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Friday, June 24, 2016

Cliffwalk in Newport, Rhode Island
Cliffwalk in Newport Rhode Island
(Click on photo to enlarge)
This is a 3.5 mile walk alongside the ocean with the back view of Newport's famous gilded mansions on the other side.  (An earthly inspiration of what we might view in heaven minus the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance expense.)

"In It, But Not Of It"
(This World Is Not My Home)

Message Summary: Let us rejoice, for this is the day that the Lord has made and let us live our lives with a powerful "I am not of the world" outlook, seeking to honor the Lord in all we say and do!

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"And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world" (John 17:11-16).

Newport Mansion
This will be our final message featuring our New England trip last week (at least consciously). Last Friday we drove down Bellevue Avenue in Newport Rhode Island, which is famous for the grand mansions or "summer cottages" as they were then known. It is still a very affluent area with new mansions still being built. Over 100 years ago Newport was a famous summer destination for the rich and famous from New York City who spent several weeks there in the summer months.

Society Road in Connecticut
They entertained one another, seeking to impress each other with their vast wealth. While on this earth those who owned and occupied these ornate mansions were part of Newport "Society", the company of the rich and influential. In 1956 "High Society" was a movie featuring Grace Kelly that was filmed on this affluent island. (The "Society Rd" sign to the right was taken along I-95 in Connecticut).

Of course those who occupied these mansions are all now gone. That brief period of incredible wealth is just a mist compared to the unending span of eternity.  Whether one lived as a prince or pauper each met his or her fate with death. Regardless of how much or how little we have of this world's wealth, "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

I once saw a T-shirt with bold letters in the front proclaiming, "IN IT" and on the back, "NOT OF IT".  In small print it said in parenthesis, "somewhere in John". I commented to the young man wearing it that it was an interesting expression. He told me the idea is that the curious reader will look through the Gospel of John to find what it means. As you can see from our daily verse it's John 17:16.

Although I personally question the evangelistic value of this and many of the other popular "witness" items on the market, I nevertheless appreciate the young man taking a stand and the expression sure has some thought-provoking value for other Christians. It did for me!


We indeed need to keep the truth of the phrase ever before us. In John 17 Jesus prays what many have called His "High Priestly Prayer." This was just before His trial and His atoning death on the cross. He knew full well that He was not of the world. He prayed to His Father concerning His disciples and declared, "they are not of the world."

We hardly need to be reminded that we are in the world. It daily barrages our senses in so many ways as we live in the physical, material world. But we do need to regularly proclaim, "I am not of the world."  We need to remember that "the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17).  The Bible says we are "aliens and strangers in the world" (1 Peter 2:11) and that "our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20).

The world is opposed to God and His ways. You probably won't have to look around very far to see this. Swearing, mocking God, evil images, destructive teachings and sinful compromises abound. If you don't see them I would kindly ask if you are using spiritual discernment. Many of you are now also confronted with diversity training programs and the like which is intended to "correct" all those traditional values you were taught. In many of these programs good is called evil and evil is called good (see Isaiah 5:20).


Today, let us rejoice, for this is the day that the Lord has made and let us live our lives with a powerful "I am not of the world" outlook, seeking to honor the Lord in all we say and do!


Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we know that pursuing friendship with the world puts us at enmity with You. The world which we inhabit is perishable and sin-based, while the heaven we pursue is imperishable and free of sin. Help us, in the daily choices we make, to keep pressing on the upward way, gaining new heights in our Christian walk, as we stretch toward the goal of the prize of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.




Some scenes from Newport, Rhode Island

Brooksyne's Note: When we pastored in Taunton, MA we lived only one hour from Newport. One year I joined the Preservation Society which made it possible for me to tour all the available mansions during that year. My mother, who had the opportunity to visit Newport, before her death in 2001 was always intrigued with mansions so I suppose this heightened my interest in seeing these places of amazing architecture and grandeur. The Cliffwalk is an inspiring place to walk and view the vast, mighty ocean as well as the impressive mansions and their beautiful grounds.

Cliffwalk in Newport, Rhode Island
Another view of the Cliffwalk in Newport

Ocean Drive in Newport, Rhode Island
Ocean Drive in Newport extends from Bellevue Avenue.

Kites in Newport, Rhode Island
A regular sighting is the flying kites along Ocean Drive.

Newport RI Sunset
Another beautiful sunset over Newport
(Click on photo for larger size.)



Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"This World Is Not My Home"  Video  Charity Youth Bible School  (Choir style)

"This World Is Not My Home"  Video  Robert Earl Keen (Bluegrass style)

Finally today:
Prospect Diner shirt 6/24/16In the course of our travel between two companies we serve as chaplains we often pass the Prospect Diner near Columbia, PA and have been curious about a special breakfast offer for two eggs, hash browns and toast for .99 (this spring) so we checked it out this morning. It was a bit more than that since spring is over but it was a real good deal!

It's an old-fashioned diner (breakfast only) with absolutely no pretense. It certainly wouldn't be the kind of place frequented by the High Society types. But it was very friendly with talkative waitresses who manage to chat with each other and customers during the meal. They greet the locals by name as they walk in. It was sort of like stepping back to what we would imagine it would be like in the fifties. (Photo to the left "This ain't no stinkin' country club!" is viewed on the back of the waitress T-shirts which sounds like an expression more from the south than here in Lancaster County.)

Prospect Diner
Note: This photo was not taken this morning but this is how the place looks!



Stephen & Brooksyne Weber 4/17/16 (Click to enlarge)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

(Click on photo to enlarge)

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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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