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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Icy river
The ice-covered Susquehanna River below Turkey Hill.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Safe Harbor"

Message summary: As ambassadors of hope Brooksyne and I seek to encourage people through the storms of life helping them to look to God who stills the storms, for He is the safe harbor!
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"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind" (Psalm 107:29-31).

We had a nice day yesterday with lots of sun and temps reaching into the low 50's so I took a bike ride! I headed over to the Enola Low Grade rail trail that runs for 5 miles along the Susquehanna River from Turkey Hill to the Safe Harbor Dam. It was a bit chilly along the river but I managed to complete the trip meeting my goal of taking a bike ride each month of the year. Brooksyne is not a cold weather rider so we probably won't ride together until March and temps near 60.

The trail presently ends at the Safe Harbor trestle that is in a state of renovation. When it's restored for trail traffic it will join two sections of trail now separated by the Conestoga River to form a trail nearly 30 miles long.

I wondered why they called the area Safe Harbor since it's unlike any harbor I am familiar with being on a river with no harbor-like characteristics. With many locations in our area being named after a Bible place or concept I wondered if there might be a connection. But I found no evidence such was the case.

One theory is that the name Safe Harbor refers to the deep waters of the river where the Conestoga flows into it, providing a “safe harbor” for the arks and rafts whose crews had successfully passed Turkey Hill. These travelers were glad to reach the comparatively quiet of the creek for a rest before facing the dangerous rapids below where the Conestoga River runs into the Susquehanna River.

Safe harborBut my musing did prompt a consideration of the spiritual blessing of safe harbor which is similar to the phrase in our text today; "He guided them to their desired haven".

Storms of life are inevitable; to those who follow Christ and those who don’t.  Believers can find a haven in God as they mediate on the Scriptures, especially the Psalms where there is an abundance of comforting passages. Life’s storms vary in their form and intensity; they can be distressful to the child of God. As chaplains we deal a lot with helping people through storms. But the greatest input we can offer is leading people to safe harbor through trust in the Lord.

Today, whatever you are going through, place your trust in the One who is ever true and faithful. Begin to sing hymns of faith that remind us, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”

As ambassadors of hope Brooksyne and I seek to encourage people through the storms of life helping them to look to God who stills the storms, for He is the safe harbor! It’s in the midst of such storms or the clean-up afterwards that brings about life's defining moments. We can learn from Bible accounts, historical figures, and those in our own lifetime who have endured the storms of life and experienced the blessing of safe harbor. We can extract and apply insights and wisdom from their experiences so that we can better handle our own defining moments in God.

Let us give thanks to God for His everlasting love that sustains us in the storms of life and provides safe harbor to His children.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that Your Word leads us to safe harbor keeping us safe when the forceful waves of the sea would otherwise plunge us to our death. When we meditate on Scripture it stills our fear, sustains us in our darkest hour, and develops godly character as we apply Your words of instruction. Your promises fill us with hope and set our sights on that which will lead us to victory in this life. We exalt Your name and give thanks to You for Your unfailing love and Your wonderful deeds seen among Your people. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Psalm 90 (Satisfy Us With Your Love)"  Video  Shane and Shane    This morning as we awoke this song was playing on WDAC, our local Christian radio station. What a great reminder, first thing in the morning to look to God, for our satisfaction for it is the only lasting satisfaction we will find here on earth. The Psalmist wrote: "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days..." (Psalm 90:14).

When the sun comes up satisfy us
Before the day has passed us by
Before our hearts forget all your goodness
Satisfy us with your love

"Safe Harbor"  Video  Bryan Duncan

Lord, You're my safe harbor
With a word You calm my soul
And You show me sweet power
And a love that brings me home

We received a note from Ethan Levengood, a nursing home chaplain, in regard to our mention of the Kember Scripture prints in yesterday's message.

These Scripture prints "reminded me of my late grandfather, Rev. John Levengood of the Lebanon Gospel Center. After his conversion in Richland, PA, he painted verses on the railroad ties to give a message to the many men who were walking the tracks in those Depression days. Later he, with a skilled hand, painted Bible verses in the various Gospel meeting places of his ministry, such as the rafters of the Avon Heights Tabernacle. Now a warehouse, I think, I would love to have one of those rafters."

It was nice to get out yesterday and I enjoy sharing photos of my journeys.

Safe Harbor dam and power plant
The Safe Harbor Dam and power plant is over 90 years old and still producing hydro power.
Click on photo to enlarge

Water chute
At this point the Susquehanna River runs along a high bluff at Turkey Hill (this is what Turkey Hill ice cream and teas are named after). In order to accommodate 2 rail lines and minimize the grade in this tight space they cut into the bluff over 100 years ago for the new line and made these chutes to divert water running off the hill over the lower set of existing tracks.

River rescue
On the way down along the river I saw a boat and thought what an unusual time to be boating! On the way back there were two boats from the river rescue team that had removed the stranded boaters and taken them to shore. The boat was left along the shore but I'm expecting that they will get it out before the water refreezes!

Restored caboose on Enola Low Grade
This old restored caboose is a bright spot along the trail and a nostalgic reminder of bygone days with the caboose.
Click on photo to enlarge

Enola Low Grade sign
The letters on this sign are made with railroad spikes!
Click on photo to enlarge

Safe Harbor trestle, Lancaster County, PA 6/1/18 (Click to enlarge)
The Safe Harbor trestle that is being renovated for trail traffic (see here).
This photo was not taken yesterday!

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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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