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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fireworks at Celebration City Branson
Fireworks at Celebration City Branson

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"Heavenly Climatization"

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3).

While on vacation we attended a church service in Springfield, MO with our friends David and Sandy Simpson.  I heard a phrase in the pastor's closing prayer that especially caught my attention. He prayed on behalf of himself and the congregation that God would "climatize us to the atmosphere of heaven."  I thought that was an interesting word to use in describing a spiritual concept.

To climatize means to acclimate or become acclimated. It means to adjust to a particular setting. It is something that anyone who has ever moved to a different climate has experienced to some degree but an extreme example would be for a person to move from the Brazilian rainforest to Fairbanks, Alaska in the winter!

We are experiencing it in a minor way as it's much hotter here in Branson than Lancaster County.  Yesterday it was nearly 100 degrees. As a child I recall visiting my grandparents here in southern Missouri in day after day of 100 degree+ weather. But I did get used to it and it sure didn't stop me from playing outdoors, particularly if I could find a farm pond!

One of the great ongoing issues we all deal with in one way or another in our walk with Christ is keeping a heavenly perspective in the midst of all of the stuff of life. Essentially we are by nature very acclimated to the "climate" of this physical life, or as the text states, "on earthly things."

But today's Scripture portion is a strong call to heavenly climatization. Spiritually we who have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior have been "raised with Christ." This speaks of our present position. Paul had written in the previous chapter that we "have been given fullness in Christ" (2:10).

Since we have been raised with Christ we are to set our hearts and minds on things above. This is an act of the will and must be an ongoing attitude in the life of the believer. The experiences of yesterday, however wonderful they were, need to be regularly refreshed with the present working of the Holy Spirit in our lives today.

We must seek to live with a heavenly perspective day in and day out. Many years ago I committed the daily Scripture portion to memory.  Today I want to keep this heavenly perspective and do so by personalizing the verse, "Since, then, I have been raised with Christ, I set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  I set my mind on things above, not on earthly things.  For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Your Son where I find redemption, the forgiveness for my sins.  It is in Your holy kingdom that my heart is transformed from an earthly nature to that of a heavenly nature.  As I clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience my affections for the temporary pleasures of this world diminish in light of the eternal joys to come.  Remind me of this when I am tempted to give up that which is lasting for that which is but momentary. Amen.

Yesterday we visited Celebration City, a theme park here in Branson and had a great time.

Rocking chair at Celebration City Branson
Like folks who enjoy riding on a bicycle built for two we enjoyed sitting in a rocking chair built for three!  It's the first time we ever had to "climb" up to get on a chair seat since we were toddlers.

Ester with "Barney" at Celebration City Branson
Ester met "Barney Fife"

Pesonal note: Today we will return to Springfield and spend the evening with longtime friends David and Sandy Simpson (Dave has been a friend since first grade). Tomorrow we will return to Kansas City via Baltimore and home to Pennsylvania late tomorrow night.  We will not prepare a message tomorrow but expect to resume sharing these messages on Thursday.

I want to thank several who have helped me on this trip:

Don and Mary Weber
My Uncle Don and Aunt Mary picked us up at the KC airport last week and after spending the evening with them Aunt Mary drove us down to meet a friend in Warrensburg MO.  Uncle Don is my Dad's only living brother and was always such a blessing to my Dad.  They are very active in retirement serving faithfully in their church. We met their pastor who specifically told us this!

John Wiseman
John Wiseman has been a friend through Daily Encouragement for many years!  He lived in Florida when he originally subscribed but about ten years ago he moved to Springfield.  He picked me up in Warrensburg last week and will take me to the KC airport tomorrow. John presently works for the blood bank and is a powerful witness for the Lord.  He has an interest in chaplaincy much like the work Brooksyne and I do.

Dave and Sandy Simpson
Dave and Sandy Simpson
We spent a couple of nights with them and Dave lent us a vehicle to use the entire time we have been in the Springfield/Branson area. Sandy has had Multiple Sclerosis for twelve years now but maintains a vibrant faith and positive outlook. Last year I also visited them and wrote a message based on their testimony.  David is a businessman in the Springfield area.

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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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