A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
The answer is ... We should!
Quote and photo by Sabra Penley
"Not The Path I Would Have Chosen"
Message summary: If you’re on a winding, bumpy detour may you have the perspective of the apostle James and "consider it pure joy".
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Brooksyne and I enjoy traveling, even the local trips we take related to our chaplaincy ministry, though she would say I like it more. When we travel we have a goal to reach a destination but intentionally seek to enjoy the journey along the way. We may even encounter some detours and we do well to make the best of them. Many years ago we saw a church sign that wisely stated, "Contentment is enjoying the scenery while on a detour".
A detour is "a deviation from a direct course or the usual procedure" (Merriam Webster). Unplanned detours in life are something we all experience in different ways and in different degrees of severity. We may wisely plan ahead but we have all experienced detours in life, an unexpected deviation from the smooth route we had planned for ourselves. Karen Peck in her outstanding song titled "I Choose Christ" writes, "It was not the path I would have chosen". We've all been on paths we would not have chosen!
In one of our first messages in 2020 we ask this question, "Now we begin another year. What lies ahead for me and my loved ones? What lies ahead for you and your loved ones?" At that time how many of us had any idea 2020 would be anything like it has been? I think most of us would say regarding 2020, it's not the path I would have chosen!
In a sense we've all been on a detour together in 2020. In road work detours are often planned and an alternate route is clearly marked out with signs to keep us on the right path. But this detour has been anything but planned and we've had little signage for alternate routes. What's more, we don't even know when we will be back on the main road and what that will look like!
Detours like this may paralyze us with fear but what we can do is daily build on our Christian foundation so that we are prepared for that which we cannot foresee, as we place our confidence in Almighty God. He can give us the contentment and peace of enjoying the scenery while on a detour.
The daily texts are among the first Scriptures we memorized as young Christians in the seventies. Being thankful during the detours does not mean that we don’t pray for God’s intervention and seek for a resolution to our problem. Certainly if I’m on a detour while traveling I still have a goal to arrive at the proper destination in a timely fashion. However while following the detour I can choose to be annoyed by the change of routine that requires extra time in my schedule or I can enjoy the new landscape, adjust my schedule, and reach my final destination with a good, or at the very least, an overcoming attitude.
The key to “enjoying the scenery” and being thankful during life’s detours is based on two foundational truths that should be the bedrock of our faith. We must be firmly persuaded that:
1) God is in absolute control. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).
2) He is ultimately fulfilling His purpose in our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Notice the progression of purpose in our daily text:
1) The trial (detour) is a testing of faith.
2) This testing of faith develops perseverance.
3) Perseverance must finish its work.
4) This work makes us mature and complete, not lacking anything.
So today as we all go through this winding, bumpy detour which has been 2020 may we have the perspective of the apostle James and “consider it pure joy”. In thankfulness may we enjoy the scenery while on this detour.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it is not by mistake but by Your design that we experience the detours of life that give us perspective in a way that nothing else does. Though we see others who travail in difficulty, it is particularly difficult when we ourselves experience tough terrain that we seek to understand Your purpose for the trial we are enduring. Help us to persevere in the midst of uncertainty and unfamiliar landscape. May we find joy in the simple pleasures we overlooked when life’s journey was routine and uninterrupted by the surprise bends in the road or difficult detours that bring about delay or a change of plans. May the testing of our faith bring about maturity and give us a new perspective that makes us stronger in our faith and more effective in our witness to those around us. May they see a grateful spirit in us even as we undergo difficulty so that we glorify Your name rather magnify our problems. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Choose Christ" Video Karen Peck and New River
This is the song that has the line, "It was not the path I would have chosen".
"Yes I Will" Video Vertical Worship
We have been so blessed singing this song in our church and it seems especially appropriate during the Covid season. Consider this refrain as you seek to overcome a heavy heart:
Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley
Yes I will, bless Your name
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy
For all my days, oh yes I will
Today we dedicate this song to Dave, a long time reader, who informed us his fourteen year old grandson committed suicide yesterday. A young man in the making, whose grandmother led him to Christ at a young age. What a devastating loss for his parents and grandparents who must wrestle with the aftermath of a suicide, since "Suicide doesn't end pain. It only lays it on the broken shoulders of the survivors" (Ann-Grace Scheinin). Please remember this grieving family in your prayers.
Today's lead photo was taken by Sabra Penley. We met David and Sabra Penley through Daily Encouragement over 10 years ago. David served as a seminary professor at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary for many years but due to some health problems was unable to continue. They have been on a detour they certainly didn't plan but both demonstrate steadfast faith and an overcoming spirit. We shard David's story in a message titled "A Lesson From Epaphroditus"
Last week I walked through a company and saw a stack of old computers that were being disposed. Having in mind my friend, Jesse, who needs limited use of a computer for his masonry business I asked if one might be suitable and available for such a purpose.
The company cleaned one up and gave it to me for Jesse. He needs to use it primarily for email and I set it up for him yesterday. It seems to be suitable but I need to find a way to get him on the internet since he doesn't have a line coming in. Sometimes it's nice to be a middle man!
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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.
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