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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Photo of pup on quilt (Photo by Doris High)
Anyone want to take this puppy home?
Photo by Doris High

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

We suggest prior to reading today's message you listen to this song (or if you are a real multi-tasker listen as you read!)  Note: Some of you can do this, others would be unable to do so. It probably requires a highspeed internet connection.

"Still Upholding"

"Upholding all things by His powerful Word" (Hebrews 1:3).

It sure is cold outside.  As I examine the dull gray skies they appear to be setting up some clouds that will drop some moisture before the day is over (actually I  heard the weather forecast indicating this to be the case.)  I just took our dog Roxie outside and got a bucket of coal. She does her business quickly and then is quite ready to go back in the house.  A clear sign that it's quite frigid, even for furry animals!

God made a standing promise to Noah after the flood: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22). 

Each of the described events and seasons in the verse is easily observable.  Here in our rural area we have a perennial "seedtime and harvest."  Brooksyne is already poring over the seed catalogs selecting the vegetables and flowers she'll be planting during the "seedtime" only months away.  My farmer friend, Galen Martin, recently attended a conference in Ohio concerning advanced tilling methods. He's confident that in several months he'll be working the soil again.

We all experience "cold and heat" in varying extremes depending on where we live.  And of course no one would contest that we still have "summer and winter, day and night."  As long as the earth endures, these will never cease. It's still enduring and each of these easily observable characteristics have not ceased!  God continues to uphold all things by His powerful Word.

But an aspect of God's upholding care is seen when I consider how much colder it could get in the winter and of course how much hotter it could get in the summer.  In fact I have read that if the earth were just a small fraction closer or farther from the sun we would have extremes that would make life as we know it intolerable.  The same is true for the earth's design in its rotation on its axis and its revolution around the sun. 

God has designed and sustains the earth in an extremely predictable pattern.  There are design limits in God's continuing care over the earth.  We may grumble about the cold or the hot, but I've never met anyone that is terribly worried that the earth will move just a fraction farther from or closer to the sun causing us to suddenly plunge to 100 degrees below zero or boil at 212 degrees!

Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ is "upholding all things by His powerful Word."  Today I am confident that He will continue to uphold and keep the earth as long as He ordains its existence. 

He will also continue to uphold you and me.  After all, "all things" covers it all!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, as You created order in the universe You also created order and harmony in my life.  Sometimes it seems as though chaos triumphs over order, but then I take some quiet time with You in Your Word and find that You still my heart and calm my troubled spirit. You do uphold me by Your powerful promises reavealed in Your Word and through the presence of Your Holy Spirit that dwells within. Thank You for Your great faithfulness that I witness and experience each new day!  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:
 God's faithfulness is often seen through the actions or words of other people we encounter each day.  This morning I went to the hairdresser for an 8:30 haircut.  I had a need that weighed heavily on my heart even though I took it to the Lord less than an hour before in my prayer time.    God spoke through my hairdresser the very thing I needed to hear, though I hadn't shared my need with her.  She told me of a parallel experience in her life and how God had turned that situation around for His glory.  It gave me a new perspective and encouraged me especially as she poured out from her heart to the point of her stopping to wiping away a few tears.  The warmth of her message and the loving hug she shared before I left lifted my spirits and my heavy heart.  May God bless all of our readers today as You allow the Lord to speak through you in your place of service today.

In yesterday's message we shared about keeping a loose grip on the things of this earth. We always enjoy feedback to our messages and want to share several we received:

A reader from New Zealand wrote an interesting perspective:  "My father has suffered from Parkinson's disease for the past eighteen years, and as the disease has progressed he is now fully dependent on 24 hour care. I consider myself blessed rather than bitter to be part of this journey - through it I have a found the heart of compassion, and no longer fear his death, for I know that  one day he will be free of his disabled body suit. Thank you for reminding me that death is as natural as living, and that the best is yet to come – praise the Lord!!"  (Brooksyne especially liked the interesting descriptive phrase of the father's perishable body, "disabled body suit".)

Another reader wrote, "I really thank God for you people for the encouraging verses you have been sending to the daily encouragement readers.  May God bless you in a mighty way.  I live in Kenya, Africa. Since last year 2007 after elections we have been having chaos because of the election results.  Me and my fellow Christians do believe that God is for us Kenyans and He is fighting for us.  My prayer request is that you please pray for us because many lives have been lost and many people have been displaced and are camping as refugees in different churches and schools.  Most of the children in rural areas have not resumed school because of all this skirmishes. Most of the people are scared because they have never seen what is happening to our beloved country Kenya.  May God always bless you because you bless others."

Stephen Escedy, a longtime friend who was a part of the church I pastored in upstate Pennsylvania, was an alcoholic prior to his commitment to Christ and has overcome a lot of heartache. He wrote, "I am hanging on a rope and at times slide down it a little but at the end of the rope Jesus has placed a strong knot."

Smoky Mountain stream
Here's another photo from our trip to the Smoky Mountains last week.  Ester enjoyed climbing on the rocks and the challenge of not getting wet.  I really enjoyed photographing  the rock-filled rapid streams coming off the mountains.

Today's Suggested Music

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
(Audio) This is the song I suggested at the top.

"Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"  (Audio)

New I found an interesting source for online music. Both of today's featured songs come from this source (Sonific) as well as the following two playlists:
Classic hymns mix A collection of ten of my favorite hymns.
Christian eclectic mix A longer collection of contemporary songs (as many as I could place on the playlist!)  Some I had heard before, most were new to me. Several are by artists I am familiar with, but most I had never heard of.

(Note: The above files are a test. Although I checked them out and they worked well for me I don't know how they will work on all machines. They will open to small music player with play and volume controls.)

Today's photo by our friend Doris High is from her "Quilt Auction" photo collection.  See this site for a sense of a Lancaster County quilt auction!

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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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