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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lancaster County farmhouse
Lancaster County farmhouse

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"With All My Heart"

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart" (Psalm 138:1).

Kristina QuigleyLast weekend there was a fatal bus accident along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A bus was carrying the Seton Hill Women's Lacrosse team from Western PA to play a match against Millersville University here in Lancaster County. The bus driver and Kristina Quigley, the Seton Hill Lacrosse coach, along her unborn baby, were killed.

I am touched by the sportsmanship of our local college (Millersville) who are selling wristbands to help raise funds for Kristina's remaining child. Especially touching has been a clip our local news outlets have been playing of our Millersville coach  tearfully
expressing compassion for her deceased colleague. Death is so often an ugly intruder but especially gripping when it impacts the young.

Bus crash signThis brings to mind an interesting testimony I heard several years ago at my brother's church in Easton, PA. In 1988 a bus accident in Kentucky devastated a large group of church young people. The bus collided with a pickup truck traveling in the wrong direction on an interstate highway, being driven by a man under the influence of alcohol. As a result of the collision the bus caught fire and quite a number of young people and several adults were killed and many others seriously injured, though the driver of the truck escaped unharmed. We have passed the sign marking the site of the crash along I-71 in our travels.

Martha Tennison, the wife of the pastor of the church at that time, shared with the congregation how a deep heaviness came over their church in the months following the accident that just wouldn't lift.

Among those killed in the accident was the associate pastor who left a widow and three children. Their oldest daughter was burned over 65% of her body and her mother had spent week after week in the hospital caring for her before returning to church.

She was on the worship team on this particular Sunday when they began singing "Hallelujah, Praise the Lamb" though she sang with a very heavy heart. Both physically and spiritually weak she felt unable to offer praise, but also sensed the Lord speaking these words to her heart, "Offer Me a sacrifice of praise". She began to raise her hands in full surrender and whole-hearted praise. As she did so, the heaviness lifted and the visitation of the Holy Spirit refreshed not only this sister's heart but He moved throughout the congregation leading to a time of extended praise for five hours!

The simple statement in the daily text should be a practice of all believers. The Psalmist exclaimed, "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart" (Psalm 138:1). Among the certainties of God's will for each of our lives is that we are called to praise the Lord. Interestingly the final verse in all the Psalms exclaims, "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD" (Psalm 150:6).

Today some of you surely have a heavy heart and find God's call to praise Him very hard and you may even be resisting this call to praise. You've been deeply hurt and just don't understand God's ways in regard to your circumstances at all.  The call to praise is not conditioned upon our ability to understand all His ways. We urge you today to join the Psalmist and scores of believers through the ages in a simple proclamation; "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart."

Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
My heart sings His praise again,
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb! *

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to bless You at all times and in all circumstances. May praise continually be uttered from our lips as it overflows from our heart. Whatever we are going through, and however long its duration may it not deter us from giving You praise and thanksgiving for who You are and all that You do on our behalf. As we seek You we find Your all-sufficiency to be our strength, power and might. In the wonderful name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Yesterday we visited Lee, a friend of ours who lives in the yellow farmhouse, featured in our daily photo. He is restoring a portion of the old barn on his property and has left exposed the original wood beams which I found particularly interesting.

Lancaster County barn beam with square nail
Here is a closeup of a support beam which is notched where a rafter beam is set and attached with a large square iron nail. When we lived in New England I enjoyed visiting the Tremont Nail Company which is the oldest nail manufacturer in the country still making nails. Here's an interesting history.
Lancaster County barn mortise and tenon joint
Here is a mortise joint with the wood peg exposed. The beam with the tenon joint was removed leaving the hole open. It's interesting to consider given our being accustomed to modern power tools the labor that went into a process of this single visible joint and there are many joints like this in the barn. Lee has used a finish that brings out the natural color and richness of the wood grain.

Amish church parking lot (photo by Lee Smucker)

The home is next door to an Amish home and Lee took this photo of the Amish gathering for a church service from an attic window of his home. I don't suppose too many of us have this view on a Sunday morning from our home! For a larger photo see here.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Hallelujah, Praise The Lamb"  Video  Homecoming series

"I Will Praise Him, Still"  Video  Fernando Ortega

"Blessed Be Your Name"  Video  Matt Redman

"This is The Promise
"  Video  The Martins

Seton Hill Lacrosse bus accident

Kentucky bus accident

Thoughtful readers! Several months ago we wrote a message about being "The Fragrance Of Life" and inquired at the time that finding songs referring to fragrance was hard.
Yesterday I was visiting with Mark, an IT friend in one of our companies, who recalled this query and suggested the song "There's Something About That Name" due to this line, "like the fragrance after the rain"  Video  This version has the powerful narration by Gloria Gaither.

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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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