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"Preserve me O God, for in You I put my trust" (Psalm 16:1). "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
Upon our arrival to Nashville, TN last Wednesday we settled into my sister's RV near Opryland. Stephen observed that we might be near Donelson Fellowship, the church in Tennessee, where Robert J. Morgan has pastored for the last 35 years. He happens to be one of our favorite authors. Sure enough we were only a few miles from the church so we decided to attend Sunday before we departed the Nashville area to head home.
We enjoyed the worship and the ministry in song, as well as Pastor Rob's message from Zephaniah 3 where he concluded his study series from this minor prophet. Pastor highlighted 3:17 which happens to be one of our favorite verses. Many years ago I put it to the tune of "Take My Life" and taught it to the church we pastored in Massachusetts and several others in an interim role. So often we feel like God is frowning at us because of our many failures, but Zephaniah paints the image of God quieting us with His love, singing over us instead of scolding us, presenting a different image than the one we shared yesterday about "The Encouragement of a Rebuke".
Interestingly, the gift presented to visitors at Donelson Fellowship was a copy of Morgan's book, "Red Sea Rules". When I broke my ankle in May 2008 I was laid up for several weeks before and after surgery. A thoughtful Daily Encouragement reader sent me "Red Sea Rules -10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times". The Lord used this book to help me trust Him more about a troubling matter that was causing my heart fear on an ongoing basis.
I needed it then and regularly need reminders that God is working behind the scenes and that He is a God of miracles. Morgan writes: "No sea is deeper than the ocean of His love. There is no army stronger than His hosts, no force greater than His throne of grace, no enemy who can overcome His direct and indirect work in our lives. The reality of the Rea Sea, in a word is this: God will always make a way for His tired, yet trusting, children, even if He must split the sea to do it."
Some 3,000 years ago the Psalmist asserted this trust in a simple statement of his faith. "In You I put my trust." I wonder how many believers down through the ages have identified with him and found comfort in their time of need. This Psalm, unlike several others written by David, gives no background regarding the source of his distress. I find comfort in this general, non-specific description since our distresses vary greatly, yet the prayer we find here is applicable to any need.
David experienced many days when despair would grip his heart. This would blur his vision of a loving and faithful God who provides deliverance from the troublesome circumstances of life. But once he began to meditate on the Scriptures his hope was renewed and his faith preserved.
In severe times of testing the enemy thoroughly enjoys playing mind games with us, causing us to second guess our every thought or action. We become fearful allowing uncertainty and doubt to replace our confidence. Sometimes the God-ordained circumstances of life make the appeal for divine preservation more urgent and heartfelt. The word "preserved" translates a very descriptive Hebrew word that literally means, "to hedge about."
Psalm 16 ends with this wonderful testimony of assurance; a result of steadfast trust: "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." Friends, you may especially need this reassuring Scripture today. Of course we all do. Our part is placing our confidence in the One who changes not which deepens our trust in Him.
Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice observes, “The God of the Bible is not weak; He is strong. He is all mighty. Nothing happens without His permission or apart from His purposes, even evil. Nothing disturbs or puzzles Him. His purposes are always accomplished. Therefore those who know Him rightly act with boldness, assured that God is with them to accomplish His own desirable purposes in their lives.”
A hymn writer expressed it another way, "We'll understand it better by and by." We may not understand the current pain, nor might we always see the end purpose on this side, but let's keep trusting! "For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as You call us to walk the narrow path the vast majority rejects, we thank You for the godly examples who have gone before us and shown us the way. Such giants of the faith as Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Paul and countless others throughout the generations have shown us the way to be faithful even in the midst of adversity. They made great sacrifices in their lifetime to gain an eternal inheritance in heaven. Their sacrifice was temporal and short in duration compared to the eternal pleasures they now enjoy. Help us not to resent the struggles that lead us to seek You in a deeper more intimate relationship. May we, like Job, declare “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You” (Job 42:2,5).
Some more photos from our trip to Tennessee
We strolled the streets of Franklin Tennessee, a quaint touristy town south of Nashville, and encountered a budding 16 year old country singer, Emily Ann Roberts, seeking to be discovered while her father protectively stood among the crowd.
A mountain scene along I-81 in northeast Tennessee.
Ever since I was a little boy riding down to my grandparent's home in southern Missouri my eyes were drawn to old barns, especially those barely standing. We passed this aging barn on its last legs in Virginia. Here's my favorite old barn photo we passed several years ago near Nappanee, Indiana.
The church we attended Sunday has outgrown its parking lot so it also uses a high school parking lot across the road. They courteously provided a shuttle service using golf carts, though Brooksyne insisted that we walk (which we did).
The Celebration Choir singing "We Rejoice" as they crowd together amidst the temporary staging for their upcoming Christmas musical.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources"Let Them See You" Video JJ Weeks Band We heard this beautiful song of consecration sung by a young man named Richard Van Kluyve who sure sounded alot like the original artist. The Nashville area has an abundance of talent and no telling who you might hear in the local churches of that area.
"We'll Understand It Better By And By" Video Guy Penrod
"Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" Video Selah Story behind the hymn.
"Only Trust Him" (piano & instrumental w/lyrics) Video Tammi Yates
Robert J. Morgan blog
"God Will Make A Way When There Seems To Be No Way" A brief video teaching by Robert J. Morgan. This demonstrates what a wordsmith he is.
Here is a selection of Robert J. Morgan books available on Amazon.
Brooksyne's Collection of Robert J. Morgan books: When I got home I gathered my books acquired over the years and found seven. My 8th one (missing in photo) is "Then Sings My Soul" Book One which I loaned to a young Russian teen. I have used Books One and Two hymn stories in each church we've pastored, often sharing a hymn background with the congregation. Robert J. Morgan presents them in the chronological order of which they are written helping the reader to consider the historical setting as the hymns unfolded over the centuries. I read each hymn story as a daily devotional until I read through both books. (Additionally, the hymns are presented in music format which is helpful for musicians who want to learn a "new" hymn.)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
Personal Ministry Update (Revised 11/12/14)
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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
"Clear Minded" - Longer, periodic articles on specific issues impacting the faithful believer and church. (Actually this is my intent but I haven't done much with it!)
"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.
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. Other versions are also occasionally used.
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