstinence leave him hopeful of his son's full recovery only to be profoundly disappointed at the setbacks. (We can multiply this illustration numerous times with both genders as this is sadly a common problem among families within several of our companies.)
  • A young man recently took his own life due to an apparent state of depression. Of course those left behind are experiencing the worst kind of grief and confusion.
This is the real world we live in during the part of our sojourn we call "life on this earth". This world is fallen and sinful and yet, in God's divine providence, He leaves the redeemed here to demonstrate the love of Christ and His redemption message.

The third verse to the hymn,
"May The Mind Of Christ My Savior", has a powerful and much needed petition to God.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

We especially consider the richness of the phrase "calm to comfort" today. Calmness comes from peace with God our Father by inviting His rulership over everything in our life. A synonym of "calm" I increasingly value is steadiness. This last Sunday a 92 year old woman in our church plaintively and earnestly stated, as we were discussing some new ambitions for our church, "What can I do?" Well, due to her age and frailty, there are many things she can no longer do, but after the service I spoke to her and her husband and reminded them of the value and blessing we receive from their steadiness in righteous living, which they model for others to see and imitate.

Paul predictably begins each of his epistles with a familiar salutation among the Biblical letters that specifically identify him as the writer,
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

In 2 Corinthians he follows this with praise:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort." The four words, "God of all comfort" has surely been a source of enduring consolation through the years of the Church.

Paul forthrightly acknowledges the reality of affliction which we all experience to varying degrees, when he writes that God
"comforts us in all our affliction."

However there is a dual purpose for our suffering and affliction:
1) That we might share in His glory: "We share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory" (Romans 8:17).
2) That we might comfort others: "
God comforts us in our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).

When we endure affliction and experience God's calming peace in the midst of it, we are propelled to provide comfort to others with the same comfort we ourselves received from God. We receive great satisfaction and inner joy when we've made a positive difference in one's suffering.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may Your peace rule our lives in everything, enabling us to remain calm and trusting in the midst of our own troubles, so that we might also reach out to others who suffer in sickness or in sorrow. We want to be Your hand extended to them so that they may know the God of all comfort. You are our Comforter who lifts us when we are downcast, who provides refuge from the howling storms of life, and the God of eternal hope when our circumstances seem hopeless. May we convey to others this wondrous uplifting message of comfort and hope to those whose life's circumstances has hidden You from view. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Relating to yesterday's message, Ellen from Michigan, wrote the following note:
"I think a way that we can be assured that God's word dwells within us richly is by the comments of others. More than once other people, particularly Christian friends, have commented that there is a "presence" of peace or spiritual comfort in our home and at our cottage as well. We desperately want to maintain that "presence" (of Christ) because it is our desire that even without words, a person can be comforted and blessed just by being with us in our dwellings. Years ago we began the practice of asking our pastor to come and bless our home as we move into a new dwelling. We are far from perfect but we believe that God, who dwells in us also dwells in our place of abode...."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"May The Mind of Christ My Savior"  Video  Jake Amerding  (Vocal and acoustic)

"May The Mind of Christ My Savior"  Video  Congregational singing

"Be Still My Soul"  Video  Kari Jobe

"Peace Speaker"
  Video  Ron Jarman

"Wonderful Peace"  Video  David Baroni

"Wonderful Peace"  Video  Mennonite Hour Men's Choir

Mom, boyfriend charged in 'rape-murder fantasy' death of teen   (Note: extremely sordid)

Finally today: I think this world of fantasy is having a huge impact and in some cases is being affirmed by the morally decadent but politically correct viewpoints in our time. But once you start down the road to fantasy the nonsense only increases.

I am self-employed (our income is through offerings to this online ministry and from companies we serve as chaplains). Therefore I need to purchase my own health insurance. Like many for the last several years I have had to purchase my health insurance though the government Orwelliantly known as the "Healthcare Marketplace" even though for years prior to that I purchased our health insurance privately w/o any problems in the real marketplace. In the last several years our premiums and deductibles have drastically increased. In fact it is essentially just catastrophic insurance now. Well, this new year our insurance changed again and I received a note from the new insurance company. I read the fine print on the back and share it with you:

"This Plan complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, including sex stereotypes and gender identity. The Plan does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex assigned at birth, gender identity or recorded gender. Furthermore, the Plan will not deny or limit coverage to any health service based on the fact that an individual's sex assigned at birth, gender identity, or recorded gender is different from the one to which such health service is ordinariliy available. The Plan will not deny or limit coverage for a specific health service related to gender transition if such denial or limitation results in discriminating against a transgender individual...."

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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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