A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Yesterday afternoon I took a bike ride on the Lancaster Junction rail trail along some side roads. This is the Shenk's Mill Covered Bridge crossing Chickies Creek built in 1855. The other side has a stately old stone farmhouse. (see below)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"My Chains Fell Off!"
Message summary: Let us all tell our story and include the marvelous truth that Jesus is a chain breaker!
Listen to this message on your audio player
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind" (Psalm 107:13-15).
Yesterday we were at Audrey's, a large distributor of wholesale gift and home decor items, where we visit as chaplains in Lebanon County. We seem to always find something interesting there and get to see the products before they are even listed in the catalog.
I saw this wood chain Brooksyne is holding. There are no seams in the wood and I was rather intrigued as to how it was made, especially since hand carving it would be so time consuming and surely not suitable for mass producing something sold wholesale. I'll answer that below but the chain immediately brought to mind a line from the classic Charles Wesley hymn, "And Can It Be". In the third verse he writes:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off, my heart was free
I ro-se, went for-th, and fol-lowed Thee
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God shouldst die for me?
Psalm 107 is a message loaded with the blessing of a mighty deliverance. It begins, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story".
The stories vary for the redeemed. Some were delivered from a life deep in sin, others delivered while young, avoiding many of the heartaches of sin. That's what we want for our children and our children's children!
Wesley may have been alluding to our daily text when he wrote the line, "My chains fell off". His hymns have a lot of imagery from Scripture.
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind".
This follows a description of the horrendous condition the people were in: "Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High" (Psalm 107:10,11).
The verse may be initially describing the literal condition of the people but it is also descriptive of their spiritual condition as a result of sin. That is the sense that Wesley uses in the hymn.
Let us all tell our story and include the marvelous truth that Jesus is a chain breaker!
If you've got pain, He's a pain taker
If you feel lost, He's a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He's a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He's a chain breaker!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, that which You intend for our good the enemy seeks to use for our destruction, enslaving us to a life of sin and degradation. We pray for our loved ones who are in bondage to sin, they will find You to be their chain breaker. For any struggling with destructive addiction release them from their heavy chains as they surrender their all to You and find that You bring satisfaction and peace in place of the emptiness and destruction with which the devil has enslaved them. Only You have the power to heal our soul's diseases by breaking the chains that held us in utter darkness. Thank You for setting us free through the cleansing blood of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"And Can It Be" Video Sovereign Grace Music
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" Video Chris Tomlin Some may assume this arrangement is the way the song was written, but the "chains are gone" line is a bridge added relatively recently by Chris Tomlin.
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace
"Chain Breaker" Video Zach Williams
"Psalm 34" Video The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
"Break Every Chain" Video Jesus Culture
"Jesus Breaks Every Fetter" Video An old favorite from Bible College days - symbolic of the type of choruses sang back in the day when you didn't look at a screen but just closed your eyes and prayerfully sang the lyrics as the leader would introduce the first line and then all would join in. This song was formative in our young lives as believers.
"Carving a chain using only power tools" Video I am quite sure the manufacturer of the chain we saw yesterday at Audrey's had figured out a way to use CNC to mass produce these! Note the video shows a man that has a very extensive wood shop and uses lots of jigs.
On the other side of Chickies Creek from the covered bridge stands an old stone farmhouse.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
We received word yesterday that our friend Millie died. We met Jack and Millie when we pastored a church in Northern PA in the early 90's and prior to that I had served on a missions committee with Jack. After returning to PA from New England in 2001 we reconnected and for several years they served as chaplains together. They had been married almost sixty-seven years and have been a wonderful source of encouragement to us through the years. (This photo was taken ten years ago.)
Late yesterday afternoon I took this photo of our very crowded robin nest on our back deck built on a porch light right outside our bedroom window. In the middle of the night I heard lots of bird noise and suspected they had fledged and sure enough we noticed the nest was empty this morning with the parents flying around. We read it takes the baby robins about 2 weeks to leave the nest, or "fledge," and then they usually stay with their parents for two or three weeks after that. We spotted only one of the chicks. Ester is missing her little birdies that she had named Conner, Jake, Jack and Jill.
Mystery solved (I think): For several weeks we've had an unidentified pecking sound we could hear in our house. I was concerned something like a chipmunk had gotten in our attic. This morning I heard it very distinctly and tried to quietly go outside to see if I could see anything. It was a woodpecker pecking on our metal gutter and alas the internet has answers!
WOODPECKERS ARE DRUMMING, NOT EATING
"Instead, woodpeckers are engaging in the practice of what is known as “drumming.” These birds do this as a way to either attract a mate or to demonstrate that they are marking their territory. In other words, woodpeckers’ drumming accomplishes the same function as the songs or calls that other birds emit. Of course, woodpeckers need a solid surface for their drumming – like a brick, chimney, stucco wall, or aluminum gutter.
As any homeowner who has heard drumming up close can attest, this sound can be heard for a great distance. More often than not, woodpeckers tend to drum in the morning (sometimes quite early) and will often do this at the same time each day."
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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.
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