The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Yesterday we passed this church sign in Lebanon County.
"Faith Looks Up!"
Message summary: It's easy to get lost, even disoriented in the course of the day's activities, planned or otherwise. There are many unknowns. There are scores of voices and demands beckoning us. There are looming questions about what's around the next bend. But faith looks up!
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"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up" (Psalm 5:1-3). "In Him we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him" (Ephesians 3:12).
We are often blessed by the thoughtful expressions of faith on church signs as we travel through rural Pennsylvania. Yesterday the message on the sign in our lead photo caught our attention; "Sorrow Looks Back, Worry Looks Around, Faith Looks Up." Brooksyne said, "Back up, let's take a picture of that!"
The church sign brings to mind an old hymn of the church, "My Faith Looks Up to Thee". Ray Palmer, who wrote the hymn, wrote these words regarding the hymn… "The words for these stanzas were born out of my own soul with very little effort. I recall that I wrote the verses with tender emotion. There was not the slightest thought of writing for another eye, least of all writing a hymn for Christian worship.* It is well-remembered that when writing the last line, “Oh, bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!” the thought that the whole work of redemption and salvation was involved in those words, and suggested the theme of eternal praises, and this brought me to a degree of emotion that brought abundant tears."
Sorrow looks back: We often fill our life with sorrow by looking back and dwelling on thoughts like: if only..., what if..., why didn't.... The regrets of yesterday can smother out the joys of today if we focus on those regrets instead of the new life we have in Jesus.
Worry looks around: How often are we filled with worry about ourselves, our family and friends, our job, the nation, and on and on the list grows. Of course, we are to be concerned for the needs around us but the best direction to focus our attention regarding those needs is upward.
Faith looks up: Consider the words of the Psalmist in our daily text: "O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up." More specifically, "I… will look up."
This speaks of a necessary, willful, upward outlook in life. Upon awakening each day we do well to make this our intentional focus. It's easy to get lost, even disoriented in the course of the day's activities, planned or otherwise. There are many unknowns. There are scores of voices and demands beckoning us. There are looming questions about what's around the next bend. But faith looks up!
As we look up and focus on God, we will follow His voice that clearly directs us, "This is the way, walk in it."
Yes, indeed, we hold our heads high, not due to pride, but because we approach the throne of grace with confidence. But we also bow our hearts in humility when we recognize our position as humble servants of Almighty God!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is a place of quiet rest and spiritual uplifting when we draw near to You. So many activities, attractions, and affections rival for our attention, even things of the past which we can do nothing about. Show us how to live without being overshadowed by sorrowful regrets of the past. When worries of our present life start to choke us remind us to start praising You, so that the fears and troubles that can bind us rendering us powerless can be dropped at the foot of the cross. And draw our eyes upward to the throne of grace where we can find help in our time of need as we bless and praise Your holy name. Amen.
* The song was written in 1830. Of course he would have no idea it would still be making an impact nearly 200 years later! We need to consider that in our labors for the Lord.
Yesterday, following our chaplain visits, we walked through Hershey Gardens and met Jim Cheney. I recognized his shirt and told him I appreciated his website, Uncovering PA. He was visiting Hershey Gardens for a future article on the website which chronicles interesting places to visit in Pennsylvania with a focus on the lesser known such as a waterfall we read about on his site that we visited early this summer called Swatara Falls.
The fountain at Hershey Gardens with the Hotel Hershey in the background.
Long-time friends, Galen and Nancy Martin, along with the Ncube boys joined us for dinner last night. It was a stormy evening as we had 3.5" in our rain gage.
Ester and Nathan and Neville spent a lot of the evening talking about their favorite teams - of course they pick team rivals to make it more interesting!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Psalm 5" Video Maranatha Singers
"My Faith Looks Up to Thee" Video Homecoming singers with a powerful narration
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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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