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Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Filtered sunlight
Early morning sunlight
(Photo by Doris High)

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"A Sun-scorched Land"

"The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame" (Isaiah 58:11).

We are in the midst of an extended heat wave with very dry conditions here in Pennsylvania and all throughout the northeast USA. It seems like a year but it was less than five months ago that we were buried under 18" of snow. Five weeks ago our front yard had turned into a pond from 5" of heavy rains. Such weather conditions are the extremes of temperatures and precipitation (or lack thereof) which can certainly produce adversity and hardships.

Brooksyne is managing to water many of our plants but each day they face another scorching blast from the sizzling sun. She has taken some measures to protect  her more vulnerable plants. Another very hot and possibly record-breaking day is in the forecast.

"A sun-scorched land" is a descriptive picture not only used in the literal sense of actual physical heat and drought, but also as a picture of the spiritual condition of our land and of those hard times we go through in life.

Today's Bible verse is a source of assurance for those who believe and follow in the ways of the Lord. There are three promises from the text that bring assurance of God's steadfast care in drought-like conditions, both literally and spiritually:

1) God's Guidance: "The Lord will guide you always." God's faithful guidance is one of the great themes of the Bible. God "is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). He will guide us through the pleasurable circumstances of life and sustain us in the agonizing trials people must endure. A wonderful Biblical petition is "Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me" (Psalm 43:3). Another reminder of God's guidance is seen in Psalm 48:14: "For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end."

2) God's Provision: "He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land." Droughts bring about many hardships. The scorching sun has a way of sapping us of energy, giving us an unquenchable thirst, and keeping sun-sensitive people indoors. Nature revolts against the lack of moisture in the midst of extreme sizzling temperatures. Likewise the believer must endure spiritual droughts and all the while never lose sight of Him who will satisfy our needs as we continually look to Him. It's during times like this that life may not work out as we had hoped or in the time frame we had expected, but ultimately our needs are met. Our genuine needs are determined by God, not us.

Many of us have memorized that wonderful text that states "My God shall supply ____________________ (Philippians 4:19). I purposefully didn't complete this verse to give many readers the satisfaction of doing so and challenging all others to look it up and memorize it!
(Click the link.)

3) God's Strength: "He will … strengthen your frame." We all need renewed strength, but especially during the conditions described in this text. After watching our grass and plants wilt in the sun we see how a rain shower brings renewed vigor, strength and growth. Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers (and through the Scripture for all of us) "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being" (Ephesians 3:16).

Today we want to encourage our readers with this verse as well as the portion that completes it: "You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

Well-watered garden on Amish farm

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we pray for those areas in our world that are in need of significant rainfall. Send down Your rain showers to replenish the earth's nutrients so that plants and vegetation will thrive and fill the land. Increase our spiritual appetite so that we store up reserves of Your Holy Scriptures deep within our hearts which will sustain and carry us through the spiritual droughts that we all experience from time to time, no matter how brief or extensive the dry period. We want to seek You above all else so that You will be our daily guide. Out of our hearts will flow abundant springs of living water that will not run dry even in a drought stricken land. Amen.

Note from Brooksyne: I can picture in my mind an oasis in the dry and hot desert land when I read our text today from Isaiah. I can also see those who've been searching their entire lives for answers that will only come from having a personal relationship with Jesus. Because God has redeemed us from a life of utter hopelessness we are like that oasis in the desert. May we be His hand extended reaching toward those needing a drink from the "springs of living water" where the supply is inexhaustible and available to all who will drink.

Scorch protection
A Covering in the Hot Sun
After watering these tomatoes this morning I covered them with an old umbrella cloth.  (Just a little respite from the hot sun today.)  You can see a 2 liter plastic soda container right of the covering in the tomato plant.  I have hole-filled spikes that fit the mouth of the soda bottles allowing the water to go down to the roots slowly.  An excellent way to "quench the thirst" of a dry plant.

Scorch protection
"Sock it to Me" Watering Method
My gardening friend, Anna Ruth, taught me this method a couple years ago but this is the first time I've used it and it works nicely.  As you can see the ground all around my black eyed susan vine is burning up and my plant was starting to not do so as well.  The sun was bright when I took the photo but, looking carefully, you'll see a plastic container on the right filled with water.  I dipped Stephen's old sock deep into the base of the container and then slung the top portion over the plant.  The water drips over the plant all day slowly.  This is a nice method when leaving town if you use a larger container. Notice also in the photo our sun-scorched lawn!

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.)

These songs are from the Integrity Scripture Memory series which we both enjoy and have memorized many Scripture verses by listening.  We will share these songs as they relate to today's message.

"The Way You Should Go"  Video  Psalm 32:8  

"He Will Instruct Him"  Video  Psalm 25:8,9 & 12-14

Today's early morning sunlight photo was taken by our friend Doris High. Here's some more photos from that collection (scroll down).

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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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