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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sea Isle City NJ fishing fleet
Fishing fleet in Sea Isle City, NJ

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"The Mighty Ocean"

"The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.  Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea-- the LORD on high is mighty" (Psalm 93:3,4).

As a family we, like the majority of people, thoroughly enjoy the mighty ocean. We just returned from a two day shore trip with our Amish friends. As expected the four children, ages 5 to 1, thoroughly enjoyed seeing and wading in the ocean. On the way five year old Moses excitedly asked when he spotted a small body of water, "Is that the ocean?"  But when he and his younger sister saw the real thing the "Wow!" factor was evident in their approving expression.

Two year old Eli James took a look at the vast ocean by turning his head as far as he could from shore to shore, took a deep breath, and then flashed a big smile with his lips that lit up his eyes as well.  Each time Eli's parents would take him out of the water he'd cry out, "I want to go back in the pond." 

Even Naomi Grace at 13 months of age loved the ocean waves.  Yesterday morning the men and boys along with Ester went fishing. Brooksyne took Anna Ruth and the girls to the shore.  The baby cried the entire 15 minute trip and could not be consoled even with Mommy's lullabies.  After their arrival on the shore they  placed her in her stroller as close as they safely could to the waves. She immediately quieted as she was mesmerized by the waves splashing on the shore for a good 45 minutes before they left that site.  Brooksyne, sitting beside her the entire time, observed her immediate response to the sound of the unending ocean waves. It made her think about the many recordings over the years that have been produced for those seeking a natural calming background for tranquility and relaxation.

No matter the age most never grow weary of seeing the ocean.  It's no big surprise that the ocean has inspired quite a number of Scripture verses as well as hymns all throughout the ages.  The daily Psalm extols the might of God.
"The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.  Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea-- the LORD on high is mighty."

The sea referred to by the Psalmist was likely the Mediterranean Sea.  Israel is small geographically and Jerusalem is not far from the Mediterranean Sea.

He had observed the might of the sea and I too am reminded of the awesomeness of God’s power when I look out over the vast ocean!  I watched the great breakers crash into the shore and heard the force of the pounding waves over and over and over. Truly the waves are a great analogy of God’s constant and mighty power but the Lord on high is even mightier!

However, in the great hymn "The Love of God", it's the inexhaustible love of God that the hymn writer is extolling using the ocean as an analogy. This is surely one of the most creative use of words in all hymnology.  Let the words of its text bless you today as you personally apply God's enduring love to your heart.

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were ev'ry stalk on earth a quill
And ev'ry man a scribe by trade.
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

O Love of God, how rich, how pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song. *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, any words we speak or pictures we draw cannot fully describe your infinite love.  Your boundless love reaches beyond the heavens and yet it penetrates our individual hearts.  It is only in experiencing a personal relationship with you that we begin to sense the inexhaustible and pure love that comes only from You. Even as the waves of the ocean are powerful and wash over the rocks may Your abundant love fill our lives to overflowing so that Christ’s love is seen through us.  In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

* "The Love Of God" Lehman, Frederick M. © Public Domain

Jim & Dorothy Schmidt 7/13/09
Schmidt Family:  On the way down to the shore Monday I received a call from our friend, Jim Schmidt, who had read in Monday's Daily Encouragement that we were coming his way. He offered us beach tags and called another mutual friend, Ed Berkey, my former DS in New England for additional tags.  Ed offered his comfortable beach chairs as well so we had it made! When we stopped by Jim's house to pick up their tags, they invited us to come back to their place for dinner that same evening. He and Dorothy are a tremendous source of enthusiasm and encouragement. Both have had much overcoming over the years and Jim most recently with his knee surgery.  On our way home, Anna Ruth, who couldn't get enough of the ocean, asked, "You know what the highlight of this trip was for me?"  Of course we expected it to be the ocean, but instead she said, "The highlight of my trip was getting to know Jim and Dorothy!"  

Boardwalk: Following our meal Monday night we went to the Ocean City boardwalk which was packed with people on a lovely evening. We walked along several block but the kids were a bit overwhelmed and of course tired from the long day (they were up at 4:00 that morning).

Observation: We observed quite a number staring at the uncommon dress of the Lapp family and this gave us a perspective of what they may feel as others look on (although they are so secure in their ways it doesn't appear to bother them one bit.)  Ester said she overheard  some young people saying to the effect, "Look at those weird people."  Imagine that - coming from a culture now accustomed to seeing all manner of dress (or lack of it), peculiar styles, fully tattoed people and multiple body piercings!

Trip to the Cape May Zoo 7/14/09
Here's the family at the Cape May County Zoo we went to yesterday afternoon before returning home. The kids were sure tired (as were the adults) but we all had a great time. On the way home the children were singing as is the custom in their home. One song I would not expect as a children's song but was apparently prompted by the journey was  Sadie Ruth and little Eli James singing "I Feel Like Travelling On."

Giraffe at Cape May Zoo 7/14/09
The Cape May County Zoo rivalled some of the big city zoos we have visited. It has lots of animals and an interesting layout that essentially takes you on a single course to tour the entire zoo. This was the first trip to a Zoo for the children and they were fascinated, although the barnyard animals didn't mean that much to them since they see those animals everyday at home!

Flamingoes at Cape May Zoo 7/14/09
I would like to sleep as well as the orange flamingoes who can shut themselves out to all the visitors who repeatedly beckon them to "Wake up!  Wake up!"

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.)

"The Love Of God"  Video  MercyMe  
A more traditional version by the Isaacs

"I Feel Like Traveling On"  Video  Sung by the Chuck Wagon Gang. After the children began singing this song, one we hadn't heard since  growing up in the church, we all began to sing along.  A timely message about our short pilgrimage here on earth as we travel on toward our eternal home in heaven.

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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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