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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Row of Autumn Joy sedum 9/12/13
Atumn Joy sedum in front of our house.

"The Destiny Of All Who Forget God"

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"When the wicked dies, his hope will perish" (Proverbs 11:7). "Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold" (Job 8:11-15). "Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord" (Psalm 31:23,24). “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You" (
Psalm 39:7).

We have a long row of Autumn Joy Sedum planted along the walkway leading up to our front door. (I wonder if it gets its name, Autumn Joy, because the green blooms turn into a nice pink in the autumn months, thus bringing joy to its grower. It's a perennial flowering plant that attracts bees, wasps, butterflies and other flying insects. On a hot afternoon like yesterday the entire row of these plants were swarming with all types of flying critters.

Spider webInterestingly the spider also finds the Sedum a comfortable place to lodge. Using a sticky silk to spin its web, the spider easily catches and traps its prey.  The stickiness of this particular silk helps to catch and trap prey for the spider. A stronger non-sticky silk is also produced by spiders and used within the structure of the web to provide a way for the spider building the web to traverse without getting tangled in it's own trap. Though the web is easily dismantled by the human touch, it can be fatal for a small insect. 

Job is a remarkable book. When most of us consider Job we commonly recall the tremendous trial he endured. Most impacting is his persevering faith as we shared about in yesterday's message, but there are so many gems of wisdom throughout the entire book. Today's portion is from a discourse by Bildad the Shuhite, one of Job's friends. In the bigger picture the advice from these friends was flawed but we can still glean truths from some of the statements made such as today's timeless text.

We have a section of our lawn where a previous owner must have used it as a gravel driveway at one time. The grass turns a healthy green in the spring but when summer arrives it becomes dry, thin, and straw like. Yesterday I top-dressed it with some good topsoil and hopefully with the grass seed I plant the grass will grow in a more healthy and thick growth.

Bildad begins with a timeless observation from nature: "Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass." Papyrus reeds were created to grow near water. Papyrus is a tender herbaceous perennial. It forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water. Nature illustrations in the Scripture are used frequently making them a timeless message for every culture, geographic region and for future generations.

This observation from nature is immediately followed by the statement in the daily text, "Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless." That is, their destiny is like a reed without water, withering and perishing. A truth is then developed based on another observation from nature, a spider's web: "What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web."

God's intended purpose for the spider's web is very efficient for its inhabitant. Spend some time observing nature and you will see the tiny creatures resting comfortably for hours on end, day after day, in their customized webs waiting for that tasty meal at the expense of a hapless insect. It's strong enough to hold the spider.

But it would be absolutely foolish for me, as a human, to count on a spider web to hold me up or provide hope for my eternal destiny! Such absurd thinking is described by Bildad in v.15:  "He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold."

Job's friend colorfully illustrates what the majority of people do rather than place their hope, trust and reliance in the Lord. Today let us hide this important truth deep within our hearts: "Love the LORD, all His saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord" (Psalm 31:23,24).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are the only source of eternal life to whom I can cling.  I am confident that You will be with me to the end of my life here on this earth.  I am grateful for the many people who bring me support, encouragement and companionship along the way.  They're a source of great joy as they enrich my life daily.  But as I grow older I'm recognizing that nothing stays the same and much of what I came to rely on is no longer available to me.  Losses of very dear people are now but a memory. And many things that once captured my attention are but a passing interest as I reflect upon the passing years.  I find great comfort as I cling to the words of the 73rd Psalm, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none that I desire on earth beside Thee.  My flesh and my heart, they may fail but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Thank You for being my all in all. Amen.

Amish barnyard animals
Last week we drove onto an Amish farm to buy some produce and saw this nice barnyard animal assortment prompting thoughts of "Old McDonald had a farm..."

Doug Matangelo family
The barnyard photo prompts a memory. Years ago Doug Matangelo is a young man who grew up in our church. His wife Anna and their daughters (only two at the time) were visiting us. I asked their little three year old if she would like to go with me to see the baby corn. As I carried her I looked out over the fields and explained that these were farms. She asked me, "Is this where old McDonald had a farm?" Doug is involved in various forms of ministry and he and his family now live in California.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"My Hope Is In The LORD "  Video  The Talley Trio

"Whom Have I But You"  Video  Brian Doerksen

"My Hope is in You"  Video   Aaron Shust

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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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