Devotional

“A Lesson From Fall Foliage”

Conewago Lake, Mount Gretna, PA 10/15/19Early yesterday morning we passed by Conewago Lake near Mount Gretna with fall foliage in the background.

 

“A Lesson From Fall Foliage”
Technical note: We have had a tough week with technical issues. Monday we had internet problems that canceled Monday’s message. A tech came yesterday and all is well with a new modem . Then late yesterday afternoon I noticed the website was down. After several calls to tech support it finally came back up this afternoon.Message summary: When you see fall foliage do you know what you are looking for? Can you clearly see the handwork of God?

 

ListenListen

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

For many years New England has been a popular destination for fall travel due to the beautiful fall foliage. Having lived up that way for 8 years in the nineties we can testify that there is a special beauty of autumn in New England.

But yesterday I heard an interesting perspective on fall foliage from Walter, a project manager at White Oak Display. He shared about a recent visit to Vermont where he has a friend who operates a Bed and Breakfast.

This is a very busy season in New England with tourists coming in from all over the world. His friend shared how he had a guest who inquired after settling in, “Now, where’s the fall foliage?” The innkeeper pointed outside and said “Out there”. But the guest replied, “But where’s the fall foliage?” The innkeeper specifically pointed to the colorful trees and said, “That’s the fall foliage!”

The guest rather frustratingly responded, “Well I can see that where I live”. He had probably heard people say you need to go to New England to see the fall foliage and so he made the trip. However, apparently he had come not even knowing what “fall foliage” is! Walter thinks he may have thought fall foliage was some kind of event or festival rather than the peak fall colors of the leaves.

Indeed you can see fall foliage all throughout the world wherever there are deciduous trees. Some species are especially colorful such as maples which are abundant in New England. But there’s pretty fall foliage in many places such as the Poconos here in Pennsylvania. The leaves on the oaks in our front lawn turn a beautiful red. Out west people talk about seeing the aspens.

The guest did not see the fall foliage because he apparently didn’t know what fall foliage was. Here’s a definition, “a phenomenon that affects the normal green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs by which they take on, during a few weeks in the autumn season, various shades of red, yellow, purple, black, blue, orange, magenta, and brown.”

Today’s text has a phrase that we will consider, “have been clearly seen”. This was speaking of God’s invisible qualities that are indeed seen through His creation, “being understood from what has been made”. Today, although they can be “clearly seen”, they are still missed by so many; those who really don’t care to know but would rather live with excuses.

The Christian Classics commentary observes, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” “But humanity today prefers Hollywood’s “sound-pictures” to seeing the “things” of the glorious God in the heavens,—beholding His works, and hearing their speech. How long has it been since you have gone out and gazed at moon and stars, made by the blessed God, traveling in such quiet glory, beauty, power, and order? Men know, if they care to know, that an infinite Majesty made and controls this.”

They are continually on display to be seen and perceived, continuously beheld fully, distinctly apprehended. It is not as if God gives rebellious, truth rejecting mankind just one brief peak at His glorious handiwork! They are continuously on display all around us regardless of where we live.

There is a similarity here to our opening “fall foliage” illustration but like most illustrations it’s only approximate. In the case of the Bed and Breakfast guest he didn’t see because he really must not have understood what fall foliage meant. But he was seeking it.

George Washington Carver, one of my favorite scientists, wrote, “Nature is an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in.”

Today many have no interest in seeking God. 2 Corinthians might be considered an explanation but it is not an excuse, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”.

But in the case of so many who fail to clearly see through Creation the eternal power and divine nature of God, they are ultimately without excuse.

When you see fall foliage do you know what you are looking for? Can you clearly see the handwork of God?

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your creation is a visible testimony to Your invisible qualities of power, glory and majesty. From the mountains to the prairies, from the oceans to the forests, from the moon, sun and stars to the vegetation on earth, Your handiwork proclaims Your glory in splendid array. We testify to Your greatness made evident to us by the Spirit of Christ as He takes up residency within our hearts, making known to us the power of salvation. Amen. 


Today we will share fall foliage photos we have shared on this site through the years. This site now has over 15,000 photos and images so we have quite an archive collection to draw from!

Branson foliage (photo by Doris High)
Our friends Cerwin and Doris High visited Branson, Missouri and I saw this nice photo on her blog revealing the beauty of the Autumn season in another part of the country dear to us. Branson is where we had our honeymoon and is near Springfield MO where we both went to college.
Autumn scene in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (photo by Lori)
Lori, a reader from Cedar Rapids Iowa, sent us this Autumn photo she had taken in her hometown.
Lehigh River near Jim Thorpe, PA
The Lehigh River forms a quiet pool at this point although through much of the gorge it is rapids.

Quehanna Highway in northern PA (click to enlarge photo)
Quehanna Highway across the Allegheny Plateau in north-central Pennsylvania.

