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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kinzua Bridge
Remains of the Kinzua Viaduct near Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania

"The Source Of Our Confidence"
"Jesus Never Fails!"

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"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him" (Jeremiah 17:7).

So many souls have tested Him
 throughout the course of time.
So many still reach out to Him
with broken hearts and minds
And every one of them will say
with no exception that they find
Jesus never fails.

When our friends, Mike and Kathy, were with us earlier this week they showed us some photos they had taken of the Kinzua Viaduct. When we lived in northern Pennsylvania in our early adult years the surrounding area had few tourist attractions, at least compared to New England, or here in Lancaster County. But the one place we often took our out-of-town guests was to the "Kinzu
a Viaduct", a railroad bridge high over a valley in McKean County, PA where our longtime friends Bruce and Cindy Jack live.

The Kinzua Bridge was originally built from iron in 1882 and was billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World", holding the record as the tallest railroad bridge in the world at that time. We often walked across the bridge and then hiked back through the valley to the other side. After we left that area a tornado destroyed much of the bridge with the only part remaining now ending in an observation deck as shown in the photo above.

We recall that some folks never liked to cross the bridge and to this day they're fearful of heading out to the observation deck where the bridge now ends. I have a friend in one of our companies who shared of her fear in walking across the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge below Hoover Dam. (See photo).

Salvation is often graphically depicted as a bridge between sinful man and a holy God. The bridge may be expressed as a cross. It is God's only appointed means to reach Him. A bridge is seen as a way we live our life by faith in God. This bridge is supremely trustworthy.

Bridge of salvationEven in the days of old
He brought His people through
And then He came to show His love
and died for me and you.
And He rose again to prove
that every story had been true
That Jesus never fails.

Our daily text was written by Jeremiah in the historical context of the Southern Kingdom's final years. God's judgment was imminent and Jeremiah was one of the faithful prophets proclaiming this unpopular truth. In our day we need prophets like Jeremiah who speak the truth regardless of whether popular or not. The message of judgment is certainly not a popular message. But the terrible message of judgment also has within it a tremendous message of hope: "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him."

When we look around and consider all the things that are blessings in our lives we may fail to think of our trust in the Lord as a blessing. People outside the faith would consider their possessions, health, and perhaps other people as blessings in their lives. We who believe and follow Jesus Christ would certainly consider these to be blessings as well, but we would put the tremendous dimension of our salvation in Christ at the top of the list and every blessing associated with that.  Of course that would make the list infinitely long!  In fact God has "blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). That will take a lifetime of calculating our blessings!

What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God.  The line from an old hymn declares, "Those who trust Him whol-ly, find Him whol-ly true".  Even as my trust in the reliability of a well-constructed bridge is not an unproven trust, how much more is the trust I have placed in the Lord of the ages and His everlasting Word.  His claims can be tested and have been by millions throughout the ages. Indeed, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him."

Jesus never fails - Jesus never fails.
You might as well get thee behind me Satan
You cannot prevail
because Jesus never fails.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the greatest blessing in trusting You is the confidence we walk in as we look to You for everything that we have need of.  Jeremiah draws the contrast of those who depend on humans for strength and have stopped trusting in You.  They don't know about the good things that You can give because they are unwilling to surrender their all to You.  But we who have walked across the bridge of salvation chose to place our trust in You. We have found You to be faithful. In place of cringing fear we walk in confident faith because it is not in ourselves that we trust but in the Living God who is trustworthy in all areas of our lives.  Now, we ask for grace to trust You even more.  Amen.

In crossing any bridge I put my trust in a lot of brilliant engineering, quality materials, competent construction, scrupulous quality control, diligent maintenance, conscientious inspections, and ultimately in God. These points can all be applied to the bridge of salvation as well!

A long time reader shared concerning yesterday's message about the Flight 93 crash site: "I was born and raised near Shanksville. The flight 93 plane flew over my first husband's family farm as it was coming down. My brother in law said the plane was so low he felt like he could reach up and touch it."

Kinzua Bridge
At the overlook where the bridge now ends there is a platform with glass so you can look down, although I am not sure you could pay me enough to stand on that! It is similar to an attraction at the Grand Canyon.

Kinzua Bridge debris
The mangled steel at the bottom of the valley as a result of the tornado.
(All Kinzua Bridge photos from Mike and Kathy Matangelo)

Welcome home Ester!!!

Kraybill Church Road traffic jam 6/17/14
Yesterday afternoon Ester returned home from her long trip to Texas where has been with Brooksyne's sister, her Aunt Elaine, since late April 26th. They drove up in a huge RV. Parking it in our long, narrow driveway from a narrow rural road was a challenge and actually created a rare traffic jam on our country road. Tractors we regularly see, huge RV's not so much!

Ken Pierce and sons 6/17/14
Ken Pierce and sons
Our friend Ken stopped by with his boys to lend a hand setting up.

Ester with Elaine 6/17/14
Ester and Elaine relaxing in our lawn at sunset after a stressful half hour of backing up the "bus" so she can spend a week or so visiting with us. It was quite an adventure bringing out neighbors who watched the parking "attendants" (Brooksyne and me) trying to direct her.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus Never Fails"  Video  Great song from our earliest days in following Christ by a group called "Truth" We used the lyrics of this song several times in our message today.

"Trust His Heart"  Video 
Babbie Mason

"My Hope Is In The LORD"  Video 
The Talleys

"I Can Trust Jesus"  Video 
Collingsworth Family

"I Surrender All"  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir

The Kinzua Viaduct

A photo of the Kinzua bridge prior to its collapse on July 21, 2003. (Scroll through for additional photos.)

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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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