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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Flowers at Neizmik's farm
Flower arrangement at the Neizmik farm in northern Pennsylvania.

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"Knowing The Way"

"You know the way to the place where I am going" (John 14:4).

Tom and Marsha Neizmik are long-time friends from the church we pastored in northern Pennsylvania.  God has done a remarkable work in their lives and early this month their youngest daughter Rachel was married. I had the privilege of conducting Rachel's infant dedication.

Several years ago they came down to visit us when we lived in an old farmhouse we had rented when we first moved back to Pennsylvania from New England.  I had sent them directions and they drove down about 3-1/2 hours.  Since we had a prior commitment I told them we might not be at the house upon their arrival but we'd return shortly.

They actually arrived sooner than they expected, found what they assumed to be our house, sat on the porch and made themselves right at home, as we would expect them to do.  Looking for signs to make sure they were at the right location they were reassured when they saw a decorative plaque in the kitchen that said "Esther".

Since they were leading in worship the next morning Tom got out his guitar and they practiced their music. They smiled and waved at the folks who drove by and their daughter walked around taking several pictures of the "Weber's" country home.

We got home a bit later than we'd planned and were surprised that they weren't there.  I figured they would call and took a short nap on the couch.  Over an hour later Brooksyne excitedly hollered, "They're here!"

It turns out that my directions were a bit misleading and they had been at the wrong house for nearly 3 hours!  It just happens that a young man stopped by where they were sitting who had run out of gas. He who knew of a "preacher" who had recently moved down from Massachusetts and pointed them around the corner to our house. With their new directions Tom and Marsha and their daughter finally found our house. All along they were at our neighbor Esther's house and we had actually driven right by them without seeing them as we returned home!

Knowing where we are going is very important and in most cases being close is just not acceptable.  Tom and Marsha had driven about 200 miles to visit with us.  They would hardly have considered it a worthwhile trip knowing that they were "just" 100 yards from us but were unable to see us face to face and visit.

The daily text records an incident that took place shortly before Christ went to the Cross.  He offers His disciples one of the great promises of the Bible. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:1-3).  After three years of being with His disciples and teaching them Jesus was confident that they knew where He was going and forthrightly says, "You know the way to the place where I am going" (v. 4).

But Thomas asked a question indicating a need for further clarification and direction. I believe he spoke for more than himself and I appreciate his candid honesty.  "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"  (John 14:5).  God is ever a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him and Thomas was a diligent seeker.  Christ did not rebuke him or the other disciples, but graciously proclaims one of the most familiar and memorized Bible truths; "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

We've all gotten lost at some point in our lives haven't we?  I suppose many of you have a good story about getting lost that you could tell. But God's directions in regard to our ultimate, desired destination are absolutely complete and trustworthy.  I believe the key words are, "I am".  With Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and Guide we are assured of reaching our heavenly home.  Are you trusting Christ today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, to know You is to know the way to eternal life.  Help us to hold fast to the directions we receive through Your Word.  Thank You for sending Jesus who bridged the gap that stood between heaven and earth.  And thank You that, because of Your mercy, we have entrance into heaven as we walk over the bridge of Your mercy and forgiveness.  Amen.

After the resurrection Thomas is the one who needed additional clarification and evidence. John 20:24-29
I've always thought "doubting Thomas" is an unfair designation.

Tom and Marsha NeizmikHere's a photo I found of Tom and Marsha, along with me, taken by Brooksyne at the Creation Christian music festival in the mountains of central Pennsylvania in the early 80's. Somewhere along the way the call-out was placed on the photo! We sure enjoyed going to the Creation Festival for many years and they still have it (in fact it's this weekend) although we no longer find camping out with tens of thousands of other people and using pleasurable!

Tom and Marsha serve the Lord together and also write and sing music in their local church. Here's a song they wrote and sing together based on the life of Stephen. (mp3)  It has a great theme concerning leaving bitterness at the altar.

As I prepared today's message I also considered this song: "Come Just As You Are" (mp3)

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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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