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Monday, August 5, 2013

Lancaster County PA farm 8/4/13
Lancaster County Farm
We passed this country view on the way home from church yesterday on Risser Mill Road. For the twelve summers we've lived in Mount Joy we've enjoyed viewing the Pickles' farm, especially the
tall and leafy red flowered Cannas they plant each summer.
(click on photo to enlarge)

"In Manifold Witness"

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"O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness" (Isaiah 25:1).
“It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today; A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness" (Isaiah 38:19).

Sunset 8/4/13Last night we took a long walk at sunset. The photo to the left is from our driveway as we departed. Regardless of the degree of unsettledness within our own lives or in the world around us, the "sun, moon and stars in their courses above" speak to us of God's faithfulness. As many will recognize, I am using a phrase from a great old hymn which came to mind as I looked on at the stunning sunset last evening.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

As I thoughtfully observed the sunset I considered those over the centuries who have observed and benefited from this same astronomical force since the beginning of creation. Depending on the generation in which we live, that which we're exposed to may vary, but in God's order of the universe all generations have seen the same sight I observed last night (although with less human intervention such as buildings, crops, etc.). We wonder if
during a summer evening several hundred years ago some native Americans saw the same sun continuing its same course from this very location. Perhaps in the last several hundred years, since Europeans settled the area in which we live, a farmer was working the fields and watched the sunset as we did yesterday. (Our property was farmland until our home was built in the mid 1980's).

God's faithfulness is an attribute that has brought assurance to His children through the ages. The first reference* to God's faithfulness in Scripture was a statement made by Jacob just prior to meeting with his estranged brother Esau: "I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant" (Genesis 32:10). Jacob was a rascal but over time he had matured after several notable experiences with God such as their wrestling match. Aren't you thankful for God's forgiving grace in regard to our past!

In the last part of Moses' final words to the Israelites prior to his death he extols the Lord, “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4). That's a pretty amazing statement from Moses, since God did not allow him to enter the Promised Land in which he led His people for forty years.

All through the Scriptures we find references to God's faithfulness, perhaps the most referenced being the grand declaration in Lamentations 3:23, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness".

But as I searched the Scriptures this morning two references from Isaiah stood out:
"O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness" (Isaiah 25:1). God acts in "perfect faithfulness". Although many times we may not understand His ways, especially if they involve a season of trouble, this steadfast truth remains: His faithfulness is perfect.

It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today; a father tells his sons about Your faithfulness" (Isaiah 38:19). A pattern is given here for the transmission of truth from one generation to another as "the father makes known to the children Your faithfulness".  Let us join the Psalmist, "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations" (Psalm 89:1).

Today we encourage you to observe and proclaim God's perfect faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Everything within the universe was formed and is sustained by Your command. We are awestruck at Your design and grateful for the ways it benefits us every moment of every day. You are our Rock; Your ways are perfect, and You are perfectly faithful! We give thanks to You today, faithful God, for Your great work in our lives and in Your wonders formed long ago; for our benefit, our enjoyment and as a reminder of how dependent we are on Your faithfulness and goodness. Amen.

* The first reference to most Bible words varies a bit depending on translation used.

Lancaster County PA farm 8/4/13
Another view of the farm we passed yesterday.

Pet pose 8/4/13
 Ester getting the dogs ready for our walk last evening.

Grilled vegetables 8/4/13
Grilled vegetables
Our garden is producing abundantly along with gifts from our neighbors. For several nights we have been grilling eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash, and tomatoes, along with onions and mushrooms. And we have plenty of neighbors sharing their sweet corn with us. It is such a wonderful summer treat!

Some humor at Stephen's expense: On our sunset walk yesterday we had an experience that sure brought on some boisterous laughter from Brooksyne hours after the event took place. We were walking with our dogs when Roxie "did her business" in a  yard (without our blessing, of course). Brooksyne carries plastic bags just in case so she carefully scooped up the waste. A bit further along we came to a house for sale that posted a free sign for some items in their front lawn. "Free" usually gets our  attention so we stopped to browse.

SpreaderI had been borrowing my neighbor's spreader and one of the free items was the pictured spreader. I examined it and since it seemed to work fine and even included the instructions I decided to take it even though we still had about three blocks on our walk before heading back home. Pushing the spreader for a few minutes I suggested to Brooksyne that she toss the bag waste into the hopper rather than have to carry the smelly bag which she thought was a great idea. I proceeded to push and sometimes pull the spreader and found myself mindlessly pulling the handle which opens the hopper to spread the fertilizer.

Towards home I commented to Brooksyne that the neighborhood is putting off some bad odors this evening. It wasn't till we got home that I looked in the hopper only to realize that as I was walking the wire impeller had torn open the doggie bag and each time I opened the hopper I was actually spreading the waste, with some likely splattering my legs. I was quick to shower and change my clothes. (And I'm still chuckling as I edit Stephen's personal note.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Great Is Thy FaithfulnessVideo  Avalon

"Great Is Thy FaithfulnessVideo  Instrumental piano by David Baroni

"Faithful God"  Video  Shannon Wexelburg

"Family Bible"  Video 
Dailey and Vincent  Brooksyne's Note:  One of our points in our message was the responsibility of proclaiming God's faithfulness to our children. In this regard with my recent visits to Arkansas I'm reminded of my family's visits with my grandparents on the mountain when I was a child. Each evening all who were present were called together for prayer and Bible reading. Grandpa could hardly read so he would select one of us grandchildren to read the Scriptures before we'd kneel in prayer.

My parents had a bitter experience when I was in high school which led them to pull away from church and the things of God. But every night Grandpa faithfully "prayed up a storm" for Brooklyn and Ruth (my parents), that they would return to their spiritual roots. Grandpa died nearly fifteen years before it finally happened. Mom and Dad departed from their spiritual walk for 24 years, but Grandpa's prayers were finally answered when they both rededicated their lives to God only a few years before their deaths. I wonder if the angels invited Grandma and Grandpa to the celebration party that took place in heaven when they once again knelt at the altar to confess their sins and rededicate their hearts to God? It was such a precious time to see them grow again in their faith over the next few years, and brought sweet assurance during their untimely deaths due to cancer.

"Glory To His Name"  Video  Selah

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video 
Fernando Ortega 

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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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“It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today;
A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness.