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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer morning

The view from our home this beautiful summer morning.
The corn at this stage is a lush green.

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"A Lamp Unto My Feet"

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).

Stephen and Brooksyne have reversed roles today. Brooksyne is the writer and Stephen is the editor in the following message:

Brooksyne's castSeven weeks ago today I began a very unfamiliar journey that brought about major changes in my life; from mobility to immobility, independence to dependence, from brokenness to healing.  When I broke my ankle on May 7th it completely changed my ability to get up, stand up, and walk without the assistance of crutches or a wheelchair.  It has brought about major changes in my life and that of my family as well.

But this morning when the birds awakened me with their lovely songs at 5:30 a.m. I was thrilled to realize that I no longer have a cast molded to my left leg, ankle, and foot.  It was so easy to lift my leg over the bed and refreshing to feel the natural air in place of a hardened cast.  Yesterday it was removed and Dr. Lyons said he would trust me to proceed with caution so that I don't even have to wear a brace or air cast!  I am still not allowed to bear any weight on the leg or foot for three more weeks, but I am on the way to independence once again.  Yipppeee!!

In the course of my seven week journey I was fitted with four splints (plaster casts with a slight opening to allow for swelling) and then finally my fiberglass cast that I've worn for the past four weeks.  Of all the casts my favorite one was the fiberglass cast featured in the photo today (yes, I did give permission for Stephen to feature this one for illustration purposes).  It was much lighter than the previous four plaster casts which made it much easier to bear the cumbersome weight while using crutches.  But the thing I liked most about it was that it was a "Glow in the Dark" cast!

The first night I got up in our dark bedroom and expected to turn on the light, but when I looked down at my cast I was pleasantly surprised to see that my casted leg actually glowed with light – it was luminescent.  Stephen, Ester and I had a lot of fun looking at it in a darkened room. They said, "It looks like a bodiless cast walking in the dark." But more importantly it became a functional help to me as it slightly lit the path for me as I scooted along with my crutches in the darkened bedroom or hallway.

That got me to thinking. When darkness surrounds us the Lord Jesus is our light and He lights the path before us.  The cast I wore for four weeks certainly was not bright enough to light the entire room, but its glow did cast enough light for me to take one step at a time carefully.  In a psalm of praise after fleeing from King Saul's rage David wrote, "You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light" (2 Samuel 22:29).

David continued to flee the rampage of Saul's violent temper and unharnessed jealousy for quite some time.  The overall darkness was not lifted, but he had escaped the most recent flare up of his enemy and he devoted time to giving thanks for His deliverance.

Much like David we rejoice when we experience victory after the assault of our enemy, the devil.  He is vigilant in his pursuit of entrapping the believer.  Charles Spurgeon wrote concerning this enemy: "The great tyrant has not forgotten you, and he designs your capture and re-enslavement."

Satan wants to surround our lives with darkness so that we will be immobilized or stumble over the objects he strategically places in our path, such as discouragement, strife or fear.  But Jesus goes before us and illuminates our path, one step at a time, making us aware of what looms in the darkness.  We're cautious as we follow in His steps knowing that getting ahead of Him will plunge us into darkened and dangerous territory.  But even if we should get off course or fall behind we have the blessed assurance that "though we stumble, we will not fall, for the Lord upholds us with His hand" (Psalm 37:24).

"God never gives guidance for two steps at a time.  I must take one step, and then I get light for the next.  This keeps the heart in abiding dependence upon God" (C.H. Mackintosh).  Keep holding onto His hand, dear brothers and sisters, and follow in His lightened path, one step at a time.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, there are many paths from which we can choose to walk.  But I choose to walk the illumined path You have laid out for me, for it is the righteous path that leads to eternal life.  It may take me through valleys that are overshadowed by doubt, discouragement, danger, or difficulty, but You uphold me with Your hand as You lead me one step at a time.  Thank You for Your daily provision!  Amen.

Personal Note:  Yesterday I asked Dr. Lyons if there was a functional reason why they made casts that glow in the dark.  He was quite surprised by my question and stated that he didn't realize he had fitted me for a cast that glowed in the dark.  He said that the adult casts are "no frills" type of casts and any "glow in the dark" or colorful casts are used for children.  Well, I'm glad for whoever substituted the materials for my cast since this "child at heart" smiled every time I looked at my cast at night when it glowed in the dark.  Perhaps it also happened so that I could share my observation with you today!

Church unity
Church Unity
For many years when we went to a large music festival in central Pennsylvania known as "Creation".  They still have the festival and this weekend tens of thousands will gather in the mountains, including many of the youth from our church. We enjoyed attending the festival till our late twenties when the huge crowds, portapotties and camping among thousands lost it's luster.  The above photo was taken in the early eighties of a group from our church in northern Pennsylvania.  We've maintained fellowship with most all of these folks although Jim Lutton, one of our friends in the photo, passed away in the mid-nineties but we're still in contact with his wife and two daughters.  I wonder if any of our readers can find Brooksyne and me in the photo? (Click on photo to enlarge.)  Creationfest

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play in your audio player)

"Thy Word"  Video  A beautiful version by the Maranatha Singers.

"Step By Step"  Audio  This was one of our favorite congregational songs when we lived in New England.

"Here I Am To Worship"  Audio  I chose this song because it begins with "Light of the world you stepped down into darkness."

"I Stand Amazed In The Presence"  Audio  (Yesterday I had the wrong link up for this song.  Sorry!)

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

"Lead, Kindly Light"

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
    Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
    Lead Thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
    The distant scene –
One step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that
    Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
    Lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will:
Remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me,
 Sure it still will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and tor-rent,
Till the night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since,
And lost a-while

Hymn Story: Songwriter, John Henry Newman struggled with depression and danger upon the high seas.  He was a leading influence in the religious life of nineteenth century England, but in his early years his pace and spiritual struggles took a heavy toll so he traveled to Italy for rest and recuperation.  There he was stricken with a serious fever.  Further depressed, homesick, weary, and worried he boarded a ship to return to his native England.

Sailing vessels in those days were dependent on the wind.  Sailing on the Mediterranean Sea, the ship suddenly was becalmed.  Sails hung limp on the masts.  Not a breeze stirred for a week. Sick and depressed, closed in by the encircling fog, and faced with the prospect of starving at sea this dispirited young man nearly broke under the strain.

On June 16, 1833, alone in his cabin, he wrestled with God until he gained victory in his heart.  From his experience, he penned one of the most famous hymns in the English language, later composed into a tune by Rev. John Dykes, who also wrote the tune to "Holy, Holy, Holy".  (Sources:  Robert Morgan & Henry Gariepy)

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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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