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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brick farmhouse in snow
This stately white brick farmhouse is south of Mount Joy.

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"We Shall See His Face!"

"But you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Exodus 33:20). "And they shall see His face" (Revelation 22:4). Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

(The first several paragraphs of today's message are Brooksyne's reflection.)

Anticipation!  The dictionary defines it as, "The act of looking forward; pleasurable expectation."  Young people anticipate their graduation day.  Couples anticipate their walk down the aisle to join in marital union.  There's anticipation for the arrival of their first child. We experience anticipation with a job promotion or the purchase of a new home.  Children anticipate their next birthday the day after they celebrate their current one.  Admittedly, that's one anticipation I had as a child that has turned more into angst over the years as the growing number of candles run out of space on top of the birthday cake! Remember when it took only one box of candles to celebrate your birthday instead of two?  But I do find myself filled with glorious and growing anticipation regarding Christ's return to earth.  I've walked with the Lord for over 40 years now and it only gets sweeter each day.

I find myself more and more heavenly minded as my grandparents were when I was a child.  I couldn't understand their constant talk of wanting to be with Jesus – it seemed a morbid thing in my mind and I certainly was not ready to let go of my precious grandparents. 

Brooksyne's grandpa, Elbert Sherrell
Grandpa lived about 180 miles from our home in Tulsa in the hills of northwest Arkansas.  But it seemed at every visit, as a child, he'd lovingly balance my sister and me on his knees and tell us of his love for Jesus; how he looked forward to going to heaven. If I could only sit and have a conversation with my grandpa now, I'd be talking with him about the riches of heaven as we together anticipated that day.  The longer I live in a sin-filled world the more heaven becomes a deep yearning within my redeemed spirit. My heart longs for that union in heaven when I shall behold the Lamb of God face to face.

This date holds special memories for us. February 17 happens to be Stephen's dad's birth date (he died in 1998). It is also the date of Brooksyne's dad's death (in 2000). Both of them lived for Christ so we have an assurance of their eternal abode and the expectation of one day being with them again.

We certainly anticipate our reunion of loved ones already in heaven but our greatest anticipation will be realized when we see our Lord face to face.  In the first two Scripture texts we see the contrast of two verses. The first concerns godly Moses, who so desired to see God's face, but was expressly forbidden. In the verse God states, "You cannot see my face." A full disclosure of the glory of God would overpower the senses, intellect and emotional make-up of mortal man, so it was forbidden.

The second verse concerns a promise that "They (the redeemed) shall see His face."  Such prophetic truth builds anticipation, sweet anticipation for the redeemed.  When our perishable takes on the imperishable we will have a glorified body making it possible for us to see God face to face in all His glory.

Seeing God's face should be the ultimate goal in life. No earthly achievement even remotely compares. Whatever you are striving for in this life, noble as it may be, pales in comparison to the eternal reward of seeing God face to face.

A source of great comfort and encouragement is found in our last text, I Thessalonians 4:18 "Therefore encourage each other with these words." This follows Paul's teaching about the coming of the Lord.  It can be summed up with these five points (as presented in the Life Application Bible):

1. Christ will return visibly, with a loud command.
2. There will be an unmistakable cry from an angel.
3. There will be a trumpet fanfare such as has never been heard.
4. Believers in Christ who are dead will rise from their graves.
5. Believers who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet    Christ.

There are many things in this life that build anticipation, but there is nothing that compares with the anticipation of our Lord's return to earth where will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him!  Are you watching for His return?  Are you ready to meet Him today? 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we are encouraged and comforted by the resurrection of Jesus, Your Son.  It is because of His resurrection that we have hope of our future resurrection when our bodies will be stripped of the grave clothes of this mortal life, and we will be clothed in immortality.  We will no longer be acquainted with sickness, sorrow, pain, loss or sinfulness. The temptation to sin will not exist in our future life and our Adversary, the devil, will be dealt his final blow.  What anticipation this builds when we see You face to face in our glorified, eternal existence.  Keep us faithful till that eventful day, in the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Yesterday a reader responded with this touching story: Your mirror image story touched me.  Over 63 years ago Bill and I were sitting with his arm around me in a friend's living room where a large mirror was above the fireplace and our reflection was there.  He said, "That's a nice picture. Would you like it to be forever?"  I said, "Yes" and so it ever has been.  I'm so grateful to God who watched over him through 3 wars and brought us to the home he and another builder built…. Blessings, Dorothy

Gene Weber
Stephen's dad
February 17, 1919 - July 2, 1998

Brooklyn Sherrell
Brooksyne's dad
October 8, 1933 - February 17, 2000

Brooksyne with her grandpaThis is a photo of Grandpa and me sitting on the beach at Horsehead Lake located in the valley below his 200 acre farm.  I was a junior in Bible College in Missouri at the time and came with three other friends (one being Stephen) to hold a revival in Grandpa's church.  By this time I had learned a whole lot more about Jesus and was growing to love Him the way my grandpa did.  For the curious here's a google map of the location.

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.)

"Face To Face"  Video

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me?

Refrain:  Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a blessèd day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face—oh, blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.

"We Shall Behold Him"  Video  Violin instrumental

"What A Day That Will Be!"  Video

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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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