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Friday, January 2, 2009

Vista view along the Blue Ridge Parkway in central Virginia
Lure Lake in western North Carolina
(click to enlarge as desktop background and to see Scripture verse)

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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).
As we prepare this first encouragement message for 2009 we want to share a special message of hope and assurance.  We consider the various burdens and uncertainties so many of you are dealing with. In many cases Brooksyne and I can visualize who you are and the situations you struggle with. You may be a family member, a friend or a former parishioner.  Perhaps you're among the many we meet in our chaplain service or a faithful long-time reader of the Daily Encouragement.

At creation God established the annual unit of time (Genesis 1:14). The passing of years is a great time to do some reflecting as well as looking ahead to the next phase in our life's journey. We each look back to milestones this past year and for some they're more significant than others.

Some of you look ahead to 2009 with a temporal optimism; in your life things are going well and you feel secure.  Your health is good, your job seems secure, you have exciting plans for the New Year. But others face the New Year with a great sense of uncertainty.  You may be dealing with physical pain, a wayward child, a financial hardship or some other form of distress. Today's message is for both.

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." Most especially in the line, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." 

I selected verses today that express three unchangeable truths concerning God:
•    His Steadfast Love: He loves us with an everlasting love.
•    His Abiding Presence: He will never leave us.
•    His Eternal Immutablity: 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.

A song comes to mind that has a very fitting theme for beginning a New Year, "Jesus Will Still Be There." We are reminded of a most certain reality; that Jesus will still be there.  His love will never change, no matter what changes around us.   As we end one year and move into another He is a never-changing Presence in our lives.  We can absolutely rely upon Him!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as the year unfolds I want to keep my soul's anchor embedded in the Rock of Ages.    Help me to be unwavering in my faith and confident as I meditate on Your many promises.  You promise never to abandon me; instead You carefully guide me through turbulent waters as I cling tightly to Your hand.  Even as I daily experienced Your goodness and faithfulness in 2008 I am absolutely certain I will enjoy Your constant presence and guidance in my life and those I love in the new year of 2009.  You are faithful and I am grateful.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Here are a few photos of our trip!

Genelle & Cesar 1/1/09
We've spent several days with my sister Genelle and her husband César in the Greensboro NC area. For many years they lived in Miami, Florida. We're pleased that they moved closer two years ago so that we can enjoy visiting with them more often. César is a masterful chef!

Genelle & Cesar 1/1/09
Here's a photo of Genelle's family (Genelle, Daniel, César, Carolina, Carolina's fiancé-Adam, and Karina) during a family vacation last week taken on this.

Bob & Linda Southard
Bob and Linda Southard are friends we met about twenty years ago who share a vibrant faith-filled walk with Christ. Both have overcome and are presently overcoming physical adversity.  We enjoyed a BQ dinner with them on New Years Eve. They have a joyous outlook and share ministry in nursing homes in the Charlotte area.

Bob & Linda Southard
Mike and Kathy Matangelo have been our friends for over thirty years and attended the very first sevice in our church plant in Saint Marys, PA. over 30 years ago. Mike's mother is visiting them from Rhode Island and Tina is Ester's best long-time friend - her "Guatemalan sister". We enjoyed a delicious New Year's Ham Dinner with them yesterday.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Jesus Will Still Be There"  Video

Our friend, Bob Southard, sent us this inspiring acrostic:


HOLD FAST TO YOUR FAITH - (Hebrews 4:14)

EXAMINE YOURSELF DAILY – (II Corinthians 13:5)
WORK DILIGENTLY FOR THE LORD – (I Corinthians 15:58)

REDEEM THE TIME – (Ephesians 5:15-16)   

- Roy D. Creamer

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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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