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Friday, September 25, 2009

Early morning fog on Chesapeake Bay
Early morning fog on Chesapeake Bay

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"Like A Morning Fog"

"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone" (James 4:14).

At the beginning of the week we attended a Pastor's Retreat at Sandy Cove, along Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  On Monday morning I got up shortly after sunrise and walked out to the end of the long dock that is pictured above. There was a clear blue sky overhead and the radiant sun made the still water in the bay appear as shining glass.   I stood looking out over the dock for a few minutes enjoying the peaceful view of the clear waters that outlined the hills in the distance. The peaceful scene was a sharp contrast to the fields of corn that I see every day at home in my neighborhood!

Within minutes the bright aquatic scene evaporated as a heavy fog enveloped the area, completely obscuring the view I was enjoying.  The reflective glassy water turned into cloudy steam rising.  It lasted for a short time and just as quickly lifted.  When Brooksyne joined me later and commented on the beautiful day I mentioned the earlier fog and she looked at me as if I might be a little confused.  The fog had lifted so thoroughly there were no visible signs remaining!

A sunny afternoon on Chesapeake Bay

When I think about the early morning fog a song comes to mind that especially moves me into grateful worship toward God. "Be Unto Your Name" is a worshipful song that contrasts God's time perspective to our finite earthbound way of reckoning time:

We are a moment, You are forever.
Lord of the ages, God before time.
We are a vapor, You are eternal
Love everlasting, reigning on high.

Lynne DeShazzo and Gary Sadler share their thoughts about the process of writing this song: "We started talking about how fragile and temporal life is ---that it's just a vapor or a moment and how our lives pass so quickly and yet God's life goes on and on forever. Juxtaposed against the vastness and eternity of God, all that we could say in the chorus of the song we wrote is what anyone would say when faced with that reality – 'Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty'. It seemed to echo a heart expression of every believer – awe, humility and reverence in the light of One so great."

James writes of this in our daily text: "Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone." Another version states, "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." Based upon our present comprehension of time this may be hard to grasp although I notice time seems to move a lot faster as I'm quickly edging along in the life cycle.

I recently received a note from an acquaintance whose daughter recently had premature twin daughters.   Sadly, one died and the other (at last notice) was just clinging to life. He shared this perspective: "I'm going to bury one of my granddaughters this week. I've buried a wife, but this is not the natural order of things. The other twin is still fighting for her place in what we currently call life. As always I have faith in Jesus."

I am intrigued by his phrase "her place in what we currently call life." His wording brings about an interesting spiritual perspective. I consider Paul's challenge in 1 Timothy 6:19 to "take hold of the life that is truly life." Of course he is speaking of eternal life as  "lay up treasure as a firm foundation for the coming age."

Jeremiah wrote, "But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King" (Jeremiah 10:10). Three words describe the immutable God of the universe;
  • true
  • living
  • eternal
Consider each of these bedrock adjectives in light of the shifting sands of the world's value system. They are just as valid in describing God today as they were 2,600 years ago, for God does not change. They describe the One who said "I am the God of…" The present tense is always necessary in describing the true, living and eternal God. He always "is".

The song I quoted in the earlier part of the message goes on to proclaim,

Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.
Highest praises, honor and glory.
Be unto Your name, be unto Your Name.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Eternal God, faithful throughout the ages, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and praise.  How grateful we are for all Your works; for Your redemptive love that saves us from our sins and prepares our hearts for eternity.  Our life is but a vapor here, but everlasting in the life to come so keep us mindful of eternity in the midst of our temporal existence. In doing so our attitudes and choices will reflect those made in heaven, not those of this fleeting world that is vanishing day by day.

One of the reasons we find our daily encouragement writing ministry so fulfilling is that we are daily reminded of how the Holy Spirit works. He speaks to our hearts about a message that will touch the heart of another at His perfect timing. But sometimes this even works out in very unusual ways. A couple of days ago we got this note:

"You know, I’ve only been getting this daily encouragement for a few days now. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I have no idea who to thank. Could you please tell me who signed me up? Thank you so much for your help and for your daily encouragements. God Bless!"

(Stephen's Note:  I am always concerned when anyone just gets our materials since the list is based on voluntary sign up and confirmation. I checked and saw that the address had been signed up and confirmed in January 2008. I wrote her back and suggested that nearly two years ago her address was subscrubed and confirmed but the messages had probably been filtered by her company email system and had not been reaching her but somehow the filter was lifted for her to receive this message.)

She wrote back: "WOW, really? How about that, it just came thru at the most opportune time....I [promise] it was written JUST FOR ME!  Wow, how wonderful God is in the way He works."

The writer went on to explain that she received the message the day after an event took place in their home that has caused them tremendous grief and worry.  But through the work and perfect timing of the Holy Spirit she was touched by the message we sent out.  We have an on-time God who is concerned about the big and small things in our lives.  Brooksyne and I are continually humbled as we see how God works through us to reveal and reaffirm His truths through our daily messages.  We are grateful for your faithful readership and we do appreciate hearing from you!

TMI generators
I suppose different things interest different people but here in Lancaster County a lot of people are following the progress of two giant 510 ton steam generators as they pass through the County on the way to the Three Mile Island Power Plant ten miles from our home. I want to link to several photos today that I believe many of our readers will enjoy. The generators are slowly moving at 3 mph through small rural towns on a vehicle similar to the one they use for the space shuttle. Early next week they will be passing on a road along the Susquehana River, about 5 miles from our house. I might go see it!
  • A side view showing how huge the generators are.
  • These Alpaca appear to be intriqued by all the activity and this baby was born as the convoy passed. The owner named her Areva, after the company which made the generators!  
See more click photos here. (I assume these photos will be up for several days.)

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

"Be Unto Your Name"  Video  

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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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