Fall foliage with pond in Delaware (photo by Duke)
Delaware pond with fall foliage
(Photo by Duke)
Burning bush 11/3/13
The burning bushes are in full crimson array in our area.
Photo of tree-lined lane
This beautiful tree-lined lane leading to an old farmhouse is just around the corner from our house. The splattering fall colors of foliage seem so inviting for a stroll down the country lane! 



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“All Heaven Declares”  Video  Martin Ball
Advertisements
Devotional

“Thus Far Has The Lord Helped Me!”

White barn in Lancaster County, PA 10/11/19A big white barn in southern Lancaster County garnished with fall mums, gourds and pumpkins.
“Thus Far Has The Lord Helped Me!”
Note: We were unable to post a message yesterday due to internet problems in the morning and a scheduled activity.

Message summary: Today I proclaim, “Thus far has the Lord helped me!” But the completion of my goal, to follow Him all the days of my life, will only be fully realized when my time of transition comes, “safely to arrive at home.”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us'” (1 Samuel 7:12).

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Last week we attended a teaching session that had us fill in a “lifemap”. Since I was a child I have liked maps; the old kind you unfolded and spread out to look at, atlas type maps, globes and in the computerage sites like Google Earth. I suppose I have an unusual memory regarding places I have been and can recall the routes I took even intrips as a child and many vacations through our marriage. I have chronicled each airport I have flown into, which is now up to 51airports. I remember the train trips I took. I’ve never been on a cruise ship but have been on a short day cruise on the MississippiRiver in Saint Louis.

Since I like maps I thought doing a life map would be an interesting exercise but it was very different than a regular map. Essentially in a life map you are to place significant events in your life along a chronological line.

I did mine fairly quickly, noting events like my birth (which was necessary for the rest), childhood, my salvation experience, graduations, marriage and major vocational milestones and so forth. Brooksyne on the other hand had a much greater amount of detail in her life map. (She probably did it the way you were supposed to!) When I was finished I looked over and saw lots more writing and she was only into her thirties!

Yesterday was a mile-marker point in my life map (a birthday) so this verse and concept have been on my heart for several days. One thing each of us could write for each point in our life map is today’s text, “Thus far the Lord has helped me” (changed to first person singular). We expect to be able to make that proclamation till the Lord calls us safely home.

Most of us have sung the great old hymn, “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” with one of the verses posted above. However many probably have never considered the meaning of the words, “Here I raise my Ebenezer” sung in the second verse to the hymn penned in 1757 by Robert Robinson who was just 22 years old at the time.

Samuel served God some 3,100 years ago as the last leader during the period of the Judges. In fact he anointed both Saul and David as kings. Samuel served his generation faithfully, overcoming dangers from without and apostasy from within (falling away from the faith).

In today’s text Samuel made a tangible memorial to God’s faithfulness to himself and the people. He set up a stone and named it Ebenezer (which means “stone of help”), and using that meaning applied it to the nation stating, “Thus far has the Lord helped us”. That must have been a wonderful moment and it’s my testimony today. I raise my Ebenezer and personally proclaim, “Thus far has the Lord helped me.”

When Robert Robinson wrote the line “Here I raise my Ebenezer; here by Thy great help I’ve come” he was surely referring to today’s Scripture text and declaring his faith and resolve in serving the Lord.

Have you placed your faith in Christ? Are you faithfully serving Him today? We sure hope so! Won’t you join us in raising your Ebenezer to join Samuel and millions through the ages in proclaiming, “Thus far has the Lord helped us!”

Today I proclaim “Thus far has the Lord helped me!” But the completion of my goal, to follow Him all the days of my life, will only be fully realized when my time of transition comes, “safely to arrive at home.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as I daily partake of the Bread of Life I am led by Your hand. No longer my own, because Your only Son, Jesus, gave His life that I might experience forgiveness for sin and abundant life. Today I victoriously proclaim, “Thus far has the Lord helped me!” even though my heart and my flesh may fail, for You are my strength and my portion for my dwelling on earth and my future eternal dwelling n heaven where I will safely arrive at home. Amen.


 
Neck pumpkins on stairway in Lancaster County, PA 10/11/19This is a great place to store some neck pumpkins as long as you don’t need the stairs!
 
Hershey Farms autumn display in Lancaster County, PA 10/14/19
We never weary of the autumn displays in our area. After all it’s a relatively short season. This one is at the Hershey Farms Restaurant.
 
Smucker community day 10/11/19
Last Friday we visited the employees at the Smucker Home Improvement and Smucker Laser Cutting and Metal Fabrication companies at a community service day as they provided renovation work to a former orphanage that now houses Immerse International, a ministry to international students. Crews worked on many phases of improvement including installing new windows, carpentry work, lawn cleanup, etc. Smuckers brought in the food truck to feed the crew of some 50. We are pleased to serve this business as their company chaplains since 2011.


