A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Mailbox pumpkins overlooking soy bean field on Landisville Road
(Click on photo for larger image)
Message summary: Today we consider the steady, yet often ignored, testimony of God's great faithfulness seen in the changing of the seasons.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years'" (Genesis 1:14). "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22).
Today is the official first day of Autumn. Today at precisely 3:20:30 fall begins. We both enjoy this colorful season but Brooksyne doesn't look forward to the shorter daylight hours and chillier temperatures. Her evening walks with the dogs has to be moved up almost daily as darkness comes earlier and earlier. But she knows as we all do that the seasonal changes contribute to the variety of life and are a reminder of God's faithfulness.
We have already been doing some autumn lawn and garden clean-up. I actually rather enjoy pulling out the dead vegetation, loading it on my garden tractor cart and disposing of it in a compost pile. As we turn the calendar page month by month, season by season and year by year our bodies have a way of telling us that even as the earth endures our bodies must endure the inevitable changes that come with the passing of time.
The four days of each calendar year representing the change of seasons are regular reminders of the cosmic order established at Creation in our first daily text and of God's faithfulness in His keeping of the longstanding promise in our second daily text. This promise will be kept "as long as the earth endures".
The Equinoxes are the two days out of the whole year when the sun is directly over the equator and the northern and southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight. Equinox means "equal night." In the autumn it is technically called the autumnal equinox and in the spring it's called the vernal equinox. It's another remarkably predictable evidence of God's faithfulness and the precise order in His providential design.
Due to the Creator's remarkable order astronomers can determine centuries ahead when this day will occur. For instance on a special year for me the Autumnal equinox will be on Tuesday, Sep 22, 2054 at 2:58:15 (Eastern Daylight Time)
It's astounding that many of these same scientists are blinded to the Creator behind the precise design! Which takes greater faith; that this is all a result of random chance or a purposeful, intelligent design by our Creator God?
Many years ago I read an article by an astronomer named Robert Jastrow, who made this statement.
"At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Hallelujah, I am sitting beyond that final rock!
Genesis makes it clear that the universe was indeed created in an instant: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light".
God gave Noah the wonderful promise expressed in the second daily verse immediately after the flood. It's a promise that we see fulfilled every day, but we should particularly note at the seasonal changes.
Consider the steady, yet often ignored, testimony of God's great faithfulness seen in the changing of the seasons expressed in this promise. It can give us a rich assurance today of God's faithfulness in all things and certainly those things that concern us personally. In fact it was the inspiration behind one of the verses to a classic hymn most of you will recognize. It happens to be Brooksyne's favorite hymn. With joy and assurance receive it today!
"Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above.
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love."
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your watchful eye brings great assurance to my heart as You, Almighty Father, are a God of perfect order. Your unblemished design of the universe and all of created life, both human, animals and vegetation, is also testimony to Your unchanging faithfulness. We marvel in the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night, hill and meadow, tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light. The redeemed join with all of nature in declaring Your wondrous beauty in all creation as we bring praise, honor and glory to You, our Faithful God. Amen.
In studying for today's message here are some additional thoughts:
1) The first day of fall for the northern hemisphere in 2021 is Wednesday, September 22. Of course, if you happen to be part of the 10 percent of the world's population who live in the southern hemisphere this equinox actually signals the start of your spring. The days get longer and the temps get warmer!
2) Until reading this I never considered that just 10%+/- of the world population lives south of the equator! Here's an interesting page on that. Stirs a memory: About 30 years ago I was in Ecuador and visited the equator and straddled it so I was in both the northern and southern hemispheres simultaneously!
3) Here's a widget that determines when future equinox's and solstices will occur. It may not be very helpful since it only goes out to 3,000!
4) Many confuse astronomy with astrology. Astronomy is the science that deals with the material universe beyond the earth's atmosphere. Astrology is an occult pseudoscience claiming divination by the positions of the planets and sun and moon.
5) I noticed on my weather app this morning that the daylight hours (time between sunrise and sunset were slightly more today). Here's an explanation for the terminally curious:
The "nearly" equal hours of day and night is due to refraction of sunlight or a bending of the light's rays that causes the sun to appear above the horizon when the actual position of the sun is below the horizon. Additionally, the days become a little longer at the higher latitudes (those at a distance from the equator) because it takes the sun longer to rise and set. Therefore, on the equinox and for several days before and after the equinox, the length of day will range from about 12 hours and six and one-half minutes at the equator, to 12 hours and 8 minutes at 30 degrees latitude, to 12 hours and 16 minutes at 60 degrees latitude.
6) The term "science" has gone haywire. Be strong in your faith. It's typical that those who believe in the Biblical account of creation are ridiculed by those who claim to be wise but have exchanged the truth of God for the lie (See Romans 1:22 and Romans 1:25). Now we hear "but it's the science" in many areas that have nothing to do with science and are actually anti-science such as the notion that one can change from being male to female or vice versa, that men can marry men, and many other contemporary matters. "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray" (1 Peter 4:7)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"How Great Thou Art" Video Jesus Image Worship
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" Video Austin Stone Worship This version includes some thoughtful new verses.
I could not love Thee, so blind and unfeeling;
Covenant promises fell not to me.
Then without warning, desire, or deserving,
I found my Treasure, my pleasure, in Thee.
I have no merit to woo or delight Thee,
I have no wisdom or pow’rs to employ;
Yet in thy mercy, how pleasing thou find’st me,
This is Thy pleasure: that Thou art my joy.
During the autumn we enjoy stopping by the many local and roadside markets such as Stoltzfus Pumpkins on Landisville Road.
(Click on photo for larger image)
In the Stoltzfus barn are pumpkins and other fall decorations.
(Click on photo for larger image)
Here's a craft idea: a corn flower! Blow it up and you can see how the corn flower was put together. Or you can purchase it here.
Yesterday we wrote about "Our Spiritual Lineage" and how having a life of impact may not necessarily make one famous. I was blessed by Richard Dresselhaus's message this morning on living a life of significance. He is a retired California pastor who posts each day to his blog, "One For The Road" We met Richard and his wife Elnora about 5 years ago when we visited a mutual friend in San Diego. Through the pandemic Elnora has been posting a piano hymn on YouTube. Both Richard and Elnora are an inspiration in continuing to let their light shine through their retirement years!
The struggle against insignificance. It’s a battle we all fight.
Just one – among billions. Just alive for a few years – over against the centuries of time. Just a blip on the screen of human existence.
It all speaks of insignificance.
You work hard – but there is someone waiting to take over. You feel your idea is valued – only to discover others think the same.
So where can you look for significance?
God is not only Lord of vastness…He is also Lord of minutia. His eye is on the whole…and all of the parts.
That brings everything down to you -- your birth…your life…your destiny.
You are in the “…whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
That means significance.
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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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