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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mount Jackson Virginia water tower 11/29/16
In all of our travels the most striking water tower we've seen is in Mount Jackson Virginia with the round "basket" of red and green apples.

"Let's Just Praise The Lord"

Message Summary:
We encourage you to rest in the arms of our loving God and express your love for Him as you recall the ancient words of the Psalmist, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me." As His children, may we offer up our praise and thanksgiving to Him today. So let's just praise the Lord!

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"He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me" (Psalm 50:23). "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).

We have three pets in our lives. We often mention our dogs, Mollie and Roxie, but we don't refer to our cat as much. Dottie is now 15 1/2 years old and still doing well. However she is content residing in our small utility barn. She was pleased to get out for awhile yesterday since we had just returned from Tennessee. She still likes to prowl around and occasionally will show us what she has caught, seemingly proud while Brooksyne is clearly grossed out. She doesn't have a lot of personality like the dogs and is quite content with her daily treats and just a bit of attention. Pick her up and she'll purr for a few minutes before wanting to get on with the mundane life she's comfortable with.

Dottie has been a part of our family since her birth, the longest we have ever had a pet. Ester named her based upon her black and white coat. Her mother was a wild barn cat who surprised us with a litter of newborn kittens in a dilapidated summer kitchen attached to the 100 year old farmhouse we rented following our move down to Pennsylvania from New England in early 2001.

Since my childhood I've really enjoyed hearing a cat purr when stroked gently or held closely. Dottie seems to express affection by purring as I slowly stroke her back and face. Based upon my study of the topic it seems there are a variety of reasons cats purr, including a sign of contentment and appreciation. When you gently pet a cat it's as if she is saying. "Ah, that is so nice."

But I also find myself getting so much satisfaction when I hold a purring cat. Some have asserted that this is indeed therapeutic and has a calming effect. I suppose you could call it another form of pet therapy.

We hear a lot about therapy today. It seems the vast majority of people will undergo some kind of therapy; whether it's physical therapy, psychotherapy, equine therapy, drug therapy, radiation therapy. Wikipedia even mentions duct tape occlusion therapy (used to remove warts), in its long list of therapies. In its simplest form, "Therapy involves an individual seeking an attempted remediation for a particular health matter, usually following a diagnosis."

With that definition in mind if we go to the Bible to have our spirit diagnosed we would find that we were born into an imperfect world with a congenital sin problem resulting in a sin-sick soul. The spiritual "therapy" for such a troubling condition is to meet with the Great Physician to receive a spiritual transplant. He will take our terminal sins that are scarlet and transfuse us with His eternal blood, an exchange of our sin nature for His spiritual nature.

With such a supernatural and unmeritable transfusion our praise should be an involuntary expression of thanksgiving to our Great Physician,
"He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me." We express our contentedness and thankfulness when we lay aside the cares and distractions of the day and earnestly enter into praise and thanksgiving to the Maker of heaven and earth, the Redeemer of our soul! When we praise the Lord we rest in His presence, acknowledge His steadfast love and care, and thank Him for His redeeming grace.

Many have wondered, "What is the distinction between praise and thanksgiving?" It is commonly taught that praise is our worship toward God concerning who God is while thanksgiving is our worship toward God concerning what He has done. In practice though they are used interchangeably such as in our daily texts.

The writer of Hebrews ended his letter with the challenge issued to believers to praise the Lord. "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."

We encourage you to rest in the arms of our loving God and express your love for Him as you recall the ancient words of the Psalmist, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me." As His children, may we offer up our praise and thanksgiving to Him today. So let's just praise the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we give praise to You we are offering our heartfelt thanks for who You are and for all that You do on our behalf. As we mature in our walk with You we realize that there are many occasions when we must offer a sacrifice of praise since it doesn't always come easily nor often enough. It is in those circumstances that we willfully choose to praise You out of obedient hearts desirous of pleasing You and glorifying Your name. May our words be fruitful and our thoughts praiseworthy in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today we share several more photos from our trip last week to Tennessee.

Smoky Mountain foliage 11/22/16
A view of the Smoky Mountain foliage with a split rail fence in the foreground.

Smoky Mountain foliage and Gatlinburg, TN 11/22/16
Another view with an overlook of Gatlinburg and the mountains in the background. We are so saddened to read this morning that this beautiful area is being devastated by wildfires even as we write.

Nashville Union Station 11/25/16
The Nashville Union Station has been magnificently restored and is now a hotel.

Decorative guitar in Nashville Union Station 11/25/16
We were impressed by this guitar that sat in the lobby made up of so many different instruments such as wrenches, padlocks, silverware, bolts, springs, hinges, scissors, etc.

Nashville Parthenon 11/24/16
The Nashville Parthenon is perhaps the most iconic scene in the city. It was built during Tennessee's 100th anniversary of statehood in 1896 since Nashville is referred to as the Athens of the south.

Nashville skyline 11/24/16
We tried to take a "selfie" overlooking the Nashville skyline but just couldn't manage so we used the old-fashioned method of asking a stranger to take our photo! This view was taken from a walking bridge over the Cumberland River.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Let's Just Praise The Lord"  Video  Huge homecoming

"Doxology"  Video   David Crowder Band

"O Worship the King"  Video  Musicians not identified

"All I Have is Christ"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"In The Valley"  Video   Sovereign Grace Music

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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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