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Monday, April 25, 2016

Lehigh River Gorge Buttermilk Falls 04/23/16
Buttermilk Falls in the Lehigh River Gorge

"Finish Well"

Message Summary:
The apostle Paul wrote in his final letter to Timothy with this awareness; "The time has come for my departure" (2 Timothy 4:6). What solid resignation I see in these words as he faced the martyr's death and made this proclamation, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

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"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).

There will come a day I know without a doubt
Around the throne the saints will bow and lay down every crown
How glorious that moment to see Him face to face
To hear Him say “Well done, my child you’ve finished your race."
But for now the sun’s still rising there’s work to still be done
While we’re waiting for the promise of what is yet to come.

One of the great evidences of faith in our lives is the assurance of God's care during a trial. Yesterday in our Sunday School class our friend Ken shared a prayer request concerning a relative stricken with cancer. She had sent out an email update to her family concerning her current condition and candidly reported that her medical prognosis was bleak and treatment options very limited. "Pray that I can be faithful, bring glory to God and not let fear rule my life."

But when Ken shared the request the part that especially caught my attention was the faith she had passed on to her children. Her son is getting married in August and it is her greatest desire to attend. But he lovingly reassured her, "Yes I would like you here, but remember that
going to my wedding is nothing compared to heaven and a new healthy body."

Although I have never met the people Ken was referring to I am heartened by such a resolve to finish well.

A gospel group called Karen Peck and New River has a song (a link to a video is below) titled "Finish Well" which has this line.

But for now the sun’s still rising, there’s work to still be done
While we’re waiting for the promise of what is yet to come.

The apostle Paul's perspective on life and death is so liberating. After his conversion on the Damascus road he began experiencing the great joy that comes in living for Christ. He testified in our daily text, "For me to live is Christ." His wasn't by any means an easy life but millions since have testified to the joy of serving the living Christ.  Indeed "life is worth the living just because He lives."

And yet Paul also had the perspective, "to die is gain." The word translated "gain" has the sense of advantage. In fact a few verses later Paul says, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23).

Several years later Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy with this awareness; "The time has come for my departure" (2 Timothy 4:6). What solid resignation I see in these words as he faced the martyr's death and made this proclamation, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Today, what a joy it is to follow Christ and have a deep, abiding assurance of His love. When the time comes for our departure we lose our frail, aging, and mortal body along with our residency in a world that is day by day sliding into decadence and destruction. We will "gain" and be better off by far with our immortal, ageless, and healthy bodies along with our residency in a place that is timeless, ageless, and sinless. That's what we live for! Praise the Lord, today I am a child of the King with my home address on earth, but "tomorrow", as a child of the king, my home address will be heaven. Won't you join me there as we finish well here.

Finish well, every day that we are given
Finish well, for the glory of His name.
Finish strong, until the Savior finally calls us home
Give it everything we have, finish well.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as I live out my time here on this earth, I'm so glad that I belong to You. You hold my right hand and guide me with Your continuous presence and daily bread which is leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but You and I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail and my spirit may even grow weak, but Father, You remain the strength of my heart and You are my portion forever. My Refuge, my Fortress and my Deliverer, I will joyfully tell of Your mighty works as I seek to finish well until You call me to my eternal home. Amen.

Lehigh River Gorge

Saturday we travelled up to Jim Thorpe in the Poconos to ride the Lehigh River Gorge bike train which is a train ride 25 miles up the Lehigh Gorge to White Haven. Then we rode our bikes back on the rail-trail to Jim Thorpe. It started out a bit chilly but as the ride progressed it became more comfortable with many beautiful scenes along the way. (Brooksyne: Actually it wasn't chilly, it was cold and Stephen left his jacket in the car since he thought he wouldn't need it. For a change he was the cold one. Usually it's me but I wore two jackets which helped deflect the chilly and breezy air through most of the day. We rode a total of 31 miles, our first long bike ride of the year - it was splendid with all the waterfalls, river views, rock structures and surrounding mountains!)

Lehigh River Gorge railroad bridge 04/23/16
This old iron bridge now shares the rail-trail with an active rail line.

Lehigh River Gorge view from train 04/23/16
The train winds along the Lehigh River. Our bikes were in the gondola car behind the engine with many other bikes. Some on the train also rented bikes in White Haven

Lehigh River Gorge train in White Haven 04/23/16
Lehigh River Gorge train unloading in White Haven. The ride was sold out and when, due to a change in our weekend plans, we called for tickets on Friday we got the last two! We were told there are 350 people on the train.

Lehigh River Gorge 04/23/16
A view of the Lehigh River from where we enjoyed our lunch.
(Click to enlarge)

Lehigh River Gorge historical building 04/23/16
The trail has many interesting scenes along the way with many of them marked since it used to also be a canal route. However this large round stone building without a roof was undesignated. Do any of our readers have any idea what this was used for? Respond here.

Weber's in Lehigh River Gorge historical building 04/23/16
The door opening provided a good place for a photo!  Looks like we're welcoming you to our abode, only problem is there's no food or chairs to make it a warm, comfortable visit.

Rattlesnake on Lehigh Gorge rail trail 4/23/16
This rattlesnake was right on the trail and, oh my, was the rattle loud!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Finish Well"  Video   Karen Peck & New River

Here's the
second verse:

There’s no truth in saying
We’ve seen our better days
These are the days to be courageous
Bold and full of faith
So wherever He may lead us
Whatever it may cost
Let the Church arise and lift
The banner of the cross.

"Heaven Is Better By Far
"  Video  Haven Quartet

"Won't It Be Wonderful There"  Video  Happy Goodmans

"Won't It Be Wonderful There"  Video  Dailey & Vincent

"I Am Resolved
"  Video    Brooksyne's Note:  One of my favorite old hymns reminding me of the great resolve I made as a young teen to "no longer linger" after or be "charmed by the world's delights". But instead I chose to follow after "things that are higher, things that are nobler". Now they "allure my sight". I never regretted it and I thank God often for the best decision I've ever made in my 60 years of life!

D & L Trail - Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail  A description of the rail trail we rode on Saturday.

Bike Train info  A great ride!

Photo last Friday at the "Amish Walmart" is an old order intercom system! The only correct answer came from a friend with an Amish background. Essentially a PVC pipe runs under the floor to the
warehouse in the back of the store. The clerk can communicate to workers in the back by speaking through the pipe! Most, understandably, thought it had something to do with transferring money like the pipes at a bank drive-through. Thanks for your fun responses including one all the way from South Africa.

Finally today:

Here's another photo quiz for today. What is this young man assembling? Submit your answer here.

Kleen-Rite assembly 4/22

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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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