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Friday, October 16, 2020

Be Still My Soul

"Be Still, My Soul"
"When Faith Is Tested"

Message summary: May your faith arise so that you experience the present and future reward of remaining faithful in the midst of difficulty!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). "Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring" (2 Thessalonians 1:4).

We always enjoy hearing from any of our readers but especially find fulfillment when an international reader writes us. After all, many of our US readers and others from western countries live relatively similar to us. But we also hear from our fellow believers who live in places characterized by persecution, whose lives are vastly different than ours. Last week we wrote a message titled "A Vital Reminder" with a central theme that God does not forget our work and our labor in the Lord is never in vain.

We were heartened to receive an email from a reader in South Sudan expressing appreciation for the message.

"What a message for us to carry on! God is not unjust. He will not forget our work. Yes, we would rather have Jesus. For there is no greater honour than to serve Jesus!"  (see below for entire email).

The apostle Paul served a very brief time in Thessalonica proclaiming the Gospel when he was literally run out of town. The story is recorded in Acts 17:1-10. However a church was indeed planted and later Paul wrote two letters to this church (1 and 2 Thessalonians), which are now part of the New Testament. This church, planted under such difficult circumstances, needed some encouragement and instruction from its founder.

In the book of Acts it's interesting that the Thessalonians are compared negatively to Bereans, the community that Paul visited after leaving Thessalonica. Luke, the historian writes, "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians" (Acts 17:11). I wonder how the Thessalonian Chamber of Commerce liked this remark!

However we never hear Berea mentioned again in the Bible and of course Thessalonica is remembered. So much for first impressions!

In the daily text the Apostle Paul encourages these Thessalonian believers by informing them that he was boasting about their faith and perseverance among other churches, for they were enduring all kinds of persecutions and trials. "Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring." That must have really encouraged them to read this commendation from Paul.

One of our long-time favorite Bible teachers, Warren Wiersbe, wrote a simple but factual statement in a book we read long ago,
"Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted".  When going through times of testing it's a good challenge to ask ourselves or others, "Is your faith strong enough to be tested?" If we have to think hard and long about our answer we need to lean harder on Jesus, recall His attributes, and review the many times He has met us at a time when we didn't know what to do, say, or think, but God provided a way when there seemed to be none.

Many of you are enduring trials today. Some of you are enduring persecution like our fellow believers in South Sudan, Nigeria, India, much of the Middle East, China, North Korea, Malaysia and many other places. Our ministry places us in a position to observe human need in so many different places by so many different people for so many different reasons. This includes Daily Encouragement readers who write and share their burdens with us.

Today your faith may be under a test. "Be Still, My Soul", is an old hymn written by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel born in 1697. The hymn was published in "A New Collection of Spiritual Songs" in 1752 and has long been a song of encouragement, trust and reminder that God wants us to be still as He shows Himself to be faithful. Written some 275 years ago the Faithful One continues to speak to God's people through this hymn. It will be a double blessing if you happen to know the tune and can hum or sing along. Read or sing it slowly and let your faith arise so that you experience the present and future reward of remaining faithful in the midst of difficulty!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Today we suggest this comforting hymn with the words slightly modified to be recited or sung as a prayer:

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on my side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to my God to order and provide.
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; my best, my heavenly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; my God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
My hope, my confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Letter from South Sudan (by permission):

Dear Friends,

Warm Greetings from South Sudan!

Thanks for "A vital Reminder". It was wonderful getting a glimpse of part of journey in serving the Lord (in the shared pictures). The entire message really blessed us greatly. From it we have drawn more zeal and strength to carry on. Ministry has its ups and downs and we all go through them.

My husband and I are lawyers by training. Moses and I met in the school of law fellowship in Uganda(at Uganda Christian University in 2006.) where we were both students in the same academic year.

We later got married after law school. We remained active in our local church in choir, membership of different church committees, church cleaning and preparation for service etc. We both worked with Court of Appeal and later Supreme Court (Jackline), as legal researchers in Uganda. We were on a quick road of a successful legal career. I later remained in Uganda as Moses went to work with South Sudan Legislative Assembly. A few years later, during our 2010 Christmas holiday, Moses said God had called him/us to join full time ministry, in particular to serve his home country people in South Sudan. That's how we ended up in full time ministry.

We both kept our jobs until 2016 civil war in South Sudan that disbanded everything. We were caught up by war with our two young children. Barely 30 minutes after leaving our residence the area was bombed. We took refuge in church.  We pulled out for some time and returned to Uganda. When calm returned we started again. It was a fertile ground to preach Christ since all had been affected by war one way or the other. The remnants needed hope and encouragement as many lost life, property, and millions were displaced both internally and others fled to other countries. This led us to full time ministry.

There have been times when ministry gets too tough and I have sometimes felt it would be better to return to legal practice. But we have encouraged ourselves in the Lord to carry on knowing that we are called to serve God.

We meet our colleagues who wonder why we abandoned legal work which has very high monetary reward. Not to mention some members who will never appreciate our humble efforts. But we can't look back, because God called us to serve Him through encouraging all manner of people and lead them to His saving grace!

What a message for us to carry on! God is not unjust. He will not forget our work. Yes, we would rather have Jesus. For there is no greater honour than to serve Jesus!

Lastly, we love what has been shared by the brethren from the south on 'Grace'.


Jackline & Moses

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Be Still, My Soul"   Video  Selah

"Be Still, My Soul"   Video  Traditional version

"Be Still, My Soul"   Video  Kari Jobe   This version includes a newer bridge (below) that we sing in our church and it adds a fresh dimension to this classic hymn.

In You I rest
In You I found my hope
In You I trust
You never let me go
I place my life
Within Your hands alone
Be still, my soul

"He Will Hold Me Fast"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty  (uses "Be Still, My Soul" as intro)

Oak leaves
Oak leaves in all their fall array

Sunset through the Oak tree

Pets playing
We had a beautiful day for the dogs to play outside. You can see that we sure enjoy our pets and have really taken a liking to frolicking Sadie who plays with all her might and keeps up with her big "sister", Mollie, though she is 8 years younger.

Ready to play?
Mollie will soon be ten but still plays like a puppy!
(Ester took all the above photos)

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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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