Smucker community day 10/11/19
These men were working on a chimney and had discovered there was a skunk inside, or so they initially thought, which caused a lot of commotion. It turned out to be a squirrel!
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”Video  All Sons & Daughters
 
Children’s choir leading our worship at the service Sunday at Calvary ChurchVideo
 
“Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It” An interesting rest of the story regarding Robert Robinson
 
Here I Raise My Ebenezer! Article on today’s text
 
 
Finally today:

Sprayer at Curt's funeral 10/13/19Sunday afternoon we attended a funeral service for Curt Haldeman, a local friend who arrived safely home after a long battle. Curt was a salesman who sold equipment like this huge New Holland sprayer which was parked in the church’s lawn during the service. Years ago we shared an experience that Curt had and a spiritual application he gleaned from it.
He also shared this perspective at a men’s retreat.
 
Curt sang bass in a men’s quintet called “Pleasant Passage”. They sang a specially themed song written for a local tractor day by Mike Book who sings tenor with the group. It’s titled “Life is like a Farmer’s Parcel”Video  (the tune is from “Life is Like a Mountain Railroad” made popular by Johnny Cash.) Pardon the poor audio on this video. I had just learned to use the video record function on my “smart” phone and apparently kept covering the tiny microphone with my finger!
 
“Love The People That God Gave You”  Video  We dedicate this song to Curt’s family and all who have experienced recent loss.
Devotional

“Lead Me To The Rock”

Elephant Rock at Valley Of Fire state park, Nevada 9/30/19
Elephant Rock at Valley Of Fire State Park, Nevada

“Lead Me To The Rock”

 
Message summary: Whenever our heart is overwhelmed let us make this ancient request of the Psalmist our personal plea: “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1,2).
 
Yesterday we made chaplain visits passing through the beautiful Lancaster County farmside. It’s harvest time but still very green with ample top soil covering most everything that man hasn’t developed. We mostly pass farms and farm fields with trees. We rarely see rocks unless they’re decorative or used as a border.

That’s quite a contrast to the scenery on our trip out west which was mostly to a region that wasn’t very green at all except where man has intervened. Las Vegas to Death Valley then back and into Arizona was all desert. There is a beautiful green area with lots of trees around Flagstaff and Sedona up to the Grand Canyon but then the rest of our trip through northern Arizona, Utah and back into Nevada was through the high desert.

One thing we saw a lot of were rocks with many of the mountains seeming like one big rock. So today let us consider a petition from the Psalmist, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Many of you can recall a situation in your life when your heart was overwhelmed or perhaps you are presently feeling overwhelmed by a matter pressing in on you.

The state of the country and world conditions has a lot of people overwhelmed. We don’t think we are the only ones who say, “Has it really come to this??”

We may be overwhelmed at the rate of social decay, as we navigate through life, seeking to stay faithful to God and His Word through an ever-changing culture, one where we are confronted with once unheard of laws and policies. It seems like mankind’s rebellion against God is growing at a fevered pitch and we are experiencing the inevitable consequences.

Today let us receive a word of assurance from an ancient Psalm written some 3,000 years ago:

“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.”

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You.” There’s no evidence that David traveled any considerable distance from where he lived. Of course travel in ancient times was very difficult and only a tiny few traveled beyond their own relatively close geographic area. Yet in a powerful expression of faith David declares, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You.”

“When my heart is overwhelmed.” Although we don’t know precisely what David was being overwhelmed with we surely can identify. Another version states, “as my heart grows faint”. Such emotions can leave us feeling helpless, heavy-hearted, fearful and indecisive in what to do about the matter at hand whether it’s a personal matter or the state of affairs in our world.

Times like this have occurred in both our personal life and in our ministry to others. In fact due to the nature of our chaplaincy ministry together we rarely have a day of visitation when we don’t encounter people who express being overwhelmed with a particular matter in their life. And quite realistically times of feeling overwhelmed will continue to be part of our experience on this side of eternity.

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” This is David’s specific petition when he was overwhelmed and is a fitting petition for followers of God in each generation.

In the Scriptures the rock is a common metaphor for God. The first reference to the Rock in this sense was in Jacob’s blessing to Joseph when he refers to “the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel” (Genesis 49:24). In Moses’ final sermon to the Israelites before he died he declared: “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

At her son Samuel’s dedication Hannah prayed, “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (2 Samuel 2:2).

All throughout the Psalms the Rock is commonly used to describe the power and stability we have in the Lord. One wonderful example is Psalm 18:31, “For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?”  The prophets continue the theme: “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).

Upon Peter’s confession of faith Christ stated, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). The apostle Paul describes the spiritual rock that accompanied the children of Israel, “and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). Peter wrote, “Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds” (1 Peter 2:4).

For many years I have appreciated a powerful truth expressed in this statement by Handley Carr Glyn Moule, a theologian who lived from 1841-1920: “There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot, from that situation, create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today.”

