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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean Rehoboth Beach DE 10/9/15
Rehoboth Beach sunrise 10/9/15

Each time I am at the shore I try to get a sunrise photo. For many years we have used a sunrise photo in our banner taken at Myrtle Beach. On this trip we had clouds on the horizon when the sun first rose but then I waited till it just peeked above the cloud line.

"The Greatest Source Of Joy"

to this message on your audio player.

"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.' He replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven'" (Luke 10:17-20).

What fills your heart with joy? Well, there are a lot of sources of joy. It may be a vacation trip, a wonderful family moment, the fulfillment of making a spiritual impact upon another, accomplishing a long range goal, etc. All of these and more have brought me joy and I feel all of these can be God's gifts to brighten our days. There are sure plenty of sources for gloominess!

Yesterday I watched one of those cute videos that has become viral. A little girl rushes up to hug her dad who is just returning from a deployment. Such a touching sight can even bring a vicarious joy from afar! (See below for video link.)

But we also have days when the events of life fill our hearts with sadness. This may be a loss of some type or a disappointing outcome of something we had expected to work out.
Many can identify with the hymnwriter John M. Moore who wrote, "Days are filled with sorrow and care, hearts are lonely and drear." Solomon wisely wrote that there is, "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

But today I want to focus on joy and a source of joy that is constant and unchanging. By the authority of the Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ I can present this promise to every child of God regardless of where you live or whatever you may be dealing with today.
"But rejoice that your names are written in heaven". All who have placed their faith in Christ and have an assurance that their names are "written in heaven" should have this joy regardless of one's circumstances.

In the daily Scripture portion the disciples had returned from a mission trip "with joy" and exuberantly reported their victories in the authority of Christ's Name. I have had ministry experiences that bring similar outbursts of joy.

Jesus responded to their joy with affirmation and a powerful perspective on how we are to reckon our blessings.  Although it was truly wonderful (the events that had taken place on their mission trip), He reminded them that the primary source of their rejoicing should be, "that your names are written in heaven."  Elsewhere in Scripture this is identified as the "Book of Life" (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 21:27). In all circumstances we should rejoice in God's wonderful, eternal provision of adding our names to the Lamb's Book of Life. It should steady us amidst the twists and turns, the ups and downs on our earthly journey!

The issue is a fixed spiritual reality versus a transient material appearance. Ultimately all that we see around us is transient. "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17). Our tendency is to focus on the material because that's what we see and feel, and that's what loudly clamors for our attention.

The passage goes on to reveal the heart of our Lord in an amazing way with an expression of His joy: "At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."  Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it" (Luke 10:21-24).

Today, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2) and let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad that our name is written in heaven!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father,
our faith and joy do not depend upon Your answering our prayers the way we may desire, but rather the marvelous work that You have done and are doing in our lives. You've forgiven us our sins and You've placed our names in the Lamb's book of life. We want to be joyful in You and the ongoing work You are doing in the spiritual realm, invisible to the eyes of others, but very much alive in our spirit. As we allow You to do Your inner work the outflowing fruit in our lives will reveal the changes You make within us. We thank You in Jesus' name, Amen.

Some more scenes from our trip to the Delaware Shore this last weekend.

Sunrise over Atlantic Ocean Rehoboth Beach DE 10/9/15
Rehoboth Beach sunrise 10/9/15
This was the scene at sunrise before the sun actually rose above the clouds.

Sunset of Silver Lake Rehoboth Beach DE 10/8/15
Rehoboth Beach sunset 10/8/15
Being on the east coast in most locations you need another body of water to get a sunset photo over water.* This is Silver Lake in Rehoboth Beach.

Photo of coffeeshop ceiling in Rehoboth Beach DE
The Coffeeshop House in Rehoboth Beach:  You likely think this is a photo I took standing on a chair as I am looking down on the table and attractive plate settings.  Believe it or not, you're actually looking up at the ceiling of the coffeeshop. The table and accessories are glued to the ceiling - gives you a strange feeling when you look up and see this set-up. See here for article and more photos.

Ester at phone booth in Rehoboth Beach DE
Ester outside an old-fashioned telephone booth door, but she had no need for a corded phone. We wonder how many people her age and younger have any idea what a pay phone booth is!

Tidal Creek from Junction & Breakwater trail near Rehoboth Beach DE 10/15
A view of a tidal creek from the Junction and Breakwater trail. One tree is starting to change in the distance. Here in our area the trees are also just starting to change.

Raised boardwalk on Gordon Pond trail near Rehoboth Beach DE 10/15
Another view of the raised boardwalk over the salt marsh on the Gordon Pond trail between Rehoboth Beach and Lewes Delaware. Here's the location on Google map of this area.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Trading My Sorrows"  Video 

"Happy Song"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  Video  Loyiso Bala, Neville D and Ivan Siegelaar

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  Video  Michael W. Smith with a beautiful violin intro

"Little girl can't wait to hug soldier Dad"  Video  This is the video mentioned in message! It will bring a smile. (46 seconds)

* A prime location for a westward ocean sunset photo on the east coast is Menemsha Harbor on Martha's Vineyard where we experienced a most memorable sunset about 20 years ago. We stayed with John and Hope Winchoba who were members of the church we served, along with Rachel, Hope's sister, who had a small cottage on the island. (All three are now with the Lord.)

As sunset approached visitors and residents arranged their beach chairs in a long single line on the sand. We also took our seats, each wanting to take in the beauty of a sunset on the northwest side of the island. Quietly enthralled with the natural beauty of the glowing sunset it would seem that viewers were nearly in a trance.

But then as the sun disappeared over the ocean, with no warning, the islanders who had been so quiet suddenly erupted in loud applause with everyone standing to their feet. One by one the viewers echoed, "Encore! Encore!" (We didn't get one.) It was an astounding sight and memorable experience. Most were clapping for the sheer beauty they witnessed, but for my family and friends, it was another opportunity to praise the Lord. We were among those "who dwell in the ends of the earth stand(ing) in awe of Your (God's) signs."

"You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy." That sure is an interesting way to view a dawn and a sunset; shouting for joy. Wherever you live, even to the ends of the earth, remember this verse when the sun rises and when the sun sets and join in praise to the indescribable God of the universe! Truly, "From the rising of the sun to its setting the Name of the Lord is to be praised!"

Here are selections of Menemsha Harbor sunsets. We recall that Hope believed it was the most beautiful sunset in the world!

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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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