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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lancaster County farm 8/27/17 (Click to enlarge)
We never weary of the beauty of Lancaster County farms. This was taken Sunday afternoon near Manheim.
(Click to enlarge)

"Leaning On Our Own Understanding"

Message summary: Trusting in God can be very hard, especially when we have yet to understand His plan. We must trust our heavenly Father whose infinite knowledge and unlimited understanding will see us through the most perplexing and trying situations. We've experienced His grace time and time again, but, as the old hymn says, "oh, for grace to trust Him more".

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"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6).

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His Heart

Like many we have been following the events in south Texas and the suffering that so many are going through. It's interesting to hear a phrase such as "epic of Biblical proportions". While certainly not minimizing how severe this historic heavy rainfall and flooding is, thankfully, as based upon God's promise to Noah, He won't flood the entire earth again.

However the many photos we have seen provide ample evidence of the growing devastation. Especially grievous are the reports of deaths such as a family of six who perished seeking to escape the flooding that was reported yesterday.

But one of the most heartening aspects is the stories of rescue, many by ordinary citizens who have come from all over the region with boats. This photo captures well the heroism and compassion in action here in America.

These people have a lot of hardship ahead. For Christians it's a testing of their faith, for unbelievers another excuse not to believe.

A wonderful Biblical principle is expressed in our daily text. Many of you have memorized it and perhaps, like myself, have drawn strength from it: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Perhaps the hardest application of this verse, particularly in the time of trial, is not depending upon our own understanding. Certainly God provides us with understanding and much of it comes through spending time in prayer, in the Word, through being observant, and listening to others share their experiences. Usually they are a number of years older and have gone through the very things that we will experience, but they provide understanding they gained through their ordeal. Whatever circumstance we're dealt we should seek to better understand so that we gain a heart of wisdom. It enables us to be more knowledgeable and better equips us to deal with the continuous challenges we face. It also helps us to be more compassionate toward those who deal with similar matters.

But the fact is, trusting in God can be very hard, especially when we have yet to understand His plan. We must trust our heavenly Father whose infinite knowledge and unlimited understanding will see us through the most perplexing and trying situations. We've experienced His grace time and time again, but, as the old hymn says, "oh, for grace to trust Him more".

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to trust You completely for everything that concerns me. Too many times I've doubted Your ability to intervene in my life or questioned whether You were genuinely interested in me. But over the years enduring life's trials has given me spiritual perspective that shows me  I'm not a victim but a conqueror through Jesus Christ my Lord who makes me triumph over my enemy! I welcome Your sovereign work in every area of my life so that I will come into compliance with Your will and trust You even more. I join with the multitudes of my brothers and sisters in praying for our fellow Americans in Texas as they are experiencing the disastrous and deadly flooding. Protect the first responders and caring individuals who are rescuing those in harm's way. Provide places of safe shelter, proper nutrition and the basic essentials of life as they experience such devastation. May it turn hearts toward You, the Maker of heaven and earth. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Brooksyne looking back: Many years ago when Ester was in the hospital waiting room preparing for a blood test, we were waiting our turn when we overheard a conversation between a mother and her young daughter.

The little girl, three or four years old, was dressed up in a denim jumper with red gingham ruffles and her hair was pulled back into two little pigtails. As she sat on her mother's lap she began to ask questions: "What are they going to do to me, Mommy?" Her mother explained, "They're going to take blood from your arm." "How are they going to do that, Mommy?" She proceeded in describing the procedure in very simple terms.

The little girl began to cry so her mother asked, "Why are you crying when they haven't even done anything?" With a perplexed look she stared into her mother's eyes and asked, "Are they going to take my skin off?" The mother lovingly reassured her daughter that this was not going to happen.  There were several of us in the room listening to this loving exchange and we broke into quiet laughter. The child was very entertaining in the barrage of questions she articulated at a very young age.

From the little girl's perspective it seemed reasonable that to get to her blood you would need to take the skin off!  As God is working on us we also have similar mistaken understanding and we try to lean on that. That's disastrous and leads to anxiety and fear. Her line of questioning is much like the conversation we have with God, whether we articulate it or just simply entertain these kinds of questions in our minds.  We want to know what's going to happen to us, how it's going to happen, when it will take place, who will be involved and what the outcome will be. We really want to understand.

Ester was touched by the little girl's innocent questions and witnessed her observable fear of what was going to take place when it was her turn. Ester's name was called and she was seated in a room within view of this small child. As her blood was being drawn she rolled up her sleeve, took it like a brave soldier, and even waved at the little girl so she could see that it wasn't all that bad. On the way out Ester reassured her that she would be OK and learned that her name was Sarah Rose; a beautiful name for such a lovely child.  (I did remind Ester that when she frequently had her blood drawn at Sarah Rose's age it required me, along with the help of two other lab workers, to restrain her.  She'd often go under the needle screaming for all to hear, "Jesus, help me!" It certainly caught the attention of the medical staff.)

Lancaster County sheep 8/27/17 (Click to enlarge)
Sunday evening on the way to the Gold City concert we passed these sheep flocking together.
(Click to enlarge)

Lancaster County corn canyon 8/27/17
This season we travel through many "Corn Canyons" as we call the rural roads with corn on each side.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Trust His Heart"  Video  NewSong

"Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Flocking Sheep"  Video  In determining if it's proper to state "flocking" sheep I came across this scenic video from New Zealand.

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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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