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Monday, July 18, 2016

Shalona Lake, Colorado 7/8/16 (Click to enlarge)
Shalona Lake, Colorado as seen from the Durango and Silverton Railroad
(Click to enlarge)

"Early Will I Seek Thee"

Message Summary: Young or old, let us seek the Lord today. He ever remains a faithful rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!

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“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1). "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Ecclesiastes 12:1). "Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David" (2 Chronicles 34:3).

Girls practicing song 7/16/16
Brooksyne had two young students from her Sunday School class over Saturday to practice a song they sang in our church service yesterday. It was not your typical children's song but a children's hymn written by English Sunday School teacher, John Burton, 210 years ago titled, "Holy Bible, Book Divine"

Holy Bible, Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.

The work of Christ's Kingdom has gone forth from generation to generation. It most certainly will continue to do so until the Lord returns, for we can be confident in the truth expressed by our Lord, "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Girls singing song 7/17/16
For many the young years were especially tumultuous to their Christian faith. For others their new found zeal in following Christ outweighed sacrifices made in turning away from the mindset of the world. We've walked that same path in our youth and faced the same temptations and asked the same questions that young people ask today. Some rebel while others stay relatively steady through those years. Still others came to know Christ following those impressionable years.

Currently, young people are barraged with temptations in ways my generation was not. (And surely there was plenty of temptation 40+ years ago!)  But consider the cultural slide into immorality over the last 50 years. I recall viewing the popular show from the seventies, "Happy Days" and finding it to be a bit risqué in its dialogue. Now just the mere previews of current TV programming or big screen movies exposes one to that which often dishonors our Lord or leaves an impressionable image we'd rather not see.

Josiah lived in a time of tremendous decadence about 2,600 years ago. His reforms stalled the inevitable judgment of God but he was the last king to provide godly leadership before the exile. Shortly after his death the people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon. Consider the youth who grew up in Josiah's generation who were taken captive, yet remained faithful to God. Do you recall the story?

Today we solemnly consider how that very well may be the case for young people today. Although we do not know when or how judgment may come we appear to be headed in that direction. Just consider the increasing societal turmoil and rejection of God. Practically daily the news reports reveal this breakdown.

Young King Josiah seeking the Lord
Please note the portion of our daily text, "While he (Josiah) was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David." Josiah, at the impressionable age of 16, made a choice to follow in the ways of the Lord. That's great isn't it! It warms our hearts to see spiritual interest in our children and youth. In great part because we know they will avoid the heartache and fallout that comes from living a life of sin and degradation. The reality of life is that we'll deal with plenty of heartache not of our own making, so we are wise to avoid that which is a result of our own sinful choices or lack of biblical discernment.

Young or old, let us seek the Lord today. He ever remains a faithful rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, we pray for our young people, like Josiah, that they will do right in Your sight and follow in the ways of godly training. We pray for our children, grandchildren, and those within our Christian setting; that they will learn to seek You early in their lives, avoiding the many traps set by the devil, including the current trappings seen in the daily news where people are following false religions, supporting dangerous causes, and contributing to the demise of our country, where law and order was once respected and upheld by the majority in our country. We pray for the innocent families harmed by such violent, senseless acts of evil. We are in great need of a worldwide revival. Help us not to veer off course, but to stay on the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

A Ride On the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad

This week I will share photos from the trip I made to the Southwest for a Chaplaincy Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Since I had never been to the Southwest I went out several days early and met my oldest brother Mike, who turned 71 during our visit, for some sightseeing.  We travelled far and wide and during the trip put more than 1,500 miles on the rental car.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
The Durango and Silverton Railroad is a narrow gauge and uses genuine steam engines.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
Departing Durango

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16Friendly waves all along the way. As we rode the train I noticed and mused upon a dynamic that almost everyone becomes friendly when a train passes by. They stop whatever they're doing and wave at complete strangers. Some pulled their car over and waved while others drove alongside the train honking and waving.

We noticed that same compulsion to wave when we were on the whale boat last month in New England. What is it about trains and boats that brings out such friendliness among complete strangers?

Too bad we can't capture that sentiment all through life. Actually there's another source of friendly waving. When we sit out on the white rockers on our front porch many wave to us as they drive by; some know us, others don't. There must be something about seeing a couple of older adults sitting on rockers that prompts a wave!

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
An old railroad bridge

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
The train follows a course along the Animas River which had a major pollution spill earlier this year and you can see the evidence by the yellow-stained rocks.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
There's a lesson in this tree growing right from the side of a cliff.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
The steam engine periodically needs to clear the sediment in the boiler resulting in the dramatic spout.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
The spout created a rainbow.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
Beautiful scenery as the train winds its way up an elevation differential of some 3,000 feet in 45 miles between Durango and Silverton.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
The narrow gauge rails hug a cut out at the side of the mountain with a steep cliff.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
A scene out the window looking down into a deep gorge.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
Looking back on the train as it rounds a bend.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
The train stops in Silverton (elevation 9,308) where the train turns around for the return trip to Durango. Silverton is a former mining town now sustained by tourism such as this Stage Coach ride. The peaks around Silverton are over 14,000 feet.

Durango/Silverton railroad, CO 7/8/16
This deer must have been quite accustomed to the noise of the train. It kept feeding near the track as the train passed by near Durango.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Holy Bible, Book Divine"  Video  Bible Truth Kids  This was originally written as a children's hymn. Consider the words with this in mind:

Holy Bible, Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.

Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward.

Mine to comfort in distress;
Suffering in this wilderness;
Mine to show, by living faith,
Man can triumph over death.

Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
O thou holy Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.

A video about the Durango and Silverton railroad

Finally today:
Amish youth in Mount Joy, PA 7/17/16
A scene from Main Street in Mount Joy yesterday. These two young Amish couples are apparently on a double date, likely on their way to a youth meeting/hymn sing.

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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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