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Monday, December 29, 2008

Puckett Cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Virginia
Puckett Cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Virginia.
Today we will be travelling down a portion of both the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway.

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"The Sovereign Lord Is My Strength"

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights" (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Just minutes after midnight Saturday morning Brooksyne and I experienced something that we'd never experienced before. I had just climbed into bed while Brooksyne was putting away some dishes in the kitchen when we heard a loud rumbling noise and felt some vibrations for a few seconds.  To borrow from a famous Christmas poem, I "sprung from my bed to see what was the matter."  I quickly descended the steps and Brooksyne met me with, "What was that?"  I told her unconvincingly, "I think it was thunder."

She suggested we open the front door to make sure there wasn't large farm equipment driving past our house, though it was certainly a strange hour for that.  We did so but there was nothing but the empty field across the street.  Then she came up with the ridiculous theory, "I believe it was an earthquake."  "No, we don't get earthquakes around here" I told her.

We went to bed and thought little more about it.  But when I got up the next morning I googled "Lancaster earthquake" just to see if there was anything to Brooksyne's farfetched theory.  Sure enough there were many entries under the subject matter.  And, indeed, we did have an earthquake that registered 3.3 on the Richter Scale. 

Ester slept right through the earthquake as did many others.  Another first for us is that we drove through the epicenter in Salunga about five miles from our home as we took Ester to work later that morning. 

Now I realize that our little earthquake didn't make national news or we surely would have gotten phone calls from worried family members and distant friends.  We had no structural damage, no material breakage, and most importantly no deaths were reported due to our earthquake. 

But the earth's trembling that we heard and felt reminds me of the shaking that takes place in people's lives in various magnitudes.  Sometimes it is of a local nature such as our small earthquake and other times it might be of a much larger magnitude affecting multitudes of people all over the globe.  The fallout can have disastrous consequences, rather than just a minor distraction that becomes the talk around  town
the next morning.

Today let us consider the great statement of confidence and faith that concludes the rather obscure book of Habakkuk.  This was written as Judah was about to be destroyed by the Babylonians and the remnant taken captive. It was a desperate time.

Since the economy was agriculturally based Habakkuk describes the equivalence of a severe economic depression.  Based on the wider context of the book (the impending judgment upon the nation of Judah) I believe he's describing a situation in which everything that can go wrong does, a "worst case scenario."

What response does he have during such times?  Twice he states the will to live in an attitude of joy and in both cases the immutable (unchanging) source of that joy is expressed: "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." 

Consider the word "yet"; few in letters but packed with meaning.  It conveys the sense of "in spite of" or "notwithstanding."  Habakkuk was determined to keep his faith in the Lord, and experience the deep abiding joy that is derived from one's relationship with an unchanging God, not the changing circumstances of one's life.

Jesus prayed to His Father in His final "High Priestly" prayer: "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them" (John 17:13). 

Today, what are you going through?  For most of you it doesn't compare with those in the areas devastated by destructive earthquakes, other natural disasters, wars or persecuted lands.  But some of you are dealing with a trial and doubtless for some readers it's a very serious trial. Today, let us quote Habakkuk and make this our own personal victorious declaration: "The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights" (3:19). 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily Prayer: Lord Jesus, Habakkuk reminds me that my joy is not derived from my abundant provisions.  But rather my joy comes from God my Savior as I choose to rejoice in Him whether or not my pantry is overflowing.  I rejoice in knowing that You are my strength as You enable me to descend the rigorous, steep terrain toward the victorious mountaintop.  At the height of the mountain I can look back at the disappointments and hardships I climbed through as You made my feet sure-footed like those of a deer.  I once again affirm my faith in You, my Sovereign Lord, and rejoice in the work You are accomplishing in my life. 

Note: We're presently in Harrisonburg, VA this morning and we will be travelling to North Carolina today.  We are planning to see Stephen's sister and her husband along with three other families thoughout North Carolina over the next several days.

We will attempt to write daily but realize that our schedule may be impeded due to our travel and visiting schedules.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"He Lives"  Audio

"Everlasting God"  Audio

News about our earthquake.

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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