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Friday, August 11, 2017

New River Gorge, WV 8/10/17
The New River Gorge as seen from the Visitor's Center overlook

"The Blessing Of Trust"

We arrived home from our trip to the Midwest late last night and we gratefully expressed thanks to God for our long safe trip (3,300 miles) and that all is well at home!

Message summary: What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God!

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"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him" (Jeremiah 17:7).

New River bridge in fog (Photo on NPS)
Yesterday we made a purposeful diversion on our trip back home to drive across the New River Bridge in West Virginia. This is the highest bridge east of the Mississippi River and the third highest in the USA. It crosses the New River Gorge, which is known as the "Grand Canyon of the East". The bridge deck is 876 feet above New River. (Photo to right is from NPS.)

Approaching the bridge you hardly notice you are crossing a gorge since the bridge is an arch construction with all the support below and there is no structure above the bridge. This is unlike many large bridges such as the Royal Gorge suspension bridge in Colorado, the nation's highest bridge, which we visited 15 years ago. Crossing the bridge was actually a bit of a letdown since the outer lanes were in maintenance and Jersey barriers on each side limited the views over the bridge down into the deep gorge. However we saw some nice views from the Visitor Center on the other side. Once a year they have a bridge day when you can walk across the bridge, a huge event in West Virginia.

Although the New River Bridge is the most famous bridge we crossed during our trip we crossed thousands of bridges (when considering bridges over roads and small streams). We crossed long bridges over the Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee Rivers without giving it much thought. But each one involved skilled engineering, quality materials, competent construction, diligent maintenance, and conscientious inspections.  Periodically there is a bridge failure such as one several years ago in Minneapolis over the Mississippi River.

Trusting the expertise of engineers and construction crews is one thing, but trusting God for all the variables in life takes an even greater leap of faith. You know what I'm talking about; those unexpected circumstances, the ones we wouldn't purposely choose to include in our life's journey. We've all had them.

Jeremiah 17:7
Our daily text was written by Jeremiah in the historical context of the Southern Kingdom's final years. God's judgment was imminent and Jeremiah was one of the faithful prophets proclaiming this unpopular truth. But the terrible message of judgment also had within it a tremendous message of hope: "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him."

When we look around and consider all the things that are blessings in our lives we may fail to think of our trust in the Lord as a great blessing. People outside the faith would likely consider their possessions, health, family and other people as blessings in their lives. Those of us who believe and follow Jesus Christ would certainly consider these to be blessings as well, but we would put the tremendous dimension of our salvation in Christ at the top of the list and every blessing that follows our life changing decision. Of course that would make the list infinitely long! In fact God has "blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). That will take a lifetime of calculating our blessings!

What a tremendous blessing it is to place our trust in the Living God! The line from an old hymn declares, "Those who trust Him whol-ly find Him whol-ly true".  Even as our trust in the reliability of the bridge was not an unproven trust, how much more so is the trust we have placed in the Lord and His Word. His claims can be tested and have been by millions throughout the ages. Indeed, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the greatest blessing in trusting You is the confidence we walk in as we look to You for everything that we have need of. Jeremiah draws the contrast of those who depend on humans for strength and have stopped trusting in You. They don't know about the good things that You can give because they are unwilling to surrender their all to You. But we who have walked across the bridge of salvation chose to place our trust in You. We have found You to be faithful. In place of cringing fear we walk in confident faith because it is not in ourselves that we trust but in the Living God who is trustworthy in all areas of our lives. Now, we ask for grace to trust You even more.  Amen.

Some Scenes From Our Journey

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
On Wednesday we took a break from our long trip from the Nashville area to the New River Gorge area by walking through the Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville TN. A wooded trail led down to the Tennessee River.

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
A boardwalk is built out over the river.

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
The boardwalk passed several natural caves into the bluffs.

Ijams Nature Preserve, Knoxville, TN 8/9/17
Climbing back out we took the steep route and Ester did fine since we took plenty of breaks while ascending the natural but large steps!

At New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
When travelling the best information is often from the locals and this man sure looked local. He is a former deputy sheriff in Fayette County. After enjoying our Southern breakfast at "Biscuit World" this man, who left just before us, gave me good directions mixed with plenty of familiarity.

New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
The bridge from the Overlook at the Visitor's Center. The most dramatic and iconic bridge views are from the valley such as these. Due to the long trip home we only stayed briefly to explore the area and take in these awesome views.

At New River Bridge, WV 8/10/17
Family photo at the New River Bridge overlook - proof that we were really there.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Can Trust Jesus"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"Trust In You"  Video  Lauren Daigle

Ijams Nature Center

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Bridge Day, which happens to be on Brooksyne's birthday this year! For a gift I may buy here a BASE jump. This page has a neat HD video. Scroll down and view full screen but you will probably want to turn the music down!

Finally Today:
Fresh home-grown tomato 8/11/17
Our neighbor harvested several of our tomatoes while we were gone and put them on our kitchen counter. This morning we had our season's first home-grown tomatoes and they were delicious.
We are blessed by a variety of neighbors who watched over our property, took care of our pets, watered our flowers, even mowed our front lawn (we haven't found out who did that big job yet, we're still inquiring)! This morning Brooksyne baked fresh English Muffin Bread to take to the neighbors along with strawberry rhubarb jam but they were gone. Guess who got the treats instead!  I'm sure she'll visit them when they return since she baked four loaves.

English Muffin Bread Recipe  This is one of the easiest and quickest breads to make since there is no kneading. If you only have regular yeast it will take two risings (mix regular yeast with the warm water and sugar before adding to the flour mixture). The bread stays fresh for several days, freezes nicely and is delicious toasted. Today I mixed 6 C. unbleached white flour and 3 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour, 1/2 C. ground flax. It's a great recipe even for the novice baker resulting in four generous loaves of homemade bread. (It's a very fast baking project if you have instant yeast.)

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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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