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May 2, 2018

Swatara Park Bear Hole Trail 5/1/18
Riding on the Bear Hole Trail. You can see in this photo our trees are weeks behind in filling out due to the unseasonably cold weather we've had this spring.

"Singing Mountains"

Message summary: The Scriptures clearly reveal that God is pleased with the praises of His people.

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"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands" (Isaiah 55:12).
"O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph" (Psalm 47:1).

Yesterday following our first chaplain visit we drove up to Swatara State Park for a long bike ride together through the Swatara Gap and State Park. The gap is formed as Swatara Creek cuts through Blue Mountain. We rode along an old rail grade one way and also along a trail known as Bear Hole trail
. After several cold days last week we finally had a sunny 70 degree day - perfect for biking or hiking.

I, Brooksyne, took a different route back to where our van was parked, not intentionally, but because I got ahead of Stephen while he was doing some looking around at a canal lock and I took a wrong road (I've never had a good sense of direction). On my route I drove past many houses with a mountainous backdrop.

Viewing some of the homeowners working in their large gardens just below the mountains brought to mind the third verse of  "How Great Thou Art"; "When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur", though from my view I was looking up. We were on a short portion of the Appalachian Trail several times reminding us of God's great creation as we viewed His handiwork.

Many years ago we sang a song based on the daily verse. In fact the Messianic Jews who set it to music, Stuart and Naomi Dauermann, held a concert in our very young church in the late seventies shortly after they wrote this song. "Trees of the Field" would soon be sung nationally and be included in many hymn books. You have likely sung it:

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth before you;
There'll be shouts of joy, and all the trees of the field
Will clap, will clap their hands!
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands,
The trees of the field will clap their hands,
The trees of the field will clap their hands
While you go out with joy.

The Scriptures clearly reveal that God is pleased with the praises of His people. The Psalms especially are filled with calls to worship and expressions of praise.

Today's text is a jubilant prophecy of future restoration: “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you" Isn't it interesting the concept of the mountains and hills singing praises to God?

Psalm 148 also speaks of the natural elements of creation giving praise to God. This Psalm moves from the heavens to the human heart. It is:
a) a call for the heavens to give God praise because He is the Creator (vv. 1-6)
b) a call for the elements of the earth to give God praise because He is also their Creator (vv. 7-12)
c) a call for the people of God to give Him praise because of His wonder in their midst (vv. 13,14).

"And all the trees of the field will clap their hands." Let us join them! "O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it's easy to imagine nature praising You as the song birds trill their many canticles, as the wind blows upon the airy leaves and the branches of the trees clap in praise to You. Observing the clear, gushing water as it surges over the boulders, rocks and stones is so invigorating, but as much as we enjoy experiencing nature as You created it, You even more so enjoy hearing the praises of Your created beings above any other natural creation, since we are created in Your own image. I choose to be a joyful, enthusiastic and consistent worshiper who gives You praise not only with my lips but with my life since I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength. Amen.

Some scenes from our bike ride yesterday through Swatara State Park

Swatara Rail Trail bridge 5/1/18
This long bridge crosses Swatara Creek

Bordner's Cabin 5/1/18
From the outside of Bordner's Cabin

Bordner's Cabin 5/1/18
The view of Acrigg's waterfall from inside Bordner's cabin

Acrigg's Falls 5/1/18
Acrigg's waterfall

Swatara Creek bridge 5/1/18
This old bridge crossing Swatara Creek was built in 1899 and is no longer open.

Lebanon County farm 5/1/18
A nice farm scene from the rail trail near Lickdale, PA.

Schuylkill County fixer-upper 05-01-18
On the north end of the trail this house has seen better days!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Trees of the Field "  Video  Gaither Homecoming in Jerusalem

"How Great Thou Art"  Video  Chris Rice

The Bordner Cabin & Acriggs Falls  Video with history notes

Google map of area of our bike ride yesterday.

Swatara rail trail info

I am blessed to read that Stuart Dauermann is still serving the Lord and read this about him: "Dr. Stuart Dauermann (b. 1944) was born in Brooklyn, New York, into a conservative Jewish family. Music was Stuart's first chosen career, and it was in his second year as an undergraduate majoring in Music Theory at the Manhattan School of Music that he was invited to a discussion group where he began investigating the Newer Testament, only to discover that the Newer Testament was investigating him! So it was that in 1962 he became convinced that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel and the Nations. By the mid-1960’s, Stuart recognized he was being drawn to invest his life in interpreting Yeshua to the Jewish community." *

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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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