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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hawk Mountain north lookout 10/2/18 (Click to enlarge)
View from north lookout point at Hawk Mountain
(Click to enlarge)

"A Lesson From Hawk Mountain"

Message summary:  By God's grace, as you wait on the Lord, may your strength be renewed and may you spiritually soar above the inevitable storms of life!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

Hawk Mountain bird count 10/2/18Yesterday, following our chaplain visit, we drove up to Hawk Mountain, one of the premier bird flyways on the east coast. Hawk Mountain is part of the Blue Mountain Ridge in the Appalachian Mountain chain, located in east-central Pennsylvania about 70 miles from our home. Due to the wind currents it is a prime spot for bird watching during migration. We took a very rigorous hike to reach the north lookout point which pretty much wore us out but it was worth the effort. We're accustomed to trails that are well packed down but Hawk Mountain has rocky paths you must carefully navigate and at times climb to make your way to the top. We are both sure feeling it this morning!

Serious bird watchers staff the lookout points and keep a count of the birds. It was a bit more overcast yesterday than we would have preferred but they were still tallying birds of various types.

Of course like many we were especially hoping to see the eagles but we didn't see any yesterday. We listened as the spotters identified the birds using their mega zoom binoculars. But birds, like "turkey vultures," are really not that appealing. We want to see hawks and eagles! I did seek to contribute when I offered this observation, "I am pretty sure they're not California Condors flying way out there".

On November 3 they have a program scheduled called "Eagle Day" and you will see both the Golden eagle and Bald eagle, courtesy of the Carbon County Environmental Education Center. This is the only day you are 100% guaranteed to see these eagles up close!

For many years I have really liked eagles. I sure didn't see them when I was a child growing up in the Kansas City area. We presently live several miles from the Susquehanna River where there are several eagle nests. Once in a while we actually spot a soaring eagle from our office window. So today let us consider the best known Scripture verse on eagles. Today's message is especially for those who are weak and need strength.

Isaiah 40:31The daily Scripture text is among the first verses we committed to memory as young Christians in Bible College. It was a popular chorus at the time and really still should be since it's merely singing the very words of Scripture. It has often been a source of encouragement and strength in my life.

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings of eagles
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me, Lord, teach me, Lord, to wait.

Isaiah 40 is recognized by many to be among the most powerful chapters of Scripture and in fact many secularists acknowledge the superb literary beauty of this passage.

The daily text is the final verse in this great chapter. What a promise! Read it slowly and aloud if you are able: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength". Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote these words some 2,700 years ago. Yet the Word of God is living and active and presents unchangeable truth. God still gives strength to those who wait on Him.

It presents an essential key to personal renewal and strength - waiting on the Lord. We look back and recall when we accepted the Lord, first placing our hope and trust in Him. That's wonderful. But this verse refers to an active, present tense sense of waiting, hoping and trusting in the Lord. The Amplified Bible is helpful in expressing the depth of the Hebrew word, "Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]."

The Full Life Study Bible makes this observation: "To hope in the Lord is to trust Him fully with our lives; it involves looking to Him as our source of help and grace in time of need. Those who hope in the Lord are promised:

1) God's strength to revive them in the midst of exhaustion and weakness, of suffering and trial;
2) The ability to rise above their difficulties like an eagle that soars in the sky; and
3) The ability to run spiritually without tiring and to walk steadily forward without fainting at God's delays. God promises that if His people will patiently trust Him, He will provide whatever is needed to sustain them constantly."

Soaring eagle (photographer unknown)The image of a soaring eagle is used. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." Many have observed the ability of the eagle to soar above the storms and likewise through our hope we can soar above the storms of life.

Today we encourage you to place an active hope in the Lord. Undoubtedly many of you have serious matters you are waiting on. By God's grace, as you wait on the Lord, may your strength be renewed and may you spiritually soar above the inevitable storms of life!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is under Your wings that we are protected against the fierce wind currents of doubt, fear, and impatience. Such troubling emotions weigh us down and can pull us right into the path of a pelting storm. But it is through eyes of faith and a heart of trust that we can mount up with You and soar like eagles above the assaulting storm and wait it out until the rainbow appears; Your divine covenant of promise, written out in all the colors that are pleasing to behold. You promise never to leave us nor forsake us which gives us courage to wait and trust You to fully answer our prayers. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

Some more scenes from our visit to Hawk Mountain

Hawk Mountain north lookout 10/2/18 (Click to enlarge)
The north lookout point is the premier spot for bird sightings
Click to enlarge

Hawk Mountain north lookout 10/2/18 (Click to enlarge)
A panoramic view at the north lookout point
Click to enlarge

Hawk Mountain trail 10/2/18
The long trail to the north lookout point requires some very strenuous walking and even a bit of "scrambling", which means "a walk up steep terrain involving the use of one's hands". Brooksyne took the photo of this section on the way back after we had climbed it. In this case they had handrails which were helpful. Interestingly, at the top of the mountain there is an infestation of stink bugs with their distinctive odor permeating the area! However since the odor is similar to Cilantro, one of my favorite herbs, I really don't find it that objectionable.

Hawk Mountain trail 10/2/18
Another view of the trail with lots of rocks.

Hawk Mountain outdoor raised toilet 10/2/18
This is the outdoor toilet at the top of Hawk mountain! One would really have need for the facility to head up another set of stairs after having climbed over so many steep and jagged rocks.

Hawk Mountain south lookout 10/2/18
The south lookout point from Hawk Mountain is not quite as dramatic as the north lookout but is a great view nevertheless and looks down over the Appalachian Trail.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Teach Me, Lord, to Wait"

Hawk Mountain

Location of Hawk Mountain on Google Map

Joyce Reed was a part of the church we served in New England about 25 years ago. Commenting on our message "A Sleep Study" she wrote, My mother said, 'When you can't get to sleep, start praying and the devil will put you to sleep.' Works lots of times for me."

Finally today:

Hawk Mountain selfie 10/2/18
We are not much into selfies but we wanted to show that we really made it to the top!

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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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