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Tuesday, July 2, 2013
We enjoy the up-close views of the houses built in the 1700's in Marietta when biking through the small, quaint river town.
"But We See!"
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"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
We mentioned yesterday that this is the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg, which took place July 1-3, 1863. Gettysburg is only about 40 miles west of us and we periodically visit the famous battlefield from the Civil War. Several years ago we walked through the Gettysburg National Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address and saw this simple expression of faith on the tombstone of a chaplain who served in the war: "We see through a glass darkly… but we see!"
The first part of the phrase is based upon the daily text of Scripture: "For now we see through a glass, darkly". The apostle Paul is candidly writing of the partial understanding we have on this side. As we walk in faith we may indeed describe our human experience as that of seeing darkly and knowing only in part. Other versions translate the first phrase, "For now we see in a mirror dimly" (ESV); "For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma]" (Amplified).
Many of us heard the news report of the nineteen young firefighters killed in the forest fire in Arizona. Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew perished in the blaze and said his Fire Department was in shock. “Emotionally, we’re devastated,” Fraijo said at a Sunday night news conference. "We just lost 19 of some of the finest people you’ll ever meet. I mean, right now, we’re in crisis." "Whatever the situation was that took place we haven't been able to explain yet, but there is an investigation that's going to be taking place."
Some things are just unexplainable. These men were doing their duty and though aware of the dangers certainly did not expect to perish as they did.
Going back to our story of the chaplain from Gettysburg; he himself did not die in the war but saw the battle horrors first hand. As I recall from the dates on the tombstone he died about twenty years after the war and surely carried those vivid battle scenes to his deathbed; thus his outlook is expressed in the epitath" "We see through a glass darkly...but we see!"
We all have matters in life that could be described as "seeing through a glass darkly". In these gloomy experiences we can choose to despair or place our faith in God, readily admitting that we see through a glass darkly. That's why we walk by faith and not by sight. Our faith is founded solidly upon the unchanging, ever dependable Word of God that is our roadmap when the road ahead is foggy.
C.H. Spurgeon makes an interesting assertion that we couldn't handle this greater knowledge on this side of eternity. "If we knew more of our own sinfulness, we might be driven to despair; if we knew more of God's glory, we might die of terror; if we had more understanding, unless we had equivalent capacity to employ it, we might be filled with conceit and tormented with ambition. But up there we shall have our minds and our systems strengthened to receive more, without the damage that would come to us here from overleaping the boundaries of order, supremely appointed and divinely regulated."
What especially caught my attention was the last phrase on the chaplain's tombstone; "But we see!" What a powerful perspective! There's so much we don't understand; some things make no sense to us at all. Indeed the tunnel may be narrow, dark, long, and filled with debris as we navigate our way through. With the help of the Holy Spirit the fog is lifted and we too can declare "But I see!"
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Father, Your Word admonishes us to "Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." There are many obstacles that will lead us astray as we contend for the faith if our eyes become fixed on the obstacles. Instead we want to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who set His eyes on the throne of God, enabling Him to endure the cross, its shame and agony. Fix our eyes on the goal of heaven where all will finally be made perfectly clear when we see Jesus face to face. In the meantime sustain us through Your mercy, grow our faith, and help us to take as many as possible with us to our eternal home in heaven. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Yesterday I shared about a pastor who was forbidden to hold a service in a public space due to "separation of church and state" objections by the local government officials. (As if anyone in their right mind would construe a religious service along a beach an official endorsement or establishment of religion by the government!) In the category of "Can it get any crazier" I wonder how long it will be before some godless group such as the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Freedom from Religion Foundation or ACLU seek to prohibit any expression of faith on tombstones in public cemeteries such as that mentioned in today's post?
Interesting article: "Doctrinal Confusion" by Paul Hyles I read this article and sent it to my pastor this morning to encourage him. He is a contender for the faith and is addressing what too many are not touching these days. Turns out he had already read it and had made this comment: ""I am a pastor that 100 percent agrees with this article. I try by the help of the Holy Spirit to preach the full truth of the Gospel. We have been preaching on a series of ‘critical issues' facing our society today which includes all of the church. I had to face some hard issues such as abortion, homosexuality, alcohol use and abuse, pornography, creation vs. evolution, is hell real, suicide, next one is gambling. These were not easy to preach on but God certainly did help us and our people respond in a positive way appreciating the straight truth from God's Word..." - J. K. My note: Indeed John (and all pastors preaching the whole counsel of God), the remnant of the faithful appreciate the straight truth from God's Word.
I like this quote from the article: "Be sure your pastor is preaching for you the entire Gospel. If he's not, and you're a mature Christian, don't feel reluctant to discuss specifics with him. Ignore his scholarly degrees – rely on the Bible. Don't be intimidated." Stephen's note: Indeed, although scholarly degrees may have some validity the best contenders I have seen in my ministry are people, regardless of education, who, like the Bereans, study and know the Scriptures. (Acts 17:11)
Our top photo today was taken the other night when we took a bike ride along the Susquehanna River path and down the Main Street of the old river town of Marietta.
Brooksyne and I are both "repurposers" and find fulfillment in unusual bargains along the way. In our affluent*, disposable age it's amazing what can be found. It is my contention that even with the financial problems in the last several years and notwithstanding that there are those who really do struggle to get by, here in America for the most part we are very affluent compared to previous generations and certainly much of the world's populace who live in conditions of poverty unseen in our country. The problem is that our expectations of what we "must" have and sense of entitlement has vastly grown.
Recently in the course of her morning walks Brooksyne found two used "treasures" we are enjoying.
She saw this bike in a yard sale for a second day yard sale price. It has the larger tires and an automatic transmission. It is in almost new condition. I suppose the high handlebars don't look too cool, but at my age I enjoy cycling in an upright posture and really am not concerned how cool I look!
On a 6 AM walk this week she passed this bbq grill with a sign on it that read, "Free, It works." Our last bbq grill was also picked up free along the road about ten years ago and has served us well although the burners need replaced. We brought this one home, cleaned it up and indeed it works fine! It has a side burner, which is new to us and ignitor starters. We've grilled the last two evenings and were very pleased with the results.
"Trust His Heart" Video
"God Is In Control" Video Kristian and Shannon Walker
"The Greatest Thing" Video Shannon Wexelberg
"All Your Promises Are True" Video Shannon Wexelberg & Bethesda Community Church Choir
Gettysburg National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
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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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