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Friday, May 18, 2007

Tree growing on abandoned bridge support Susquehanna River
This last weekend I was on a boat with a friend on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA. I was intriqued by this lone tree which had managed to grow on a long abandoned bridge pier, an example of perseverance!

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"Don't Look Back!"
"Remember Lot's wife!" (Luke 17:32). "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
Last night we went to a banquet sponsored by the Associates for Biblical Research whose mission is to "Demonstrate the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological research and related investigation." One of the speakers told of the research concerning the location of Sodom and Gomorrah and the overwhelming archaeological evidence for a cataclysmic event just as the Bible describes.  He mentioned that bodies had been found (I assume he meant skeletal remains.) Wouldn't it be interesting in time if a human shaped pillar of salt is found?
Lot and his family were told to flee prior to the destruction and were clearly instructed not to look back. But Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Jesus used this as an illustration of discipleship and the words to a song many of us know comes to mind: "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back!"
A popular expression repeated often is "I'm keeping my options open." Such a sentiment may be commendable in many areas of life that require flexibility, but what a tragic shame when it is extended to the eternal spirit!  So many fail to demonstrate long-term commitment to Jesus Christ and His cause.  Instead they have an attitude of "What's in it for me?" 
I recall early in my ministry sharing the Gospel with a man and challenging him to commit his life to Christ.  He expressed, "Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try it out. I'll give it a few weeks and see if my life gets any better."  I don't recall what ever became of him but I know we don't just "try" Christ.  We "trust" Him daily for the long haul.
His calls us to a lifelong commitment that will, of course, extend into eternity.  Lot's wife, in direct disobedience to a nonnegotiable command, looked back upon burning Sodom.  Jesus uses this historical story to illustrate His call that we not look back with longing for the sinful life we previously lived.

I desire to have a deep persevering faith that bears much fruit.  In great part this will happen as I acknowledge that some choices are clearly not optional in this Christian marathon.  I want to respond to the straightforward words Jesus expressed to His first disciples and, like millions before me, I too want to "take up my cross daily and follow Him."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, I empty myself of the distracting desires and destructive deeds that pull me into the world where Satan rules with his power of darkness.  In denying myself of former earthbound pleasures I find lasting satisfaction that will guide me all the days of my life and usher me into the eternal kingdom of heaven.  There is absolutely nothing of worth here on earth that equals the gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Your Son.  Amen.

The speaker last night was Dr. John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research.  He made this quip last night as he addressed many archaeologists: "I feel sorry for archaeologists since their career is in ruins."
Associates for Biblical Research

Here's an interesting webpage concerning today's topic including a photo of a pillar.  Here's a webpage concerning archaeological research at Sodom and Gomorrah.

Follow-Up Note: "How blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven." Wednesday I candidly confessed my forgetting a chapel speaking assignment at a Christian school earlier that morning. My teacher friend got back to me and what a blessing to receive his forgiveness. As Brooksyne and I discussed this and seek to take steps to prevent it from happening again she recalled a story she heard from a pastor friend:
He was invited to play an instrumental solo for a church service but forgot and didn’t show up.  When he was questioned about his whereabouts he felt just terrible so he agreed to make up for it the following Sunday.  But alas, he forgot again!  (We tell this story because "Misery loves company.")

Biblical references to grandparents: Yesterday I used an illustration concerning my grandpa and asked readers to consider examples of grandparent/grandchild relationships in the Bible. The reader who sent the most for consideration mentioned two that I had considered (as well as most others who responded) but dug in for another clear case and one that is not so clear.

1) Paul mentions Timothy's mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois in II Tim 1:5.
2) Naomi became nursemaid to her grandson Obed in Ruth 4:16.
3) Joseph took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim to see their grandfather when he was nearing death in Gen 48:1ff.
4) It's not completely clear whether or not Lot knew his two grandsons by his own daughters in Gen 19:37-38.

Another reader sent me this informative webpage concerning grandparents and family relationships.

Today's music:
"I Have decided to follow Jesus"
Listen to audio
Another version
"Lord You Have My Heart"
Listen to audio  
Nice local church audio versions from this site.

Mystery photo
Where is this?   Your answer

The photo I shared earlier this week was of Ester and me in a boat on the Susquehanna River with the PA state capitol in the background!

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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. Used by permission; 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 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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