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Friday, July 14, 2017

Amish family on spring wagon 7/13/17
Early yesterday morning following our first chaplain visit we passed this family along Strasburg Pike. Like all families the children keep busy in transit. The daughter is reading and the son is still enjoying his breakfast.

"Attentive To Our Cry"

Message summary: There is a multitude of Biblical references to God hearing the prayers of His children. We can emphatically and confidently say when we call out to God, "Father, I know You hear me and are attentive to my cry!”

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"The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry" (Psalm 34:15). "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear" (Isaiah 59:1).

There are things in every journey that can break us
There are burdens that can bring us to our knees
But it’s in those moments when our faith feels weakest
That we simply stand our ground and just believe

As we progress in life's journey Brooksyne and I are repeating a frustrating phrase common to people in the aging process, "What did you say?" or "Speak up, I can't hear you!" I (Stephen) had my hearing checked and the audiologist informed me that my hearing is fine except for some weakness in the range associated with the female voice. (Brooksyne's note: I was at least four aisles away from Stephen in a Sam's Club store as he came out of the testing lab and I could hear him plain as day tell the technician, "You'll have to tell my wife the results because she won't believe I don't have hearing loss." The irony is that I had no problem hearing his amplified voice from nearly halfway back in the store.)

Brooksyne heard an interesting story from Deb, a friend from one of the companies we serve as chaplains. She lived with her hard-of-hearing father for about ten years prior to his passing away.

She had stepped outside their house onto the porch to watch a gathering storm. Her dad, not realizing she had stepped outside, noticed the door was unlocked and proceeded to lock it as was his habit day or night. He then sat down and began to watch one of his favorite television shows with the volume turned way up, of course.

The wind was blowing furiously and the storm clouds were about to release a heavy downpour so Deb headed for the door only to find that it was locked. Seeing her dad through the window she yelled repeatedly, banged on the window, and became very animated trying to get his attention as he sat there clueless watching TV.

When all else failed she remembered that she had her cell phone with her though she wasn't certain that it would help. Due to her dad's hearing loss he could only hear bits and pieces of conversation such as one time when she called him and said, "Dad, this is your daughter," to which he replied, "Who is this? I don't need any water." But in desperation she gave him a call. When he answered she said, "Dad, this is Deb." He went right to the door, unlocked it and yelled out, "Deb, you're wanted on the phone." *

Verizon manAnyone who’s ever talked on a cell phone knows the frustration of a bad signal. You're likely to move toward a window or talk louder (as if that really helps) and ask, "Can you hear me now?" Of course that phrase became a famous ad slogan that Verizon ran many years ago. The geeky technician sent to the most inaccessible places with a cell phone repeatedly asking, "Can you hear me now?" (Not surprisingly, he never gets a bad signal.) Interestingly, he now works for Sprint!

I am so thankful that an immutable (unchanging) characteristic of God is His unflinching loyalty and His ability to always hear us. We don't need to cry out, "Can you hear me now?" for the Scripture forthrightly declares, "The righteous cry out and the LORD hears them" (Psalm 34:17). The Lord always hears the cries of His children. No bad signals, spotty coverage or low batteries.

Kneeling man But our compassionate Lord doesn't just hear us; He is attentive to our cry. "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry" (Psalm 34:15). The apostle Peter quotes this Psalm in his letter of encouragement to early Christians (1 Peter 3:12).

But what of the times when the heavens seem as brass and we don't feel like we're getting through to God. Most all will testify to having these feelings at times. I consider the title of a book by Francis A. Schaeffer that I read while in Bible College titled, "He Is There And He Is Not silent."

Oh the silence doesn’t mean that He’s not listening
And the darkness doesn’t mean that He is gone
Cause He promised He would never ever leave us
And you’ve never spent one moment on your own

The key we believe is a firm knowledge of what God's Word says. There is a multitude of Biblical references to God hearing the prayers of His children. We can emphatically and confidently say when we call out to God, "Father, I know You hear me and are attentive to my cry!”

Pray now, Pray now
Right here in the storm He’s still the same
Pray now, Pray now
There is strength and power in Jesus name
So pray now

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, surely Your arm is not too short to save, nor Your ear too dull to hear our prayers. Our iniquities have separated us from You, Father, so we repent of those things that have distanced us from our holy God. May our faith be renewed and our resolve to follow You be firm as we call upon Your name. We desire to walk, not in our own finite wisdom, but in the infinite wisdom of Almighty God whose understanding knows no bounds. May we be found faithful as we call out to You, for we know You always hear us. Amen.

* More about Deb's dad, Pat: When Pat's health declined and he was sent to Hospice I (Brooksyne) visited him upon Deb's request. Before I entered the room I heard people speaking to him as though they were hollering. When I visit folks at hospice I always quote the 23rd Psalm before I pray with them. I thought to myself, will he be able to hear me? After I introduced myself, in the loudest voice I could muster (and I can be very loud like Stephen if needed), I began to quote Psalm 23:1-7. I got his attention and kept it the entire time. There's little doubt that I also got the attention of nearby rooms and medical staff. Perhaps a patient other than Pat also needed to hear this beautiful reassuring Psalm. I'll always remember that special time visiting him, his family and then later officiating his funeral. I continue to see Deb on a part-time basis as she is semi-retired.

Star Barn cupola lowering 7/4/17 (Photo by Rachel Caldwell)
Last week we shared about our visit to see the raising of the Star Barn near Elizabethtown, PA. Our friends Rick and  Rachel Caldwell were at the ceremony raising the cupola and shared this photo with us.

Feeding calf at Old Windmill Farm
This Saturday I will have the opportunity to help my Amish friend Jesse by hosting tours to the Old Windmill Farm while he and his family attend a family reunion. Yesterday I got my training, including giving visitors an opportunity to feed a calf. (This photo was taken by a guest and posted to one of the review sites.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Pray Now"  Video  Karen Peck & New River

"Sometimes He Calms the Storm"  Video  Scott Krippayne

"Amazing God "  Video  Triumphant Quartet

"Chain Breaker" 
Video  Triumphant Quartet

"Somebody Died for Me" 
Video  Triumphant Quartet

For local readers: Sunday evening, July 25, The Triumphant Quartet will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music In The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received)

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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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