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Monday, October 1, 2018

Wegman's truck, Lancaster County, PA 9/30/18 (Click to enlarge)
We have a huge brand new Wegmans grocery store in Lancaster. We stopped in this weekend to check it out and especially enjoyed seeing this old truck.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"A Sleep Study"

Message Summary: Today God is in control in your life and in mine. Real peace and assurance is the result of a deep, abiding knowledge of His control. Are you going through a storm or are you enduring a "trial"?  Are you experiencing sleepless nights due to worries? Remember, God is in control.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

Last night I had a "sleep study" at Hershey Medical Center. This was ordered by my pulmonologist as a result of the asthma attack I had this summer that landed me in the emergency room. I won't know the results for three weeks but can say, though I had a sleep number bed, it is much nicer to sleep at home! My asthma condition has improved drastically with two new medications I have been on for a month which in turn has alleviated some of the issues regarding my sleep.

Sleeping babyBut in fact we both periodically have a hard time getting a good night's sleep, ourselves, for very different reasons. It's been a long time since we "slept like  a baby!" We're told it comes with the aging process. Based upon all the advertisements for mattresses, sleeping aids and other sleep related items we are not alone. According to a report on "CBS This Morning" people are increasingly digging into their pockets for help sleeping. In 2015 Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleeping aids and remedies - a number that is expected to jump to $52 billion by 2020.

Much research has been done on the subject of sleep. Studies are conducted daily in hospital clinics for the sleep-deprived in our society. Many reading our message today will identify. Last night while waiting to enter my "bedroom" for the study I conversed with a man who had Narcolepsy, a sleep disorder causing overwhelming and uncontrollable drowsiness. These sudden sleep attacks may occur during any type of activity at any time of the day. It's a dangerous condition to have. Of course many others suffer to varying degrees with insomnia. I have a friend who goes days without sleeping, which causes many other health problems.

I am not sure I have ever given much thought to this universal aspect of life. In considering things we have in common we all eat, drink, breathe and sleep. My "sleep study" prompted a consideration of a "sleep study" in the Bible.

The first Biblical reference to sleep was when God made Eve, "the Lord God caused the man (Adam) to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh" (Genesis 2:21). This was a one-time event!

Numerous times God causes a withholding of sleep to get someone's attention such as Nebuchadnezzar, "In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep" (Daniel 2:1). Or in Esther when, "That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him" (Esther 6:1). We should consider this when we are unable to sleep. Rather than grow in frustration at our lack of sleep we could inquire of the Lord, "Do you have something you want to speak to my heart about?"

Sleeping JesusSleep can be a time of peaceful assurance. "I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me" (Psalm 3:5) and "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8). "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet" (Proverbs 3:24). During a storm even when seasoned fisherman were in a panic, "Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion" (Mark 4:38). Peter "the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance" (Acts 12:6).

Sleep is a blessed consequence of hard work. "The sleep of a laborer is sweet" (Ecclesiastes 5:12).

What a blessed source of assurance comes from realizing, "Indeed, He (God) who watches over Israel (and all His creation) will neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4).

Finally sleep is used in at least two other ways figuratively:
1) Describing our death. "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
2) Describing a careless spiritual condition. "So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:6). This was demonstrated by the disciples both literally and figuratively in the Garden Of Gethsemane. "And He (Jesus) came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?" (Mark 14:37).

Today God is in control in your life and in mine. Real peace and assurance is a result of a deep, abiding knowledge of His control. Are you going through a storm or are you enduring a "trial"?  Are you experiencing sleepless nights due to worries, busy schedules, or physical infirmities? Remember, God is in control!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we find great comfort from Scripture that reassures us You are with us at all times even during the night hour since You neither slumber nor sleep. You are watching over us, taking great delight in us, quieting us with Your love. You actually rejoice over us with singing. Believers can find consolation and restful peace in Scriptures hidden in their hearts or put to a lullabye tune such as Psalm 4:8, "I will lie down in peace, for You alone O Lord make me dwell in safety." You replace our fear with peace and grow our faith as we look to You during the night hour, whether it is the literal night hour or the night hour of our soul. We're assured that after the long night passes the sun will rise on the horizon at the break of day. For that we are very thankful! Amen.

Brooksyne's Note: Since I have struggled most of my life, even as a child, with insomnia - nights can be long and frustrating for me. Thankfully, the carpal tunnel that kept me awake many nights for many years has been alleviated with the surgery I had back in February of 2017. But I still struggle frequently with lack of sleep. Sometimes I lie awake turning and tossing but other times my mother-in-law's words come back to me in a very instructional way. She told me when she couldn't sleep she would begin to pray for other people. When I put that into practice I turn my sleeplessness into intercessory prayer and before long I find myself in a more restful state and often drift into sleep after a while.

JK Mechanical company picnic 9/29/18
Saturday afternoon we went to the JK Mechanical company picnic and had a sketch made by a very colorful and enthusiastic artist who testified to using his art skills as a means of witnessing for Christ.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Will Lie Down And Sleep - Psalm 4:8"
Steve Green and children Brooksyne's note: This song was on our playlist (as they call it today) back when Ester was a young child. We enjoyed the two CD's Steve Green sang with children, "Hide 'Em In Your Heart" Scripture songs. I also taught this to many children in our churches. But it also was a song that I hid deep in my heart, sang aloud when I was lacking peace and rest, and found the words very reassuring.

"Peace of God"  Video 

Finally today:
Mollie ready to play ring toss 9/30/18
Ester took this photo of Mollie who is always ready for anyone to toss her rings to her!

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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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