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Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Church traffic in Mount Joy, PA
These sights are reminiscent of our childhood when kids routinely rode in the back of pickups or station wagons that had a seat facing backwards. It was exciting for my younger sister and I when we had one of these station wagons but only looking back got old pretty quickly!
"The Assurance of God's Providence"
Travel note: This morning we will be traveling out to San Diego. During the time we are away from home we still hope to post several Daily Encouragement messages but probably not each weekday. See note below for the nature of our trip.
Message summary: We can have great assurance and peace when we rest in God’s providence.
Listen to our message on your audio player
"During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: 'Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him'" (Daniel 2:19-22).
The daily Scripture portion is a powerful proclamation of the providence of God. Here's an historic definition of this theological term: "God's works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing of all His creatures and all their actions." (Westminster shorter catechism)
The gotquestions.org teaching site defines, "Divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things.
Today's text is an example of God's providence. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and God revealed to Daniel both the dream and the meaning, a panoramic sweep through hundreds of years into the future with the rise and fall of various kingdoms. We look back now and see how this interpretation has been marvelously fulfilled.
"Praise be to the name of God forever and ever." Before Daniel revealed the dream to the king he offers praise to God. He "praised the God of heaven" (v. 19).
"Wisdom and power are His." This timeless truth is so instructive and encouraging in light of the many issues of uncertainty we face; those things which cause us anxiety and fear. Some we commonly deal with such as the turmoil in the world and especially at this time here in America with uncertainty as to where the nation is headed. Others are personal and reflect our individual situations. It may be a health need, a job situation, a family matter or many other issues that trouble one's spirit.
"He changes times and seasons." We see the hand of God in the changing of the seasons as He ordained at creation. Following the great flood God made a covenant with Noah and seasonal changes have been an evidence of God's faithfulness ever since.
"He sets up kings and deposes them." History sure validates this. Some 2,600 years have passed since Daniel made this statement and history abundantly demonstrates that many kings and kingdoms have come and gone. We live out our lives in a tiny window in the scope of God's providential dealings. Our perspective is narrowly skewed if we don't constantly observe the bigger landscape of God's dealings with humankind.
"He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things." We must look to God as we direct our focus toward Him. A great need for the earnest follower of Christ in this information overload age is godly discernment. It seems that we are awash in biased news, outright lies, distortions, spins and misleading information. We need revelation from God's Word concerning the deep and hidden things not revealed by man, but revealed to our hearts by the inner working of the Holy Spirit.
"He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him." This last phrase really, really blesses us as we prepare this message. Daniel needed the light of God's revelation to interpret the king's dream. God revealed the dream and its meaning to Daniel in the middle of the night. Rather than rushing to the king and boasting of his interpretive skills Daniel broke forth in praise to God and made this glorious declaration about our omniscient God: "He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him".
We're unable to see "what lies in darkness" so let us walk with God everyday of our earthly journey since "light dwells with Him". Nothing surprises God! Since He knows what lies ahead let us be assured that the light of His glory will illumine our path and give us the needed light to see our way through the troubling and narrow passages that await us. God will replace our fear of the future with His promise of provision for that which lies ahead.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that wisdom is given to those who submit to Your authority, those who honor and reverence Your holiness. The opposite is true of fools since they despise wisdom and godly instruction. You grant a treasure of good sense to the godly, for You are our shield, protecting us as we walk in integrity. When we come under Your authority wisdom will enter our hearts and knowledge will fill us with joy. Discernment and understanding will keep us safe. Father, You are the bright light that comes bursting forth when darkness seeks to blindside our view. All foes are rendered powerless in Your presence and at Your command. Thank You for the marvelous wisdom available to us as Your children.
(See Proverbs 2: The Benefits of Wisdom)
Travel note (continued):
We had planned for several months to make a trip to San Diego to visit our longtime friend, Marilyn Thompson. The family was keeping us informed concerning Marilyn's declining health and we knew her time was near. However she passed away Saturday, April 15. The family urged us to come anyway so we are going to be with the family and included some travel time as well. We will attend her celebration of life on May 6, which would be her 84th birthday. Here is her obituary.
We met Marilyn through Daily Encouragement some 20 years ago. The photo above shows Marilyn when she visited our home in May of 2008 along with her son Dean and daughter-in-law Jill along with their first two children, Hilliard and Josie Page. Three more came along making a total of five grandchildren for Marilyn.
During their visit in 2008 Marilyn told us the story of how she came across our online ministry about eight years earlier. She mentioned a reader's name, Clare, and asked if we knew her. I assumed she meant a personal acquaintance of ours and we did not recognize the name. Turns out, it was a friend of hers in California who had initially shared with her a daily encouragement message during a very difficult period in her life. Marilyn reached out to us sharing her need in an email. In response Brooksyne wrote back and included a prayer she wrote on behalf of Marilyn's need.
This exchange of conversations and prayers began a long-term friendship between her and Marilyn. An interesting detail: Years later we met Clare while we were in San Diego who was Marilyn's friend. She was a prayer warrior in Marilyn's church who influenced many women in their faith walk. Clare went to be with the Lord a couple years ago.
While in southern California we expect to also visit with friends Richard and Elnora Dresselhaus (Marilyn's former pastor and wife) and Steve and Betsy Nickless, longtime readers of DE. We will also visit the area around Joshua Tree National Park. and celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary!
In 2010, after a visit to the Great Smokies, we picked up our friends Jesse and Wilma Dourte, who had been staying in Roanoke, VA before we stopped to visit Marilyn at her East Coast home in Bethesda, MD. She had prepared a lovely lamb dinner for us that evening and was looking forward to meeting the Dourtes. As we sat around her beautiful dining room table she told her amazing testimony of how she came to faith. We had heard it before but, right along with the Dourtes, we were rejoicing and praising God in the way He took her off a path filled with many years of regret and grew her into a devoted and fruitful woman of God.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"He Sees What We Don't" Click to listen on YouTube 11th Hour
This last Sunday we had a missions service at our church with this colorful background on the platform. Dave, the missions pastor, is using a baseball bat for an illustration. At one point he swung the bat which reminded me of one of my all time greatest pastoral faux pas from some 35 years ago. For the curious I told the story in this Daily Encouragement message titled "The Blessing Of Being Forgiven".
The mural is made up of thousands of facial photos representing people from all over the world as seen in this close-up.
Sunday we followed several Amish buggies on the way home from our church service. The Amish meet in homes for their church services and the host family provides a meal for attendees afterwards. As the family grows the buggy gets a bit tight and warm, so we often see one child sitting on the side of the buggy. That's air conditioning!
Yesterday I mowed the lawn and noticed around sunset how the trees are coming along with our dogwood beginning to bloom which we will miss this year.
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Stephen & Brooksyne
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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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