Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Daily Encouragement (01/01/14) "God Of The Ages"

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
New Year's Day Message

Mountains in NC
Lure Lake in North Carolina with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.
Here's a larger version of the same photo with a different Scripture verse.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player. (Please note: The podcast will not be ready till later this afternoon for this message.)

"God Of The Ages"

"From everlasting to everlasting You are God" (Psalm 90:2). "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-17).

God of the ages, history’s Maker,
planning our pathway, holding us fast,
shaping in mercy all that concerns us:
Father, we praise you, Lord of the past.

Early this morning we discussed whether to prepare a daily encouragement message since it is a holiday. But we feel the Lord may have someone that needs the perspective we will share concerning "God of the Ages" and as typically the case we also are blessed by God's Word as we study and prepare!

Our first daily text makes a glorious proclamation especially fitting as we begin a new year,
"From everlasting to everlasting You are God". From eternity past to eternity future God is God! Hebrews 13:8 states, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." As we sing in old hymn, "All may change, but Jesus never."

Our second daily text asserts the supremacy of Christ in all things. Note the four times in these three verses we read the words "all things". But today let us focus on the final one. "In Him all things hold together."

Hebrews 1:3 declares that He is "sustaining all things by His powerful Word." From the sub-atomic level to the farthest reaches of the universe Christ is upholding and sustaining all things, from the micro to macro. The word "sustaining" is translated "upholding" in the KJV. The Amplified Bible seeks to bring out the richness of the Greek by stating "upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power." The Greek word (pheron) is in the present active indicating a concept that is dynamic, not static. The Son's work of sustaining involves not only support, but also movement. He is the One who carries all things through on their appointed course.

Warren Wiersbe tells a story about a guide who took a group of people through an atomic laboratory. During the tour he explained how all matter was composed of rapidly moving electric particles. The tourists studied models of molecules and were amazed to learn that matter is made up primarily of space. During the question period, one visitor asked, “If this is the way matter works, what holds it all together?” For that, the guide had no answer.

But the Christian does have the answer: Jesus Christ! Because “He is before all things,” He can hold all things together. Again, this is another affirmation that Jesus Christ is God. Only God exists before all of Creation, and only God can make Creation cohere. To make Jesus Christ less than God is to dethrone Him.

There are many things in our lives that cause anxiety and distress. For some of you it might be a
health issue you or a loved one is dealing with. Brooksyne will share brief report below concerning Ester's heart catheritization yesterday. AlthougGiant Hershey kiss raised New Year's Eveh the procedure went fine the cardiologist informed us that Ester is beginning to demonstrate some of the longterm effects of someone who has had a heart correction like she had (The Fontan procedure), specifically damage to her liver due to the rerouting of blood flow which causes increased pressure on her liver. For others the anxiety and distress may be a related to our marriage, children, finances, and many other matters. For all of us it may be condition of the world with all the turmoil and uncertainty.

At the present we don't know how these and many other issues will all work out. But we can experience great comfort in this eternal truth: God is sustaining all things by His powerful word! God is sustaining every single microchip and every single cell in my body and everyone else's. "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:15).

The God who is sustaining all things is also sustaining each one of us. He speaks through the prophet Isaiah to the ancient people of God and thus through the Scriptures to all of us: "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth" (Isaiah 46:3).

Let us begin 2014 resting in the wonderful assurance of this powerful truth and raise our eyes heavenward to declare: "You are sustaining all things by Your powerful Word and You will accomplish what concerns me for You are my Sustainer; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting" (Hebrews 1:3, Psalm 138:8).

So here's the word of encouragement today, fellow believer. He who sustains all things will surely sustain you. He is ever dependable. Troubles that weigh you down today are under His absolute authority and as they run their course Jesus calls us to trust Him – yes, even in the midst of them. Let's do that!

"Teach us to know You, always among us,
quietly sovereign – Lord of our now."

