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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Pine Creek rail trail
 The Pine Creek rail trail is surely one of our region's premier trails running 62 miles on an old rail grade including through the Pine Creek Gorge also known as Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon. At 87.2 miles Pine Creek is the longest "creek" in the United States. Pine Creek Gorge is about 1,000 feet deep.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Prone To Wander"

Message summary: There are times when Satan’s luring temptations turn into tortuous warfare, but we will remain firm in our faith if we choose to bind our wandering hearts to the God we love.

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“Aaron said, ‘Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil’” (Exodus 32:22). “With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments” (Psalm 119:10). “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19,20).

Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wan-d’ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.

Shortly after awakening yesterday morning an unusual sight appeared in our front lawn. It was a dead chicken that apparently had fallen off a transport truck. Mollie, our 9 year old border collie, had been instructed to "stay in the barn" but the allurement to wander was just too great and she headed off to examine the sight and odor. Sadie, our younger dog, watched out the window and graciously (or jealously) warned us of Mollie's shenanigans with a whimper and then a full-throated "Woof, woof, woof". While opening the door to call Mollie back to the house Sadie slipped out to explore as well and we had two wayward dogs!

Dogs can lack common sense and their compulsive behavior can lead them to ignore all restraints, such as when they see a squirrel or rabbit and run to chase it across the road oblivious to the dangers. Both of our canines have a proneness to wander, but today let us consider the theme of our human nature being prone to wander!

We’re spiritually indebted to hymn writers who have written heartfelt expressions of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God. We find ourselves often limited in our human language to verbally express what we feel physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Then we find the very expression of our hearts described in the text of a hymn, and by singing those words with a genuine heart, we make it our own message to God.

We also appreciate the forthrightness of hymn texts that describe our fallen human condition. It’s all too easy to identify with Robert Robinson who in 1758, with blunt candor, writes about our faulty human condition. Buried in the third verse of his famous hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” he describes the proneness of our heart, “Prone to wander how I feel it, prone to leave the God I love".

Robinson’s proneness to wander and live for self rather than the God he professed to love is all too common among the redeemed. Each time I sing this line I’m reminded of the two natures that wage war within: the sin nature vs. the spiritual nature. It seems like sin comes crouching at the door of my heart all too often (Genesis 4:7).

Our first daily text describes the Israelites soon after crossing the Red Sea. Moses was on the mountain and the people grew impatient, demanding Aaron to construct a golden calf for them to worship. Aaron, who was surely complicit in the deed, blamed the people, making the observation that they were “prone to evil”. That surely describes the entire unregenerate human race!

In our second text
the Psalmist expressed an inclination to wander from God’s commandments with a resolve to seek God with a whole heart. The way the Bible accurately speaks about the condition of our hearts is further evidence of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

The third text speaks of wandering from the truth, surely the most severe form of wandering, which leads to error and eventually death.

Jesus, by His grace and by the power given through the Holy Spirit, will give us the will to resist the temptation to wander into deadly enemy territory. There are times when Satan’s luring temptations turn into tortuous warfare, but we will remain firm in our faith if we choose to bind our wandering hearts to the God we love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, with my whole heart I have sought You and made You my Lord and Savior. I have turned my eyes away from worthless things so that my life is preserved here and now and for all eternity. And yet there is a tug of war that battles within me from time to time as I journey here below; the lure of that which satisfies the flesh vs. that which builds me up in the Spirit. May Your grace bind my wandering heart so that during times of temptation I hold steady and resist the enemy who seeks to endanger and lead me astray. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Shane and Shane

Today we share some more photos of scenes along the bike trails we rode on this last weekend.

Turkey path on Pine Creek rail trail
The Turkey Path on Pine Creek rail trail climbs up the canyon to a state park at the rim for a very hearty hike for the heart (and joint) healthy. We just climbed a bit to see this small waterfall with a slow summer flow. Here's a photo of a Turkey Path waterfall with a bit more flow.
Click on photo to enlarge

Do you enjoy the sound of a waterfall? We sure do! Brooksyne took this short video several years ago of a small waterfall along the Pine Creek trail.

Turkey path on Pine Creek rail trail
Brooksyne almost got stuck wandering where she shouldn't have been wandering. Actually she was taking a shortcut instead of walking on the rocks that were not so stable, but the shortcut became a little challenging as well.

PA Grand Canyon vista view (Click to enlarge)
A vista view of Pennsylvania's "Grand Canyon" from Colton Point State Park on the western rim, with the bike trail to the left of Pine Creek.
(Click to enlarge)

Sidewalk crack in Wellsboro, PA
The last time we were in Wellsboro was last December when we went to the "Dickens of a Christmas" festival. That's when I tripped over this sidewalk crack and injured both knees. I was holding Brooksyne's hand on my left and didn't notice the uneven sidewalk. What a tumble I took, but thankfully I recovered, though it took several months to walk normal!

Barn near Pine Creek rail trail
This large barn is near the start of the Pine Creek rail trail near Wellsboro, PA
Click on photo to enlarge

For any who may be interested:

Finally today:
Lancaster County horse (photo by Ester)
Yesterday Ester took this photo of this friendly horse here in Lancaster County.

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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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