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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cross made of chain
"The cross we carry is never as heavy as the chains from which we were freed."

(I took the photo above about ten years ago at a "Transport For Christ" trucker chapel in Omaha Nebraska)

"Chain Breaker"

Message summary: Today we consider those bound in various addictions and the blessing of the Chain Breaker.

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"But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened" (Acts 16:25,26).

For several months we've been enjoying a song called "Chain Breaker". We first heard the song by The Triumphant Quartet. According to the song writer, Zach Williams, it's based in part on the daily text.

If you've been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you've been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you're trying to fill the same old holes inside
There's a better life, there's a better life

Today we consider those bound in various addictions.
A very common topic of discussion in our chaplain ministry is addictions. In some cases we provide support to the employee who is dealing with an addiction but more often it is a family member. Alcohol and drugs continue to be a major scourge. This scourge is increasing as alcohol and drug use is legalized and legitimized even among many in the church. Within the modern church some leaders and lay members are now bragging about a newfound "liberty" that for many will become another source of bondage.

Especially on our heart as we prepare today's message is a friend from one of our companies. His son has been in and out of addiction for some 20 years. For several years we have followed his story through cycles. For several months he will do fine only to lapse back into his destructive addiction. Several weeks ago I inquired of his father who sadly reported he had another fall and was in jail.

Not long ago Brooksyne worked with a woman who had lost her husband(s) and four children due to her alcoholism. Though she tried to reach out to her grown children they had given up on her. She relapsed and Brooksyne was notified and saw her through her transition to another state where she was yet placed in another rehab.

The song "Chain Breaker" addresses the addiction problem head-on in a powerful way. Consider these thoughtful lyrics from the second verse:

We've all searched for the light of day in the dead of night
We've all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We've all run to things we know just ain't right
When there's a better life, there's a better life

Zach Williams writes that "Chain Breaker" was inspired by his reading the account of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. They had been bound in chains and imprisoned for proclaiming the Gospel, a risk of being obedient many still encounter in restricted areas of the world. The apostles did not despair but prayed and sang hymns of praise to God. God providentially ordained a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were broken. Although Acts 16 was a literal account of Paul and Silas' deliverance Zach sees the passage as figurative in another type of deliverance.

If you've got pain, He's a pain taker
If you feel lost, He's a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He's a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He's a chain breaker

Today we focus on two groups:

1) You may have come across this message and realize you are in bondage. It seems God is using this song to remind many that He is a chain breaker!!! We urge you to turn in faith to God. One response to the comment section of the website states, "I can totally relate to this song. I was drowning in addiction and depression, I've attempted suicide 3 times. I took 150 sleeping pills, but God WOKE me up. That's just one of the many times God has kept me alive. He pulled me from death and gave me life. God is so good. I owe all to my prison shaking Savior, and I love Him so deeply. Thank you Jesus for what you've done, are doing, and for what you will do."

2) Like our friend mentioned earlier in the message you may have a loved one fighting addiction. May the words of this song based on the truth of a chain breaking Saviour encourage you as you continue to pray and await that glorious day when your loved one's chains are broken.

If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify
If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify, testiify
If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, that which You intend for our good the enemy seeks to use it for our destruction. You give us many commands and guidelines in the way we are to walk in accordance with Your will and for our own good. When we lose our way You seek us out and tenderly lead us home to where we find safety, refuge, healing, and an overcoming spirit to fight off the enemy that is seeking to devour us. We take up the shield of faith to defend us from the fiery darts of Satan, the helmet of salvation to protect us from the devil's missives lodging in our thoughts and use the Sword of the Spirit for our weapon against the enemy for it is in the Word that we will find strength, wisdom, guidance and comfort to guide us all the days of our lives. Encourage our brothers and sisters who have family members living in addiction who need to come home and find that You are a chain breaker. For any struggling with drug or alcohol addiction or any other destructive addiction release them from their heavy chains as they surrender their all to You and find salvation to bring satisfaction and peace in place of the emptiness and destruction with which the devil has sought to destroy them. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Chain Breaker"  Video  Zach Williams   This is presented in dramatic form and is very moving.