Whenever our heart is overwhelmed let us make this ancient request of the Psalmist our personal plea: “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Lord today, like the Psalmist, I cry out to You. Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. I join all who call out to you from the ends of the earth. I am so thankful that You hear me regardless of where I may be crying out from or what situation I may be crying over. At times my heart does grow faint and I am overwhelmed. I ask you to lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Help me to rest today in the assurance that on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. Amen.

 


Snow Canyon and Valley Of Fire State Parks
 
Our last full day in the west we traveled back from Saint George, Utah to Las Vegas for our flight back home last Tuesday. We visited two state parks that we previously had never heard of but in our view rivaled the much better-known national parks.
 
Snow Canyon slot canyon 9/29/19
We hiked into a closed slot canyon at Snow Canyon State Park near Saint George Utah
 
Snow Canyon "selfie" 9/29/19
This was not a selfie, as you probably guessed!

I-15 Virgin River Gorge 9/30/19
Scenic Virgin River Gorge on I-15 in the northwest corner of Arizona  Video tour
This just may be the prettiest section of interstate we’ve ever been on!
 
Big Horn sheep at Valley Of Fire state park, Nevada 9/30/19
These big horn sheep in Valley Of Fire State Park came up within two to three feet of our car. They were fearless with good reason since they see thousands of cars, trucks, RV’s, motorcycles – you name it. They’re accustomed to the motor sounds and people snapping photos of them. We were somewhat disappointed we didn’t see more wildlife during our trip.
 
White Domes trail at Valley Of Fire state park, Nevada 9/30/19
Our final long nature hike was at the White Domes trail at Valley Of Fire State Park, Nevada
 
White Domes slot canyon at Valley Of Fire state park, Nevada 9/30/19
White Domes slot canyon at Valley Of Fire State Park, Nevada


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Lead Me To The Rock”  Video  Maranatha! Praise Band
 
“The Solid Rock”  Video  The Hymns Project
 
Finally today:
 

Calf being transported in rural Lancaster County, PA 10/10/19

You never know what you will see in rural Lancaster County.
You can see how Brooksyne takes photos on the fly!

Calf being transported in rural Lancaster County, PA 10/10/19Approaching New Holland, PA this calf had some fancy transport.
Devotional

“The Great White Throne”

Entering Zion National Park 9/28/19

Entering Zion National Park on scenic Route 9 in Utah
“The Great White Throne”

 
Message summary: The main thing in this life is to be ready for that final appointment, judgment day. I am trusting in Christ and believe I am ready. Are you?

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it” (Revelation 20:11).

Our final national park to visit during our western trip was Zion which likely has its name based on the Zion in the Bible (see here). We entered the park from the east on Utah state route 9, a very scenic highway. At the entrance I was pleased to be able to use my lifetime senior pass. But after pulling it out of my wallet to show it, I was told there was no need as it was a free pass day! That meant the park was very, very crowded.

Nevertheless the drive was beautiful although due to the crowds we didn’t go into the main part of the park which requires shuttles and even finding parking was hard. Maybe another time!

Zion is distinct from other canyon parks in that you drive through the canyon looking up at the walls rather than from along the rim looking down. You can’t drive through the Grand Canyon! However we did take a hike to a vista point overlooking the park.

A popular scenic point in Zion National Park is known as the Great White Throne. It is often used as a symbol of Zion National Park. Since that was in a portion of the park requiring a shuttle ride we didn’t get a photo but here’s one online.

We assume this also has a name based upon a Bible passage, our daily text. However please don’t forward this to the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, a group that manages to find offense in any expression, display or reminder of this country’s Judeo-Christian foundations. Probably Zion would upset them as well!

The Great White Throne in our daily text is the place of final judgment. Those who are judged are assigned to their final state. The Bible does not indicate any chance for belief after this final judgment. The Great White Throne Judgment refers to a time in the future when all who have ever lived will stand before God in judgment, and He will decide who will be a part of His Kingdom, and who will receive eternal death.

 
The reminder of future judgment is a Biblical truth that many are uncomfortable with or find offensive. Proclaim that today and you will be labeled a crackpot by the world and sadly many in the visible church would critique your message to be “unloving”.

The Apostles Creed forthrightly states that “He shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead.” A spiritually healthy outlook in life includes a perspective of future judgment. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (and through Scripture to all of us): “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1).
 
The Bible says that Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). He appeared in flesh and walked upon the earth 33 years, taught the ways of godliness, lived a sinless life and died upon the cross that we might be saved from our sins.
 
Every one of us has a final appointment. This appointment will take place whether or not we believe in it. Having faith is not necessary. This appointment can’t be skipped nor forgotten. You can’t cancel it or reschedule at your convenience. There will be no excuses accepted. Wealth, position, power or possessions won’t matter when it comes to our final appointment!

The secular reader will smugly smile at this. Although he certainly cannot deny the inevitability of death, he may chuckle at what seems to him the archaic notion of an appointment of future judgment and accounting to God.

