A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, January 3, 2020
This photo taken by my cousin Georgia who wrote,
"Old and still so beautiful! I just love those really old, stone foundation barns you still see around Wisconsin."
So do I, regardless of where they are!
Message summary: Are you dealing with setbacks that weary you along the way? Strengthen or lift up your arms today in faith and praise to God.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees" (Job 4:3,4). "Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, 'Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, but He will save you'" (Isaiah 35:3,4). "Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble" (Hebrews 12:12).
The last several weeks my left knee has really been hurting. This is ultimately a result of an injury I had in college over 45 years ago. At the time I was advised an injury like this will likely cause pain as you age. Well, they were right! Periodically it flares up and at one point about 25 years ago I had arthroscopic surgery which has helped for many years. But in December I tripped and fell on a raised sidewalk up in Wellsboro, PA and really must have done some damage. Next week I have an appointment with an orthopedic physician.
In the meantime I'm walking around like Chester on Gunsmoke. Yesterday Brooksyne did our chaplain duties solo but we hope to get out together today.
In the Bible most references to knees have to do with bowing such as "Every knee shall bow".
But there a couple of references to weak knees, something we are sure people in the Bible dealt with. Now I suppose I am also dealing with the pain that comes with aging as we encounter a lot of people in our age bracket that have knee problems in one way or another. It was surely prevalent in the Bible times as well!
The nature of our ministry places us in contact with a lot of hurting people. It may be those we see as chaplains or those who write to us through this online ministry.
Our first daily text seems to be a commendation to Job from his friend Eliphaz. Prior to his time of testing Job apparently had an esteemed teaching ministry. He had instructed many, strengthened feeble hands, supported those who stumbled and strengthened faltering knees. That remains the essential heart of ministry to those who are in need today.
Our second daily text is a rich powerful gem from Isaiah. I do not recall ever giving this verse much consideration, indicative of the riches in God's word, many yet undiscovered even to longtime Bible readers. Or maybe we just forget!
One or both of these texts may be the inspiration for our third daily text that comes from a section of Hebrews where followers of Christ are implored to be persevering. The chapter begins with a call to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us". This is one of the great Biblical texts describing the long-term nature of our service for Christ. The strenuous race we run is not a brief sprint but a life-long marathon.
The verse that immediately precedes this text states that "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (12:11). As we run the race for Christ sometimes everything just seems to be going great; runners describe this by using the terms, "having the wind" or being "in pace".
But at other times the going is really tough. These providential hard times are ultimately a part of God's disciplinary work in our lives.
Just two days ago we replaced our old 2019 calendars for new 2020 calendars. Though we may not voice it for we'd sound very foolish if we did and we all know better, but there's often the wishful thought that a new year is before us so the old problems that we dealt with in 2019 can be tossed away with the old calendar and will not transfer with us into the new year.
A new year, a new beginning. But do you still find that your hands are weak or your knees are feeble today, figuratively speaking or physically, for that matter. Are you dealing with setbacks that weary you along the way? Strengthen or lift up your arms today in faith and praise to God. This must primarily be an act of willful obedience rather than an emotional response. As you lift them up in obedience as a daily spiritual exercise I believe you will experience the uplifting spiritual, physical and mental revitalization that Isaiah writes about in 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are encouraged and emboldened when we consider that in everything we experience today You go before us preparing the way. As we wait upon You in prayer and faith we are renewed in our strength physically and spiritually. Thank You for physical renewal that meets our needs here and now. And thank You most especially for Your spiritual renewal that not only meets our needs here and now but prepares us for all eternity. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"He Will Hold Me Fast" Video Shane & Shane
"Thy Will" Video Hillary Scott & The Scott Family
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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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