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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Memorial Lake, Lebanon County, PA 6/13/17
Yesterday we walked some trails around beautiful Memorial Lake in Lebanon County PA.
Click for larger photo.

"No More Sorrow"

Message summary: Today's message is the third in a series based on Revelation 21:4 concerning that which we'll not see or experience in heaven when "the former things have passed away". Today we consider sorrow.

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"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

Here we are so often filled with heartache
So many times we weep when loved ones pass
But there's a place the gloom of death can't enter
And someday it will be my home at last

Revelation 21:4

This week as we consider the five "no mores" in the daily text it occurs to me that they sum up all that makes life unpleasant; tears (of sadness), death, sorrow, crying and pain.
These are emotions we have all experienced and will continue to experience. What a blessing when we live in a time when these things are "no more".

Today we consider sorrow. Other versions translate "grief", "anguish", "suffering", "sadness".  Oh, how we long for the day when these heartrenching emotions will be no more, but on this side of eternity they are a part of life. As an old Andrae Crouch songs states, "I've had many tears and sorrows".

We experience sorrows personally. Do you remember your first sorrow? Probably not! But there are sorrows we each recall.
  • The death of a loved one.
  • A child's departure from the right way.
  • An unfaithful spouse or friend
  • A broken relationship
Sorrows can affect us in many ways, often concurrently. They may emotionally, spiritually and physically weaken us. Some look for ways to block out sorrow such as alcohol and drugs which usually leads to more sorrow. Foundationally trust is tested during times of sorrow but it's trust that is so vitally needed. As Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe writes, "Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted." Times of sorrow are times we need to call out to God such as the Psalmist who cried, "My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word" (Psalm 119:28).

I have cried a river in the darkness
I have known the loss of precious dreams
But soon there will be perfect joy and gladness
All suffering will be gone from memory

Dr. JoAnn ButrinWe also experience sorrow when we  bear the burdens of others.

In ministry work there's a danger that I heard years ago described as "compassion fatigue". I heard it in a presentation by Dr. JoAnn Butrin, a long-time friend who has been in medical missions for over 40 years. She was describing the experience of her work following the Rwandan genocide in 1994 where an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during a 100-day period. Called in to provide aid in the aftermath she shared how she was overwhelmed by human need and the sense of despair and hopelessness.

There are times we experience compassion fatigue in the course of our chaplain work as we serve out in the highways and byways of the workplace. We can tell you for sure; people don't leave their sorrows at home! Of course those in ministry deal with this on a regular basis.

Whether our sorrows are a personal experience or whether it's bearing the burdens of others our faith in God and His promises is crucial, especially today's text which is a wonderful promise for those enduring sorrow. Let us consider it again but allow me to take a liberty in the translation and personalize it.
"And God will wipe away every tear from my eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away"

When He calls me to that land of no tomorrow
Where grief and tears are gone without a trace
I'll lay down all my trouble, cares and sorrow
And I'll carry them no more
When He carries me away

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we look forward to that land where there will be no more sorrow, for it will be a thing of the past. Since there will be no more dying, no pain, no disease, no sin at all there will be nothing to make our hearts sorrowful. For now, though, we deal with sorrow in this life. When our hearts are heavy we can call out for help like the Psalmist who prayed, "My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to Your Word." We can be strong and courageous as we hold to Your righteous right hand. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"When He Carries Me Away"  Video  The Collingsworth Family  This is the song we quoted throughout today's message. We expect to hear the Collingsworth family when they're in our area June 25. We have enjoyed the Collingsworth Family for many years and have been to several of their concerts. It is a family comprised of a husband, wife and four grown children. Their harmonies are outstanding.
Local readers may get more information about the concert here.

"Never Too Broken To Belong"  Video  Gold City  What a great reminder of God's call for us to follow Him and His promise of acceptance regardless of how broken we are.

The door is open
Come on in as you are
All you need to bring is what
remains of your heart
I see the years of fear
and pain on your face , but
Take a step
Enter in
You are safe in this place

You're never too broken, to belong
Never too wounded
Never too far gone
Here you'll find Jesus
And find your home
You're never too broken, to belong

Come find the perfect love
That no one deserves
A peace so sweet it can't
Be put into words
And grace that's greater
Than the darkest of sin
Taste and see
Take His hand
Let the healing begin

"I'm Trading My Sorrows"  Video  Guy Penrod

Rwandan genocide

Yesterday we alluded to a statement of a tombstone and a reader sent in this one that will prompt some pondering!
"To follow you I'm not content
Until I know which way you went."

Finally today:
Front porch, Lebanon County, PA 6/13/17
Front porch in rural Lebanon County PA. We were held up by road traffic right in front of this home. The porch was so homey it looked like a place where the residing couple might invite you over for a glass of iced tea on a hot summer's day or offer a piece of homemade blackberry pie with a cup of coffee.

The other day we heard a musing about a front porch, how people would just sit out and converse without the distractions of "personal devices". We picture this on the old Andy Griffith show and have memories of the "old people" doing this when we were little although through our adult lives we've not experienced a lot of front porch visitation. Now we sit out on our front porch many evenings to watch the sun go down.
This cartoon
from Bizzaro.com on Paul Wilkinson's blog is far too true! My oldest living cousin, Anna Lee, insists that people put away their devices when eating with her so conversation is not distracted. Good idea!
Paul Wilkinson shares the image in a series "What We Will Do In Heaven".

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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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