A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
On a very rainy morning the welcoming sight of Seyfert's Orchards barn in Lebanon County during apple harvest.
"An Ever-Present Help"
Message summary: What is creating fear in your heart today? God has not changed. His promises are never "null and void." He's been faithful and that's not about to stop. Chuck Swindoll has a colorful way of putting it: "God's never missed the runway through all the centuries of fearful fog." Join us in trusting God today.
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"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah" (Psalm 46:1-3).
What do you have on your heart? Of course this is not an open dialogue format but if it were you could share about the matter most pressing on your heart today. In chaplaincy the nature of our work is caring for people. Of course we want to point them when possible to the One who cares supremely. We have an unusual ministry of walking through company locations, engaging in brief conversations and listening all the while seeking to encourage. People don't leave their heartaches and burdens at home when they go to work.
One aspect of many burdens is fear. The cancer battle; what will the outcome be? The addiction struggle, marriage and child rearing problems, decisions regarding elderly parents, these and so many more things can prompt fears. An issue we all deal with is the declining state of our nation and world. We are experiencing a spiritual and nonsensical condition described by Moses: "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them" (Deuteronomy 32:28). This initially described a condition Israel would fall into but is also true of any nation that rejects God and His standards.
The Psalmist does not allude to any specific source of fear in our daily text but instead focuses on God, "our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble". He doesn't identify the troubles he is considering but rather describes absolute calamitous conditions, a worst case scenario type of disaster.
Following the foundational truth that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" the Psalmist forthrightly states, "we will not fear". This statement is a mustering of his faith, a strong confession based upon a foundational Biblical truth. Like all of us he was prone to fear and the fear comes as we lose our focus on God. In this sense I believe we overcome fear. At least in my life fear is not ever altogether absent, actually it regularly seeks to creep into my life in the form of anxiety, robbing me of the blessed peace of God.
In the daily text it seems the Psalmist is considering a worst type scenario in overcoming his fears; "though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Now that would certainly be frightening!
But once again, the chapter starts with a great statement of truth and faith, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." What assurance and peace the mere recitation of this truth brings! I especially like the phrase "an ever present help in trouble". An alternate reading is "abundantly available for help".
As a result of this truth the Psalmist declares, "Therefore we will not fear". The phrase "fear not" is seen throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Obviously fear has been plaguing the human race from the beginning of time.
What is creating fear in your heart today? God has not changed. he ever remains an ever-present help in trouble. His promises are never "null and void." He's been faithful and that's not about to stop. Chuck Swindoll has a colorful way of putting it: "God's never missed the runway through all the centuries of fearful fog." Join us in trusting God today to overcome fear.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You want us to have peace instead of fear. Therefore You speak to our hearts many times, "Fear not" and give us many reasons why we are not to be fearful people. The most compelling reason that we need not fear is that You promise never to leave us nor forsake us. You are our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. So we ask that You embolden us and fill our hearts with courage in place of fear. As someone once said, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." Our fear is banished by courage because we have prayed to the all-knowing and all-protecting God of the universe who is altogether trustworthy. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: I am re-reading one of my favorite books "Ten Red Sea Rules" by Robert Morgan sent by a longtime DE reader, Mary Dickey, ten years ago when I was recovering from a broken ankle. We met Morgan years later in person at the church he pastors near Nashville and I received another copy personally from him that I passed on. This morning what I read from "Red Sea Rules" certainly goes along with our message so let me share the illustration here:
"Several years ago, I was walking down a sidewalk in East Nashville, making a pastoral visit. Suddenly I saw a German shepherd flying across a lawn, barking, snarling, teeth bared, mouth frothing. I was so startled that as it lunged at me, I screamed and jumped backward. But between me and my would-be attacker, there was a chain link fence. The dog struck the fence full force. My heart was racing, but I was utterly safe because of the protective fence.
Satan can growl and bark, lunge and threaten. But when we're enclosed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, He can do us no real or lasting harm....when things are going badly, when you feel trapped between sword and sea, [referring to the Israelites who escaped Egypt but were trapped when they reached the Red Sea], when you're under assault, acknowledge the devil - but keep your eyes on Christ. He will see you through. He will make a way.
Morgan is reminding us that our eyes should not be focused on the fearful matter but on Jesus who is the One who is our protector, deliverer, and our Miracle worker.
We enjoy the sight of apple varieties at the Seyfert Orchards, with our current favorite being the Honeycrisp.
The apple processing area farther back in the bank barn. Interesting fact: Pennsylvania is known for bank barns; a barn built on two levels (banks) with a grade entrance on each side. How many bank barns do you suppose there are in California? Check here for the answer. Next month we have a trip out to the bay area to see Stephen's older brother Mike and we may visit this property.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Fear Is a Liar" Video Zach Williams
"He Hideth My Soul" Video Wintley Phipps
"Whom Shall I Fear" Video Chris Tomlin
"Abide With Me" Video Travis Cottrell
We are heartened when we visit with young people taking life seriously and making a contribution to society. Cameron and Charlie, both in their mid-twenties, are Thaddeus Stevens Institute of Technology grads who now serve as HVAC service techs.
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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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