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Friday, November 3, 2017

Hahnstown Road wagon team 11/2/17 (Click to enlarge)
Between chaplain visits today we saw many unusual sights among the plain people of Lancaster County. We have no clue as to what this old order Mennonite family was hauling on the wagon.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

"God's Invisible Hand"

Message summary: Are you walking in God's ways today? Are you seeking God's direction about a matter? Is He taking you though a major transition? Remember that God has an overall plan as He guides you with His invisible hand.

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"God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance" (Genesis 45:7).

Today we heard two of those "mysterious providence" stories in the course of our chaplain work.

David Farrell, a man we knew through our association with Convene passed away. He had been fighting cancer for some time and many had been praying for him. He leaves a widow and five young children, who are surely going through a very hard time.

Another employee told us about his pastor's three year old daughter. Several weeks ago she came in contact with E. coli at a petting farm. The disease went septic in a matter of days and she is now in a coma and has lost all kidney function. She needs a miracle.

We pray that God will comfort these families, both directly and through others. We also pray that they will have an assurance of God's invisible hand at work.

In the course of trusting God we experience those times when we just aren't sure what the Lord is doing in regard to His leading, let alone how it will work out in the end. One benefit I have noticed in regard to growing older is that the disappointments that might have been devastating to me as a youth I now see more as a stepping stone toward the overall plan God has for my Christian life.

We've been listening to a song lately with the following message that really speaks to our hearts,

And though you may see a valley
He sees the mountain you’ll be standing on
When all you can see are the tears falling down
I’m so glad He sees what we don’t.

Divine Providence is a theological term used to describe the sovereignty of God over events in all of creation including our own lives. A proverb Brooksyne quotes often is
"We may make our plans, but God has the final say" (paraphrase of Proverbs 16:1). Planning and strategizing short and long term goals is an important part of life, but it is especially reassuring that God's sovereign hand overrules our limited knowledge, as we trust our lives to His care. He brings to pass that which He has planned for us even though it might not be the way we had expected it to happen or in the time frame we had in mind.

Today's Scripture relates to the moment when Joseph is reuniting with his jealous brothers. Twenty years earlier they sought to kill him and, as a concession, sold him into slavery at the tender age of 17.  From the brothers perspective it was all over; they would never hear from this pesky little brother again.

Joseph had lost his favored position and his treasured possession, the coat of many colors. He was separated from his father who presumed he was dead. His own brothers had planned to kill him but instead dropped him in a pit and sold him into Egyptian slavery. They thought they would never hear from him again.

In Egypt when things started to look up he was lied about and was wrongly accused.  He spent years in prison, forgotten, even after he was called upon to interpret a remarkable dream. But he kept his faith.  Finally he did interpret a dream and
ended up as prime minister, second only in command to Pharaoh.

His brothers had come to Egypt in search of food due to a famine and now they stood in terror before him. He was in a position to get even and they expected revenge. He had a family reunion with those same brothers who had tried to kill him twenty years earlier.

Joseph had kept his faith and identity. Twice he made a great faith statement regarding God's leading with these words, "God sent me before you" (Genesis 45:5-7).
What an astounding acknowledgement of the invisible hand of God! He experienced the emotional pinnacle that theologian R.C. Sproul refers to as "where the rubber of human anguish meets the road of divine providence."

Joseph demonstrates a remarkable evidence of God's work in His life. He recognized God had a purpose and was providentially leading, even through circumstances of the very worst sort. 

He recognized that it was ultimately not the vicious act of his brothers nor the Ishmaelite slave traders that got him to Egypt.  It was God. "God sent me ahead of you", Joseph asserted.

Are you walking in God's ways today? Are you seeking God's direction about a matter? Is He taking you though a major transition? Remember that God has an overall plan as He guides you with His invisible hand.

When through fiery trials Thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be Thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross* to consume and Thy gold to refine.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we're reminded today that nothing happens to Your children apart from Your sovereign will. Since You use both good and evil to accomplish Your purpose in our lives we need not fear what others may say or do to us. Your Spirit abides with us helping us to trust You no matter the present or future. Our lives are in Your loving hands which gives us a settled peace about that which concerns us, past, present and future. Amen.

* Dross - the waste or scum formed on molten metals, usually caused by oxidation

Some Scenes From our Travels Yesterday In Eastern Lancaster County

School recess 11/2/17
Brooksyne snapped this photo of the children enjoying playing baseball during recess at this one room Mennonite schoolhouse near New Holland, PA. It's delightful to see not only the children but their teacher engaged in the games they play.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Amish wedding 11/2/17 (Click to enlarge)
November is a month when many Amish weddings are held, often on Thursday. We passed at least three yesterday. During the afternoon we passed this large gathering of young people who were playing volleyball.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Hahnstown Road wagon team 11/2/17 (Click to enlarge)
This is the back view of our lead photo. Do any of our readers know what this "contraption" is?
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
Answer here.

Mennonite farm with corn shocks 11/2/17 (Click to enlarge)
Right across from Val-Co, where we serve as chaplains, was this farm with a field of corn shocks.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Brooksyne at corn shock 11/2/17
Brooksyne is giving a perspective of how large these shocks are. Corn shocks are a stack or bundle of bound or unbound corn piled upright for curing or drying and are used in the old order communities.

Stephen with neck pumpkin 11/2/17
Brooksyne makes a lot of pumpkin bread and other pumpkin treats, including Ester's favorite pumpkin pie, through the winter months. Stephen is loading this extra-large neck pumpkin which we bought for a dollar.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Sees What We Don't"  Video  11th Hour  (This is the song we quoted from earlier in the message)

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video 
Fernando Ortega (4th verse used at conclusion of the message)

"God Leads Us Along"  Video 
Gaither Vocal Band

"God's Invisible Hand" is also the title of a book written by R.C. Sproul

Finally today:
Daisy in van 11/2/17
We concluded our workday yesterday with a visit to Costco after picking up Sadie and Lizzie Lapp from their one room school. Each of the Lapp children have accompanied us to Costco over the summer and it was now their turn. They enjoy the free samples and just getting out. After we did our shopping for the family we were dropping the girls and groceries off at the Old Windmill Farm.  I had left the van doors open as we unloaded and curious Miss Daisy, pretty as you please, had made her way in. I suppose she thought it was now her turn to go to Costco!

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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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