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Monday, August 27, 2007

Variegated Dahlia
Saturday we toured the Stone Gables Estate near Elizabethtown, PA that had a magnificent dahlia garden.
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"We Are A Vapor, He Is Eternal"

"You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).  "But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King" (Jeremiah 10:10).

We had a wonderful church service yesterday, with an extra special touch of the Lord's Spirit. A candid testimony of victory and overcoming by one of our youth who is heading off to college dovetailed into the morning's message. The testimony brought tears to many eyes and the pastor followed with a special call to sensitivity toward the Holy Spirit's leading in each of our lives. The next several songs were so appropriate in focusing praise to God and the congregation sang out with heartfelt enthusiasm.   The praise team and congregation were visibly moved as the Spirit was working within our hearts.  As we were being seated the pastor commented, "Our praise team's enthusiasm this morning is not a result of their eating Wheaties, but it is the moving of the Spirit."

One of the songs, "Be Unto Your Name" especially moved us into grateful worship toward God.  The following stanza transformed my heart as I contemplated God's time perspective in contrast to a finite earthbound way of regulating time.

We are a moment, You are forever.
Lord of the ages, God before time.
We are a vapor, You are eternal
Love everlasting, reigning on high.

I suppose the one line that especially stayed with me even through this writing, "We are a vapor, You are eternal."  Songwriters, Lynne DeShazzo and Gary Sadler, share their thoughts about writing this song: "We started talking about how fragile and temporal life is ---that it's just a vapor or a moment and how our lives pass so quickly and yet God's life goes on and on forever. Juxtaposed against the vastness and eternity of God, all that we could say in the chorus of the song we wrote is what anyone would say when faced with that reality – Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. It seemed to echo a heart expression of every believer – awe, humility and reverence in the light of One so great."

James writes of this in the first daily text. "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." Based upon our present comprehension of time this may be hard to grasp although I notice time seems to move a lot faster as I'm quickly edging along in the life cycle.

To seek another perspective of how quickly time flees take a walk through a cemetery. We walk past Kraybill Cemetery 1/3 mile up the road from our house almost everyday.  Sometimes Brooksyne and I take a slow, thoughtful walk through examining the markers. As we do we're always reminded that life is indeed a vapor. Expressions of faith on some of the grave headings remind those left behind of the eternal dimension of one's life. A Scripture message we inscribed on my parent's marker sums up the entire reason for living as well as the reason for dying, "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."

What great assurance the short statement that comprises our second daily verse must have given Jeremiah and will also give us today. "But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King" (Jeremiah 10:10).   Three words describe the immutable God of the universe; true, living and eternal. 

Consider each of these bedrock adjectives in light of the shifting sands of the world's value system.  They are just as valid in describing God today as they were 2,600 years ago, for God does not change.  They describe the One who said "I am the God of…"  The present tense is always necessary in describing the true, living and eternal God.  He always "is".

The song I noted in the earlier part of the message goes on to proclaim,
Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.
Highest praises, honor and glory.
Be unto Your name, be unto Your Name.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Eternal God, faithful throughout the ages, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power.  Great and marvelous are Your deeds, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are Your ways, King of the ages.  How grateful we are for all Your works and for Your redemptive love that saves us from our sins.  Amen.

Some Fellow Overcomers

John ShertzerLast Friday I visited with John Shetrzer, a friend I met shortly after moving to Lancaster County in 2001.  Early this year he went through a very challenging work transition as he sought God's direction.  I ran into him several months ago at 5:00AM at a WaWa market.  At that time I was driving for my Amish boss and John was delivering papers. The Lord opened a great door for John and he is now the executive director of Black Rock Retreat, a Christian retreat center in southern Lancaster County.  Of course in many ways I remain in transition (I probably always will by intent due to the itinerant nature of our ministry and our desire to have various ministry fronts!)

Chris BertYesterday afternoon Chris Bert, a friend from our local church stopped by and we went on a four mile country walk, followed by a glass of iced tea on our deck. Chris has had some hard setbacks in life the last several years and has gone through a divorce and is now dealing with custody issues with his children. But he is seeking to stay faithful to God and daily draw closer to Him.  

Saturday Garden Tour

Stone Gable Estate
Brooksyne and I went on a garden tour Saturday on the grounds of the Stone Gables Estate near Elizabethtown PA. The home was built 100 years ago  by the founder of the famous chocolate company, M&M Mars located in Elizabethtown. It is now used by the Abel family who founded Brittany's Hope. They believe it is their purpose in life to advocate for children worldwide making it financially possible for loving families to adopt them. They have adopted many children into their family.  What a delightful afternoon and very worthy cause!  Brittany's Hope

Variegated Dahlia
Cluster of Variegated Dahlias.  There are over 500 varieties growing on over 2500 dahlia plants.  What a sight to behold!

Shiny leafI found this bright, shiny leaf intriquing. It appeared to be lit from within!  I enjoy flowers but also leaves such as the Coleus that have deep hues of color and density.  I'm not sure what kind of leaf this.

Today's suggested music:
"Be Unto Your Name" (audio) sample clip of the song we sang yesterday that I used in the message.  
"You are Holy - Prince of Peace" Here's the song we ended our worship set with yesterday. This is a highly produced version with lots of instruments in a concert setting. In MHO it sounded a lot better in our little country church with mostly vocals!  (audio)

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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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