The believer in Christ and the believer in the worldly system both have faith. Death is the final step of faith for both.

  • One believes the record of the Bible, the other believes the record of “enlightened” man.
  • One has faith that the words expressed in the Scripture are true, the other believes in what man has said.
  • One believes we are uniquely created in the image of God, the other believes we are just a higher form of evolved animal life.
  • One believes that following death there is judgment day with a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. The other believes that we are merely physical matter and at death we simply cease to be (although I find it interesting that at the death of a loved one, all, except for the most ardent secularist, tend to express belief in an after-life).

What do you believe today? You do believe one way or the other. There’s really no middle ground. I believe in the record of the Bible. I accept its words as truth. I believe in a future judgment. And I don’t want it to be merely “religious” belief that is compartmentalized but a dynamic, living faith that impacts every area of my life. The main thing in this life is to be ready for that final appointment, judgment day. I am trusting in Christ and believe I am ready. Are you?

 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we read in Revelation 20 about the Great White Throne Judgment where all will stand and give account of his or her decision to follow after You or to rebel against Your righteousness. As believers we will stand before Your throne blameless because of Jesus’ righteousness which delivers us from the punishment we deserve. I want my faith to be living and active, influencing my every thought and motive, as I live out my life here on earth. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

 
Note: For discerning readers I am aware there is a separate “judgment seat of Christ” for those who have followed Christ.
 


Zion National Park

Zion National Park 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
Zion National Park
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Zion National Park 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
Zion National Park
(Click on photo to enlarge)

 
Zion National Park 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
The hole in the center is a gallery window to a long tunnel we had just driven through. It was used during construction to remove debris. Here’s an interesting article.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Zion National Park 9/28/19
Look carefully to see about ten Bighorn sheep on the ledge over this tunnel. Tomorrow we will share a photo of a close-up of a Bighorn sheep we saw our last full day in Valley Of Fire State park in Utah

Zion National Park 9/28/19
It was a beautiful drive!

Zion National Park 9/28/19
Checkerboard Mountain is on the east side of the park.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“The Great I Am Still Is”  Video  Triumphant Quartet
“The Great I Am”  Video  New Life Worship
 
What is the Great White Throne Judgment? (from the gotquestions.org teaching site)
 
 
Devotional

“A Steady Walk”

Bryce Canyon from Sunset Point 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)

Bryce Canyon from Sunset Point looking down to Wall Street
(Click on photo to enlarge)
 
“A Steady Walk”
 
Message summary: A great goal in this life will be to victoriously declare “I made it by the grace of God” in the life hereafter. Day by day it’s step by step on a steady walk!
 
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him” (Psalm 128:1).
During our western trip we visited Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah. Interestingly, unlike the Grand Canyon, Bryce is not actually a canyon (see here). Bryce Canyon is known for its very interesting rock formations which you see from various scenic points in the park. We thought the best view was from Sunset Point, looking out over an area known as the amphitheater with many of the park’s most famous features; the hoodoos, which are tall, thin spires of rock protruding from the bottom. Another great vista was Inspiration Point.
As we stood on Sunset Point we saw people far below us walking on trails and, after some hesitation, we decided to hike the Navajo Loop Trail which descends into the hoodoos with an elevation drop of 500 feet. (That would be similar to a fifty story building.) The scenic but very wearying hike was one of the top highlights of our trip. As we went down, down, down we realized that there would be a point we would need to go up, up, up. And indeed there was, though the going up was a lot slower with breaks worked in as needed!
 
Our hike provides an illustration for today’s message. All through the Bible the life of faith is described as a walk. The first reference of this type is when “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). In Genesis 17:1 God spoke to Abraham, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.”
 
The Psalmist wrote, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him” (Psalm 128:1). The prophets used this theme in passages such as Jeremiah 6:16, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But you said, ‘We will not walk in it'”.“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
 
This theme continues all through the Bible. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). It is used in the epistles such as Paul’s instruction, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Bryce Canyon’s Navajo Loop Trail had a very clearly marked path that navigated our way into and out of the canyon. In life we also have a clearly marked path, what the writer of Hebrews calls “the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). If we pay close attention to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit’s guiding and the Apostle’s Doctrine we have a clearly marked path; that which guides us through this life and directs us toward our eternal destiny as we “walk in obedience to Him”.

 
The Navajo Loop Trail was hard in places; painful to the knees and other joints going down and a great workout for the cardio system going up. But we stayed on the trail and, although rather worn-out at the finish, we made it! That’s a great goal in this life so that we can also victoriously declare “We made it by the grace of God” in the life hereafter. Day by day it’s step by step on a steady walk!
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Heavenly Father, as I stand at the crossroads of decision where I am pulled in many directions, I direct my attention to the well-worn path marked out by faithful followers of God throughout the centuries – the faithful ones who remained true to Your ancient law whose hearts did not betray the One True God. With godly determination I earnestly desire to follow in the steps of the Master that leads me to find rest for my soul on earth and secures a heavenly home where my soul will no longer grow weary, be disheartened, or led astray by the enemy who plots deadly detours in the path laid out for the believer. By Your grace I move forward step by step in Jesus’ name I walk in obedience to You”. Amen.

