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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stone farmhouse near Hershey, PA 12/2/13
Stone farmhouse near Hershey, PA

"Rock Of Ages"

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"The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.

Giant Center, Hershey, PAYesterday we drove through Hershey Pennsylvania and passed the Giant Center, a large sports arena and concert venue. As we passed we watched the huge electronic marque which announced upcoming events. We are planning to attend a Christmas concert in several weeks at the Giant Center so we wanted to see if it would be on the display. As it scrolled through events one upcoming concert is titled "Rock of Ages" which I initially thought might be some type of Christian concert based on the title of a grand old hymn of the church. It was actually a take on the word, "rock", in another sense, a concert series of rock music! *

Well that got me to musing on the spiritual theme based on the hymn. Many of you have sung it and we have several YouTube versions you can link to below. One interesting aspect I noticed the hymn begins and end with the identical phrase, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee."

Rock of AgesThis hymn classic was written in 1763 by a man with the distinguished sounding name, Augustus Montague Toplady. Traditionally, it is held that he drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe (photo on left) in the Mendip Hills in England. He was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics.

The illustration of God being like a rock is found all through the Scriptures beginning with Moses' proclamation in Deuteronomy 32:4, "The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He."

Rock of Ages In the hymn Toplady particularly has Christ's redemptive work in mind when he refers to the Rock of Ages and the certainty that we are saved solely as a result of God's grace and not by our own merits.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

All throughout the Psalms the Rock is commonly used to describe the power and stability we have in the Lord.  One wonderful example is Psalm 18:31, "For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?"  The prophets continue the theme: "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal" (Isaiah 26:4). The apostle Paul describes the spiritual rock that accompanied the children of Israel, "and that Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4).

I consider again the "Rock of Ages" on the Giant Center marque. If you do a Google search you will find an abundance of references to this "Rock of Ages". In fact one who is unfamiliar with the Bible might think this was the only rock of ages since it refers to a popular contemporary show. But long before this was ever considered and long after the show has passed we will still be proclaiming the true Rock of Ages. And who knows, this may be a hymn we will be singing in heaven, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, when water surges around me or the sand sinks under me Jesus is the immovable and impenetrable eternal Rock on which I can stand. In the midst of trouble He keeps me safe in the cleft of the rock. There no enemy can devour me while I am sheltered, protected and resting in Him. It is in this special place that I find refuge, comfort, protection and rest.  Thank You for this precious provision of security and assurance. Amen.

In tomorrow's message we will discuss a phrase from a great Christmas hymn that proclaims the truth of salvation based not on our merits but God's "all sufficient merit". Can you identify the hymn based only on this phrase?

ESTER'S HEALTH UPDATE: (Unless there is some change in her condition this is the last update we will provide for a while) We had Ester's heart surgery follow-up yesterday. Xarelto is a new med that Ester is using as a prophylactic anticoagulation therapy (blood thinner) and it is also being used to dissolve the blood clot on the lower part of her lung that surfaced last month before the surgery. The incision over the sternum is healing nicely. The echo and chest x-ray showed no fluid around the lungs though there continues to be a problem with the lungs which are not fully inflated so she still needs diuretics and lots of deep breathing and blowing out. (I guess in this case blowing "hot air" is a good thing.) Due to the lung condition the needed heart catheterization to increase sats will be delayed by a month or two. We will carefully monitor her oxygen saturation here at home, but Dr. approved her to go w/o oxygen if her sats remain 83 or above. She will likely use it at night as she has more difficulty lying down and getting enough oxygen. We thank our faithful God for her progress. Next visit will be New Year's Eve day. Thanks for your continued interest and prayers.  (That's a long update but I don't know how to shorten it and be thorough.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Rock Of Ages"  Video  Chris Rice

"Rock of Ages (When The Day Seems Long)
"   Video  Sandra McCracken

"Rock of Ages"  Video  Fernando Ortega  (Acoustic version)

"Rock of AgesVideo  Antrim Mennonite Choir (traditional version)

"He Hideth My Soul"  Video  Guy Penrod  We have this CD and thoroughly enjoy Guy's vocalization of this classic hymn.

"The Story Tour"  Video  This is the concert we will be attending on December 15 at the Giant Center.

* For the terminally curious here's the other "Rock of Ages" concert tour we saw promoted yesterday in Hershey. No plans for attending this one!

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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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