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Monday, September 9, 2013

Vista view from Fairmount. Lancaster County, PA 8/29/13
Vista view from Fairmount, Lancaster County PA
(Click on photo for larger view)

"Ten Thousand Reasons"

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"Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so'" (Genesis 1:28,29). "He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth" (Psalm 104:14).

Christian songwriter Matt Redman has a song many of us have heard and perhaps sing in our churches with the following stanza:

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
To bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship His Holy Name

Actually we are very sure if we could really count them there are far more than 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord but that's sure a good start! Today let us just consider one,
the wide variety of food that the Lord has created as a blessing to the human race. Depending on where we live some have more variety than others and certainly the abundance varies from location to location. But today we hope all our readers count the blessing of food which God has provided.

Tomatoes with mozzarela, basil
Early this morning as I sit down to prepare today's message Brooksyne is upstairs making a couple batches of jam from raspberries she picked on a friend's farm. She even brought me down a tasty slice of toast smothered with the red jam! Then we had some fresh tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and mint as Brooksyne was spurred on by a photo from a friend who prepared a sumptuous tomato salad for her husband.

We enjoy almost all types of food. The other day we were in the store and a lady was offering samples of seaweed. I passed on that one in spite of the attempts to make it sound sophisticated. I just can't get the image of the slimy green pond weed that I pulled in fishing as a kid out of my mind. But Brooksyne had some and told me it tasted just the way I thought it would - kind of slimy and not so flavorful.

Today's first text follows the creation mandate. Genesis 1 gives an overview of all creation while chapter 2 focuses on the creation of the man and woman with more detail. Mandate means "an official order or commission to do something." The Lord commissioned the man and woman to, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

This mandate is followed by our daily text. Today we want to focus on that phrase, "I have given every green plant for food". One of the common characteristics of living things is that we eat. This is one of those Biblical statements that, regardless of where we live on this earth, we can see it being demonstrated. We see cattle in a pasture feeding on the green grass. We see the birds feeding from the flowers or from our feeders. Our pets wait with anticipation for their daily meals. Even plants feed on water, air, and energy from the sun. Ultimately all foods are dependent on the plant world.

Psalm 104 has this descriptive heading in the NASV, "The Lord’s Care Over All His Works". It begins and ends with "Bless the Lord, O my soul" (Psalm 104:1,35).

In this chapter we find today's 2nd text,
"He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth" (Psalm 104:14). This brings to mind a song we will close our message with.

There's a roof up above me
I've a good place to sleep
There's food on my table
And shoes on my feet
You gave me your love Lord
And a fine family
Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the Psalmist assures us that You provide food to those who fear You, to those who remember Your covenant. Moses admonished the Israelites to follow Your commands so that You would give them rain for their land in its season, the early rain for germination and the latter rain that grows and strengthens the plants. Through all generations You have supplied for all our needs and poured out Your abundance on us. We thank You for it through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Last week we shared a message about "Are You Ready" and Stephen shared of a foolish teenage driving experience. This prompted  a friend to share:

I'm sure many can relate to speeding as a teenager. I also am guilty as charged. My first car was an old 1939 Chevy 4 door. I remember a place a few miles from our home that had a steady long down  hill slope. I went 90 with that old car with bald tires in the back down that hill.

Later using a 1953 Oldsmobile with a rocket 88 motor I went 110 mph down that same hill. Later I bought the car and then junked it to my dismay now.

How God was with us and protected us. I lost a church friend who was killed in a 1955 Chevy when his cousin was speeding and hit an bridge abutment. He died but his cousin who was driven was spared. It was such a sad funeral as he was an only son. I can still see and hear the mother crying and begging to have the casket opened just one more time at the graveside. I was one of the pallbearers.  Lots of questions as to why some die and others are spared.

This weekend we had several opportunities to share fellowship with friends we see in our chaplaincy ministry at two picnics we attended. We enjoy sharing about people we meet in the course of life.

Doug and son at JK picnic 9/7/13
Doug holding his son who wears a t-shirt proclaiming "Adult Supervision Required". This was demonstrated when he started running into the area where men were playing quiots (seen in background), a game similar to horseshoes. Looks like he still wanted to go over that way!

Jim and Donna at JK picnic 9/7/13
Jim and Donna relaxing on a park bench

Lancaster Barnstormer game 9/8/13
This weekend we also went to a Lancaster Barnstormer minor league baseball game. Ester took this photo of the team's friendly Mascot Cylo.

Lancaster Barnstormer game 9/8/13

In the course of the game a Clipper stadium attendant handed Stephen and many other fans an envelope that said "Do Not Open". In the sixth inning the announcer told us to open the envelopes and Stephen won the top prize with 50 dollars' worth of "barnstormer bucks" (vouchers to be used for tickets, concessions or fan merchandise.) What a fun surprise! Ester also one a 10 certificate to a city pizza shop

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"  Video  Matt Redman  This is the song mentioned at the beginning of our message.

I wonder if an old hymn might have prompted the modern songwriter with the theme of 'ten thousand' reasons. The old hymn, "Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy" the following stanza,

"I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms."

Some have criticized the concept of "charms" in the song due to its connotations but this word also has the meaning of "pleasing quality". Here's a nice video version by Fernando Ortega.

Today two other songs came to mind that we heard years ago and in both cases I recall when I first heard them:

"Thank You Lord, For Your Blessings On Me" Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb  When we pastored in new England we visited Northern Maine where we first heard this song in church. Brooksyne enjoyed it so much she began playing it back in our own church in Massachusetts.

"Johnny Appleseed Song"  Video  Until this morning I had no idea this song was related to Disney. I first heard it from our longtime friends Mike and Kathy Matangelo back in the late seventies
when they sang it around the table with their children.

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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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