 


Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon Wall Street 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
This long hike included a portion through “Wall Street” which is a slot canyon. Slot canyons are an interesting feature of the American Southwest. I don’t recall ever hearing that term applied to any geographical feature here in the east although it’s similar to a glen such as Watkin’s Glen in New York or Ricketts Glen here in Pennsylvania.

A slot canyon is defined as “a long, narrow, deep and tortuous channel or drainage way with sheer rock walls that are typically eroded into either sandstone or other sedimentary rock. A slot canyon has depth-to-width ratios that typically exceed 10:1 over most of its length and can approach 100:1.”

From the trail the view of the hoodoos is different than looking down on them. To the left is probably the most famous hoodoo, Thors Hammer.
Bryce Canyon from Sunset Point 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
A view from the top of the hike after we finished our steep climb. We looked down at those still climbing and said, “Wow, we made it!”
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Bryce Canyon from Inspiration Point 9/28/19 (Click to enlarge)
Bryce Canyon from Inspiration Point
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Bryce Canyon from Inspiration Point 9/28/19
On our trip we counted our blessings that we’re mobile, have good vision, and still have energy when needed that we often don’t feel on a day to day basis.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Step By Step”Video  Rich Mullins
 
“Trust And Obey”Video  “When we walk with the Lord”
 
 
Finally today:
 

Seyfert Orchard apples 10/8/19

Yesterday morning we stopped by the Seyfert Orchards farm stand in Lebanon County to purchase apples. Apples are a great sign of Autumn. From strawberries and cherries in the spring to apples and pumpkins in the autumn, and all the wonderful fruit in between, we can mark the seasons by the availability of particular fruit during certain months of each year.
Devotional

“A Consideration Of Invisible Power”

Horseshoe Bend 9/27/19 (Click to enlarge)

Horseshoe Bend
I read it’s best to take Horseshoe Bend photos in late morning to early afternoon. We visited in the early morning. Looking at the Bend from the east the canyon wall shades the Colorado River below!
(Click on photo to enlarge)
“A Consideration Of Invisible Power”
Message summary: A consideration of invisible power of God.  
 
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9).

 
Hoover Dam power lines 9/24/19During our western trip we took a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam. Several days earlier I had wanted to take a tour of the more famous Hoover Dam but the lines were too long so we passed on it. Turns out the Glen Canyon tour was a better value at $4.00 each (senior rate!).

The tour takes you out to the top of the dam where you can look over the side if you want, either out over Lake Powell or the back side down to the power house. We then took a huge elevator down some 700 feet through the dam and then through a tunnel to the powerhouse with the generators. It was a well-spent 45 minutes with a very informative young guide who said it took a total of ten years to build the dam.

The dam can generate up to 1320 megawatts of power every hour of every day, enough to support 5 million homes, businesses and industries in seven states. Power from the nine humongous generators in the powerhouse is transmitted up to the surface of the canyon by just nine electric lines. I don’t know how thick these lines are but they carry a massive amount of power which you can’t see. (The photo to the left show the power lines from Hoover Dam).

About twenty-five years ago I was at a huge CBD warehouse book sale in Peabody Massachusetts (north of Boston). Many of you have heard of CBD (Christian Book Distributors) and perhaps ordered from them. (Now CBD also stands for something else). When we lived in New England several times a year they had a warehouse sale and people came from all over to attend for the bargains.

At one sale I saw a man sitting on the floor surrounded by a big pile of books. I started conversing with him and asked what he did for a living. I have always been interested in what people do which fits in well as a corporate chaplain!

He informed me he was an electrical engineer. I told him how through my years of ministry I have met many electrical engineers who are Christians. He asked me if I knew why but I had no idea.

This is his simple answer that I remember like it was yesterday: In his field of study there’s a focus on a power that is present but can’t be physically seen. Thus faith in an invisible God and His undeniable power is not so difficult for an electrical engineer to grasp!

The Apostle Paul speaks of God’s “eternal power” as one of God’s “invisible qualities”.  Paul uses a very interesting Greek word for “eternal” in this passage. The word aidios means “everduring” (forward and backward). This power is constant; there’s been no diminishment whatsoever from eternity past and there will be no diminishment in eternity future.

This is a reference to God’s everlasting power and divinity; and Paul’s argument is that invisible things may be “seen” by the mind. The things that are made, namely, all created objects, are the things which enable the mind to comprehend what no natural eye can see, that is, the power and divinity of God.

