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Friday, June 2, 2023

Amish work team
This morning these mules are all fitted up to do their team work on the farm in Southern Lancaster County.
Click to enlarge

"Thru It All"

Message summary: If the song had been written at the time the apostle Paul would surely have been encouraged and strengthened, "Through It All"!

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"Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name” (Acts 9:15,16) "Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure" (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).

This morning we visited for a few minutes with our friend Mark who gave us an update on a traumatic event his newly married son in law and daughter went through in January of this year. He was working in a 6' trench that collapsed and his son-in-law's body was completely covered over with dirt. A fellow worker spotted his one hand that he raised above his head as he was being buried alive and he quickly dug out his face so he could breathe. The rescue effort took eight hours. He sustained serious injuries but the family said it could have been even worse (including certain death had he not been spotted in time).

His wife rushed to the accident scene and yelled to him that they were expecting a child while he was still trapped in the dirt. It was her attempt to keep him hanging in there, not the original plan she had of telling him that evening after he got home from work! But Mark's message that especially touched our hearts this morning was that the young couple believe this was part of God's sovereign plan for their lives. Early in their marriage they were put to a critical test, one of many they will likely endure, though hopefully none that compare to this one. We link to an article describing the situation though it's a little different in that he was uncovered to the neck by the time the reporters began the story.

Thru-It-All body shopWe have a business on Main Street in our community called the "Thru-It-All Body Shop." Years ago I stopped in to visit with the owner and the name of the shop, as I suspected, was based on a song from the seventies called "Through It All".

As I shared with the owner he recounted God's faithfulness in helping him through the years in dealing with the various hardships and overcomings that go with starting and running a business. It's the only business I've ever seen with this name. I did a Google search and couldn’t find another like it!

There was a very specific time in my life when the song, "Through it all" meant a great deal to me. Early in our ministry we hit some major obstacles and closed doors. One year after our marriage and following our Bible College years we moved to Pennsylvania from Missouri in August of 1977 to start a church. Although I felt I had been led by the Lord, all the doors seemed to be closed and I wondered if I had made a huge mistake and was leading my bride of one year into our first major heartache. She was just 21 and I was 22 at the time.

We were sitting in a little blue Datsun pickup and my memory is still so vivid that I remember precisely where it happened, at the junction of Routes 255 and 948 near Kersey PA.

Brooksyne was sitting in the middle and a college friend named Larry, who had come up from Pittsburgh to encourage us in our new venture, was sitting on the passenger side. I was so intensely discouraged about the doors that kept closing regarding both our housing and a meeting place for the church plant that tears involuntarily flowed down my cheeks.

I sure didn't want Brooksyne or Larry to see me, so I angled my face toward the left of the window as I drove along. The old pickup didn't have a built-in tape player (that was a real luxury at the time), but we had a small cassette tape player affixed to the dashboard which we loaded with inspirational cassettes.

Just then a song popular at the time, "Through It All" began to play and God used it to renew my assurance that He would see me through our time of hardship. God also used the prayer that Larry prayed over us as he sensed my discouragement.  That was in 1977 and by God's grace we went on to see a strong church established in the Elk County area and are still in contact with many of the congregational members to this day over 45 years later. In fact Monday we had lunch with the Matangelo family who were among the first people to visit our newly formed church. God is faithful!

Acts 9:16At Saul's conversion Ananias was commissioned to tell him (he later became Paul) “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name (Acts 9:15,16)

Today's second Scripture portion is a tiny condensation of the troubles that Paul endured in his ministry. He had certainly experienced the reality of the message that Ananias had given him at his conversion, "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name”.

I think if the song had been written at the time Paul would surely have been encouraged and strengthened "Through It All"!

1) How does Paul's experience with trials compare to yours?
2) What specific trials have you endured in life that prompt the sentiment "Through It All"?

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Praying manDaily prayer: Father, since we have chosen to be Your disciple we though we will suffer for the name of Christ. We sure don't relish the idea but we can be accepting of Your plan for our lives. Jesus Himself said that in this world we would have trouble but we can be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. With His example and by His Spirit we too can overcome the world's ridicule, cruelty, injustice or indifference. Through it all we can become stronger in our walk, firm in our convictions and represent the light of Christ in a world filled with darkness and confusion. Keep our hands to the plow we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Wife of trapped Allentown worker told him she's pregnant with their 1st child as rescue was underway" Article and video on trench collapse

"Through It All"  Click to listen on YouTube  Andrae Crouch

Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His word.

I've had many tears and sorrows.  I've had questions for tomorrow.
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation, God gave blessed consolation
That my trials only come to make me strong.

I thank God for the mountains and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know that He could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do.

Thru-It-All Body Shop maintains the spirit of faith and giving within the local community, working with Car Care Ministry in Mount Joy.

"Sovereign Over Us"   Click to listen on YouTube    Shane and Shane

"Firm Foundation (He Won’t)"  Click to listen on YouTube  Cody Carnes

I’ve still got joy in chaos
I’ve got peace that makes no sense
I won’t be going under
I’m not held by my own strength
‘Cause I’ve built my life on Jesus
He’s never let me down
He’s faithful in every season
So why would He fail now

He won’t, He won’t
He won’t fail
He won’t fail

Nick on bike trail
Yesterday I went for a bike ride on the Lancaster Junction rail trail with our friend Nick Nichols. Nick has read about our enjoyment of bike riding using our electric bikes and wants to get an electric bike. Here we are stopped in front of an Amish farm along the trail where we bought a cold drink of home-made meadow tea for sale on the honor system. Nick has a really smart watch. As he was riding it asked him, "Are you riding a bike?"!
Click to enlarge

Amish barn
This barn loft door appears to be hanging by a thread.
(Photo by Nick Nichols)

Lancaster County countryside
As we drive from company to company in Southern Lancaster County these are the beautiful farms that still get our attention. We know that many of you enjoy these photos as well.
Click to enlarge

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