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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Westside bike path 5/26/14
View of Freedom Tower from Hudson River Greenway bike path.

"Heeding God's Warnings"

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“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me" (Ezekiel 3:17). "While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly" (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

We both grew up in the Midwest and New York City was like a foreign country in our young minds. Many years later when we lived in northern Pennsylvania we hosted Fresh Air children from NYC. The Fresh Air program selects inner city children and places them in small town/rural settings with host families for two to four weeks so the kids can have that experience. When Rafi joined us as a Fresh Air child rather than send him back on the bus we drove him back to New York City about 30 years ago.

On our visit we went up to the top of the South Tower of World Trade Center to view the city. We also took a boat tour that went around the entire island of Manhattan and had dinner with Rafi's mother, GiGi, and his younger brother Edgar. We visited with them in their public housing complex in Harlem, an event we later realized was surrounded by our guardian angels as God's special protection was shielding us from a drug and gang infested neighborhood.

In the early nineties I also had a breakfast meeting
on the 107th floor of the North Tower at the Windows on the World restaurant. Some ten years later on 9/11/01 everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 penetrated the Tower perished, as all stairwells leading to below the impact zone were blocked immediately. Victims trapped in the Windows restaurant died either from smoke inhalation from the fire, jumping or falling to their deaths, or due to the eventual collapse of the North Tower 102 minutes later.

As my friend Lee and I rode our bikes near the tower site Monday we considered what it must have been like for the hundreds of thousands in lower Manhattan who experienced 9/11 up close. I still recall what a beautiful morning that was and like many of you can recall precisely where I was when I received the news of the terror attack. It was terrifying enough watching it on TV and most unsettling for weeks to follow.

There were signs and warnings for many years that an event like 9/11 would take place. Just consider the increase in Islamic terrorism since the kidnappings and murder of the Israeli athletes in 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Many times we just don't want to believe warnings preferring instead messages of peace, safety, comfort and humor. Yet many thoughtful, discerning and prayerful observers warn of pending danger. Like Ezekiel they are called to be like a watchman who seeks and then speaks the Word of the Lord for the people and gives them warning from God. These watchmen warners are often not popular and their message will be met with disbelief and scorn.

We get a lot of warnings in our lives. We have them in our homes and cars. There are warning signs for cancer and other diseases. Our computers have lots of warnings. We can ignore or disable warnings, but we do so to our own peril.

But far, far more perilous is the widespread disregard of the warnings God gives throughout Scripture, the greatest of which involves the most definite future judgment. This warning is not only massively ignored, but mockingly ridiculed, much to Satan's pleasure. (I recall a Keith Green song in which he presents the devil gleefully proclaiming, "No one believes in me anymore.")

Our second daily text states,
"While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). This verse describes events that culminate the present age known as "the Day of the Lord". At that time there will be some who proclaim "peace and safety" but" destruction will come on them suddenly".

Today I encourage you to respectfully regard God's warnings for the blessings they really are, expressions of His love and care for each one of us. He is safeguarding our present and watching over our future so that we will glorify Him who always has our best interests in mind.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we glean so much from the characters of the Bible; both bad and good examples of those who thought themselves to be above Your commands and those who heeded Your warnings. Achan in Joshua 7 had a heart of greed, a lying spirit, and prized himself above innocent lives who perished as a result of his sinful actions. Your judgment eventually came upon him and he paid with his life and that of his entire family. But we also see Noah who labored for years building an unprecedented mammoth boat for the torrential flood waters Your warned him about. He heeded Your warning and thereby saved his family’s lives and the pairing of many animals that would reproduce on the earth following the flood. Help us to realize that we are wise to follow Your warnings given in the commands of Scripture. To feel that we are the exception is a lie from the pit of hell that will immediately or eventually lead to our demise. You warn because You love us and want the very best for us, Your children. Remind us often; through Scripture, through fellow believers, through negative and positive examples we see all about us, and through the inner working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Rick and Rachel Caldwell 5/27/14
Last night our friends Rick and Rachel Caldwell joined us for dinner at our place.

On Monday Brooksyne and I joined our friends, Lee and Pam Smucker, for a day trip to New York City where we rode our bikes through lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Here is a Google map with some of the spots we went to. We'll share more photos over the next several days. Lee is quite a navigator and knew where to park free, which as many know is very expensive in NYC. He also knew how to get around the city, something we would have found quite daunting. We arrived in the city around 9am and had breakfast together at the Cornerstone Cafe before embarking on our 16 mile bike ride.

Highline walking path 5/26/14
We first drove across lower Manhattan over to the Hudson River Greenway bike path and then up to the High Line walking path. This used to be an elevated rail line to the meatpacking district. It is a beautiful area to walk and many were simply relaxing (no bikes allowed).

Persian onion flower on Westside bikeway 5/26/14
Most of our photos will feature city views but there are many, many beautiful close-ups such as this allium aka Persian Onion flower or Star of Persia. Many of these huge bulbs were blooming along the Hudson River Greenway bike path.

Freedom Tower from Hudson River pier 5/26/14
A photo taken from a pier on the Hudson River with the Freedom Tower in the background.

Jersey City, New Jersey across Hudson River 5/26/14
Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan.
It has a skyline rivalling many larger and much more famous cities.

Curving buildings on Westside 5/26/14
These buildings in lower Manhattan along the west side are architecturally designed to curve with the highway!

Yesterday I shared a photo of the farm "Velodrome", a farm building that Ken Pierce, his boys and I rode our bikes in. It is actually the manure pit below a chicken house! The farmer is switching flocks and although the area has been cleaned out and power washed I still only lasted one time around due to the strong odor.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Satan's Boast"  Video  Keith Green

"I Am Not Ashamed of The Gospel"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

The High Line

I first read about the High Line several years ago in this National Geographic article and have wanted to visit it ever since.

NYC Bike Maps

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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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