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Monday, August 10, 2015
The Pinnacle Overlook
View of Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
(Click to enlarge)
"Lifting Up Holy Hands"
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"I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing" (1 Timothy 2:8).
I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God, forever
Saturday afternoon we visited with Bob, a young man, who recently broke both of his wrists when he fell off a ladder two weeks ago in a construction accident. Only 20 years old, he just got married in May so Bob and his newlywed wife, Faith, are dealing with quite a trial very early in their marriage. But they both have faith in God and His perfect plan for their lives, however mysterious that plan is at times.
We shared together how God uses the hard times in life to shape our character and conform us more to His image. Bob also shared that the instruction he received as a youth at his home church and the years he spent at youth camp has been helpful to him. Since his accident two weeks ago he went on a retreat with his dad where the Lord again gave him assurance of His care and plan, even in the midst of his most uncomfortable circumstances.
After sharing Scripture (Romans 8:28) we had prayer and encouraged Bob to be an overcomer, though it appears that he is already exhibiting a wonderful, overcoming spirit. He feels he has a call to missions and we encouraged him to continue to seek God's will in this matter. We trust that God will continue to fill Bob and Faith's hearts with a deep assurance of His loving care in the midst of their hardship. As C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “If you can't trace His hand, trust His heart."
Before we left Bob agreed to have his photo taken and gave us permission to share his story on daily encouragement. We went out by an old John Deere tractor and he raised his hands up to show off his dual casts.
That got me thinking about a Scriptural call to all men "to lift up holy hands" whether we have casts on or not!
Today's verse is a timeless message to men. Now certainly this does preclude women from praying, for many other Scripture verses amply teach that all believers are to pray. But since in the very next verse Paul addresses a concern for the women it seems that he is especially indicating here the importance of prayer for men.
Although Paul's desire, "I want men", is gender specific, it is certainly not geographically specific! He says "everywhere".
"To lift up holy hands in prayer". We normally associate the lifting of our hands to be in praise to God, but several times in Scripture we find it in reference to prayer. The lifting of hands in prayer is an ancient expression of humility and dependence. The early Christians turned up their palms toward heaven, as those craving help do. It was the Jewish practice, not only in taking a solemn oath—or in blessing—but also in prayer, to lift up the hands. We do so out of obedience to God and His Word. The adjective "holy" is very important. The hands that we lift should be consecrated before God as we confess and repent of our sins.
"Without anger and disputing". Ellicot's commentary points out that this "allusion is doubtless made to religious disputes and contentions among the believers themselves. These angry feelings can have no place in the heart of one who really prays, whether in public or in private." It seems Paul is saying that our attitude is very important when we pray.
Today we urge you to lift your holy hands in prayer.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we lift our hands to You, our holy God, affirming that You are our refuge and You are our strength. As we pour out our hearts to You we remember that You are faithful, God, forever. In the midst of uncertainty, disappointment, and mystery help us to recall that in circumstances when we can't trace Your hand we can trust Your heart, since everything You do is for our good and in our best interest, not just for here and now, but for all eternity. Amen.
Portion of Prayer adapted from "I Lift My Hands" (Tomlin) & C.H. Spurgeon quote
Some Scenes From Southern Lancaster County
On the way back from visiting Bob we went out to the Pinnacle Overlook (photo above) and then drove along the Susquehanna River through a scenic part of Lancaster County we rarely travel.
We hiked through the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve, a beautiful wild area with huge trees.
In Conestoga Township we saw a section of road with potted plants on the guard rail posts lining each side of the road. These were real plants so someone must care for them.
Here are the flowers at the end of the driveway of a rather unpretentious home (actually it looks like a deserted, crumbling house). But the gardener certainly brightens a big corner of his or her world nearby!
Two railroad trestles run parallel along the river in Safe Harbor. The lower belongs to the still active Norfolk Southern Line. The upper trestle is the abandoned Low Grade Railroad which is now a recreational trail in many sections of the County. One section we've ridden on several times ends at this trestle which we hope will one day be restored as part of the trail.
The Village of Safe Harbor was constructed in the early 1930's to house construction workers and their families when the Safe Harbor Dam was built. It is a quaint village with period homes. We like this view with the old car giving an appearance similar to driving through the village in the nineteen-fifties.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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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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