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Friday, September 24, 2010

Which is more like your earthly home?

Earthly mansion in Lancaster County, PA
This mansion in Lancaster County, PA


Shanty town houses being flooded
These homes in a flooded shanty town.

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"We're Not Home Yet!"

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). "But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13).

Today, let us begin with a moving story that took place about 100 years ago that makes us pause and consider where our home really is.

An old missionary couple who had been working in Africa for many years returned to New York City to retire.  With no pension and broken in health, they were discouraged and somewhat fearful of the future.

They happened to be booked on the same ship as Teddy Roosevelt who was returning from a big-game hunting expedition.  They watched the passengers trying to glimpse the great man, the crew fussing over him, photographers flashing their oversized cameras…

Back at the dock in New York locals squeezed into every available space, the band with their instruments positioned to break into celebratory music as the president departed the ship.  Yet the missionary couple who had given their all to reach the African people for Christ slipped off the ship completely unnoticed.

That night, in a cheap flat they rented on the East Side, the man's spirit finally broke.  He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly."  His wife, no longer able to cope with his agitated spirit, suggested he go into the bedroom and speak to the Lord about that which he was feeling.

A short time later he walked out of the bedroom with a brighter countenance.  His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"

"The Lord settled it with me," he said.  "I told him how bitter I was that the president should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one was present to meet us as we returned home.  And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But you're not home yet!'"

I ask you, "Are you home yet?"  Many of us live in a very nice home here on earth. Of course our houses vary greatly; some small and some large; some featuring the latest modern conveniences while others have no electricity or running water; houses ornate in their decor and those with flooring made from the solid brown earth.

Given the variety of readers we have not just in America but throughout the world with access to the internet or those who receive these messages translated and in print I believe we have readers who live in all the above described home settings.

We have little evidence or emphasis on the type of home Jesus lived in while on earth. Certainly His humble place of birth was a far cry from the birthing rooms/suites in hospitals today where comforts include fancy birthing beds, multi-media entertainment, and a steak dinner served to the couple celebrating the big event.

During Jesus' childhood and early adult years He likely lived in a simple structure that would be far below the poverty level expectations, at least here in the US. During His ministry he made this statement, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head" (Matthew 8:20).

We also don’t know what Paul's house looked like. Perhaps, prior to his conversion, he had an established home setting. But when he began serving Christ he traveled a lot and there's no Scripture that gives any indication of where he lived apart from the prison epistles! I would be hard-pressed to call a prison cell a home.  We also read of his stays with those of his co-workers such as Priscilla and Aquilla. He also spent a great deal of time aboard ships.

We often hear or repeat the phrase, "Home is where your heart is", but Paul set his sights on an eternal setting not crafted with mortal hands.  He made the case for his citizenship in heaven being far more important than his Roman citizenship here on earth. (See Philippians 3:20).

Our daily text has an interesting expression regarding Paul's thoughts about home, "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8)Paul considered his real home to be with the Lord.

Today we want to encourage our readers with this truth: "You're not home yet!"  Apply that wonderful truth to your present circumstance and I guarantee you will experience victory, no matter the challenge you face.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we too easily misplace our affections on that which lasts only a season, instead of that which is for eternity.  We thank you for our temporal dwellings; for the comforts they provide, for the joys we experience under our own roof.  And yet we look forward to a new day when we leave behind our perishable body here on earth and are promoted to our home with the Lord Jesus, where we will fully realize the worth of our heavenly citizenship.  We so look forward to a new heaven and earth where we will live among the righteous for all eternity.  And it's all because of Jesus, for which we give thanks!  Amen.

A Slice Of Our Life Yesterday

Ephrata Fair 2010 in Lancaster County, PA
Yesterday afternoon following our chaplain visits we went to the Ephrata Fair, which closes off the Main Street going through town.

Ephrata Fair 2010 in Lancaster County, PA
At the fair we ate at the "The Lord's Fair Share" diner, a ministry of the Hinkletown Mennonite Church. Members of the church prepared and served the meals with all proceeds going to missions.

Horses in Lancaster County, PA
We stopped and visited with Joe and Beulah Snavely, some new friends near Manheim, PA and took a tour of their farm. These horses had a special mask on to keep flies out of their eyes. They can see through the mesh but it makes for an interesting sight!

Barn in Lancaster County, PA
I sure enjoy old barns, especially with the light filtering through the cracks in the roof!

Door of church in Manheim, PA
I am sure we have passed this church in Manheim, PA many times but yesterday this Scripture over the door especially blessed me.
See Psalm 122:1

Roxie with cat in tree
Brooksyne's Note:  I sat outside on the front porch this morning just getting ready to close my eyes in prayer, when all of a sudden, there was a loud whoosh in the density of the flowers in front of the porch.  Turns out a stray cat was hiding in the greens and, upon appearance of Roxie, it scrambled up the oak tree to safety.  Roxie got  excited thinking the cat was ready to play "Hide and Go Seek".  Of course the cat didn't understand that Roxie wanted to play, not fight.

Cat in tree
A close-up of the cat watching carefully so that she could make her great escape after Roxie leaves.  I put Roxie in the house and next thing I knew the cat was gone!

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.)

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  This is not the version I was looking for but a powerful expression of faith.

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Another version I have never heard before with beautiful acapella singing!  This is followed by the version I am familiar with.

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  An instrumental version of the song I was initially searching for.  And finally I found a vocal version!  Video

"It's Gonna Be Worth It"  Video  

The Ephrata Fair

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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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