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Monday, August 31, 2009

Amish buggy traffic (photo by Doris High)
Amish Buggy Traffic
An enjoyable sight each Sunday morning on the way to church is seeing the horses & buggies as the Amish folks go to their church services which meet in homes every other Sunday. I enjoyed this photo taken by our friend Doris High.

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"Blessed Is The Man"

"O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You" (Psalm 84:12).

Raymond McGallicher with his longtime friend Ralph

I received a call last night concerning Raymond McGallicher, a friend of ours. His daughter informed me that he is in the hospital with a severe health matter. Raymond is 92 so there are a number of factors to consider regarding the course of treatment. His daughter Ethel told me he has been telling the nursing staff, "I'm ready to go home to be with Jesus." Today I will visit Raymond, along with several others, who are in the Lancaster General Hospital.

Cherry corner cabinet made by Raymond McGallicher
Raymond has been homebound for several years and we visited with him several months ago when we took a group from our church to his home. His eyesight is dim but his mind is sharp as a tack. He was sure pleased to have some friends stop by. We sang some hymns together and reminisced before we departed with a prayer. We asked Raymond what specific things he needed prayer for. He then looked up and said, "Pray that I will stay faithful to God to the end." We can all say Amen to that request!

Raymond became a part of our country church when he married in 1937. His wife died about 12 years ago. In his younger years he was an excellent carpenter and craftsman. (Featured is a photo of a cherry corner cabinet he built that was recently for sale at an auction.) He used his talents and skills to serve the Lord as well – the evidences abound in our little church.

In today's message I would like to consider the qualities that make a man blessed. There are twenty references in the Scriptures that use the phrase "Blessed is the man" found in both the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps the most familiar is from Psalm 1:1 that states, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers."

Psalm 84 was written by "the sons of Korah" who were the musicians in the temple at the time of David.* It is referred to as The Pearl of Psalms and considered to be "the most sweet of the Psalms of peace."

Verse one begins, "How Lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty" and each verse continues as a powerful expression of faith in God. Many of us enjoy singing the well-known song, "Better is One Day in Your Courts" that is based on this Psalm.

Our daily text is the concluding verse in this Psalm: "O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You."  Charles Spurgeon comments on this verse, "Here is the key of the Psalm. The worship is that of faith, and the blessedness is peculiar to believers. No formal worshipper can enter into this secret. A man must know the Lord by the life of real faith, or he can have no true rejoicing in the Lord's worship, his house, his Son, or His ways."  Let us ask ourselves today, "Do we trust God implicitly for everything in life?" If we do, the Lord bestows favor and honor on us, and no good thing does He withhold (84:11).

Louisa Stead wrote in 1882 (the year of my grandfather's birth)

"I'm so glad I've learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that Thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end.

Are you trusting in the Lord today as you read this message?
  • Are you trusting Him concerning your salvation? What a blessing!
  • Are you trusting Him concerning His daily care and provisions? What a blessing!
  • Are you trusting Him concerning your eternal destiny? What a blessing!
Indeed, "O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You are a sun and shield; a light to those who walk in darkness and a shield to protect us from the enemy's arsenal. You will not withhold anything that will help us serve You better. The longer we walk this spiritual journey we become more trusting because we've seen Your mighty hand and outstretched arm leading us all along the way, just as You led the Israelites out of Egypt. You deliver us from our own peril and provide us with everything we need for this life and the next. We fully trust in You, O Lord Almighty.

For more study on today's topic:
Here's a listing of the twenty references in Scripture using phrase, "Blessed is the man"

Psalm 84   Read    Listen  

* Information about the Sons of Korah   Article 1  Article 2

The Elizabethtown Country Fair

I have shared in past posts of my enjoyment in attending country fairs. We attended two State Fairs earlier this month in Indiana and Ohio. The other night we walked through
our local fair, the Elizabethtown Fair,where we saw a number of friends and enjoyed the local sights and reminders of how blessed we are.

Homegrown produce at E-town Fair
Locally grown produce reminding us of the bountiful and variety of provisions grown here in Lancaster County.

First prize Coleus at E-town Fair
Among my favorite plants is the Coleus since the entire plant is colorful, like a blooming flower. Here's the prize winner along, with a weary observer who peacefully slept the entire time we walked through the large display area.  In fact although I could have easily cropped the photo to show only the plant I felt his presence added additional color to the photo!

Chainsaw hummingbird at E-town Fair
I have used chainsaws to cut down trees and prepare firewood. Here's a piece we watched a man carve out of a large log using a variety of chain saws! He sure had to have good control of the saw especially when he carved the beak!

Twin Farmall C tractor(s)
Of course we walked through the antique tractor display and saw a large variety of interesting old tractors. Here's one someone had some fun with, welding two old tractors together to make a twin. I imagine it has good pulling power but wonder how well it steers since each side has its own steering wheel.  At last year's fair I saw this interesting tractor combination, perhaps built by the same hobbyist.

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.)

"Better Is One Day In Your Courts"  Video  This song is based on Psalm 84.  Many of us have sang it in our churches but were perhaps unaware that it is based on this Scripture.

"Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"
 Video  (I am aware I suggested this song in Friday's message but it just goes so well again today!)

"Streams Of Water"  Psalm 1:1,2 from the Integrity Scripture memory series. Audio

Doris High has also posted some Elizabethtown Fair photos here.  (I can always count on Doris to have some interesting photos!)

Finally today: Ministry has many interesting and at times humorous moments. Yesterday we led a church service in a local assisted living facility.  
We have had this service for many years and have developed a close relationship with the people.  One lady who has attended for many years is a Jewish lady from New York.  She sings right along with the hymns and really seems to enjoy herself. I decided to let the residents pick hymns that they wanted to sing.  She raised her hand and chose "Silent Night"  It was not necessarily the most appropriate seasonally, but what a joy to see her singing of the Messiah!  (I wondered what visitors thought as they walked past us singing this famous Christmas carol.)  Brooksyne later told me that she lets the residents select Christmas carols year round since they might not live to see the next Christmas season.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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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