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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Along Donegal Creek
A snowy path along Donegal Creek near our home.
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"A Lesson From Burst Water Pipes"

"God keeps every promise He makes. He is like a shield for all who seek His protection" (Proverbs 30:5).
"But I will never stop loving him, nor let my promise to him fail. No, I will not break my covenant...I have sworn an oath to David, and in my holiness I cannot lie: his dynasty will go on forever; his throne is as secure as the sun" (Psalm 89:33,34a,35,36). "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20,21).

As we shared yesterday we are having a real surge of frigid weather in our area, the polar vortex. There are many of you reading today who are also experiencing extreme temperatures in your area. The pipes are prone to freezing in our lower bathroom and laundry room which is located on the first floor on the west wall where most of the severe weather comes from, especially when it's windy and the temps drop way down. In the twelve years we've owned this home it's happened several times even though I place a space heater in that area. Thankfully, each time the pipes have thawed without breaking.

Monday night the pipes had again frozen and we expected it to slowly thaw. We haven't been too inconvenienced by the annual problem since we have an upstairs bath.

Shop vacHowever last night we were sitting together in our family room when I first heard it. The pipes had burst and I heard the water gushing from the broken pipes, and my, did we have a wet mess! Water had spread all through that level of our home. I shut off the water to that section and the three of us worked vigorously for several hours cleaning up the flood using towels and a shop vac. I finally cut into the drywall ceiling to expose the problem and now must figure out a way to not only fix the pipes (plastic) but hopefully prevent it from happening again. Since I had to cut into the ceiling I am now able to see how frigid air reaches the pipes.

Not surprisingly, some of the headline stories in our local paper tell of establishments that are shut down today because of broken water pipes. We had a mess, but knowing of large businesses that are dealing with broken water pipes made us consider that our mess wasn't so extensive after all. And far worse are those reports we read each year when homes go up into flames often related to portable heating systems or faulty electrical wiring.

burst plastic pipeBrooksyne and I now have a major project that we hadn't counted on seven days into the new year. Admittedly, as I prepare today's Bible lesson the "repair" is on my mind as I consider the materials needed for this major repair. My dad taught me plumbing so I am going to attempt the repair myself. As Brooksyne worked on this message and I worked on the repair I determined it's much more extensive than I first thought with cracks in additional piping that I hadn't exposed when we started the message early this morning!*

Dealing with the messy fallout of broken water pipes reminds me of the messy world in which we live. When water pipes work properly they are a conduit for water piped to a desired location. One of the great but lesser considered material blessings of life is running water. We both come from families only two generations removed from that being a new thing. We both had grandparents that did not have running water until later in their lives. Stephen's grandparents on his mother's side did not have indoor running water until they were nearly the age we are now. It's kind of hard to imagine trudging outside to use an outhouse but that's what they did. In fact the outhouse was still used as a backup and when company came!

But when the water pipes break a major mess results as we are now experiencing.
Actually our present situation is a result of the blessing of running water. Those that still live in conditions without piped water don't ever deal with broken pipes! So what spiritual message can we draw from today as this weighs heavily on our mind?

Our world is filled with broken people. This is so often a direct result of a broken trust, whether it goes back to our childhood or from an adult relationship(s). Lives come unraveled, hearts are broken, and hope is shattered. But God offers healing for broken lives since He is after all, the Father of Compassion. "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds" as the broken place their trust in Him.

In contrast to this world's brokenness we serve a God who is ever dependable and every covenant or promise He makes He will never break, for "God keeps every promise He makes". We read in Psalm 89 where He made a promise to David that his kingdom would never end. And of course we just celebrated the reality of that promise at Christmas, when the Son of God, born of the tribe of David, became the incarnate Christ.
"The angel told Mary, And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His kingdom will never end!" (Luke 1:32,33).

Hymn Writer, Francis Havergal, best known for her hymn, “Take My Life” regularly sent out New Year's greetings to friends along with an original poem for the coming year. Many of them became the text for a hymn. In 1873 she included these allusions to Scripture in the second stanza of her hymn, “Standing at the Portal”:

“He will never fail us, He will not forsake;
For His eternal covenant He will never break.
Resting on the promise, What have we to fear?
God is all sufficient for the coming year.”

None of us knows whether there is fortune or famine in the new year but, as we rest on God’s promises, we’re reminded that He is all sufficient for the coming year. So whatever you're dealing with today or will deal this year let us keep our focus on the eternal covenant that will never be broken.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, in a world filled with broken promises resulting in broken lives, how comforted we are to know that You keep every promise You make. You heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds. You call us to Yourself, poor and needy, bruised and broken by the fall, and You stand ready to save us. We must doubt no more but fully trust You on the merit of the blood given for us through the death of Your Son, Jesus. We confess our brokenness and celebrate Your wholeness as we serve You and transfer our citizenship to Your kingdom that is eternal.

(Portion of prayer inspired by "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy"

Another perspective: In response to yesterday's message about our frigid weather a Canadian reader shared a perspective: "Since Friday here in Newfoundland, Canada we have what the hydro (electric) people call rolling power outages, where they cut the power to different parts of the island to conserve electricity.  Many people had power on and power off.  We were without electricity for 24 + hours.  It got cold.  We wore hats and gloves as we slept and ate peanut butter on bread. We have no alternate source of heat here in our apartment. On Sunday afternoon after the power came on the temperature in our home was only 4 degrees Celsius (about 39 degrees Fahrenheit)."

* My plumbing challenge: When I cut into the drywall and opened the area in the ceiling to expose the pipes it's quite evident that a previous owner made repairs to the pipe based on multiple couplings. I also suspect there may be other areas where the pipe burst but I have to fix the known breaks first so I can determine if there are other areas with burst pipe that haven’t been exposed yet! I also have a challenge due to some of the broken pipe being essentially inaccessible. So I have quite a chore in the next several days!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"All Your Promises Are True"  Video  Shannon Wexelburg

"Every Promise of Your Word"  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

"Come Ye Sinners"  Video  Todd Agnew

"Standing At The Portal"  Video  Trinity Free Presbyterian Church, Trinity, Alabama

"Standing On The Promises"  Video  Harpeth Gospel Quartet

"Standing on the Promises" hymn background story:

A believer’s stability for this life as well as his confidence for eternity rests solely on the written promises of God’s Word.

In 1886, Russell Carter wrote “Standing on the Promises”. Although a Christian most of his life, it wasn't until Carter experienced a deadly condition with his heart that he began to understand the power of the Bible’s promises. At age 30, his health was in crisis and the physicians could not help him anymore. Carter asked God for help.

He knelt and made a fresh pledge of His love for God, no matter what happened. From that moment on Carter began to hold onto the Bible’s promises, determined to believe; no matter what his physical condition, no matter how he felt. Over the next months his strength returned, and his heart was completely cured! Carter lived another healthy 49 years.

The hymn Carter had written years before his miracle, became more than words and music to him. “Standing on the Promises” became an integral part of his life.

The rhythmic martial tone of the hymn’s music possibly reflects Mr. Carter’s military background and academy experience as professor at a Pennsylvania Military School. (www.timetosing.ca)

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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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