Friday, February 16, 2007
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“Our Final Appointment”
“Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him" (Genesis 35:29). "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
We watched the local news last night to get an update on our winter weather-related problems. The cameras zoomed in on I-78, only about 30 miles away from us, where trucks and cars were lined up for miles, many of the drivers sitting in their vehicles for 20 or more hours. That’s getting toward the mountains and the situation was not nearly as severe where we live. But it sure reminds us of the special perils truck drivers face since their occupation requires driving even in the midst of hazardous weather conditions.
This weekend I am speaking at a retreat for chaplains who work with the trucking industry. The ministry is Transport for Christ and their main footprint is the placement of mobile chapels and Christian literature at major truck stops here in America and several other countries. I look forward to sharing God’s Word with these chaplains, in part, due to my own work background.
I drove a truck for awhile when I was in college and later drove a school bus for seven years early in my pastoral ministry. Brooksyne’s dad, Brooklyn, was a lifelong trucker who hauled new cars on an Auto Convoy in Oklahoma and neighboring states. He passed away seven years ago tomorrow (Feb. 17).
Although raised in a Christian family, Brooklyn, along with his wife, Ruth, walked away from the Lord when Brooksyne was in high school. Some unsettling things happened in their home life as well as their church that contributed to bitter feelings about the things of the Lord. This was not a brief period but extended over 24 years. I still recall visiting Brooksyne's grandparents in the hills of Arkansas and hearing her grandpa's impassioned prayers for Brooklyn and his family. For many years after her grandparent's death Brooksyne continued to pray as the only believing member of her immediate family.
We saw these prayers answered about twelve years ago when something remarkable happened. While visiting her parents we took them to a dramatic presentation, “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames” at a church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. In response to the Gospel presentation Ruth and Brooklyn walked forward and made an earnest commitment to Christ and lived the last several years of their lives for Him, faithfully attending that very church. Their pastor, "Brother Bill", was a dedicated man of God and conducted the funeral for both of Brooksyne’s parents.
There is a final step of faith, a final appointment that we will all keep. It is not optional and we can't miss it. We will all, like Isaac, referred to in our first daily verse, “breathe our last and die.” * It sure doesn't take faith to know that we will all face death. We see it all around us and feel it much more deeply when a loved one dies.
Our faith is expressed in either a belief that there is an accounting to God and an afterlife or a belief that there is not. Both views require faith. I absolutely believe there is an afterlife and I live my life with that outlook.
The second daily verse ought to be memorized and hidden deep within our hearts. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Take courage, believer, as you prepare for this most certain appointment. Think of it as an eternal promotion so that you face life and death with unwavering devotion and absolute confidence. If you have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord I urge you to do so today!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time and has been revealed through Him who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Because the Gospel has been imparted to me and implemented in my life I can say with glorious confidence, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him for that day." Keep me true, Father God, keep me true. Amen.
Prayer inspired by 2 Timothy 1:9,12
* Of course there will be those who are alive at the coming of the Lord and will be gathered up to meet the dead in Christ.
Oops, yesterday I had the wrong audio link up for Amazing Grace. Here is the correct link. It is part of a medley that also includes "In the Sweet By and By." This music is from the website of the Willingdon Church in British Columbia, Canada, which places their entire services up on the web and also archives all their music.
Transport for Christ is the ministry I will be sharing with this weekend.
Today let me share a few more after-storm photos I took on this beautiful morning.
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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