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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Natural Bridge in Virginia
Natural Bridge, Virginia.
Look carefully below the bridge and you'll see the miniature figures of Stephen and Ester walking toward it. It is actually used as a bridge; US Route 11 crosses over it!

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"All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name" 

"She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). "Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name—the Name You gave Me" (John 17:11).

Yesterday in the course of our travels we visited a farmer's market near Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brooksyne headed toward a store that was filled with a great variety of colorful home-canned jams, jellies and vegetables. I was looking elsewhere and found myself drawn into a bulk foods store where I heard sacred music being played in the background. Though the inspirational recording initially drew me I was even more compelled to walk in and listen to the live voice that was singing along with the familiar words. It was a touching moment to hear sacred music being sung by a worker in a public setting rather than a church gathering.  Inspirational music has a long history of ministering to the hearts of God's people.

"All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name" is one of the great hymns of the church. I often refer to music in this series though I am certainly aware that not every song is familiar to every reader. But I believe most of you, regardless of age, denominational background, or location, have likely  heard and sung this song. Brooksyne has shared an amazing story concerning this song in a number of settings and we would like to share it with you today.

It was written in 1779 by Edward Perronet and has been an influential hymn ever since. It also has a place in missionary history, being greatly used in evangelistic endeavors. Missionary E.P. Scott wrote about a remarkable experience he had while trying to share the Gospel with a savage tribe in India.  Ignoring the pleadings of his friends, he set off into the dangerous territory.

After arriving he met a large party of warriors who surrounded him, their spears pointed at his heart. Expecting to die at any moment, Scott took out his violin, breathed a prayer, closed his eyes, and began singing, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name!"  When he reached the words, "Let every kindred, every tribe," he opened his eyes.  There stood the warriors, some in tears with every spear lowered.  Scott spent the next two years evangelizing the tribe.*   In God's providential care He was protected.

The daily text is taken from our Lord's high priestly prayer before He went to the cross. It's essentially divided in three parts:
    1) Jesus prays for Himself (John 17:1-5)
    2) Jesus prays for His disciples (John 17:6-19)
    3) Jesus prays for all believers (John 17:20-26)

Jesus knew the tremendous price His initial disciples would pay in following Him. It is commonly believed that all but one of them (John) died the death of a martyr. He invokes the Name above all Names as he prays for them. "Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name—the Name You gave Me."

There is power in the Name and all over this terrestrial ball (earth) the powerful Name of Jesus is being proclaimed on this day.  Some of our brethren will pay dearly for taking a stand, some even joining the ranks of the scores of martyrs. They are no less protected than we, since the ultimate protection of God's care is experienced when He ushers us into our eternal home.  That's where our real security lies since this life is but a brief journey.

Today, whatever setting we're in, let us faithfully proclaim the all powerful name of Jesus!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Jesus, Scripture tells us that at the last judgment those from every tribe and nation will bow upon hearing Your name.   Every tongue will confess that You are Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  We, as the redeemed, look forward to that glorious day when all of creation acknowledges You as Lord. But our hearts cry out for family members and other loved ones who, having denied Your power in this life, will be forced to acknowledge You as Lord on that final day. Renew our passion for reaching those in our generation with the Word of Life, so that they will joyfully proclaim Jesus is Lord in this life as well as the next. In the powerful name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note: Edward Perronet died on Jan. 22, 1792 where he was pastoring a small independent church. The last words he spoke were "Glory to God in the height of His divinity!  Glory to God in the depth of His humanity! Glory to God in His all-sufficiency!  Into His hands I commend my spirit." To his final breath Mr. Perronet had clear Biblical doctrine and a sound mind. This is the way I'd like to go!

* This is really an outstanding story but we really have been unable to find additional details. For instance we wonder if the tribesmen knew the language or did Scott sing in their native language? Did the beauty of the stringed instrument soften their hearts?

The story is from "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert Morgan though you will find it quite widespread on the internet as well.

Then Sings My Soul, Volumes 1 and 2Then Sings My Soul, Volumes 1 & 2
By Robert Morgan / Thomas Nelson

Begin your day savoring these lyrical meditations and you'll sing a new song unto the Lord! Packed with stories and song scores, these volumes help you experience the emotion, drama, and history behind beloved hymns including "Abide with Me," "A Mighty Fortress," "Whispering Hope," "All for Jesus," "Blessed Assurance," "Softly and Tenderly," and more. 320 pages each, two softcovers from Nelson.

ditional note: Today's missionary story and Scripture verse sure have prompted some additional ponderings on my part. Actually it's a verse I have read many times but never really recall focusing on. God's protective care is not arbitrary but is surely expressed in different ways. We may tend to limit it to just the sense of deliverance such as experienced by the missionary but in that case how do we deal with the scores of martyrs? In that case is God's protective care somehow faulty?  Absolutely not! Surely the protective care extends primarily to the spiritual realm and we will understand this better by and by.

Some travel photos

We are traveling to a family reunion in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area and enjoying the journey.

Virginia water tower
This colorful water tower is in northern Virginia along I-81. It would be neat to see how this was painted.  When you get up close you can see it is vibrant shades of red apples.

At the Natural Bridge we also visited a Butterfly Garden and toured a cavern.
This butterfly has some interesting protective markings that look like eyes.

Water pitcher, Staunton Virginia
This huge watering pitcher is in Staunton, Virginia.
It looks like they really do keep the flowers watered

Water pots, Staunton Virginia
The other side of the bridge has gigantic flower pots!

Highway sign, Wytheville, VA
Can anyone tell us what this represents?
(The answer will be provided in a future daily encouragement message.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name"  Video  Acapella

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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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