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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pantry shelves at the Dourte house 2010
I shared a pantry photo with Tuesday's message.
Here's another one with colorful evidence of an abundant harvest!
These canned goods were prepared by an 85 year old assisted by her 87 year old husband!

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Email subscribers please note: Today's message was delayed due to our internet being down for several hours.

"Teach Us Lord!"

"So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).  "Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14).

On Monday we introduced our readers to our friends from Arkansas, Tommy and Nelma Carpenter.  They visited with us this last weekend.  Tommy grew up near Paris, Arkansas, which is not far from a mountainous part of Arkansas where Brooksyne's father, Brooklyn Sherrell, grew up.

Tommy reports his wedding anniversary in number of days based upon our daily text. He keeps a running total and if you ask him he will immediately tell you the number of days he's been married! Someone asked him, "So what wisdom have you learned over all those days" and he replies,  "To say 'yes dear'."

Today we want to recognize some long term friends and readers of Daily Encouragement, Bob and Linda Southard, who on this very day are celebrating 18,262 days of marriage on a very special anniversary. Today also happens to be the 20,454th day since my birth and 12,577th since our marriage.

The Psalms are normally associated with David, but David did not write Psalm 90. It was written by Moses who lived about 400 years before David.  Yet some inspired compiler placed his writing in the midst of the Psalm collection in the Holy Scriptures.

The heading of this Psalm in the NASV is so interesting; "God's Eternity and Man's Transitoriness."  Transitoriness means "of brief duration."  James 4:14 describes this transitoriness, "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

I don't know how many more days I have on this earth or what my future holds. But I have learned that in the course of my life I can't choose or schedule my trials. As a line in an old hymn states, "Every joy or trial falleth from above, traced upon our dial by the sun of love; We may trust Him fully, all for us to do – They who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true."

"Teach us to number our days." Our daily verse is in the form of a petition.  The plural is interesting and I include myself with Moses and others in making this petition. Moses lived some 43,800 days, but it seems to me that he wasn't likely referring to keeping an up to date count of the days since our birth (although some do this.) Rather I believe he is calling us to recognize and give attention to the blessings and responsibilities of each day.

The purpose of numbering our days is "that we may present to You (God) a heart of wisdom." This should be a foundational goal in life and a lifelong pursuit. Again James reminds us that "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (1:5).  In light of the times we are facing we should be seeking God's wisdom through the earnest study of His holy Word.  Then we are able to exercise spiritual discernment as we listen to or read the news.

Moses goes on to say a couple of verses later, "Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14).  The deepest source of satisfaction for the believer is God's unfailing love. It is unwavering and inexhaustible; "Though the mountain be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken" (Isaiah 54:10).

Today in numbering our days let us recognize that, "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." There are no leap days on God's calendar!  We awaken each new day and choose to glorify God and serve Him with all our hearts.

The timeless challenge issued by Joshua echoes throughout the ages and is a fitting way to conclude this message: "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14,15).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, often the days converge into another and before we know it another year has passed.  Help us to be keenly aware of each new day and the opportunity it holds for us to be engaged in our Father's business.  We want to daily turn to Your holy Word for wisdom so that we will present to You a heart full of godly wisdom and a life fully surrendered to You.  In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Some extra notes:

1) In Monday's message we alluded to a hymn, "Victory In Jesus" that was sung as the author's wife was within minutes of drawing her last breath on this side. Another reader shared how John Wesley also sang a hymn as he died. Ken Wish, a pastor/chaplain friend in Maine, added this observation:

"The remembrance of John Wesley's last sung hymn in his earthly life is one of which I was already aware, but it might be interesting also to note that his last earthly words, spoken just prior to his last breath were:
"The best of it is, God is with us."

What a great remembrance for such a faithful man!   I use this quote in our weekly Worship Folder in our church, placing it down at the end of the Worship outline as a reminder prior to re-entering the world that God is with us."

2) My sister, Genelle, who is fluent in Spanish, shared this with us concerning
the faith in God many of the Chilian miners and their families demonstrated throughout the long rescue. See here.  T-shirts were printed and worn which read, “Thank you Lord.” On the front and on the back were these words from Psalm 95:4, "To Him be the glory and honor. Because in His hands are the depths of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His.”  

3) Tommy Carpenter is from a mountainous part of Arkansas that has what some would call "hillbillies".  In fact I am sure many would characterize Brooksyne's grandpa that way, although he was one of the most devout men I ever met.  Tommy told me that they now have a politically correct term for hillbilly, which I suppose is considered less offensive. They are now known as Ozark Americans!

Amish buggie with child. Meadow View Road, Lancaster County PA
On Meadow View Road near Mastersonville we came up behind this buggie with a little girl who sure had a great view looking out the back window. We were stuck behind a bit till it was safe to pass but as we passed we sure got a big happy wave from her!

Amish harvest teams near Strasburg PA
 Near Strasburg, PA we passed this farmer who had a breakdown and was diligently trying to get it fixed while his wife and child waited on the wagon.  It's surely quite frustrating to have an equipment malfunction when you are trying to get the harvest in!

Church picnic pavilion Mastersonville, PA  10/13/10
I took this photo yesterday afternoon of trees in our church yard that are just beginning to change in Mastersonville PA.

Colorful trees in Mastersonville, PA
This photo of the same two trees at the peak of fall foliage was taken on a crisp fall morning two years ago!

Wilbur buds

 It's a cold, rainy day, internet problems, delays.
Nothing like chocolate as a means of encouragement.  A friend, Nate Yoder, sent me this cup of Wilbur Buds!

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.)

"Like A River Glorious"  Video  We quoted a portion of this song in our message today.  Written by the "Concecration Poet" of England, Francis Havergal who also wrote, "Take My Life"

"Today I Choose"  Video
  A contemporary song by Brian Doerksen who writes outstanding lyrics. You'll enjoy it as we do.

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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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