The story behind the song  Video

"Chain Breaker"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Chain Breaker"  Video  Triumphant Quartet 

"I Won't Go Back"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers

"Old Church Choir"  Video 
Zach Williams This will pobably give you some uplifting joy!

Yesterday we referred to the tragic events in Virginia. Here are some helpful perspectives:

Gary Bauer writes, "The teachings of Jesus Christ are the balm that can heal the wounds and divisions that are growing in America. Broken families, broken lives, broken communities can all be made whole by the Man of Galilee.

Racism in any form by members of any race is a sin. The basis of racial reconciliation is the knowledge that all human beings are made in the image of God.

Our liberty comes from God, not government. He is our ultimate "national defense." Our Founders believed that without a reliance on Him the republic was doomed. They were right."

Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastor's Network writes,

“The deplorable circumstances in Charlottesville should indeed get the attention of all Americans. Yet, in the midst of this event, for which both sides share blame, these questions must not be overlooked: What has happened in America to produce such increasing hostilities and anger among our people? And can unity be achieved just by our leaders demanding it?

“In reality, we didn’t get to this place by accident nor overnight. The rejection of moral truth, healing and transformative power of redemption and forgiveness available only through Jesus Christ is where it started. The coarsening of society is assured where life in the womb is cavalierly discarded, where God’s plan for the family and human sexuality is jettisoned, where a ‘selfless others focus’ is replaced with a ‘selfish only focus,’ and where duty is replaced with ‘rights.’ Such it is today.

“Is unity again achievable? The answer is yes. But, for some, even this statement may be dividing—yet it is nonetheless the truth. Unity is not the goal but a by-product. Unity never demands full agreement in all things by all people. Yet what unity does demand is an agreement on a common body of truth. In the United States, that common body of truth was found in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, where there is God who created life and then ‘endowed certain unalienable rights’ to the people, who ‘under God’ agree with God that He is perfect; that mankind is sinful and not naturally good.

“But that redemption and healing through faith in Jesus Christ alone can transform the mind and the heart, and heal families, communities and the nation. No one race, no one color, no one nationality has a claim to this truth. Yet, true equality, true justice and true unity can, in fact, result when people from all walks of life agree with God on these truths.

“Any nation or people who believes these things can experience peace, security and unity. Our nation once did—not ever perfect, of course—but overwhelmingly embraced this view, and God blessed it as no nation ever before it. We will now, in this time of increasing need, either look to God and agree with Him and do what He says and regain the freedom we so love, or we will look to ourselves, to government or to some man or woman and descend into the abyss of slavery and totalitarianism. There is no other choice." See here.

David, a reader from Great Britain shared concerning yesterday's message on "Ancient Words".

Reminds me of the wording at the Coronation here in the UK.

"Our gracious Queen: to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God."

However we wonder if this will still be used at the next Coronation.

Note regarding concessions: The acceptance of alcohol and drug use,
including marijuana, is growing in the church since it is now "legal" in many places. Many younger millennials see this as an acceptable liberty and scoff at the old-fashioned notion of abstinence usually referring to it as "legalism". Some time back I came across a social media post by a younger pastor announcing his craft beer drinking awards. It deeply troubled us as we've personally seen the lasting damage that comes when the acceptance and casual attitude toward alcohol consumption creeps into the church.

Finally Today:

Our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth recently had a nice write-up about their farm on the "52 Things 52 Weeks" blog titled "A Day In Amish Country". They are getting excellent reviews for their authentic Amish farm tour. Today we share recent photos Jesse sent over.

Newborn goat on Old Windmill Farm 8/10/17 (Photo by Jesse Lapp)
Newborn goat on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)

Newly hatched duckling on Old Windmill Farm 8/10/17 (Photo by Jesse Lapp)
Newly hatched duckling on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)

Baby chick on Old Windmill Farm (Photo by Jesse Lapp)
Newly hatched chick on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)

Watermelon on Old Windmill Farm (Photo by Jesse Lapp)
Watermelon on Old Windmill Farm
(Photo by Jesse Lapp)

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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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