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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Buttermilk Falls (click for video)
Buttermilk Falls, Lehigh Gorge State Park, Poconos
The two young men, Moses and James, who rode with me are climbing the rocks on the left.  I yelled for them to come down since I could see the rocks were slippery just beyond their location. Instead they changed their route and continued to explore. I've never had much of a climbing inclination since I have a fear of edges (Cremnophobia), though at my age there are other reasons of course. Click here or on the photo to watch a short video and hear the roar of this waterfall!

"The Roar Of Your Waterfalls"

Message summary: Today may a refreshing sense of God's love flood over your spirit like a waterfall!

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"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life" (Psalm 42:5-8).

Saturday I drove up to Jim Thorpe to ride the "bike train", a one way train ride up the Lehigh River Gorge in the Pocono region of Pennsylvania. At the top bike riders get off the train along with their bike and ride the 25 miles back to Jim Thorpe on an old rail grade along the river with stunning scenery, including waterfalls.

Brooksyne and I have ridden the trail many times but this was the first bike train of the year so the waterfalls were surging, whereas the water volume lessens as the season progresses). The largest waterfall right on the trail is Buttermilk Falls, seen in our lead photo. I also took a short video demonstrating the volume of the falls this last Saturday. I was on this trip without Brooksyne but we both enjoy waterfalls, both the sights and sounds.  At one point we sat down along the river on the huge rocks and took in the many sights and sounds including the constant surge of moving water. Some refer to it as waterfall meditation.

Most standard versions of the Bible commonly used, such as the ESV, NASV and NIV, only refer to a waterfall one time, our daily text, "the roar of Your waterfalls". The KJV uses the term "waterspouts". There are waterfalls in the Holy Land. The Shalom Holy Tours list "Five Israeli Waterfalls That Will Take Your Breath Away". Perhaps it was one of these waterfalls that is alluded to in the Bible text.

Waterfalls can be powerful and loud; they can "roar" as the Bible states. You can hear Niagara Falls long before you see it. On a completely unrelated point, evidence of my fruitful musings, you can also sense the grandeur of the Grand Canyon even before you see it.

But the Psalmist, who is not identified by name in this Psalm is making a point. He begins the selection with a description of his emotional state, "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?" That's a description of discouragement, disappointment or even despair which most of us have experienced. He forthrightly acknowledges his condition which leads to his perspective and determination as he says to himself and writes in the text for others to apply, "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."

But he returns to his despair! Don't we do that sometimes? "My soul is downcast within me".

Matthew Henry comments, "Sometimes God teaches us effectively to know the worth of mercies by the lack of them, and whets our appetite for the means of grace by cutting us short in those means", referring to the highs and lows of the psalmist's fluctuating emotions and outlook.

"Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar." "I will remember You." What a key to living in victory! Note the intentionality in the psalmist's words, "I will".

For some reason the Psalmist recalls a waterfall, perhaps one of the "Five Israeli Waterfalls That Will Take Your Breath Away" and considers it when he continues, "Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me".

He seems to be experiencing a sweeping surge of assurance and encouragement even while acknowledging that the waterfall far exceeds our ability to control or calm its intended purpose. We especially consider that phrase "swept over me". How spiritually enriching it is to feel the sweeping sensation of God's Spirit as described in the hymn, "Wonderful Peace:

Peace, peace, wonderful peace
Coming down from the Father above
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love

The daily Scripture portion ends with a peaceful assurance, "By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life."

Blogger Chuck Summers writes, "God’s love certainly is like a refreshing waterfall. It brings both joy and cleansing. His love is constant but we often experience it in unexpected ways. You never know where, how or through whom you might experience the love of God."

Today may a refreshing sense of God's love flood your spirit like a roaring waterfall!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, the Psalmist paints a very dismal picture, but then reminds us of how we can be uplifted even while our soul is downcast and disturbed. Though circumstances may be grim we're reminded to put our hope in You, not in the circumstance or its outcome. Your steadfast love never ceases and Your mercies never end but they are renewed day by day. Great is Your faithfulness! By day You direct Your love toward us and at night Your song is with us, so we offer our prayer of thanksgiving to You, our God and faithful Father. Amen.

Ester's Health Update: Thank you for your prayers and interest as Ester underwent surgery Monday morning to replace the "generator" (battery) in her pacemaker, which is essentially the entire pacemaker. The previous one lasted for almost nine years. The two leads to her heart were still in place so they only had to open the muscle in her left abdomen below her ribs and replace the generator rather than open her heart and replace the leads as they did for her last two pacemakers. Ester's first pacemaker was inserted in November 2002 when she was twelve and her heart rate had plummeted to the 40's. The next three insertions have been instrumental in helping her to stay out of A-fib which sends her heart rate into 222 bpm and requires electric shock (the paddles) to get her back into rhythm. So we are thankful once again for successful surgery and, besides being sore in getting up or down, she is feeling pretty good already (pain medicine is also helpful). She will have restrictions for a while during the healing process. Thank you again for your interest and your prayers.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What Love, My God"  Video  CityAlight

O praise the King who came to the world
In His love like a mighty flood

"Wonderful Peace"  Video  The Singing Contractors   How would you like to have these men work on your house and then suddenly break into song!

"I Speak Jesus"  Video   Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers

I just want to speak the name of Jesus
Over fear and all anxiety
To every soul held captive by depression
I speak Jesus

200 + Scriptures / Sound and Visual of Waterfall  Video  Waterfall meditation!

Some more photos from our train/rail trail ride on Saturday.

I went up to Jim Thorpe with Moses and James Lapp and we all had quite a workout. I was sure tired when we finally finished and then we had the long ride back to Lancaster County!

Gondola bike train car
The bikes are loaded into this Gondola rail car in Jim Thorpe.

Bike train through tunnel
 The train entering the 1,196 foot Rockport tunnel. They seem to use reasonable care in handling the bikes although they pack them in. We've never had any damage though in the summer months the car is completely packed with bikes.

Unloading bike train
Unloading the bikes for the long ride down the rail trail along the Lehigh River back to Jim Thorpe.

Freight train passing bike train
The bike train is on the left parked on the siding as a freight train passes by after we unloaded.

Lehigh River
The Lehigh River

Stone structure along rail trail
This old stone structure is along the trail. I assume it was used by the railroad but cannot find any information about what it was used for. And of course I am curious!

Mountain stream near Rockport trailhead
There are many tributaries running off the gorge into the river. When riding in the gorge it seems very remote, surrounded by steep cliffs on each side. But at the top there are farm fields and tree farms. (See here on Google map)

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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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