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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Samson at Sight and Sound 10/12/16


"God's Been Good In My Life"

Message Summary: God's goodness is an immutable attribute, thus it does not change. "The goodness of God endures continually." It's part of His divine nature.

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"May Your saints rejoice in Your goodness" (2 Chronicles 6:41). "The goodness of God endures continually" (Psalm 52:1).

Lately I've been looking back, along this winding road
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple but it's more than a cliché
There's no better way to tell you, than to say...

God's been good in my life...

Today I complete another trip around the sun. 61 times I have made this journey in my post birth existence. (I actually also had about 75% of a trip in my pre-birth state, see Psalm 139:13). Tomorrow I start all over on another trip. How many trips I am ordained to make are in God's hands. That should be a source of peace. Today is another day to rejoice in God's goodness. (My introduction may puzzle some but others will catch on.*)

Rejoicing in God's goodness is a fundamental way in which we express our faith. I have met some believers who compartmentalize their lives. They earnestly praise God at the appropriate times, but frankly their overall attitude is negative and whining comes all too easily. They may stand in church on Sunday morning, lift their voices and praise God, but on Monday their focus returns to the negative circumstances in their lives. In our fallen world we all deal with difficulty in one way or another and sometimes intensely so. But nonetheless God is good all the time!

Times replay and I can see that I've cried some bitter tears
But I felt His arms around me, as I faced my greatest fears
You see I've had more gains than losses and I've known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved...

God's been good in my life...

Today's first Scripture is a portion of the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the temple; "May Your saints rejoice in Your goodness." It was a high point in Biblical history as the people of God rejoiced in this particular manifestation of God's goodness.

Theologian Thomas Manton writes concerning the goodness of God, "He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God. He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a super-added quality, in God it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him."

For God has been my Father, my Savior and my Friend
His love was my beginning, and His love will be my end
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is
But the best that I can say it is this...

God's been good in my life...

God's goodness is an immutable attribute, thus it does not change. "The goodness of God endures continually." It's part of His divine nature.

A popular phrase that reinforces this Scriptural truth is "God is good all the time." And the people of God respond, "And all the time, God is good!" Yes, indeed, He is!

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, from Your mercy seat You dispense goodness that endures to all generations. As with previous generations, ours is undeserving of Your abundant goodness that supplies our needs and enriches our lives. The paintbrush of Your handiwork brings vibrant color into view whether we are looking up or down, whether from the north or south, east or west. We rejoice in Your enduring goodness that is evidence of Your incomparable love to all of Your creation. You are good all the time, and, Lord, all the time You are good! Amen.

* "Trip around the sun":
  Most of you caught on, but just in case you're a little slow like me Brooksyne) Stephen turns 62 tomorrow! Of course, he has requested the usual: his free birthday breakfast at the very popular Shady Maple Smorgasbord. Of course I get to pay for mine! Our friends Jay and Lu will meet us there since it is Jay's birthday as well.

Travel note: We have an interesting travel ministry opportunity coming up this Saturday. A longtime reader of our encouragement messages from San Diego is ill and her family has provided the means for us to make a visit, requesting our presence. We will be there next week, returning early the following week. We hope to post teachings next week but may not be able to podcast.

Nigel LeeNigel Lee and his wife Laifong attended the church we served in New England for several years in the late nineties and just happen to be the very first recipients of a Daily Encouragement email message in 1996. We had a nice visit with them this summer and are pleased that we are still in touch after all these years.

Last month we shared a message based on Colossians 1:17. Nigel shared a perspective written with his background as having a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Princeton:

When I read Colossians 1:17 ("in Him all things hold together"), I think of the grand scale of the universe, which cosmologists make startling discoveries about all the time, but I also think about the tiny building blocks of all matter, atoms.

As many may remember from grade school physics, atoms are comprised of a nucleus containing protons (positively-charged particles) and neutrons (neutral particles), surrounded by a cloud of electrons (negatively-charged particles).  However, many may also remember from playing with magnets that like charges repel and unlike charges attract.  So one might ask what holds the nucleus of an atom together, when it is comprised of positively-charged protons that would normally repel each other?

It turns out that there is a force called the strong nuclear force that holds the nucleus together. The strong nuclear force is much stronger than the electromagnetic force but only acts at very short distances.  Here is the interesting part: physicists can describe the strong nuclear force but really don't have any idea why it acts the way it does. (This is also true for gravity, another one of the four fundamental forces. Ever wonder why gravity "works"?)  As Christians, we can point to Colossians 1:17 and say that "God hold all things together" -- whether He created an actual strong nuclear force or whether His hand is the strong nuclear force, He holds every atom in the universe together, just as He holds the entire universe together.

The above is a simplified explanation of atoms, but it is accurate in a general sense. Those interested in finding out more can Google "What holds atoms together?" and do further reading.

Yesterday we attended the "Samson" presentation at the Sight and Sound Theater here in Lancaster County. It was outstanding! The closing scene when Samson regains his strength at the Temple of Dagon was so intense that they felt obligated to tell you at the beginning that it was carefully planned and safe to both actors and audience!

Sight and Sound Theater 10/12/16
The theater itself is quite an impressive structure featuring more than 2000 seats, a 300-foot stage that wraps around three sides of the audience, and the latest in sound, lighting and technical capabilities. In various scenes horses and other animals trot right up the isles to the stage. That's why we like getting the aisle seat which we did yesterday!

Sight and Sound foliage 10/12/16
We observed the changing foliage as we drove onto the theater grounds.

Cardinal (Photo by Robyn Waugh)
Our friend Robyn Waugh sent us this photo of a male cardinal (Brooksyne's favorite bird).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God's Been Good"  Video  Legacy Five

"I Found it All"  Video 
Collingsworth Family

Finally today:
Columbia PA mailbox 10/13/16
We passed this rather unusual mailbox creature on the road between Lancaster and Columbia this morning! Notice all the sections that are welded together in creating this "creature". It reminded us of Frankenstein who was all pieced together back in the old movies. One thing's for sure, the folks living in this house have a most unusual "can't pass without seeing" road marker to describe their whereabouts to first time visitors.

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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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