A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
"I Am Convinced!"
Message summary: Today rejoice in this, “Above all else, I still belong to Jesus and nothing can separate me from Him, not even physical death.”
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38,39).
We received a Christmas letter yesterday from longtime friends who were in the church we served in New England over 20 years ago. In fact they were the very first recipients of a daily encouragement in October 1996 and rather amazingly have endured some 5,000 messages from me! We were blessed by a perspective shared in their newsletter that we believe will also bless our readers:
"Like everyone worldwide, I did not imagine 2020 would unfold the way it did. This global pandemic has brought home the truth that we are not in control of our lives and circumstances as much as we would like to believe. The myriad losses and restrictions have revealed to me what and who really mattered, and to whom I really mattered. I am okay because my husband and my son are okay, my loved ones in Malaysia are okay, I am maintaining mutually edifying relationships with the few friends who matter, and I am receiving spiritual nourishment from the pulpit. Above all else, I still belong to Jesus and nothing can separate me from Him, not even physical death. Truly, it is well with my soul."
We applaud our friend's victorious outlook and the safekeeping her family has experienced. But for many all is not well. As chaplains we are accustomed to hearing burdens and this morning we received a call from a troubled soul. In offering prayer I attempted to remind this needy caller of the solution to our greatest need while bearing a burden for the issues in life that can really cause heartache and distress.
Yet the message of Christmas on the deepest level, a level experienced only by faith, is that "All is well" as written by our friend. That’s very hard to hear (or read) when it would seem that all is not well, but on the authority of God’s Word "All is well". The angel’s message to the shepherds was, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10).
The "Good News" Christmas message is this: Jesus came to save us. His birth in a stable eventually led Him to the cross. His death on the cross provides salvation, peace, freedom and eternal life to all who by faith embrace it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes the act of God's reconciliation to the human race like this:
"God takes the humiliating path of reconciliation and thereby sets the world free. God wants to be guilty of our guilt and takes upon Himself the punishment and suffering that this guilt brought to us. God stands in for godlessness, love stands in for hate, the Holy One for the sinner. Now there is no longer any godlessness, any hate, any sin that God has not taken upon Himself, suffered, and atoned for. Now there is no more reality and no more world that is not reconciled with God and in peace. That is what God did in His beloved Son Jesus Christ - the unfathomable mystery of the love of God for the world."
When we fully embrace that God substituted His beloved Son to take on our sin guilt, once and for all, it brings needed perspective to the daily ins and outs, ups and downs that tends to fix our focus on the ever-changing here and now, rather than focusing our hearts on the promises of God and that which cannot change our eternal destiny. This is the highest level of understanding and acceptance of God's will, that "All is well" and can be embraced by all who have placed their trust in Christ even in the midst of circumstances that would otherwise dictate, "All is not well". As some of you are reading our message you’re likely feeling that this message is custom made for you.
I like the Horatio Spafford’s resolve in the hymn, “It is Well”: "Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well. It is well with my soul!'"
Can you, like Paul, declare, "I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Are you convinced of this? If so, there is no greater blessing!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I am not fearful of the present nor the future when I place my complete confidence in You and recognize that Your plans prevail. Daily I make my plans but I acknowledge and find peace in knowing that You have the final say. Help me to find comfort in You for the circumstances of life that throw me for a curve, knowing all the while, that You will supply the needed resources, compassionate caregivers, growing faith, and spiritual support that leads to victory so that I can truly proclaim and be convinced myself that, “All is well!”
Special Year-end Financial Appeal
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.
Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.
If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.
To donate directly online click here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376
Please Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states "Brooksyne Weber"
Stephen & Brooksyne
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"All is Well" (Acapella) Video Doxology Vocal Ensemble This is a beautiful song written by Michael W. Smith that coincides with a children's book written by Frank Peretti, titled "All is Well". I have a copy of this book in my library and highly recommend it to parents and grandparents for their (grand) children. It's an excellent read aloud book.
"The Blessing" Video Final song sung in our church for 2020. It seems that this song, along with "Waymaker" Video and "He Will Hold You Fast" Video have been great sources of encouragement to God's people this last year!
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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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