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Monday, April 25, 2022
"The Divine Pacemaker"
Message summary: As we invite the Lord to direct our hearts into His love and perseverance we will find His strength and peace altogether sufficient!
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“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
This morning Ester is having her pacemaker replaced at Hershey Medical Center. Her present pacemaker has lasted for nearly nine years and is still working fine but the battery is running out. (Regular readers may recall that Ester was born with heart disease.)
This is Ester's fourth pacemaker and each time they last a little longer. It's amazing to me how a small battery demanding constant availability can last that long!
Most of us with healthy hearts have God-given internal controls to direct our hearts in this manner, which we probably take for granted. This is part of our autonomic nervous system which regulates involuntary physiologic processes including our heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, etc. When we’re physically active our heart rate speeds up. When we’re in a resting or inactive mode our heart rate automatically slows down. We don’t even think about it!
I often look for spiritual truths nestled in the ordinary experiences of life and today I want to consider how God directs our hearts. The daily verse is an appeal from the Apostle Paul for the Thessalonian believers: "May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance".
Now certainly Paul wasn’t writing of the electrical signals that physically direct the heart regarding rate and so forth. He’s writing about a spiritual directing, one that we all need just as vitally as the physical. We may consider the Lord directing our hearts like a divine pacemaker!
So today we will make our encouragement to you twofold based upon this Scripture. We will purposefully change the pronouns from "your" to "our" to assist us in personally applying this truth.
1) “May the Lord direct our hearts into God’s love.” Of course one of the most essential themes weaved throughout the whole of Scriptures is God’s love. An assurance of God’s love is vital for living the overcoming life. Many verses come to mind with this theme, however, for our thoughts today let us consider a prayer by Paul for the Ephesians: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19). We need our hearts directed into God’s love.
2) “May the Lord direct our hearts into Christ’s perseverance.” Paul uses Christ as the supreme example of One who endured great affliction; His wilderness temptation, His betrayal, His suffering, His ultimate sacrificial death on the cross. He was reviled and yet He did not retaliate and the list goes on and on. We are to “consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). The early church was in the midst of great persecution and would need a great deal of perseverance to endure ongoing affliction as they waited for the Lord’s return or their call to heaven. Today we consider our brethren in places like Ukraine and Nigeria undergoing persecution and those of you undergoing specific times of testing and trial. We need our hearts directed into Christ’s perseverance.
As we invite the Lord to direct our hearts into His love and perseverance we will find His strength and peace altogether sufficient!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, our hearts are directed into Your love and Christ’s perseverance we are encouraged and emboldened; encouraged as we’re reminded of Your persistent love for us and emboldened as we read of Christ’s perseverance in the worst of circumstances. Continue to show us the many ways that You love us and fortify us in the struggles we face daily. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Note regarding Ester: Her pacemaker replacement is scheduled for 8:00AM. Brooksyne took her over early this morning for what is expected to be an outpatient procedure. I will heading over after I complete this message to visit her in the recovery area and we hope she is able to come home this afternoon!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me" Video CityAlight
Saturday morning I went to a men's breakfast with some friends at the Shady Maple and heard Steve Wingfield, an evangelist, challenge us to faithfulness. On the platform is a pastor from Romania sharing about the refugee situation in his church near the Ukrainian border.
Following the breakfast we headed up to the Poconos for a bike ride down the Lehigh River Gorge above Jim Thorpe, PA. I am standing next to a chunk of anthracite coal weighing nearly 8 tons. That's enough to heat my house for two years!
I plan to share some more photos from this trip tomorrow.
After our church service yesterday we joined friends from our Sunday School class (ABF) for dinner. To the right are our hosts Rick and Debra Strickler and on the left fellow guests Gordy and Karen Harrower. It was a beautiful spring day to visit out on their deck overlooking farmland.
Later yesterday afternoon we headed over to the Old Windmill Farm to visit with our friends, the Lapp family. The younger children had a great time finding Easter candy we had hidden throughout the property. (There's a lot of neat places to hide candy on a farm!)
Sitting out on their front porch on a pleasant day in a peaceful rural setting seemed so far removed from the troubles of the world and reminded me of family gatherings when I was a child on the Steincross farm in southern Missouri.
A highlight of our visit was when Jesse brought an egg in the process of hatching. I held the egg in my hand as we all watched the tiny chick chip his way through the shell (22 second video).
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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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