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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Split rail fence view on Sachuest Point, Rhode Island 6/17/16
It was a beautiful evening last Friday as these wispy wildflowers yielded to the quiet and invisible breeze that blew along the shoreline at the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, near Newport Rhode Island.

"Forever God Is Faithful!"

Message Summary: A.W. Tozer states, "Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and His promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come."

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"You, O LORD, reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation" (Lamentations 5:19). "Blessed is He whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord His God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - the Lord, who remains faithful forever" (Psalm 146:5,6).

Sunset from Sachuest Point, Rhode Island 6/17/16

From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
By the grace of God we will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

This past Friday evening we visited Newport RI where Ester attended a wedding that prompted our trip to New England where we lived from 1993-2001. Leaving the packed bustle of Newport (we had enough just getting through the traffic to get her to the wedding), we drove over to the relative quiet of the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge where we walked around the point starting on the east side. We viewed this very distant sunset over Newport as we were preparing to leave.

Anytime we are near the ocean I try to get a sunrise or sunset photo. I recall a teaching from Hope Winchoba, a very wise and godly lady who grew up on Martha's Vineyard, who is now with the Lord. She pointed out that a sunset photo over a large mass of water is best when it includes landscape in the distance for context. The distant shore in our photo is Newport and the world famous 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, another walk we both enjoy, but due to the congestion we didn't walk it this trip. It combines the beauty of the Newport shoreline with the architectural history of Newport's gilded age.

The sunset photo reminds us of one of our most poignant sunset memories with Hope and her husband John over 20 years ago when we watched the sunset off Menemsha Harbor on the western side of Martha's Vineyard. We'll share that memory in a footnote.

Purposefully observing sunrise and sunset should prompt a powerful perspective of God's faithfulness. Since creation the sun has reliably risen and predictably set every day.

We are not of this world. We foundationally belong to another Kingdom. As God's children we are part of a dynasty that will last forever. Jeremiah proclaimed in our first daily verse: "You, O Lord, reign forever."  He made this proclamation during a time of social and spiritual chaos, as Judah's captivity to Babylon was imminent. In fact Lamentations was written during one of the most despairing times imaginable. Looking at the conditions in our country can bring despair if we focus solely on our earthly existence. I sometimes wonder, with the increase of terror, immorality, and godlessness, if this is what the beginning of judgment looks like as we are beginning to reap the consequences of man's rebellion against God's laws.

In the natural it didn't look like the throne of David had any chance at all, but God gave Jeremiah spiritual eyes to look beyond the chaos of the present life to the eternal future where God's throne endures from generation to generation. Through the eternal reign of Christ this has been fulfilled. Now over 2,600 years
later (since Jeremiah lived) we joyfully acclaim in song, "Forever God is Faithful" and we will be making this joyful proclamation throughout all eternity.

Our second daily verse points to the source of our help and the scope of our hope; the Maker of all who is the Lord and who remains faithful forever. When we, as believers, faithfully read the Word it becomes much more than just a record of history or teachings to be read once and then stored on a shelf.  No, the Scripture dwells within our hearts and is expressed through us in our day to day activities, in our thought life, in our outlook on earth and preparation for the life after death. We establish our confidence in the God of Hope and we find help in our hour of need; we learn to trust instead of cowering in fear.

A.W. Tozer states, "Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and His promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come."

In John's vision recorded in the book of Revelation, we read: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever" (11:15).

Keep that perspective before you today! Regardless of what earthbound obstacle seems to be blocking your spiritual view, remember this biblical truth today, "Forever God is faithful!" It will renew your hope, brighten your countenance, and steady your Christian walk as the promises from Scripture help to diffuse the temporal obstacles associated with our mortal life.

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever and ever, forever

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Eternal Father, everything we see or touch with our hands has a shelf life and eventually wears out or is destroyed. Our family members and the people we hold dear to our hearts in time also depart from our lives. But when we contemplate thoughts of eternity we are filled with inexhaustible praise as we consider that You, O Lord, reign forever. Of your kingdom there will be no end. We'll gather with our dear brothers and sisters from all over the world, from every tribe, tongue and nation to exalt the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. There will no longer be the separation due to distance, combat, culture, or language but we will be one mighty chorus singing heavenly praises to our faithful Father whose divine kingdom has no end. At that appointed hour, upon seeing You face to face, we will declare together with all the saints and heavenly hosts, "Forever You are faithful!" In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today we share photos from Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, near Newport Rhode Island

Flowers on Sachuest Point, Rhode Island 6/17/16
Beach plum bushes add beauty along the shore line. The plums make excellent jam!

Lone tree on Sachuest Point, Rhode Island 6/17/16
This tree is a symbol of perseverance and standing alone!

Ocean view on Sachuest Point, Rhode Island 6/17/16
Nothing quite compares to the churning waters washing upon the rocks and boulders near the shoreline.

Ocean view on Sachuest Point, Rhode Island 6/17/16
A rocky point on Sachuest Point

More long-time friends

Veda Shibilo 6/17/16
"Render honor to whom honor is due"
In the course of over 40 years of ministry we have met many fine people. But near the top of those we esteem greatly would be Bill and Veda Shibilo, who were a part of the church we served in the nineties in Massachusetts. Bill passed away the last year we were there and Veda has carried on now for nearly 16 years. She served as my secretary following her career in the medical field. Veda became active in local church ministry as a young girl and has served that church in a variety of ways all her life. Ester was especially excited about seeing her since she stayed at their house a number of times when we were out of town and dearly loves her and has such fond memories of Bill.

Veda Shibilo 6/17/16
Veda received the royal treatment at the wedding being transported in a golf cart. Her son Greg has the big smile in the foreground.

Higgins twins 6/17/16
Jackie, the bride on the (L), Ester (C), and Nicki Higgins (R) in a Facebook pose. The twins have stayed close to Ester in spite of our move over 15 years ago. The Higgins family often participated in reenactments of the Revolutionary War as the girls were growing up, so it was rather natural for Jackie to pick Fort Adams in Newport for her wedding, a place where they reenacted often, and she especially enjoyed.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Forever"  Video  Chris Tomlin

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

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is here (google map)

Our sunset memory from Menemsha Harbor: A prime location for a westward ocean sunset photo on the east coast is Menemsha Harbor on Martha's Vineyard (google map) 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 went down to the westward facing beach and 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!

Finally today:
Due to our westward facing orientation we are accustomed to beautiful sunsets but never weary of them, often stopping whatever we are doing to watch it together. Last night we were apart but each still took a sunset photo:

Amish Harvest Sunset, Lancaster County PA 6/18/16
Last night's sun was setting as our Amish neighbor baled rectangular hay bales. I (Brooksyne) was riding my bike up the road and caught this photo. I wish it was brighter since the children on the hay wagon would be more visible, but it was a beautiful sight, as the sun was setting behind the silos.

Sunset, Lancaster County PA 6/18/16
Last night's sunset from our front lawn from Stephen's view.

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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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