Notice the paradox in this verse: invisible qualities which are clearly seen! This has been true since the creation of the universe. The eternal power and divine nature of the Creator have been seen since that time (from Creation in our perspective but actually eternity past) and are now understood by the things that have been made, namely, the material creation. Man, reasoning upon the basis of the law of cause and effect, which law requires an adequate cause for every effect, is forced to the conclusion that such a tremendous effect as the universe, demands a Being of eternal power and of divine attributes. (Coffman)

But of course many do not accept this and the Scripture frankly teaches, “so that men are without excuse”.

According to the daily text and certainly in our observation God’s invisible qualities are “clearly seen, being understood from what has been made”. We pray that the Lord will open every reader’s heart and eyes to clearly see the glory of God; to believe, serve, and glorify Him today.

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, everything in all Your creation cries out concerning Your invisible qualities—Your eternal power and divine nature. We are blessed beyond measure by Your handiwork, and Your invisible power that sustains and empowers us to walk in victory day after day. Your power is constant and there is no diminishment over time. On Your appointed day when we enter the portals of heaven, we will see so much more of Your creative power that is hidden from view on this side of eternity. Keep us faithful and respectful of Your almighty power that reigns in heaven and on earth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 


Horseshoe Bend/Glen Canyon Dam photos

Horseshoe Bend walk 9/27/19
The visit to view Horseshoe Bend required a long, very hot walk over sand. This was the first of our long trail walk days during our trip. We’ll share about more during the next several days culminating in our final full day when we walked over 30,000 steps.
 
Horseshoe Bend couple 9/27/19
The Horseshoe Bend makes a nice spot for a photo, though the sun is so intense it’s hard to pull off the sunglasses. Looks like Brooksyne did just for this photo snap!

Horseshoe Bend rock 9/27/19
Brooksyne wanted to climb this track for a photo but another group had the same idea and lingered there for a long time, so she settled for the next level down!

Glen Canyon Dam from below 9/27/19
A view of Glen Canyon Dam from below during our tour. The back side of the dam is to the left and the powerhouse to the right. The green area is actually grass that is mowed which covers the huge pipes known as penstocks that carry water to the turbines below the powerhouse.

Glen Canyon Dam old turbine 9/27/19
During our Glen Canyon Dam tour Brooksyne stood beside one of the original turbines which gives you a sense of the immense size of the original turbines.

Glen Canyon Dam powerhouse 9/27/19
Inside the powerhouse at Glen Canyon Dam
The actual turbines were below this level and were not able to seen on this tour. These yellow units sit above them. I’m told the turbines on the Hoover Dam tour are visible.
 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”Video  Smucker Family
 
“I Sing The Mighty Power Of God” Video  The Ball Brothers
 
Finally today:
 

Joe Cullen 10/7/19

We attended an afternoon conference yesterday near Carlisle and ran into the Cullen family. Joey Cullen grew up in the church we served in New England in the nineties. He and his wife Lori lead a ministry in Philadelphia known as the Master’s Commission which disciples and prepares men and women for ministry. Lori is the daughter of Phil and Carol Menditto, friends from Bible College. They now have two children.

Master's Commission grad from Kenya 10/7/19
A graduate of the Master’s Commission from Kenya. We forgot this young man’s name but sure enjoyed meeting him and seeing his zeal for the Lord.
Devotional

“The Glory Of The Unseen Eternal”

Biking at the Grand Canyon 9/26/19 (Click to enlarge)

While at the Grand Canyon National Park, which is celebrating its 100th year, we rented bikes to ride around the rim. They have some excellent bike trails including portions that have far fewer visitors.
“The Glory Of The Unseen Eternal”
Message summary: We consider the grandeur of famous sights like the Grand Canyon, but all that we see with the visible eye is temporary. Let us fix our eyes on the unseen, which includes an eternal glory that far outweighs the visible trials on this side.
 
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


On our western trip Brooksyne saw the Grand Canyon for the first time in her life. (I had first seen it a few years ago during a trip for a chaplaincy conference in Phoenix). Of course she has viewed photos and knew it was immense, but actually seeing it is quite different. N
o photo really begins to capture the immensity, majesty and grandeur of actually being there. In fact you only see a small part of the canyon from any viewpoint.

That’s similar to our comprehension of heaven. We may consider the very best or very biggest in this world and realize heaven is a lot bigger and better than that. But even that’s woefully inadequate. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

In the daily text Paul calls us to focus on the unseen. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” Fixing our eyes in this manner requires concentration and focus. It means to “fix one’s gaze upon, to concentrate one’s attention on.” Physically our eyes observe what is seen but Paul is referring to our spiritual eyes here, a focus on the unseen, eternal Kingdom that awaits all who follow Christ.

“For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What we now see with our physical sight is extremely limited and temporary. Only God who created and oversees the entire universe is stable and unchanging. The Greek word used here for “temporary” (proskairos) indicates the contrast between the temporal, which is also indefinite and the eternal, which is definite.

Today we urge you to focus your heart on the One of whom we sing, “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be”. Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. In the midst of any challenges you face on this day view them not just with a temporal viewpoint but from an eternal perspective.

