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Friday, June 24, 2022

Cherry Springs State Park, Potter County, PA (photo by Eric Zamora)
Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County, PA
(Photo by Eric Zamora)

"The Heavens Declare"

Message summary: Listen to the pouring forth of speech as the heavens give dramatic, manifold witness of Godís existence; His power, love and care. Let us observe the displaying of knowledge, which day after day and night after night, faithfully declares the glory of God. Let us also rejoice in and proclaim the mighty work of His hands!

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"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge" (Psalm 19:1,2).

The most memorable experience we had on our trip up to northern Pennsylvania early this week was our visit to Cherry Springs State Park on a ridge high in the Appalachian Mountains. Due to its remoteness it is known for its dark skies suitable for outstanding stargazing.

On Tuesday evening after sunset we got loaded in the van for the 15 mile ride over to the park. They've built a raised barrier between the parking area and the viewing area to minimize the light from headlights. The viewing area is a large flat field that someone told me was a landing strip at one time but I can't verify that (see here on Google maps).

There were already quite a few vehicles in the parking lot when we arrived with many more coming. It was a mostly clear night (just scattered wisps of clouds) with no moonlight making it a very good time to see the stars. The viewing area is huge but we stayed near the entrance. Visitors were supposed to place cellophane over any light to diminish brightness and most did. Even the light from a phone screen was visible and a distraction.

I never paid much attention to how long after sunset for twilight to end but we were aware of that up on the mountain as we waited for full darkness around 11:00 PM. As it got really dark it was a marvelous sight, bearing witness to our daily text. I also consider this text, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Psalm 8:3,4).

We stayed about another 1/2 hour before heading back to our cabins. On the way we stopped and pulled off the road and in some sense the night sky was even more remarkable than at the viewing area, since many other visitors still had artificial light (in part because a few were rather inconsiderate).

We pulled off the rural road and I turned the van lights off and experienced the similar darkness of a cave when the guide turn the lights off.  It was different than the plateau view at the park which had a 360 degree viewing span. Although we were in a valley and didn't have the panoramic view looking straight up to the stars it was even more stunning. I looked in every direction and saw no evidence of any man made light due to the very remote location. It was also stunningly quiet.

How marvelous is Godís creation along with the perfect orderliness of His glorious works! Today let us consider the daily verse which proclaims the great God we serve and the work of His hands through the sky that speaks to us in so many different ways.

Some 3,000 years ago David looked up into the sky and made the proclamation found in the daily text. Although I am more familiar with the first verse I find great blessing from the second as well: "Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge". Wow, isnít that true! Some are observant and listening, but most pay no attention at all.

Let us look up to the skies that expand far beyond the human eye or the lens of the most sophisticated, powerful telescope. Listen to the pouring forth of speech as the heavens give dramatic, manifold witness of Godís existence; His power, love and care. Let us observe the displaying of knowledge, which day after day and night after night, faithfully declares the glory of God. Let us also rejoice in and proclaim the mighty work of His hands!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are surrounded by Your awesome works and endless display of divine handiwork. The entire universe is in perfect order which is a testimony to Your greatness and continued watchful eye over all of Your creation. The silent heavens speak as they declare Your majesty and glory. They also testify to Your righteousness and faithfulness as the Lord who created them and gave them a purpose for existence. May we, as Your human creation, also proclaim Your righteousness and faithfulness day after day. May our lives display the work of the Holy Spirit as we continue to grow in faith until You call us home or the day of Christís return. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Psalm 19 (The Heavens Declare) Video  The Psalms Project

Psalm 8 (How Majestic Is Your Name)  Video  Shane & Shane

Psalm 90 (Satisfy Us With Your Love) Video   Shane & Shane

"I Sing The Mighty Power Of God"  Video  The Ball Brothers

Cherry Springs State Park: Pennsylvania's International Dark Sky Park  Video  (3:05 minutes) The first part explains the park the latter part has outstanding star photography.

The most beautiful stargazing location on Earth  Video  (2:22 minutes) The Weather Channel

Today we share some more photos of the Pennsylvania Wilds region in the north-central part of the state where Stephen was with the Lapp family early this week.

Galeton, PA
The scenic little village of Galeton, PA in Potter County, PA was a booming town over 100 years ago when it was a lumber town. They have a wonderful 4th of July fireworks celebration over this lake.

Lyman Run Lake vista view
A view of the Lyman Run Lake where the Lapp family swam, although the water was very cold. One colorful local guide told me it was 33 degrees, though we didn't fact check that!

Lymen Run Lake
The Lyman Run Lake has an interesting dam.

Country church in Tioga County, PA
This well-maintained red country church is in Tioga County not far from the PA Grand Canyon.

PA mountain laurel
On the way back home we drove down state route 44, right through the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the most remote roads in Pennsylvania. The Mountain Laurel, Pennsylvania's state flower, was blooming profusely and we saw an abundance on each side of the road going deep into the woods for mile after mile. The kids were also excited to see a mama bear and cubs along this route but we missed the photo opp!

Mountain Laurel bloom
Here's a close-up of the mountain laurel bloom.

Finally today:

Passing van
Brooksyne and Ester had a women's event at our church on Wednesday evening. As I passed the Mount Joy exit on the way to dropping off the Lapps at their house they had just entered the highway before us on their way to church. We passed them and then they passed us to the delight of the waving children! (It's hard to open a van window to wave but the little ones tried their best.) Ester even took a video as they passed us, and if you choose to watch this quick video you'll see little fingers waving.

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Stephen & Brooksyne

Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, 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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