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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Lunch at Bordner's Cabin, Swatara State Park, Lebanon County, PA
Enjoying a Subway BLT lunch yesterday at Bordner's Cabin with a view of Acrigg's Falls through the open window. It's in Swatara State Park, Lebanon County, PA. I even picked some flowers for Brooksyne. (It's Bees Balm, she tells me, which she used to grow with her herbs - to me they were colorful, dressed up the dark cabin just a bit, and also a loving gesture of how much I enjoy her riding along with me on the trails.)

"Peace In The City"

Message summary: Today we will consider violence in the city.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets" (Psalm 55:10,11). "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels” (Psalm 122:6,7).

We live out in the country and we both prefer it that way. Brooksyne was raised on a small farm just west of Tulsa, OK and I was raised in a small suburb of Kansas City. We both have great memories of grandparents who really lived out in the country; hers in the mountains of Arkansas and mine in Harwood, a very tiny rural town in Southern Missouri.

We have visited many major cities here in the US; from San Diego to Seattle on the west coast, from Miami to Boston on the east coast and from the Twin Cities to San Antonio in the center. In the best of times I prefer spending a limited time in the city, even a smaller one like Lancaster. When we lived in New England we enjoyed going to Boston, which is a very walkable city, with lots of character and history. But at the end of the day we were happy to step back into our vehicle and head back to our quieter setting at home.

However, in recent months cities all over America have become increasingly agitated with protests (many which distort the very definition of peaceful), with riots, looting, destruction, violence, disrespect and even killings. We have been eating out underneath our deck gazebo most meals and before we pray for our meal we thank God for the peace that surrounds us as we also pray for the ongoing turmoil in our country.

The other day we were traveling together and Brooksyne read Psalm 55 aloud. When she got to the part we use for our first daily verse we were mutually stunned in that it describes the current conditions in so many of our cities.

Regarding precisely what the Psalmist initially was referring to is rather difficult since the context does not  reveal any details as to what is meant. Whether he meant a specific city like Jerusalem or intended a more generic meaning is not clear.

However, this describes many cities today and what they are presently going through:

"I see violence and strife in the city."
Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets"

The second daily text on the other hand is very specific, a prayer for the "peace of Jerusalem". Now of course there is spiritual significance and uniqueness about this holy city; historically, currently and prophetically. The last part of the city's name, Jerusalem, is "salem", a Hebrew word derived from "shalom" which means peace, wholeness, and completeness.

When there's peace in the capital and lead city it's good for the entire country and for that of families and individuals. We can pray for peace in our own country, wherever we live. It's also a fitting prayer for any city, not just Jerusalem, especially during these times when there is so much
violence and strife in the city and destructive forces at work.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, since we submitted our lives to You we have been praying for the peace of Jerusalem. We continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and we pray for the peace of Christ to rain down upon the cities of our nation. We pray for servants of the Gospel who are taking the message of salvation to the troubled streets of our land, for their safety and for receptivity from those looking for answers, the ones that can't be found in our institutions of higher learning or our divided political landscape across America. Many express their rage and anger through lawless acts of vandalism, destruction, incite fear, and the calamitous list goes on and on. We pray for our elected leaders to stand for law and order,  to be strong and courageous in recapturing civility among the rebellious throngs who resist the established authority. We pray for churches and ministries located in these cities to prayerfully and eagerly present the greatest Authority, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who provides the greatest Manual of all time, the Holy Bible which gets to the heart of the matter. No law can change the heart of humankind, but through salvation of Christ, our soul's diseases can be healed and the ills of a country's as well. Help us, we earnestly pray, Amen.

Personal note: Since I was a small child I have been very geographically inclined; enjoying social studies, pouring over maps and now online maps. I like to visit places not only literally but also via programs like Google Earth. I also recall and log places I have visited over my lifetime including 50 airports and every famously large city in the US except New Orleans. (However in a few situations it was only a connection at the airport such as Atlanta and Detroit.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God Of This City"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"Prayer for the City"  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir

"A Prayer For Our City"  Video  Pray London  (a new Zoom-style song appropriate for any city using the Lord's Prayer with a beautiful prayer at the end)

"We Pray For Our City"  Video  Maranatha! Praise Band

"Build Your Kingdom Here"  Video  Rend Collective

"Jerusalem"  Video  The Hoppers

Yesterday following a chaplaincy visit to Audrey's in northern Lebanon County we went to Swatara State Park for a long bike ride on the trails and enjoyed lunch in Bordner's cabin.

Bordner's Cabin, Swatara State Park, Lebanon County, PA
The view of the cabin coming up from Bear Hole Trail. The cabin was built by Armar Bordner, a high school shop teacher, in the 1930's. He lived with his wife, daughter and their German Shepherd here for many years. He died at age 90.

Bordner's Cabin, Swatara State Park, Lebanon County, PA
The view of Bordner's cabin from the waterfall. Here is a page with directions and many photos of the cabin. It has been called Lebanon County's "Fallingwater", an allusion to the slightly more famous Fallingwater in western PA designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright!

Trail bridge, Swatara State Park, Lebanon County, PA
This long COR-TEN steel trail bridge is over Swatara Creek.

Dilapidated house, Lebanon County, PA
We passed this dilapidated house at the end of the trail on Swopes Valley Road.
Saying this house is in ramshackle condition would be kind!

Swatara Park deer, Lebanon County, PA
This deer was right off the bike trail staring intently at us, waiting for us to leave.

Church sign, Lebanon County, PA
We passed this church on the way back on Green Point School Road. A very good message for these times but they'd be wise to use spell check as I often do, unless Brooksyne's around since she is my personal and reliable Spell Checker. (It appears that the sun climbs up trees)!

Finally today these words of wisdom from Lois, a faithful reader in New York in response to yesterday's message:

A few words I came across last week are doomsurfing and doomscrolling. Merriam Webster defines them as: Doomscrolling and doomsurfing are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing.

Interesting that morning I read an antidote for ‘the dooms’ in Psalms 119:37. (Our church is corporately doing a reading plan to read through the Bible.) God had a word prepared for me ahead of time! I have been purposefully limiting my time looking at news and delving into current event issues. (Maybe a little ‘head in the sand’ way to deal with things.) I find myself disheartened with the abundance of negativity out there. I have never seen such a time that the enemy of our souls has had such success in stirring up fear and anxiety, depression, and disunity among God’s people. This morning I read Psalms 119:97. I can easily say with the psalmist, ‘Oh, how I love Your law!’ But I was convicted when I read the second half-‘I meditate on it all day long.’ In January I determined to daily read and refresh memorizing Philippians 4:4-9. The last several weeks I’ve been praising Him for His encouraging word to me on a daily basis. Thank you for being a voice to encourage.

Linda in mask
So far Linda wins the prize for the most interesting mask we see in our chaplain work!

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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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