The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home About Us Archives Free email subscription Listen to these messages
Text only for printing
See here for more info.
<Previous Message Next Message
Friday, May 28, 2010
Cliffwalk in Newport, Rhode Island
(Click on photo to enlarge)
This is a 3.5 mile walk alongside the ocean with the back view of Newport's famous gilded mansions on the other side. (An earthly inspiration of what we might view in heaven.)
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Our Heavenly Mansion"
"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2).
Newport, Rhode Island is one of our favorite New England spots. This is a rather quaint island where the very rich of the gilded age built their "summer cottages" in the 1800's.
Brooksyne and I once toured the "Marble House" with a group of fellow ministers along with their wives. This "cottage" cost $11,000,000 in the late 1800's to build. As we walked through the palatial interior several of us were humming an old gospel song titled, "I've got a mansion just over the hilltop in that bright land where we'll never grow old"!
But those who wined, dined and danced in this opulent residence are long gone. It's very unlikely that most gave close attention to their souls, but of course only God knows. I hear the words of our Lord declaring "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but forfeits his soul." Big mansion or little shanty, what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). This verse has inspired, comforted, and encouraged believers for centuries and is the source of many Gospel songs (30 in my "Song Select" software alone). It's actually the only time the word "mansion" is used in the KJV, translated from the Greek word "mone". "Mone" is often translated as "abide", with its derivative being "abode".
Now modern versions usually translate the word as "rooms" or "dwelling places" and they have been unfairly criticized by some for this. I suppose we get in our minds our heavenly home will be like a large mansion on this earth and we don't want that dispelled. Hey, after all, if we didn't get a mansion on this side we like the vision of one awaiting us in our eternal abode!
Well, as pointed out, the Greek conveys the sense of "abide". The dominant feature of heaven will not be the extravagance of our homes but the extravagance of Jesus in all His glory. We will be living in the very presence of "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father--to Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen" (Revelation 1:5,6).
Remember this world is not our real home. Our Lord is coming back and we will one day be living in a place that will make Newport or any other supposed "paradise" on this earth seem like a squatter's village!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I can hardly wait to see what Jesus has been preparing for those who love Him, since His ascension into heaven over 2000 years ago. Knowing that the heavens and the earth were created in one day, one cannot begin to imagine all that is being planned for our eternal dwelling over the past 2000 years. Like the bridegroom preparing his house for the bride, we so look forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb where we will worship Jesus in all His glory. He, who is the faithful witness; He, who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood; He, who loved us enough to taste of death that we deserved; He will be our center of worship where we will praise and glorify Him forever and ever. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Alongside my daily Scripture reading this year I am reading through "Unto the Hills" which is a 365 day devotional by Billy Graham. Today's reading is titled, "Is this the Day?" I especially was touched by Billy Graham's sharing his thoughts about Christ's return: "Many times when I go to bed at night I think that before I awaken Christ may come. Sometimes when I get up and look at the dawn I think that perhaps this is the day He will come. The Bible teaches that the coming again of Jesus Christ will be sudden, unexpected and dramatic. It will come as a surprise and take most people unawares." "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (I Thessalonians 5:2).
I, too, look up in the sky on some days and ask, "Is this the day?" I wish I were in the habit of doing so on a daily basis. For then I would be less weighed down by the unending troubles here below and live in joyful anticipation of the pleasures that await me above.
Stephen's study note: As we prepared today's message I began to muse on this phrase, "if it were not so, I would have told you." It seems that God reveals and doesn't reveal according to our needs. That will be a whole different message sometime.
Later this afternoon we expect some visitors we've never met from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They are Daily Encouragement readers and friends of Stephen's cousin, Anna Lee. They are in the area on vacation and want to stop by and meet us. We appreciate such friendliness (and expect it of Oklahomans)! (Brooksyne added the last line as you would expect from a girl born and raised in the sooner state.)
Today we want to share several photos we took yesterday demonstrating the resourcefulness and ingenuity of our Amish neighbors here in Lancaster County.
