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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Planter holder
I saw this interesting planter holder in rural Berks County PA.
Can you tell what it is?
(Click here to enlarge photo)

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"Ascension Day"

After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:9-11).

MaMa & PaPaWhat kind of experiences do you have that you can tell your grandchildren?  My Grandpa, George Washington Steincross, told of traveling out west as a young man by hitching rides on trains.  I even recall a story of him climbing Pike's Peak alone one night.  He was a colorful man who was married to my Grandma for 65 years (I believe that's their anniversary photo to the left.)  While in his eighties he would still ride a bike. Now his aging grandchildren get together and reminisce and have some interesting stories to pass on to their grandchildren.

the stories Peter and the other disciples passed on to their grandchildren.  Can you just imagine sitting on Peter's lap as a child and having him tell you about the time Christ was taken up before his very eyes?  Based upon Peter's vibrant personality in the Gospels I am sure he was a very interesting and expressive grandpa!*

Today is Ascension Day. In most of Christendom this day doesn't have nearly the emphasis as other notable events in our Lord's earthly life such as His birth, death, and resurrection or Pentecost, which followed His Ascension by 10 days. I wonder how many readers even recalled that this was Ascension Day prior to reading today's message?

Today's Scripture portion gives us the most complete record of the Ascension found in the Bible.  Jesus had just reinforced the Great Commission, the church's primary mission, and then "He was taken up before their very eyes."  This was important for the disciples to witness and is an essential part of the Biblical record. It reinforces that Jesus Christ is God and that He returned to His home in heaven. An ancient creedal statement of the early church is in 1 Timothy 3:16, "He was taken up in glory."

When Jesus was taken up the disciples gazed intently into the sky as He departed. Two men dressed in white (angels) suddenly appeared and gave a promise, "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."

That promise is reinforced and elaborated on throughout the New Testament. Paul calls it the "blessed hope."  What a day that will be!  Until then let us faithfully serve the Lord, who has ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, though we don't know the day nor the hour, You already have the blessed event of Christ's return on Your heavenly calendar.  Even as the Son of Man ascended into heaven He will come again, but this time we have the blessed hope of ascending with Him in the air and setting up eternal housekeeping with those of like precious faith.  Thank You for our parents and their parents who have repeated this glorious life-transforming message to us over the years to prepare our hearts for this major event.  May it be the burning message of our hearts as we anticipate the glorious moment when we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye.  Amen.  

* Of course the Bible does not specify that Peter or any of the disciples were grandpas but it is a reasonable conjecture. I have a question for readers. Where in the Bible to we find references to a relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild?  Respond (I will answer tomorrow based upon my recollection.)

Steincross cousins in Harwood (April 2006)
Some of MaMa and PaPa's "grandkids"
(Click here to enlarge photo)
(There are 16 total and we all still stay connected and gather annually for a reunion.  This poto was taken in the little church in Harwood, Missouri my grandma went to)

Brooksyne's recollection

As a child my grandfather talked to me about heaven more frequently than any other subject.  He was in his 70's and greatly anticipated the day when he would join with the hosts of heaven in praising God.  It was troublesome to me as a child because I wanted to cling to my loving grandfather here on earth.  But when his time of departure eventually came I was about 23 years old.  The flashbacks of him sitting me on his lap and telling me how excited he was about going to heaven flooded my memories.  As much as I loved him it sure made saying good-bye a whole lot easier.  I'm sure looking forward to meeting him on the other side.

Brooksyne with her Grandpa (in the mid-seventies)This is a photo of my Grandpa, Elbert Sherrell and me (when I was a junior in college) sitting on the banks of Horsehead Lake in Arkansas.  As a child we often visited this site since it was about four miles down the back of the mountain from where Grandpa farmed.  It was an extremely rugged trail but Grandpa never got tired of leading us down this trail. The bigger challenge was climbing back up!

Today's suggested music:  "I can only imagine"
Listen to vocal version from the Galloway House
Listen to audio version  Incredible saxophone from this site.

79422: HeavenHeaven  By Randy Alcorn / Tyndale House
As the years pass and we watch more and more of our family, friends and mentors pass away, it is only natural to ask questions about heaven. However, our understanding of heaven is often limited to a few half-forgotten Sunday school lessons and the insubstantial images provided by popular movies and T.V. Fortunately, in Heaven Randy Alcorn provides us with a thoroughly researched and biblically definitive description of heaven. As Alcorn addresses our most serious questions about heaven, including the nature of judgment, and answers a few of our less serious questions as well, including the accessibility of cafe mochas the sweet by and by, we will develop a deeper understanding of our eternal destination and will find the courage to strive for heaven while were living on earth. Click here for more information or to order online.

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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. Used by permission; 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 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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