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Monday, February 25, 2019

Long farm lane traffic 2/22/19 (Click to enlarge)
Friday we drove the long lane to "Down On The Farm" creamery south of Strasburg, PA where we each enjoyed a tasty ice cream cone.
"Stormy Winds Do His Bidding"

Message summary:  We are to "praise God from whom all blessings flow". We acknowledge with Jeremiah that God is our absolute source of hope in the storms of life, both literally and figuratively, this day and every day. "Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the One who does all this" (Jeremiah 14:22).

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do His bidding" (Psalm 148:7,8).
"Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the One who does all this" (Jeremiah 14:22).

Awakening to roaring winds this morning we went to our large bay window and observed the wind’s effects in our front yard and neighborhood. Swinging birdhouses were spilling birdseed, leaves were flying in the air and tree branches were swaying. The windmill was spinning furiously and the wind chimes sounded like church bells. Later we stepped outside and listened to the wind with its unrestrained energy, felt the brisk moving air, and yet saw no wind, only the effects it brought.

Overnight and this morning as we work on this message we continue to have howling winds coming from the west with gusts up to 60 mph (according to AccuWeather). Attempting to bring birds up closer for viewing, several days ago I had hung some suet feeders right outside our office window, but after hearing a constant banging last night I quickly removed them since I saw they were hitting the glass! Thankfully, upon examining our home this morning, there seems to be no evidence of damage to our property.

Gazabo in wind 2/25/19We are concerned about our canvas-topped Gazebo on our deck but thus far my efforts to secure it have held up. Yet the strong winds are getting underneath it and unless the winds subside soon we fear for its fate.

However we know there are homeowners who have damage and some probably severe. This morning we had a rare sight on our rural road, what was reported as a a fire on our Lancaster County incident app, but it was quickly resolved.

I must admit I really like storms. Certainly not the damage, injuries or deaths that can result but the awesome display of God's sovereign power. Psalm 148 is not necessarily one of the better known Psalms and I doubt if very many of you would list it as among your favorites like Psalm 23. It begins with a Hebrew phrase that we also use in the English; "Hallelu Yah". We also use the word, hallelujah, in the English, which is translated "Praise the Lord."  In fact the word "praise" is found 12 times in this short Psalm.

But today let us consider the portion of our daily verse that states, "
that do His bidding".  Although it seems the overall focus of Psalm 148 is to express the universal praise of which God is worthy, we want to give attention to this little portion as a part of God's Word today. 

The phrase "that do His bidding" is grammatically associated with the words that immediately precede it, "lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds". Generally these are conditions in which we find discomfort and anxiety. But God's Word says they "do His bidding".

Remember this the next time you face a storm whether it's literal or spiritual. God has authority over the storms that reap havoc all about us, whether it's literally speaking or figuratively speaking. Peace will fill our hearts when we recognize they ultimately do His bidding.

Today the immutable God is still at work controlling nature. In times past He has ordained various weather conditions to remind His creation of Who is really in charge and certainly that is still happening. 

Yet we are to "praise God from whom all blessings flow". We acknowledge with Jeremiah that God is our absolute source of hope in the storms of life, both literally and figuratively, this day and every day. "Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the One who does all this" (Jeremiah 14:22).

And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are the Almighty God who controls the storms. All of Your creation must submit when You do Your bidding. Nothing escapes Your attention nor can anything exceed Your power or authority. Help us to trust You not only during the times of calm but also during the storms of life. You're an ever-present, ever-powerful God who is worthy of all our praise. Help me to choose to praise You in the storm. Amen.

Some scenes from our weekend
(before the winds started late yesterday afternoon!)

Willow Valley 2/22/19 (Click to enlarge)
White country church and stone farmhouse at Willow Valley, PA.
(Note: This looks like an old country church but was actually built as a wedding chapel about 25 years ago, if I understand correctly.)

Amish school recess 2/22/19 (Click to enlarge)
These children are out playing during recess at a one room school near Paradise, PA.

Ester with Rick and Rachel Caldwell, Fuddruckers 2/23/19
Saturday evening our friends Rick and Rachel Caldwell joined us for a meal at Fuddruckers and Ester popped into the photo. Her position at Fuddruckers is Guest Service Ambassador.

Walter and Randi Waldvogel 2/24/19
Sunday after our church service we had dinner with Walter and Randi Waldvogel. While living in Long Island Randi began reading Daily Encouragement many years ago after she was introduced to our ministry by a friend who had forwarded a message to her. They presently live here in Lancaster County although Walter still works in New York City.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Praise You In This Storm"  Video  Casting Crowns

Followup to Friday's message: I grew up in a denomination and still have many family members and friends who are in it that is presently in a meeting to determine whether to maintain Biblical standards of sexuality or completely abandon them. I read a blog article that so well illustrates the message we shared on Friday titled "The Demonization Of Virtue" (Calling Good Evil). Concerning the plan to remain faithful to the Bible one delegate "assessed it as 'Frankly Dreadful' while another delegate dubbed it 'Evil'." (Article here)

Finally today:

Suzanne Hauber 2/17/19
Last Thursday we shared a message about Suzanne Hauber who came to America, as part of a humanitarian airlift known as Operation Babylift. She visited again with Brooksyne yesterday at church and gave more of her story.

Suzanne was a very sick little baby when she arrived at the Hauber home in a cardboard box. She was so tiny you could hold her in the palm of your hand. Her new mother and father held her, rocked her, sang to her and prayed for her. She was so sick, even the doctor thought she would die. Her mom told him, "I have faith that God will take care of her." In a few weeks, she took Suzanne back to see him, and he was amazed at her good progress.

Suzanne became an American citizen when she was two years old, because her family was planning to travel to the Philippines as missionaries and she needed to be a citizen before leaving the United States. Mr. & Mrs. Hauber were dorm parents for twenty boys at Faith Academy in the Philippines.

Suzanne has a great zeal for life and loves to sing and play piano.

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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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