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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lone tree on Lake Huron shoreline (photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)
Lone Sentinel
Lake Huron shoreline, Michigan
Photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt (used by permission)

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"Still Sustaining All Things"

"While the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, 
will never cease” (Genesis 8:22). "Sustaining all things by His powerful Word" (Hebrews 1:3).

Vortex ride at Camelbeach water park in Poconos We are experiencing a polar vortex, a term I don’t ever recall hearing before. Actually vortex is a word I've never heard much but do recall years ago attending the Camelbeach water park in the Poconos that had a ride known as "The Vortex". At the ride entrance there are large signs that warn of dire dangers and restrictions similar to what you would expect on a road approaching an active volcano. You climb up a massive tower and again get grilled by a serious-looking park worker who questions whether you are really up to this particular feat. The experience involves a winding tube slide with a 45 degree drop into a funnel where you spin around until you finally drop into a hole where a lifeguard waits to assist you. Given the cold weather we are now having it sounds like something I would like to do again today!

Polar vortex map The polar vortex is bringing down extremely cold polar temperatures. It was below zero this morning with wind chills of -25 Fahrenheit. The extreme whipping winds brought power lines down around 2 A.M. Knowing how fast the temperature would drop in our rather leaky house, with the howling polar winds coming in from the northwest, I was concerned for our comfort, health and water pipes. One can never be certain when power will return. Thankfully I managed to keep our coal stove going by using the battery backup for our computer till the power was restored just before 4:30 A.M. (The coal stove uses electricity to feed the fire.)

Listening to the howling winds and feeling the cool air in our otherwise warm home makes us long for sunny summer weather. But right now the U.S. and many of our friends overseas are in the midst of the winter extreme "fallout".  We experience it each year, though this year has record breaking temperatures.

God made a standing promise to Noah after the flood which is known as the Noahic Covenant: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22). 

Each of the
events and seasons described in the covenant are easily observable. Here in our rural area we regularly witness "seedtime and harvest." We all experience "cold and heat" in varying extremes depending on where we live. And of course no one would contest that we still have "summer and winter, day and night." As long as the earth endures, these "will never cease". The earth is still enduring and each of these easily observable characteristics have not ceased! God continues to faithfully keep these promises. Using a powerful phrase from the Book of Hebrews He is "sustaining all things by His powerful Word."

Although it is forecast to be very cold all day we expect this blast of cold from the polar vortex to soon cease and temperatures to return to more normal tomorrow. But an aspect of God's sustaining care is seen when we consider how much colder or hotter it could get!

"Absolute Zero" is a low budget sci-fi movie that postulates that a sudden 90 degree shift in the earth's magnetic pole plunges the equator into the deepest freeze possible - absolute zero.

I have read that if the earth were just a small fraction closer or farther from the sun we would have extremes that would make life as we know it intolerable. The same is true for the earth's design in its rotation on its axis and its revolution around the sun. Yet God has designed and sustains the earth in an extremely predictable pattern.

Hebrews 1:3There are design limits in God's continuing care over the earth as He faithfully sustains. We may grumble about the cold or the hot, but I've never met anyone that is terribly worried that the earth will move just a fraction closer to or farther from the sun causing us to suddenly boil or plunge to 100 degrees below zero!

Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ is "sustaining all things by His powerful Word." Today I am confident that He will continue to uphold and keep the earth as long as He ordains its existence. He will also continue to sustain you and me. After all, "all things" covers it all!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, You sustain all things by Your powerful Word and through Your sovereign control. The natural order of Your creation is the means by which we live day after day, year after year. Just as there are variables in the seasons there are variables in our lives as we walk this pilgrimage on earth. There are bright, clear days in which we feel on top of the world, and there are dark, cold days when we feel our world has come to a halt. But we are encouraged as we look to Your powerful Word that reminds us You are our loving God who sustains us in the variables of our daily circumstances. Because of that we can trust You even in the extremes of life. We thank You in the powerful name of Jesus who is Your exact representation on earth. Amen.

Coal stove exterior
Here's a photo of our coal stove. During the winter it goes a long way to heating our entire home although we also have a heat pump which supplements it.

Coal stove interior
The interior of our coal stove with the door open

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Faithful God"  Video  Shannon Wexelburg

"Faithful God"  Video  Laura Story

"What A Faithful God"  Video  Robert Critchley

"Indescribable"  Video  Chris Tomlin, Laura Story

"Upholding All Things"  Video  A 1 minute+ devotional thought

"God’s Powerful Sustaining Word" A short written devotional from Ligonier Ministries

Today's photo of the solitary tree and winter scene was taken in Michigan by our friend Howard Blichfeldt, a professional photographer from the Pittsburgh area and committed Christian. More samples of his photographs are on his website.

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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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