A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Yesterday's view from the Kimmel lookout on the Appalachian Trail near Bethel, PA
Click on photo to enlarge
Message summary: Am I like an "oak with fading leaves" or like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither"?
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"You will be like an oak with fading leaves" (Isaiah 1:30). "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither..." (Psalm 1:3).
Yesterday morning we hiked a very small portion of the Appalachian Trail to Kimmel Lookout near Bethel, PA. The lookout offers a panoramic view looking south of Berks and Lebanon Counties. We walked down the trail to the lookout and took photos, somewhat disappointed by the overcast skies, before returning to the trailhead along PA Rt. 501 where we had parked. At that point the bright sun came out so Brooksyne suggested, "Let's go back" and that's just what we did.
It was worth it and we are pleased to share several photos today, although we also have some from our autumn leaves collection.
The Appalachian Trail in most places is nothing more than a narrow path beaten down by many years of foot traffic. We have walked the trail here in the northeast as well as Virginia and North Carolina. It's not all a rustic path though. It uses the busy I-80 bridge to cross the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey! (See here). We have never walked the entire length which is quite a feat but on many occasions have walked the entire width!
Yesterday the trail was covered with leaves hiding the perils of protruding rocks so we treaded carefully, especially going downhill. But the colorful leaves also added to the beauty of the hike and Brooksyne collected an assortment to bring home to Ester.
We're in the autumn season when leaves from the deciduous trees have changed their colors and texture. Red, yellow, orange, brown, and crimson hues are still on trees but are also strewn on the ground and gathered in piles at fence lines and among the bushes. As the season progresses trees go through a process known as abscission; that is, they drop their leaves.
We have two oaks with an interesting characteristic. They tend to keep their leaves well into the winter, their crimson leaves stubbornly holding on for dear life, though they have little concern for the piles of acorns that drop into our yard. Not only are the squirrels quite pleased to collect the acorns but so is Sadie Willow. She fills her jowls with acorns and drops them once she enters the house so now we have not only acorns in the yard but also in the house. We shared a photo of one of our oaks several years ago and you can even see the bagged leaves along the road ready for pick-up.
Today let us examine a rarely considered Bible text in Isaiah that draws an illustration from fading leaves.
The text is taken from a portion of Isaiah dealing with the rebellious nation of Israel. It's a stunning chapter and includes this warning, "Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him" (Isaiah 1:4).
Various illustrations are used to describe Israel's condition including today's text, "You will be like an oak with fading leaves" (Isaiah 1:30). Now the meaning in context is speaking of the nation's condition as the people rebel against God.
An oak is a splendid tree and is the first specific species of trees mentioned in the Bible, "Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh" (Genesis 12:6). Although we realize that there is the God-designed process of trees, the fading and eventual dropping of leaves as part of the tree's life cycle, there is also an untimely fading due to lack of water which is what Isaiah seems to mean when the verse continues "or as a garden that has no water."
A healthy tree and a healthy spiritual life is like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither" (Psalm 1:3).
Today we can consider the text on the national level (wherever we may live) and wonder if our nation is "like an oak with fading leaves". It's an interesting analogy to consider especially as we witness the increase, approval and even celebration of evil.
However let us consider the verse on a personal level in an examination of our relationship with the Lord. Am I like an "oak with fading leaves" or am I like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither"?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I want to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, fruitful in every season of my life. I want to hold fast to the profession of my faith and not let it fade over time. I can do that by living a life above reproach, clinging to Your promises, and trusting You for all that concerns me in every season of my life, knowing that You will provide for all my needs. Like a tree receives health by drawing from its water supply I remain spiritually healthy by drinking from the springs of living water and eating from the bread of life. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Still" Video Greater Vision
A thoughtful note regarding yesterday's message titled "A Vice For The Soul":
Joyce, who was a part of the church we served in New England in the 90's, observed that vice as a tool was spelled vise. I checked out closely and she is correct.
Preparing the message I googled "vice grips" and saw the photos and didn't pursue further.
Indeed as a tool it is usually spelled vise.
But... Wikipedia states: "Locking pliers (or Vise-Grips or a Mole wrench or a vice grip) are pliers that can be locked into position, using an over-center toggle action." Also this article WHAT IS A VICE GRIP?
Some photos of the Appalachian Trail
The trail would be hard to find without these signs. Our van is parked in the small parking area in the background.
A panoramic view of Kimmel Lookout on the Appalachian Trail near Bethel, PA
Click on photo to enlarge
Here is how the trail looks covered in leaves. Watch out or those hidden rocks!
Brooksyne caught me walking ahead down to the lookout point.
Here's a variety of leaves Brooksyne picked up to share with Ester.
Kimmel Lookout is located here on Google map
We are pleased now being in our mid-sixties to still be able to walk on hikes like this although we walked vary carefully since falling hurts a lot more than it did 40 years ago!
(Click on photo to enlarge)
It was a beautiful drive coming down from the Blue Mountain Ridge on PA Rt 501.
Click on photo to enlarge
Yesterday morning we saw this truck with a riding dog at Audrey's, a wholesale distributor of home decor items. It brought back an early memory of our first dog as a married couple, Enoch.
Enoch loved to ride in the back of our old blue Datsun pickup on the wheel-well with his head hanging out facing the wind. No matter how much we scolded he persistently rode on the wheel well. One time we were heading down a country highway about 45 miles per hour and heard a loud thump. Looking in the rear-view mirror we saw a ball of fur tumbling down the highway. We came to a quick stop and thought it was the end for Enoch, but as soon as he stopped rolling he got up and ran toward us with a look as if to say, "That was fun, let’s do it again!" However Enoch never fell out of a pickup again, although he still rode on the wheel-well.
To receive the "Daily Encouragement" each Monday-Friday through email see this page to subscribe to our email list. You can also subscribe to the Wordpress rss feed or through a Wordpress email subscription. (See the email subscription on the right side after opening this page)
We want to thank all who financially support our ministry. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.
If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.
To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376
Please Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states "Brooksyne Weber".
Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. We do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.
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."
© Copyright 2020 Stephen C. & Brooksyne Weber - All Rights Reserved
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552 USA
"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"