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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pennsylvania woods sunset 10/3/16

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;

"The Steps Of A Good Man"

Message Summary: Have you goofed up, messed up, or even blown it big time? Perhaps you are in the process of trying to stand again after you've fallen. Call on the name of the Mighty God of the universe. As you take hold of the Lord's righteous right hand He will pick you up. He will come and save you.

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"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand" (Psalm 37:23,24). "Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet" (Psalm 140:4). "We all stumble in many ways" (James 3:2).

Yesterday we wandered through the woods and forest glades at a conference center about fifty miles west of us. We were walking comfortably along a rugged path when Brooksyne suggested re-routing to the steep descending hill to our right. As mentioned earlier I was comfortable in our walk thus far, so I reluctantly paused when she suggested descending the hill since I calculated that walking down also requires walking back up. Upon her insistence we chose the hill! Descending was enjoyable, but walking up left us breathless! It was not because of the view, but rather the depleted oxygen we were burning. But our endurance paid off since we burned a few extra calories and we were about to indulge in a large banquet type meal with some fellow ministers.

Consider the Christian journey like a long hike through the heavily wooded forest which has some laments like that of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress". Because of the uneven terrain and the extensive tree roots, rocks and now lots of fallen acorns and walnuts, we may stumble as we walk along though we usually are able to quickly compensate and stay upright.

But we have occasionally fallen down. We can linger in a fallen position or choose to get up, brush off the debris, and trudge on. And when we are unaware of what made us fall we're wise to examine the terrain and see what obstacle we stumbled over. That's a good lesson for the Christian life as well.

Have you ever fallen? Of course you have! You did so a lot when you were learning to walk but have probably forgotten that.  But just ask your parents.  You've also fallen a few times after being full-grown and how embarrassing is that!  Some of us will remember the low budget TV ad from the eighties with the memorable line, "I've fallen and I can't get up."

We've also fallen spiritually; all of us. The Apostle James says, "We all stumble in many ways" (3:2). Sometimes we fall "big time", but more commonly in the "small ways". The seasoned Christian pilgrim recognizes spiritual bruises from plummeting falls.  The persevering believer has a testimony of overcoming falls.

In the latter part of the first daily text the Psalmist has a wonderful promise,
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way."* This passage acknowledges that the "good man" falls, but gives us two great assurances.

1) "He shall not be utterly cast down." Thank God that we have no excuse for staying down after we fall.  God has promised that we will not "be utterly cast down."
2) "For the Lord upholds him with His hand." Cling to this encouraging truth and cling to His hand today, believing friend. The immutable God continues to uphold His children. What an assuring promise for today and for always.

Have you goofed up, messed up, or even blown it big time? Perhaps you are in the process of trying to stand again after you've fallen. Call on the name of the Mighty God of the universe. As you take hold of the Lord's righteous right hand He will pick you up.
He will come and save you.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that You are our guide; that our footsteps are ordered by You.  Though we stumble or fall, we are not cast down for You uphold us with Your righteous right hand. In ourselves we may be clumsy, weak, or nearsighted, but following You, our Great Shepherd through dangers, toils and snares to the high places of Your love, we will be like that of hind's feet in high places. When we unexpectedly find ourselves in a fallen position we feel pretty foolish and somewhat helpless though usually we bounce right back to an upward position.  But there are times, Lord, when we get trapped in a fallen position and especially need Your help and even assistance from others to help us walk upright again. When we're in a fallen position spiritually, Lord, it is Your hand that we reach for. You do not abandon us nor cast us down for You only want to lift us up again.  Our hope is in You alone so help us to cling tightly to Your hand as we walk the potholed terrain of this life.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

* There is some degree of translation vagueness in regard to the phrase "
and He delights in his way." It seems the general consensus that God delights in the ways of a good man.

Yesterday we attended a "Disaster Preparedness Seminar" followed by a Minister's Enrichment at a conference center near Carlisle PA.

Today we're going down Memory Lane as we remember some folks we saw yesterday that remind us how quickly the years pass. A few of our readers may recognize some faces or know some of our long-time friends. For others it may be a prompting to consider some long-time friends in your life.

Preacher friends 10/3/16
We walked through an RV park on the conference grounds and came across some Pastor friends
we had worked with over 35 years ago. Stan Williams (2nd from left) now retired, pastored in Lancaster for a number of years.

Joseph and Lori Cullen 10/3/16
Joseph Cullen (Joey as we called him) attended the church we served in New England in the nineties. Joey and his wife Lori are directors of the Philadelphia Master's Commission, a church-based discipling ministry.

David Selleck 10/3/16
David Selleck was my Presbyter (supervisor) during the early years of my ministry in northern Pennsylvania. He is nearing ninety but still gets around remarkably well. He drove some 180 miles down to the conference on his own from his home in Clarion without a stop along the way. His wife passed away about 8 years ago.

John Palmer 10/3/16
The longest time friend I saw at the conference was the guest speaker, John Palmer, who attended the same Bible College as us, though several years ahead of us. Due to our age difference at the time I wasn't really close to John but have a special memory of our being the two finalists in a campus tennis tournament. He was very busy at the time since he was class speaker for his graduation but, determined to honor his commitment to the tournament, he played the very afternoon he was to speak that evening. He was understandably rather pre-occupied though I was not. I went on to beat him in the match although, quite honestly under other circumstances, he probably would have won! John is now the President of Emerge, a Christian Counseling service in Ohio, and was at the conference as the main speaker. (Brooksyne's Note: I always have to get in the tease about having cut John's full head of hair during college days, since I was a hairdresser and did haircuts on campus. It appears there is much less need for his hair maintenance these days.)

Cumberland Valley 10/3/16
The conference center sits on a bluff overlooking the Cumberland Valley

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Order My Steps"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"He Will Come And Save You "  Video 
Bob Fitts

"You Are My All In All"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  This song comes to mind because the second verse includes, "When I fall down you pick me up, when I am dry you fill my cup".

"Jesus! What A Friend for Sinners!"  Video  Musicians not identified

"The Steps Of A Good Man"  Video  Musician not identified  Today's text set to music.

Though dark be the night and long be the day
Lord, make me follow in Thy perfect way
Tho cometh sorrow; tho great be my pain
Lord make me serve Thee, Come Sunshine or Rain

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
and He delighteth in his way
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
For the Lord, for the Lord
For the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.

O Thou art almighty, I am so small
Lord make me trust Thee whatever be-fall
Thou art all holy; You make no mistake
Lord, make me Christ-like whatever it takes.

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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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