Our local Lancaster Costco provides a special parking area for horses and buggies. This Amish pickup truck came prepared for the shopping trip with several ice coolers! We see a lot of Amish in Costco but many hire drivers for the trip. In eastern Lancaster especially there is a good business among the non-Amish hauling the Amish around for special trips both local and distant. In several weeks we will be taking our Amish friends (as a friend to friend favor) to an Amish settlement in New York state where they will visit with family. Last year we took them on a shore trip so the kids could see the ocean for the first time. Their two year old, Eli James, kept wanting to get back in the "big pond", as he called the ocean! We tell more about that trip along with some photos here.
A local company we serve as chaplains has a raw material that comes in a long sturdy wooden box. This Amishman is salvaging the material, hauling it home on top of his modified pickup! We got to talking as well. He is a local butcher, so perhaps he will use the wood for firewood. His son is helping him out, as is typical with the Amish. Barry, the shipping manager, watches from the dock.
Perhaps the truck driver is reminding him to always secure your load!
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.)
"If You Could See Me Now" Video I used this song as the background in a pictorial tribute I prepared in honor of my mother who went to her eternal home in 2005.
This is a very touching video using the same song, apparently prepared by a family when their infant son died. However for us it brings to mind a memory from nearly 25 years ago. Mike and Kathy Matangelo have been our friends for many years and were a formative part of our church in northern Pennsylvania. In fact they attended the very first service in 1977. They had such a love for children that was contagious and impacted many including us. In the mid eighties they adopted a little girl from Korea. Karyn Joy had severe disabilities and passed on a few months later. Her funeral service is surely among the most touching times in my entire ministry.
"I Can Only Imagine" Video MercyMe
"For Just A Glimpse Of You" Video Mark Lowry Many of us associate Mark Lowry on the Gaither Homecoming series with his humor but this is a serious song.
"I've Got A Mansion" Video Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
"I've Got A Mansion" Audio I like this audio version!
"Mansion Builder" Video 2nd Chapter of Acts
"Oh, What A Savior!" Video Ernie Haase and Signature Sound While searching for related music today Brooksyne overheard me playing this song and has this reflection from her growing up days in Oklahoma:
As I was working in the kitchen this morning the words and music to "O What a Savior" made their way up the stairs to my hearing and I was taken back to my teen years when I first heard this song. Our youth leaders, Edith & Cordell Cochran, were full blood Indians who sang in revivals to the Indian churches in Eastern Oklahoma. The youth of our church from Tulsa went along and sang with them as well. When I heard "O What a Savior" sung in several of these churches during altar services it pierced my heart, especially the words; "His hands were nail-scarred, His side was riven, He gave His life's blood for you and me." I took that very personally and it intensified my walk with Jesus as a young teen-ager. It freshly touches me every time I hear it even to this day.
Yesterday we shared a message about a tree I planted in our front lawn. A reader wrote about the pleasure of seeing these small trees fully grown years later. That brought to mind this photo:
Several years ago Rick Steudler, a friend of ours, had us over to the home he grew up in and we visited with his mother, Jeanette Steudler. In this photo she is pictured in front of a very large oak tree that she planted as a tiny sapling some 65 years ago!
Sign up here for the free daily email encouragement.
Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.
Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
1) Open the basic text editor that comes with all computers (known as wordpad, textpad, etc.) You can also use a program like Word and select paste text only.
2) Select and copy the text from the portion of the message you want to print.
3) Paste into the text pad. (The photos won't show up but you will have a brief text description of the photo which you can delete or just ignore.)
4) Format if you desire (change font, increase or decrease size, etc.)
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."
Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com
© Copyright 2010 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552 USA
New feature: I am not much for publishing website statistics but sure enjoy geography. When I saw this widget that counts visitors by nation and state I thought it would be interesting to some of our readers. I installed the international widget 4/16/10 and the state widget 4/19/10 (thus the disparity in US state totals). This widget only counts visits to the main page and daily archive.
"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"