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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Praising cactus Assateague Island 6/9/15
Tiny "clapping" cactus on the Assateague Island National Seashore.

"Clapping Trees"

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“For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands" (Isaiah 55:12). "O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph" (Psalm 47:1).

Last week during our bike ride through the Assateague Island National Seashore Brooksyne called for me to look at something up close. Standing sentry in the oversized sandscape was a tiny 3" cactus seen in our lead photo which appears to be clapping or praising the Lord! This brought to mind our daily text which we recall singing as a chorus many years ago. In fact the Messianic Jew who set it to music, Stuart Dauermann, held a concert in our very young church in the late seventies shortly after he wrote this song. "Trees of the Field" would soon be sung nationally and be included in more recent hymn books. You have likely sung it:

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace;
the mountains and the hills will break forth before you;
there'll be shouts of joy, and all the trees of the field
will clap, will clap their hands!
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands,
the trees of the field will clap their hands,
the trees of the field will clap their hands
while you go out with joy.

I am blessed to read that he is still serving the Lord and read this about him: "Dr. Stuart Dauermann (b. 1944) was born in Brooklyn, New York, into a conservative Jewish family. Music was Stuart's first chosen career, and it was in his second year as an undergraduate majoring in Music Theory at the Manhattan School of Music that he was invited to a discussion group where he began investigating the Newer Testament, only to discover that the Newer Testament was investigating him! So it was that in 1962 he became convinced that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel and the Nations. By the mid-1960’s, Stuart recognized he was being drawn to invest his life in interpreting Yeshua to the Jewish community." *

As we would expect he has written music with a Jewish flair, many of the words coming from Old Testament Scriptures.

The Scriptures clearly reveal that God is pleased with the praises of His people. The Psalms especially are filled with calls to and expressions of praise.

Today's text is a jubilant prophecy of future restoration: “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."

In Isaac Watt's anthem, "Joy To The World", which we associate with Christmas,  is actually a more general hymn suitable for all seasons.

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Isn't it interesting the concept of nature singing praises to God? The daily text states, "
the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you." Isn't that a great image?  In fact I can visualize a smilie face on that little cactus as his little budding arms are reaching upward to the heavens and that makes me smile as well.

"And all the trees of the field will clap their hands." Let us join them! "O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it's easy to imagine nature praising You as the song birds trill their many canticles, as the wind blows upon the airy leaves and the branches of the trees clap in praise to You. Observing the clear, gushing water as it surges over the boulders, rocks and stones is so invigorating, but as much as we enjoy experiencing nature as You created it, You even more so enjoy hearing the praises of Your created beings above any other natural creation, since we are created in Your own image. It's hard to imagine a rock praising You since it's an inanimate object lacking personality, warmth, and soul. Yet there are times when my heart can grow stone cold when I become headstrong with my own agenda and block the work and leading of the Holy Spirit in my life. I choose to be a joyful, enthusiastic and consistent worshiper who gives You praise not only with my lips but with my life. I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength. Amen.

Martin's bike shop near Ephrata PA
Last week we purchased two "comfort bikes", suitable for our age, at the Martin's Bike Shop near Ephrata PA. It's owned and run by members of one of the old order Mennonite communities and expresses conservative values. A sign stating their hours of operation notes that it is closed on Sunday with this witness, "Sunday is the Lord's Day". Another sign on the entrance door appeals that customers come in dressed modestly.

Martin's bike shop near Ephrata PA
Martin's Bike Shop has an interesting museum of bicycles including this display of antique bikes and a bicycle built for three!

Martin's bike shop near Ephrata PA
The oldest appears to be this 1848 Hobby Horse.
 It sure doesn't look very comfortable to ride!

Our new bikes!
Our new bikes.
Brooksyne has been riding the same one
we purchased in New England in the mid-nineties and I was using one we purchased several years ago at a yard sale. We have already been on several neighborhood rides through the country and these are much more comfortable. We have already shared about some of our scenic trail trips and we expect to be doing a lot more.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Trees of the Field"
 Video  Israel Homecoming

"I Believe"  Video  Dailey and Vincent

When I see the sunrise in the morning
When I feel the wind blow across my face
When I hear the sound of children playing
I know its all part of God's amazing grace

* Info about Stuart Dauermann

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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