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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hanging flowers on Main Street in Mount Joy 6/27/14
Hanging flower arrangement on light pole on Main Street in Mount Joy

"And On That Day"

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"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name" (Psalm 103:1). "The time of my departure has come" (2 Timothy 4:6).

Sunday afternoon I received a call from Wayne, a college friend who lives in Michigan. He informed me that his pastor had passed away that morning after a battle with colon cancer. Although we didn't know him we do know his father-in-law Oliver Dalaba and Oliver's son Curt, whom we also went to school with. Of course this will be a very hard time for this congregation. A good pastor is there for us during life transitions. In this case the church will need to be there to help this family through the transition.

Yesterday I talked to my friend Mark Pulliam, who is a hospice chaplain. In his ministry he has seen many people who are in their last days ministering to the patient and family. In our form of chaplaincy we mostly see people in the norm of life and in some cases have seen the same employees for over 13 years. However In Mark's case along with other hospice chaplains he has but a brief window of ministry often during life's most difficult hour. His job security is based on Hebrews 9:27. He told me he stays busy with a reliable, steady stream of new patients.

There's a song being played on the radio a lot and sung in many churches that many of you have heard called "Ten Thousand Reasons" by Matt Redman. (We place a link to a YouTube video below). It is a call to continual praise and has beautiful piano and lyrics.

It begins with the chorus, which was perhaps alluding to Psalm 103:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The first verse states:

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Isn't that a great resolve? God is always worthy of our praise. Psalm 113:3 states, "From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised." We are breathing and Scripture declares, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 150:6). Today we simply don't know what may pass or what lies before us. But whatever happens, "Let me be singing when the evening comes."

The second verse states:

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

This verse begins a list of what we are to praise God for; rich in love, slow to anger, a great name, a kind heart. The beginning of ten thousand reasons to praise Him!

But it's the final verse that I feel is especially touching and speaks to a reality of life we may tend to ignore:

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

What a healthy outlook! Now certainly that is a day we tend to prolong. Most of us enjoy life on this side. But that day will surely come. We see it in our ministry regularly and we have seen it in our family, in our case our parents. Our most recent observation was several weeks ago when we stood at the bedside of a cancer patient in hospice who has sinced passed on. We quoted Psalm 23 together and had a prayer with the family.

Receive this great assurance from a faith statement expressed early in the Reformation from the Heidelberg Catechism: "What is my only comfort in life and death? That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ who so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things work together for my salvation."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, as we cling to Your hand we will remain unshaken in a world where life is filled with transition. Solomon spoke of this when he wrote that all are going to the same place; all come from dust and all return to dust. An old gospel song speaks to this, "Time is filled with swift transition; naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal; hold to God's unchanging hand!" As we continue to build on that which can't be seen on this side of glory, we do not throw away our confidence or shrink back, for our faith will someday be richly rewarded. We persevere so that when we have done the will of God we will receive what He has promised; eternal life and a glorious place to reside where sorrows do not exist and sin cannot enter. Keep us looking up and our souls singing Your unending praise, ten thousand years and then forevermore. Amen.

Some scenes from our neck of the woods

Hay truck in Lancaster County 6/27/14
Evidence of harvest time down the road from our house. We wrote yesterday about overflowing hope. It appears this farmer is overflowing with hay.

Blimp over our home 6/27/14
We had an unusual sight the other day with a large blimp flying over our home. It looks like part of the Red Sox logo with two red socks.

Ester with Jimmy 6/27/14
Walking through Mount Joy the other day we saw our friend Jimmy sitting on a park bench. I asked him what he is and he quickly responded "I'm an overcomer". We wrote a message about Jimmy many years ago.

Vietnamese hymn 6/29/14
The other day Brooksyne snapped this photo of her favorite hymn from the Vietnamese hymnal.

Kraybill Church Road paving project 6/30/14
Yesterday the road in front of our house was paved. For many years we've had a semi-paved road surface known as tar and chip.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)  Video   Matt Redman

"Praise the Lord"  Video  Laura Story and Natalie Grant  "I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath."

"In Christ Alone"  Video   "No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me. From life's first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny."

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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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