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Friday, August 3, 2007

Stained glass
Stained glass in a Higginsville Missouri church

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"Jesus Will Still Be There!"

"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness'" (Jeremiah 31:3). "God has said, never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:5,8).

We're enjoying our travels here in the Midwest on our summer vacation.  We flew out of Baltimore on Tuesday morning and have been traveling throughout Missouri for the past several days and now are gathered with the Steincross family (my mother's side) at a resort in Branson, MO.  There are about 100 family members who will gather throughout the weekend and we're looking forward to getting caught up on happenings over the past year.

The first night we stayed in Higginsville with my dad's youngest brother, Uncle Don and his wife, Mary, who live right in town next door to a large brick church which is in the process of being remodeled. Workers were carrying out old torn out carpeting throughout the day as well as other waste material that needed disposing of. 

As Brooksyne and I were observing the busy workers at the church and people coming and going at the gas station/convenience store just up the road we decided to take a walk through the small town of Higginsville to get a feel of the town.

Right away we saw a Farmer's Market and shopped for some fresh fruit to take back to our hosts. A church youth group had a small table set up with lemonade and I engaged in a conversation with one of the volunteers who happened to be a member of the church that is being remodeled.  She was excited about the improvements to her church building but shared that her granddaughter was a little upset about all the apparent destruction of the building she'd come to love.

Her Grandma told her, "Sweetheart, they're tearing out old carpeting that is worn out. The walls need new paper and the pads on the pews will be brand new when all the work is done.  It will be just like a new church."  The little girl still seemed a bit uncomfortable with all the changes, but after pausing a moment she excitedly said, "But Jesus will still be there!"  Well, in fact the little girl was not making a theological statement but referring to the beautiful stained glass window at the front of the sanctuary that is a picture of Jesus.

In reality it isn't the décor or size of the building nor is it the location or newness of a church building that determines whether Jesus is present. Our Lord said, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."  That is our great source of steadfast hope.

But that sure got me to thinking about a spiritual truth as we deal with all the changes in life.  Settle deep in your spirit that our one and only certain source of hope is Jesus Christ. He alone is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. This is expressed so well in the great hymn "The Solid Rock." The writer begins this classic hymn with these reassuring words, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." 

I selected verses today that express three unchangeable truths concerning God.
•    He loves us with an everlasting love. 
•    He will never leave us.
•    He is always the same.

As we ground our faith in these truths we can, regardless of our temporal condition, experience the hope, peace and assurance that is at the very core of living an abundant life.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, my source of strength and victory is a result of knowing Your love and trusting You to care for me.  You promise never to abandon me but instead You carefully guide me through the changes that take place. Help me not to resist Your plan but rest in Your promise that You will never leave me or forsake me.  You are the same yesterday, today and forever.  Amen.

Following are the words to the song mentioned in today's message.
Here is an online audio version.

Things change, plans fail
You look for love on a grander scale
Storms rise, hopes fade
And you place your bets on another day
When the going gets tough, when the ride's too rough
When you're just not sure enough...

Jesus will still be there
His love will never change
Sure as a steady rain
Jesus will still be there
When no one else is true
He'll still be loving you
When it looks like you've lost it all
And you haven't got a prayer
Jesus will still be there

Time flies, hearts turn
A little bit wiser from lessons learned
But sometimes weakness wins
And you lose your foothold once again
When the going gets tough, when the ride's too rough
When you're just not sure enough...

When it looks like you've lost it all
And you haven't got a prayer
Jesus will still be there.

"Jesus Will Still Be There" Sterling, Robert / Mandeville, John

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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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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"