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Monday, May 21, 2007

Cloud scene over Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania
I took this photo on Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania.

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"Our Heavenly Reservation"

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Yesterday afternoon I was visiting with the general manager of one of the hotels we serve as chaplains.  She told me that the hotel had a very good weekend due to a local college graduation. Since it's the nearest hotel to the college, graduation weekend is always a good time for this hotel's business. In fact she said people were already trying to book rooms for next year even though their reservation system would not accept reservations that far out.

Well, as regular readers can imagine that got me thinking!  What about our heavenly reservation?

The powerful song "I Can Only Imagine" is a stirring reminder of what awaits us on the other side. I recall a moving memorial service when I heard the song in the context of honoring deceased ministers.  There was a crescendo of praise in the congregation toward God as we reflected on what is ahead for all who are faithful in the Lord.

If you haven't already done so, now is the time to take care of your most important reservation. God's reservation system is always available!  In the course of our ministry Brooksyne and I regularly deal with those whose loved ones have died. We've known many who have had untimely deaths (although I am not sure we ever consider death "timely" in our earthly frame of mind).  We also regularly receive mail from readers sharing of their heartaches and often requesting prayer. I want this encouragement to minister to the hearts of those who have faced death's throbbing pain that just won't go away.

Have you considered heaven much lately? Brooksyne recalls a lot more emphasis on the subject growing up in the 60's and early 70's.  Sermons, hymns, and contemporary songs often repeated the theme of heaven or the rapture of the church. The focus of the contemporary church at least here in America seems to have changed somewhat (or perhaps a lot!). Oh sure, we still believe in heaven and certainly find great comfort in the truth when a loved one dies in Christ. But how much do we really contemplate heaven? Has the material prosperity and daily comforts so many of us experience clouded the longing and vision of our future home and inheritance?

Today I want to consider the phrase, "reserved in heaven for you." Our future inheritance is reserved in heaven, solid and secure. It is "imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away." It's where "moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:20). It's "an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1). It's where "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4).  Heaven is a place that surpasses human vision and defies terminology!

But finally, notice the last two words in the phrase, "for you." Praise God! Heaven is not just about some remarkable doctrine. It's not merely a colorful destination we can only dream about or try to imagine. It's not just a nice sentiment of comfort for those who attend funeral services.

Peter said to his original readers and through the sacred Scriptures to us that it's "for you."  Praise God for His eternal provision!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Lord, help us to keep this eternal perspective today! And please bring assurance, comfort and peace to any reader dealing with the sting of death. Thank You for making my reservation in heaven since it is only in this dwelling that enemies, disease, and aging cannot destroy.  Amen.

For many years we have appreciated a radio ministry called "Haven of Rest".  On a recent broadcast they featured a singer with a song I had never heard before called "Faithful God" that really blessed both of us. I was unable to find the song by itself as a separate audio link but here’s the link to the program that has it. (It's about 2/3 through the program.)

Here's the singer and the album that has the song.


Faithful God CDFaithful God CD  By Shannon Wexelberg / Discovery House
Get ready for your own private worship experience as you praise God along with Shannon! Includes "Hail to the King," "Change Me," "Here in the Shadow," "Quiet Places," "Pour Your Spirit Out," "Come Worship the Lord," "Highest Praise," the title track, and more.

The mystery photo I shared Friday was taken in Philadelphia PA. One alert reader shared this detail (which I was not aware of):
"Claes Oldenburg’s 45-foot-high, 10-ton sculpture stands in front of the Center Square Building at 15th and Market Streets, near City Hall in Philadelphia."

Personal Ministry Update

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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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