Winter scene in Lancaster County, PA
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April 3, 2018

Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge 4/1/18
On Sunday afternoon we passed through the Hunsecker Mill Covered bridge here in Lancaster County. On May 16, 2005 the bridge was damaged and closed after, believe it or not, a tractor-trailer truck attempted to pass through it! As I recall the truck got stuck but they were able to pull it back out and repair the bridge.

"This God Is Our God!"

Message summary: Consider those who have walked faithfully with God and impacted your own life.  Some are now with Christ; others still labor here below.  Let us together with one heart and one voice declare, "This God is our God forever and ever! He will be our guide even unto death."

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"For this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death" (Psalm 48:14).

Jim and Dorothy Schmidt 2008 Yesterday we shared about our visit with the Lapp family in Strasburg for our Easter meal along with Jim and Dorothy Schmidt who celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary yesterday.

We first met Jim and Dorothy (Dottie) about twenty years ago at a conference in Boston. They were from Ocean City NJ at the time. We each had a display in an exhibition hall sharing about our ministries. At that time Jim was retired from his vocational career but serving with a mission agency called "Send". They apparently signed up to receive Daily Encouragement at that time and we've been connected ever since.

Two years ago Jim and Dorothy moved to Lancaster County to live in "Calvary Homes" one of our many fine retirement communities so we get to see them more often. They now live in a setting with many retired missionaries and have shared the blessing of fellowshipping with these elderly servants.

Sunday they shared a story that really illustrates the blessing of having a living faith perspective. They were visiting with an older lady who had served for many years as a single missionary. She told them that she was excited as it was her first day of being placed in hospice care which really caught their attention. A week later when they saw her she told them how blessed she was that she was getting worse and closer to her permanent home. By the following week she had moved on to her eternal residence!

Some might see her attitude as rather morbid but she was really expressing a faith outlook that many admire. Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote "Because He Lives" in the early 1970's and the third verse begins with these words,

And then one day I'll cross that river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;

For most "crossing the river" from this life to the next involves pain, some much more intense and/or long-lasting than others. But with a living faith we can face this painful passage being confident of God's presence and guidance even unto and through death on this side into life everlasting beyond that river.

Psalm 48 begins with the phrase, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised". This Psalm is written by a group of singers known as the "Sons of Korah".  Most likely these were temple singers who lived during the period of the divided kingdom.

This Psalm extols God for His greatness, His deliverance, His unfailing love and other divine attributes. It includes a virtual Google Earth-like tour around the wall of the Holy City. "Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation" (12,13).

But the Psalm ends with our daily text which empowers us as we transmit the life-changing message of God's truths to our own generation.  Let us examine just this text today, consider its relevance, and receive its assurance:

"For this God is our God forever and ever." This is our great eternal God! This God is our "Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend." Consider His great acts throughout history.  Consider the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of Moses, Joshua, Samuel and David; the God of Ruth, Esther, Mary, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel; the God of Peter, Stephen and Paul. Martin Luther, John Wesley, D.L. Moody, Jim Elliot, Billy Graham and countless others who endured the inevitable tests of life and finished well. The God of those, not recorded so much in history books but in the memory files of your own heart, who have stood firm in the faith toward God to the very end.

"He will be our guide even unto death." What a great blessing His guiding Hand is.

Consider those who have walked faithfully with God and impacted your own life.  Some are now with Christ; others still labor here below.  Let us together with one heart and one voice declare, "This God is our God forever and ever! He will be our guide even unto death."

I'm so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we consider the saints throughout history and the marvelous saving power portrayed in their lives we're encouraged by their bold example and their consistent enduring walk with You. We recognize these "greats" of the past and those in our own generation who are faithful and powerful examples. They do not build their own kingdom or take credit for their accomplishments. Instead they recognize that it is God alone who deserves our truest praise, no matter our own personal sacrifice. We gratefully declare in our own hearts and to others, "This God is our God!  He will be forever and ever!  He will be our guide even unto death." Keep us faithful to the very end. Amen.

Ed and Gladys Berkey, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt 2008
Edward Berkey served as the Superintendent of our Southern New England District when we pastored in Taunton, MA. In fact he conducted the installation service when Stephen began his pastorate there in 1993.  He and his wife Gladys spend the summer months in Ocean City  and live in Sarasota, Florida the rest of the year. Years ago they also became close friends with the Schmidts and here we are, all joining at the Schmidts home for dinner. From L to R, Dorothy Schmidt, Gladys Berkey, Jim Schmidt teasing Ester, Brooksyne, and Ed Berkey in the front. 

Amish in Lancaster County 4/1/18 (Click to enlarge)
More Amish traffic from this last Sunday. These young men are likely heading for a youth meeting. It was a pleasant day and they had their spring wagons out. For us that would sort of be like getting the convertible out!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Amish Easter gathering 4/1/18
This was probably a youth group gathering. The black bench seat coverings for the spring wagons give the appearance of sporty vehicles.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Baltimore inner harbor 3/31/18
Saturday afternoon we picked Ester up at the Baltimore airport after her return from visiting her aunt in Texas over the past three weeks. We went down a couple of hours early to walk around the Inner Harbor and have lunch. It was a pleasant but quite busy day since that evening the Baltimore Orioles baseball team had a game in nearby Camden Yards.

Baltimore inner harbor 3/31/18
Brooksyne sitting on an anchor next to the Constellation, a sailing ship commissioned before the Civil War.

Baltimore inner harbor 3/31/18
One aspect I enjoy of cities is to see how they can take a building that surely looked gritty and long past its prime and renovate it to be an interesting property. This was the city power plant from 1900 to 2000. I am glad they left the smokestacks!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Because He Lives"  Video  At the Billy Graham memorial service  Old-timers!

"Because He Lives"  Video  
Jedidiah Horca Live at 401 Youth!

"Because He Lives (Amen)"  Video   West Coast Choir  Absolutely beautiful! This is a song that Brooksyne sings in her choir but this is sure an interesting version!

"Big Enough"  Video  Clark family

Finally Today:
Mollie watching toy retrieval 3/30/18
We often mention how our border collie Mollie likes to play. Her favorite is the frisbee catch (I throw, she catches). But she also likes her triple rings, which is susceptible to getting caught up in the tree. She will bark fiercely till I retrieve it!

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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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