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Monday, November 17, 2008

Photo of Autumn tree
Although most of the trees in our area have now dropped their leaves we passed this beautiful tree yesterday, still in full autumn vibrancy.  However the temps have really dropped and the winds have picked up so our trees will soon be wearing their barren winter coats.

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"An Eternal Glory"

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).

What kind of light and momentary troubles are you dealing with today? At first glance we may assume "light and momentary troubles" are merely the minor annoyances and time robbers of life such as getting stuck in a traffic jam, spilling a cappuccino on the carpet such as Brooksyne did yesterday in our van, or dealing with a leaky faucet as I am right now. 

But this is certainly not the case. Paul is writing of troubles that would rival or surpass our most difficult experiences in life. He had written a few verses previous to this; "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body" (2 Corinthians 4:8-11).

These are relatively "light and momentary troubles" in comparison to the ultimate glories of heaven and eternity.  We might argue that they sure don't seem light and momentary at the time we're experiencing them!  Some of these troubles are constant or recurring and weigh heavy on our hearts. Some of them are appearing in your mind's eye even as you read this.

Yet we need to embed this truth deep in our hearts, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."  I marvel as I consider the last part of the verse, "are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."  These troubles are fulfilling a purpose ordained by God, achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. The small three letter word, "a-l-l" encompasses the multiple "light and momentary troubles" we continually experience as trials on this side of eternity.

This "eternal glory" must be the ultimate guide by which we view all that happens to us personally or in the world about us. We must live for the "then", not just for the "now".  It's something I've learned theologically and know in my heart to be true but need to constantly remind myself.  As a believer in Christ I must remember that my times are in His hands.  With my eyes I see only the physical results, but in my spirit I must always contend for the future eternal reward.

The big picture is so powerfully expressed by the Apostle Paul in these two verses.  I've memorized it and even now, through eyes of faith, rejoice in its truth.  But it only pertains to people of faith in Jesus Christ.  People without faith are blind to the big picture. Understanding the eternal scope of life begins when we commit our lives to Christ.  Have you done that? 

Here's a prayer of faith that essentially begins the journey of seeing beyond this immediate life to receiving the promised eternal life through God's plan of salvation. If you have not done so I urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today.  And if you have done so already join me in reaffirming your commitment to Christ today.

"Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner.  I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me.  I place my faith in You and what You have done for me.  I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You.  Thank You for hearing my prayer."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, there is much that we can learn from our temporal problems here on earth that better prepares us for eternity.  As we work through these troubles enable us to have the mind of Christ so that attitudes reflecting the fruit of the Spirit become a spontaneous response to the difficulties that challenge us daily.  Just as light, soil, air and moisture are requirements for growth in vegetation so must faith, prayer, self-denial and persistence in obeying God's Holy Word be requirements for growth in our Christian walk.  Help us not to become so caught up in viewing our daily challenges from an earthly perspective that we don't look for the deeper, spiritual, and eternal meaning that You have to teach us in all things.  We stand in the strength of the Lord Jesus and pray in His name.  Amen.

Photo of Georgia Mae
Yesterday was the third anniversary of my mom's passing to her eternal home in glory where she is now experiencing the eternal glory that far outweighs the trials she experienced on this side. As a means of honoring her I prepared a tribute using photos from her life with a background song, "If You Could See Me Now". Although I would expect this to be most meaningful to her family and friends who knew her I felt other daily encouragement readers may find it a blessing, as well as a stimulus for honoring their own parents.  Here's some more information about my Mom and an assortment of written tributes from three years ago sent in by family, friends and many daily encouragement readers from all over the world.

Photo of HCOB friends
I shared a message of encouragement yesterday in a very friendly church in East Petersburg.  We enjoyed the many who warmly greeted us including Lois (left).  Though she didn't know me and I stood 18"  taller than her, she walked up very confidently, shook my hand firmly, introduced herself and warmly welcomed me to her church. Later I saw her and a friend at a restaurant and they agreed to have their photo taken.  It sure would have been neat if Jabar from Friday's photo had been there so we could have seen the striking contrasts of the three adult heights! We would also have four age contrasts - young, middle age, senior, and the bonus years represented! The lady on the right is a very spry 95 years of age!

Photo of rural one room school house coverted to home
On the way home we passed this old one room schoolhouse that has been converted to a private residence. Notice the outhouse to the left.  After we moved to Lancaster County we had actually considered buying a similar type schoolhouse but determined the renovations needed would would be too expensive. 

Photo of white goats in leaf-filled field
We passed a field with beautiful white goats and managed to snap a photo through the fence without getting out of the van. However at this point Brooksyne spilled the just purchased cappuccino we were sharing when I pulled the van away from this country setting quicker than she expected!  All was not in vain - the van got a pretty good clean up when we got home, and I didn't have to do it!

Today's suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play)

"A Place Called Grace" Video Yesterday we heard a gifted soloist accompanying herself at the piano while singing this beautiful song and we were so blessed.

"There Is None Like You"  Video   "I could search for all eternity long and find there is none like You."

"Trading My Sorrows"  Video  We use this song because it quotes part of the Scripture text used in the message. This song has an interesting portion where we have wondered if the author just couldn't come up with words when it goes into "lalalala".  This is especially interesting when the song is sung in a church with a mixed-age congregation, seeing older people or my age for that matter singing lalalalala!

Eternity: Reclaiming a Passion for What EnduresEternity: Reclaiming a Passion for What Endures
By Joseph M. Stowell / Discovery House Publishers
If you've ever wondered, "Isn't there more to life than this?" or felt the despair that perhaps you've "missed" something, then Eternity is for you---literally! Dr. Stowell, past president of Moody Bible Institute, helps you see that your true calling is in eternity. "Built for eternity," you are a citizen of two other worlds: the world to come and the world Christ has placed within your heart. With heaven as your point of reference, you can learn to live a satisfying, balanced, and victorious life, even in a fallen world. Stowell shows you how to develop a passion for the eternal kingdom, providing fresh alternatives to a world filled with hollow pursuits.

Brooksyne's Note:   I am presently reading this insightful and inspiring book alongside my devotions.  This morning, as I was reading downstairs, Stephen heard me from our office upstairs saying things like, "Wow! This is amazing! Incredible!"   I was excitedly responding to the perspective that living for eternity brings in the heart of the believer.  Stowell does a great job in helping us to capture the eternal perspective on life's perplexing trials.  This is something we've never done before, but we would like to offer this book to our readers.  We have a limited supply we purchased for distribution. For your financial gift of support for our ministry we will send you a copy of this book until our supply is exhausted. (Please allow several weeks for shipping.) Click here to make a donation, then email this address to inform us that you would like a book.

In Light Of EternityIn Light Of Eternity  By Randy Alcorn / Random House
Spend time thinking about eternity and your future heavenly home, and worries about monthly bills, retirement accounts, and careers will begin to fade. That's Alcorn's wake-up call---don't waste today by misunderstanding tomorrow's reality. In his reflective yet hard-hitting style, he challenges us to live in light of eternity and its consequences.

For my geographically-curious friends here are the locations of today's photos centering on the schoolhouse.

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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