Be encouraged today and have a blessed New Year!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for sending Jesus who came as God in the flesh, revealing to us Your character and personhood. You created all things and sustain them by Your powerful hand. That includes us, Your human creation. All that You created You also test. The plant life has tests of stress and endurance in the harsh elements and we, Your human creation, must endure the tests of endurance common to the flesh; whether it is relational, physical, spiritual, emotional or financial. We will endure these tests and turn them into a testimony as we rely on You, for "You will accomplish what concerns me; for You are my sustainer". You existed before anything else and You hold all creation together. We are immensely grateful and trusting You for another year of blessing, challenge and growth.  Amen.

Ester with Dr. Weber 12-31-13
Ester with Dr. Weber prior to her heart cath procedure.

Brooksyne's medical update on Ester: Ester underwent a heart catheterization yesterday afternoon Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Howard Weber (we enjoyed the "name" though we are not related) tested a number of potential troublesome areas after finding that Ester did not need further coil embolization. All the coils he inserted ten years ago are still intact. So why the low oxygen saturation? It's complicated to understand and explain and we are still studying out the information he shared with us so we can understand and explain more clearly. But essentially, due to Ester's complex heart disease, the fontan repair she had as a three year old child has some potential side effects that may not appear for many years such as the atrial flutter she's dealt with for the last fourteen years. And now she is experiencing some problems with her lungs as related to her liver function. Again, it's a side effect of the fontan surgery that essentially preserved her life. As mentioned, I can't explain this medical diagnosis well until I further understand it. But, essentially, her liver has been affected and further studies are in order. For those with a medical background Stephen found this medical seminar teaching video which is so very similar to what Ester has and is experiencing. Web page opens with video. (We sure appreciate the brilliance of doctors) Due to the information's technical nature I only watched a few minutes.

She is resting this morning (we came home late last night) and will take it easy for the next few days. Her oxygen sats remain in the low to mid eighties and this will continue which has been one of the hardest things to take away from her procedure yesterday. I expected them to find the problem and fix it as they have in the past. But we have the opportunity to put into practice, that which we preach: Troubles that weigh us down today are under His absolute authority and as they run their course Jesus calls us to trust Him – yes, even in the midst of them.

In this time of testing we trust God that He will grow all three of us. Thank you for your concerns and prayers.

Now for a moment of humor: Our pastor joined us yesterday and prayed with Ester prior to the surgery and we visited throughout the afternoon. He has become a good friend. He was with us and listened along when we received the surgeon's report. The doctor explained that among the possible drug treatments for Ester's condition, pulmonary arterial hypertension, will be Sildenafil citrate also using its much more familiar marketing name (which the curious can look up). He looked up at John and Stephen and with a twinkle in his eye said to the affect, "Now this would be for Ester, not for you!" I know we all blushed a bit!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

There are at least three songs written titled "God of the Ages"

One is an older hymn with these lyrics.

Our selected portion in our message is from a hymn with that title written by Margaret Clarkson which we enjoyed singing in our churches although I don't recall singing it for many years. I was unable to find a video version on line. It is set to the Gaelic tune BUNESSAN, which most people sing as "Morning Has Broken." The writer of this hymn lived a long life and died in 2008. Like so many hymn writers she had considerable adversity in life. See here.

Here are three more stanzas: These lyrics are theologically thoughtful and encouraging!

God of this morning, gladly your children
worship before you, trustingly bow;
teach us to know you always among us,
quietly sovereign ”Lord of our now.

God of tomorrow, strong overcomer,
princes of darkness own your command:
what then can harm us? We are your people,
now and forever kept by your hand.

Lord of past ages, Lord of this morning,
Lord of the future, help us, we pray:
teach us to trust you, love and obey you,
crown you each moment Lord of today!

We have also enjoyed a more recently song with the same title which is easily found on YouTube

"God Of The Ages"  Video 
Charles Billingsley

"Another Year Is Dawning"  Video  (Instrumental)

Giant Hershey kiss raised New Year's Eve
Yesterday I passed the giant 300 pound Hershey kiss that was raised last night in Hershey.

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Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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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.
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