A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Message summary: Our normal reaction when facing trials is anything but joy. It's human nature to complain, become discouraged, even to grow bitter, etc. But God's Word gives us a much more hopeful perspective, "Consider it all joy".
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"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2).
We live out in the country and it's relatively quiet most of the time, especially compared to the city. At night we tend to hear more natural sounds than human-made. It's not that unusual to hear an ambulance or other emergency vehicle but usually it's in the far distance.
Early yesterday morning we heard a siren that kept getting closer and closer. We became more attentive as we stood near the windows and finally spotted the ambulance pulling into our neighbor's yard backing right up to their entry. We began to prayerfully intercede for the older couple not knowing of the medical circumstances but keenly aware they have ongoing medical challenges. Uncertain of the details our hearts were warmed when we saw our neighbor driving his car behind the ambulance as they were transporting his wife.
Throughout our worship service we continued to be prayerful of their circumstances which prompted Brooksyne to place a call to the husband after we got home and saw his car back in the drive. Thankfully, his wife got the needed medical treatment and is doing much better.
Three or four Decembers ago we were away and Ester needed help as she went into Afib (her heart paces at 222 BPM when this happens). It was the first time she accessed an ambulance on her own, and we were very grateful for the way the EMT's assisted her in her medical crisis.
In one way or another, the wail of a siren indicates need. We often send an arrow prayer when we hear a "wailing" siren knowing in one way or another someone is in trouble; an accident, a medical emergency, a fire, or in the case of the police, perhaps criminal activity.
Nearly twenty years ago I had a health situation requiring several surgeries over the course of a year. I came to realize that you don't pick your problems and you don't schedule them. It's that way when you hear the wailing sound of a siren. No one chose to have the problem they are facing or scheduled it at that time.
As Frances Havergal wrote in her wonderful hymn, "Like A River Glorious".
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully, all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
We have no trouble grasping that "joy falleth from above" but how essential to realize and come to peace with the truth that ultimately trials do as well.
The daily portion of Scripture presents a vital spiritual truth. But it also goes against the grain. Our normal reaction when facing trials is anything but joy. It's human nature to complain, become discouraged, even to grow bitter, etc.
But God's Word gives us a much more hopeful perspective, "Consider it all joy". As maturing Christians we can do so as we realize that these very trials are ultimately ordained by God for our own good. The testing of our faith produces endurance and endurance leads to spiritual maturity. We want to get there but may very well resist God's appointed way. Great faith is demonstrated when we "consider it all joy!"
Yesterday we sang a song titled "Yes I Will" which is a proclamation of praise even in the midst of trials. It expresses an outlook believers should all have and singing the words really brings home the needed perspective every time we sing it:
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
All my days, oh, yes I will
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, way too often our emotions direct our thoughts and behaviors influencing us in what we say, think and do. But Scripture informs us that You are working on our behalf even when we can't feel it, even when we can't see it. Ours is a faith walk, where the substance of things hoped for is not always evidenced by the natural eye. But when we look with our spiritual vision we see the greater perspective where fruitful growth takes place in the midst of our waiting on You to work all things out, for Your glory and honor, and for our greater good. Amen.
We saw this ambulance at a car show in Mount Joy. It looked ancient, something from the movie classics. We were taken back when we saw that it is a 1973 model, the year we graduated from high school! Ouch!
This last Saturday we traveled up to the Lehigh Valley to visit Stephen's niece, Gretchen, who celebrated her 40th birthday.
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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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