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Monday, December 3, 2007
Here's an interesting sight I suppose most of you won't see where you live.
As we walk into Darrenkamp's, a locally owned grocery store,
we are greeted by this yellow tree with John Deere-themed ornaments.
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"Order My Steps"
"Order my steps in Thy Word" (Psalm 119:133).
We really enjoy taking lengthy nature walks and try to do so several times a week. We are getting our first blast of wintry weather and yesterday's walk was brisk as we were showered with a cold misty rain just bordering on slushy snow. Although Brooksyne doesn't take well to the cold outdoors our intent is to keep up these beneficial walks all through the winter. It brightens our outlook, gives us opportunity to talk together, increases our appreciation for God's creation, and certainly is a great health advantage.
This brings to mind a more vital need in regard to our steps as expressed in the daily text by the Psalmist. I want to have an earnest, ongoing, daily desire that my steps be ordered by the Lord and based on the truths, principles, and spirit of God's Word. Other versions translate the phrase, "Establish my footsteps in Your word" (NASV) and "Direct my footsteps according to your word" (NIV).
The Bible often uses the example of walking to describe how we are to live out our Christian life in step with God. The very first use of the word in a spiritual sense is in regard to Enoch who "walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." Enoch's great grandson, Noah, was "a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God."
A wonderful reassuring promise we can lean upon is from Leviticus 26:12: "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people." In Moses' final message to the children of Israel he often uses this same theme: "Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess" (Deuteronomy 5:33).
As I studied for this message I was blessed with the abundance of references all through the Bible related to this theme, far too many for this short message, but certainly worthy of study. The final Bible writer, John, uses this theme often in his letters: "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
"Order my steps in Thy Word." Certainly one aspect in the personal application of the brief but power packed daily verse is having a submissive heart to learn more about God and to obey His Word. Surely we cannot merely pray this portion without have a growing knowledge of the Word and a determination to obey God. Earlier in this very Psalm we read, "I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes" (v. 59).
Today, may the Lord God help each of us to truly consider our ways, direct our steps according to His statutes, and walk in step with Him!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, because I love Your commands more than worldly pleasures or temporal possessions I despise the paths that lead me astray like a lost sheep. You have gone before me and cleared the way so that I might follow in Your steps and the steps of other righteous, godly saints. I am comforted in knowing that I don't walk alone, but I walk hand in hand with You as my Guide. Through eyes of faith I see a great cloud of witnesses, those spoken of in the Bible and those I've known in my lifetime, who've already finished the race cheering me on as I persevere in this path of righteousness. May I endure hardship as a form of discipline and may I wholeheartedly seek You above everything else, for You are a Rewarder of those who diligently seek You. Amen.
Brooksyne's Weekend Note: Saturday we had our friends, Mike and Michelle Stillman over for a late breakfast, along with four of their six children. As we prepared to eat Brooksyne suggested we sing "Great is Thy Faithfulness", which we frequently do with meal guests. It was wonderful to sing a hymn and to observe Annalise, their six year old daughter, confidently singing these words of praise from her heart. It turns out that this is the theme song for Philadelphia Biblical University, where Michelle's father, Sherrill Babb, serves as president. So the kids had an extra special reason to be familiar with the words of "Great is Thy Faithfulness."
Our custom of singing this great hymn goes back to the mid-nineties when we pastored in New England. A father had brought his daughter, Danielle, to a secular college in our area and wanted her to attend church while she was far from home. So he, along with his wife and Danielle's siblings, brought her over to meet us. He was actually scouting us out and responsibly protecting and providing guidance to his daughter. Although these folks were recent immigrants from Grenada we immediately sensed our spiritual kinship in Christ and had the entire family over for a meal. As we were preparing to eat he suggested we sing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and it was a tremendous blessing we recall to this day. (Danielle ended up attending our church all four years of college and was a genuine blessing to our congregation.)
A suggestion to our readers: Try doing this! It will be a blessing and you will also see how the first verse of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and the chorus with the line, "All I have needed Thy hand hath provided" certainly ties in a musical prayer of thanksgiving over the meal.
Stephen's Weekend Note: Yesterday we had a neat experience as our church was being dismissed. Our custom, like many churches is for the pastor and his wife to stand in the back and greet the folks as they depart. Sometimes it can take a while to get out as lines form in two sanctuary aisles and it becomes a big gathering place for fellowship as we slowly wait our turn. Suddenly we heard people singing "Happy Birthday" in one line as several pointed toward Helen, a woman who was celebrating her 86th birthday. Another birthday song in a different location followed Helen's and we ended up singing it four times. There's a lot of December 2 birthdays in our church!
This especially captured my thoughts because the night before we had a Community Tree Lighting on Main Street in Mount Joy. Lots of people were gathered so we saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. I saw a man I had met only once or twice before and we got to talking. Out of curiosity I asked him how old he was and he answered "53." "So you were born in 1954?" I asked and he responded, "Yes." "What month?" "October" he replied. Watching my facial expression by now he was expecting the next question, "What day?" When he said "the 14th" it was an amazing feeling to face someone born the same day and year as I. Now that just doesn't happen every day and we were both "wowed" by this new revelation.
"Walk By Faith" (Audio)
"Thy Word Is Lamp Unto My Feet" (Audio)
"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus" (Audio)
"He Leadeth Me" A great old hymn that comes to mind today as we prepare this message. (lyrics)
(Audio) This is a long sample with some great fiddle that will leave you wanting more. It turns out that this musician Marie Barlow, only lives about 3 miles from us! Here's another sample of her music, along with her husband.
A full version of the song by the Drummond Family.
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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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