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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Promised Land State Park lake
Promised Land State Park Lake in the Poconos
Click to enlarge

"Bound For The Promised Land"

Message summary: I remain in the most important race and by God's grace will stay in it till I reach the Promised Land and like Paul can declare, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

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"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted" (Hebrews 12:1-3).

This week we visited the Promised Land. Well, not what you might initially suppose, but a state park in the Poconos named "Promised Land"! The park is named for the
"Promised Land" that the earliest settlers were told they would find. The immigrant residents in the 18th and 19th centuries were dazzled by promotional promises of the supposed wonders of the land they were buying.

It was a beautiful state park with a large lake and a beach that was actually open, in contrast to so many areas we had been that were closed for the entire season due to the virus pandemic. What a joy to see and hear the children playing on the sand and in the water!!! We considered renting a small boat but then we heard thunder in the distance and thought we didn't want to be out on water in a thunder storm.

Definition of the Promised Land according to Merriam-Webster:

1. The land that was given to Abraham and his descendants according to the promise God made in the Bible.
2. A happy place or condition that someone wants to reach; a place where dreams or hopes can come true.

In Christian theology the Promised Land is used to describe where God's people will once again live under Christ's Lordship and experience His blessed presence such as expressed in the song, "I Am Bound For the Promised Land". Christians refer to heaven as the Promised Land. God has promised a glorious eternal home for all those who love Him and have trusted in Christ Jesus for salvation. *

Theologian Oren Martin's book "Bound for the Promised Land" makes this point:

"Just as the Old Testament book of Genesis begins with creation, where humans live in the presence of their Lord, so the New Testament book of Revelation ends with an even more glorious new creation where all of the redeemed dwell with the Lord and his Christ. The historical development between the beginning and the end is crucial, for the journey from Eden to the new Jerusalem proceeds through the land promised to Abraham. Within the redemptive-historical framework of God's unfolding plan, the land promise advances the place of the kingdom that was lost in Eden."

As we see a heightened sense of turmoil on this old earth may the promise of our future Promised Land be a source of great encouragement and a major focus in our day to day living. Our daily text was one of the very first Bible verses I memorized in the mid-seventies. I initially liked it because I was a runner. The days of physically running are long behind me but I remain in the most important race and by God's grace will stay in it till I reach the Promised Land and like Paul can declare, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we consider the days of old we see Your faithful hand guiding us along life’s pathway, in our own lives and in the generations that precede us. Deliverance from our sins, provision for our every need and guidance for our every step keeps us firmly anchored like a tree planted by streams of water. Keep us faithful and trusting until we cross over to the Promised Land. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"On Jordan's Stormy Banks" (AKA "I Am Bound For The Promised Land")  Video  Indelible Grace

"On The Banks Of The Promised Land"  Video  Karen Peck & New River

"Living in the Promised Land"  Video  Triumphant Quartet

"Jesus Is Our Promised Land"  Video  David Baroni

"Promised Land"  Video  Crowder

Promised Land State Park is located here (google map)

Promised Land abandoned church
There was a very run down area near the park, formerly a church, but now in great disrepair surrounded by abandoned boats, rusty vehicles and even a worn out stretch limo.

Skytop Lodge
Skytop Lodge is one of the many resorts in the Poconos.

Arcaro and Genell Old Forge Pizza bocce court
On the way home we stopped by Old Forge, PA which claims to be the Pizza capital of the World to have an Arcaro and Genell Old Forge Pizza followed by Tiramasu which is a real treat for us. This is the bocce court beside the pizza joint.

Old Forge Pizza
Old Forge Pizza was delicious! We counted the pieces which amounted to 4 pieces each; two for lunch and two to save for dinner when we arrived home. Guess which one of us only had one to eat for dinner because the temptation to eat three pieces at lunch was beyond his or her ability to resist?

Finally today:

Peach pie
Last night Brooksyne made Peach Pie for dessert and as we ate it together with ice cream on our front porch. After my first bite all I could say was, "This is Promised Land peach pie!"

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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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