We are especially aware of readers who are going through difficult times as you read this. Just last night we received word that a longtime friend of ours went home to be with the Lord after a long hard struggle. Thinking he was making improvement the notification surprised us and the grief of such a loss filled our minds all through the night, most especially for his now widowed wife, children, and grandchildren.

The immediate preceding verse declares, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). “For our light and momentary troubles.” To make any sense from this phrase we must have an eternal perspective. During a season of trial it may not seem light or momentary but God’s Word can bring assurance and confident faith to the believer.

We were blessed to see the grandeur of famous sights like the Grand Canyon. But we do well to remember all that we see with the visible eye is temporary, and that which God is building and designing in heaven will last for eternity. It will make the grandeur of this world pale in comparison. Let us fix our eyes on the unseen, which includes an eternal glory that far outweighs the visible trials on this side.

When we fully embrace this perspective it will make our troubles seem very light and momentary. But if we fail to do so the trials of life will rob us of the wellspring of joy that Jesus gives to each believer to help us endure, overcome, and triumph on our foes. To keep the eternal perspective we must remember to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
In the maze of life’s events where we’re often a passenger on the rollercoaster of life’s ups and downs, may we never lose sight of You, Jesus. You are the unseen but ever-present Shepherd who protects, guides and tenderly comforts us in all our trouble. Thank You, Lord, that when change is constantly about us, You remain steadfast, faithful, and dependable. You are the Anchor that keeps us grounded in the unseen but eternal truths we build our lives upon. Keep us faithful and help us to fix our eyes on the unseen as we await that glad day when our faith will be rewarded with the visible, eternal blessings You have stored up for those who believe. Amen.



Grand Canyon photos
 
Brooksyne's first view of the Grand Canyon 9/26/19
Brooksyne’s first Grand Canyon view
 
Without a doubt I was in awe of the beauty, splendor, and immensity of the Grand Canyon up to 18 miles wide in some areas. The multi-hued rock formations captured my attention and I could hardly pull myself away from any spot we viewed. In my youth I loved to climb big rocks and look down to the earth below, so each viewing brought back that sensation and desire once again. Of course, I knew that was ridiculous to even go there in my mind, as I looked out at the impossibility of exploring these rock formations – all I could see was extraordinary beauty and vast danger.
 
But then, it was as though the Spirit of God began to remind me of the difference of that which we experience and view on earth to that which He has for us in heaven. I considered that He has an even more immense and spectacular grand canyon in heaven, many rock formations formed from jasper, sapphire, turquoise, diamonds and other beautiful jewels. But the thoughts that especially brought a joy to my heart is that I won’t just be viewing it from afar due to the danger of climbing or the exhaustion from walking to these sights. There will be no death in heaven, no danger of falling will be present, no breaking of limbs, no knee pain for aging joints, no warning signs of “Danger Ahead” and perhaps we will even fly to the very spot we want to look at up close, to feel its texture and view its beauty.
 
These thoughts remain with me today as I consider what an awe inspiring time I had visiting the Grand Canyon, and I hope I’ll never forget the conversation I had with God about what He has in store for us when we reach our final destiny in heaven.
 
Grand Canyon mules 9/26/19
The mules used for the famed trail walk down into the canyon. Only one person has ever died while riding a mule up or down the canyon, a mule train employee crushed by one of the animals in a fall.
 
Grand Canyon Rainbow 9/26/19
While on our bike ride, following a light rainfall, we saw this faint rainbow over the canyon. In fact, we saw two but this one we captured on camera.
 
Grand Canyon 9/26/19 (Click to enlarge)
One of the disquieting features for me concerning our visit was the people standing right on the edge. I don’t have a fear of heights as I can be in a tall building, on a mountain or in an airplane. But I have a very rational fear of edges, especially when people are standing at the edge of a deep canyon!



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Exalted Over All”  Video Calvary Church choir and orchestra from yesterday’s service. What a powerful reminder!
 
One name is higher,
One name is stronger.
Than any grave, than any throne,
Christ exalted over all.
The only Saviour, Jesus Messiah.
To You alone our praise belongs,
Christ exalted over all.
 
How Big Is God?” Video Big John Hall (He’s been around a long time since he was popular while we were in Bible College visiting our chapel services.)

“How Great Thou Art”  Video

“Good, Good Father”  Video  Casting Crowns

 
Finally today:
 

Grover Devault 10/6/19

Early yesterday morning as Brooksyne was rehearsing with the choir I visited with Grover Devault, a 90 year old retired Army chaplain. Grover had a vital role as a State Police chaplain during the very tragic Amish schoolhouse shooting in Nickel Mines. He makes an annual visit to the affected families and had just done so this past week on the 13th anniversary of that horrible event. Here’s a report that Grover made following the shooting. (PDF) What an example of a faithful minister of the Gospel!