Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Monday, June 7, 2021

Lehigh canal tow path
The Lehigh Canal near Bethlehem, PA
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Fork In The Road"

Message summary: In life we will face many "forks in the Road". Seek God and He will direct us in the way we should go.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen" (Ezekiel 21:21). “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws” (Psalm 119:30). “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). “This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’” (Isaiah 48:17).

Fork in the roadYesterday afternoon, as we were traveling toward home, we stopped in Berks County and rode on the Union Canal Towpath.
In nearby Centerport, a tiny village north of Reading, there is a literal super-sized fork in the road marking a point which is “a fork in the road” to describe the point at which a road branches into two directions.

But we also use the phrase “a fork in the road” as a figure of speech referring to an important decision before us. At such a point we can go in one of two or more directions. Interestingly, the Bible actually uses this figure of speech in Ezekiel 21:21 (in several translations).

Today I want to consider a fork in the road that most of us have experienced. All over our country and around the world young people are graduating. Graduation (high school and college) is an important milestone preparing us for adulthood and independence. In so many ways it is a vital fork in the road of life. Often, due to lack of proper direction in the early formative years, so many choose the wrong road at this point.

Sadly, in so many cases, higher education has become fertile ground for destruction of the teaching young people received in their early years. The almost always funny and insightful Babylon Bee has a satire story titled, "Local Christian Parents Pay University $100,000 To Totally Destroy 18 Years Of Their Hard Work". (link below)

I want to encourage graduates and all reading this to hear a very clear message from God’s Word. This specific phrase “the way” has great meaning in the Scriptures. God chose Abraham to “command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD” (Genesis 18:19). Moses urged the people to “walk in all the ways that the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:33). The Psalmist declares, “I have chosen the way of truth" (Psalm 119:30).  The sense of the Hebrew word for “way” in the above passages is “a course of life or mode of action".

In the New Testament Jesus said, “I am the Way” (John 14:6) and a descriptive designation for the early church in the book of Acts was “The Way” (Acts 9:2). One of the last uses of the phrase in the Bible is so pertinent to our time. It describes when, “Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:2).

The two daily verses from Isaiah express a truth that we all do well to hide deep in our hearts. “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you.” Truly, our heavenly Father knows best. We all need to keep this truth before us, but our young people are especially at a vulnerable point in life where there is a battle raging over this issue in their souls. They hear so many voices asserting “this way is best for you".  Many of these ways are absolutely contrary to God’s way!

But God directs us in the way we should go.

Our prayer for graduates and all our readers is well stated by the prophet Isaiah: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I pray for families whose children graduate from high school or college this year. What a tremendous and long-range accomplishment this is in the lives of our young people. I ask that You would empower our graduates with great foresight, godly wisdom, daily discipline, and a sense of purpose as they enter a new season in their lives. May their hearts be fully consecrated to You as they use their natural and learned skills in the marketplace. Though much about their future is not yet revealed, You have given absolute direction about their personal spiritual walk. No matter what field of study or where they locate geographically may Your voice be clearly heard, “This is the way; walk in it.” No matter what season of life we’re in, help us to never forsake the unchanging, fundamental truths we learn from steadfastly walking in Your way. We joyfully acknowledge it is the best way!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Waymaker"  Video  The McClures

"The Way"  Video  Pat Barrett

This last weekend we rode our bikes over 40 miles of Canal Towpaths in four counties.

Lehigh canal tow path
On Friday evening we rode about 12 miles on a remote stretch of the tow path between Bethlehem and Allentown. (The tow path was the path the mules used as the towed the canal barges.)
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Lehigh canal tow path train
Near Allentown we passed a rail yard on the other side of the canal and this car caught our attention "Kansas City Southern Lines" since Stephen is from the Kansas City area.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Bethlehem Depot restaurant
The old train depot in Bethlehem has been repurposed into a restaurant. It was sure nice to see people gathering outside and enjoying themselves.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Bethlehem Steel I-beam bench
This huge I-beam has been repurposed into a park bench.
This should be able to hold about anybody!

Bethlehem steel mill blast furnaces
Walking around Bethlehem one night we walked over to the former Bethlehem Steel Mill which has been repurposed into a tourist and entertainment district called Steel Stacks. This photo is of the blast furnaces. This steel mill in Bethlehem had a peak employment during WW2 of over 31,000 people.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Finally today:

Sal, pizza shop owner
We had dinner at Anna's Italian restaurant in Bethlehem and met Sal, the owner, who sat with us awhile as we ate outside the restaurant on a beautiful evening. Through his photos we saw his wife, Anna, and his two daughters that he is very proud of. We had a delicious pizza baked in the brick oven and enjoyed an Italian pastry as well. Sal loves the Lord and is so grateful for his extended life, due to medical intervention and God's providential care in his life. We hope to revisit Bethlehem in the future and stop by his restaurant to enjoy the excellent Italian food, to take in the aromatic smells of fresh chopped garlic amidst the fresh dough baking into a crispy crust in the oven, but mostly to see Sal again. As he sat with us outside guests leaving the restaurant called him out by name thanking him for the excellent meal they enjoyed, including one young man who just started his dental practice in Philly. Now 27 years old he said he had been coming to Sal's since he was ten years old, and eats everything offered on the menu. You can't pay enough for those unsolicited compliments! If your ever in Bethlehem we recommend as well! Anna's Brick Oven Pizza

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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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