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Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow view from our office 1/27/11
We had a beautiful snowfall late Wednesday evening and this is the view from our office early Thursday morning with the bright sun and long shadows. We were awakened at 4:30 AM by our kind neighbor, Leon, who drove his tractor down the road to plow us out.

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"The Final Appointment"

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Early yesterday morning we had an appointment
near Harrisburg about 45 minutes away. Due to the condition of the roads following the snow storm and our desire to send out our daily encouragement message we arrived later than scheduled. We called ahead to let them know that we were behind schedule so they would know we hadn't forgotten. However, we have on occasion forgotten an appointment.

Today we want to consider an appointment we all have. It's not a date that people post on their calendar but it is already scheduled.  We just don't know when. The date is not ours to make and yet our main concern in life is getting ready for it, since we want to be ready!

Day by day we are reminded of this appointment. Of course we are speaking about our appointment with death. Some days, especially when death hits close to home, we are especially reminded. But every day people everywhere around the world deal with death. For some, it's at the conclusion of a long and fulfilling life. But for others it's so unexpected and tragic. I'm reminded of this as I consider four high school boys in our area who were killed in an auto accident less than two weeks ago.

A number of emotions and realities set in at the death of a loved one, particularly a parent.  My dad passed away in 1998. One emotion I recall was a stark recognition of my own physical mortality.  I still remember the time as a child when my dad received a phone call that his father (my grandpa) had passed away. I can still see in my mind's eye the black rotary dial wall phone on our kitchen wall when he got the news.  
After hanging up he leaned against the wall with such a sober expression on his face and quickly turned away because he didn't want my sister and me to see him.  Thirty-five years later when he died I believe I know what he was feeling at that time. One day it will be my final appointment.

However at my dad's memorial service I made the point that death is ultimately "non-final".  Believers who are now alive have a promise that we will not precede those who have died as believers, but we will meet them in the air at Christ's return for His people (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  What a glorious day when the dead in Christ shall rise with believers in the air!

All Christians should memorize our daily verse, although it is probably not among verses commonly memorized.  Believers join the rest of the human race in being appointed to die. Just as our birth transitioned us into this temporal world, God's providential means of transition from this world is through death. 

Scripture records two special circumstances when death was circumvented (Enoch and Elijah). Everyone else faces it, although there will be a special generation in the last times (perhaps our own) when believers will not die but will immediately rise to meet the Lord in the air.  Following our death comes the judgment (the Judgment Seat of Christ for the believer and the Great White Throne Judgment for the unbeliever). One is rewards for the faithful, the other is eternal retribution.

Are you ready for this appointment?  Have you made your peace with God and accepted the atoning work of Christ as the full payment for your sin?  Actually our daily verse ends with a colon in the KJV and the remainder of the passage states: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).  Are you looking for Him today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we lift our eyes to the Eastern sky, for we know that You will soon return to gather believers in the air along with those who have already died.  But until that wonderful event or until You call us home at our appointed hour of death we are to live as if this might be our last day on earth. We want our hearts to be right, our conscience to be clear and our sins to be forgiven.  We want to leave a godly legacy for those who remain so that they too will make proper preparation for their appointed day of death. Help us to live not just for here and now, but for all eternity. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Ron Hoover 1/27/11
Last night Ron Hoover, a friend of ours, joined us for dinner. Ron has been very encouraging to us in our chaplain ministry as a local chair of a businessman's group called "Convene".  
Ron has a mentoring role, encouraging business leaders to use their talents to serve the Lord.
Ron shares a video testimony on the Convene site here.

Snow view from our dining room 1/27/11
We always like the way the evergreen trees look after a snow storm. However we are concerned about the one nearest our home which is entirely bent over due to the weight of the snow.

Snow view of our back yard 1/27/11
This is the view from our bedroom window of our backyard.

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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"For Future Generations"  Video  4Him

"Where There Is Faith"  Video  4Him  Note: You realize you are getting old when the young groups that were popular when you were in your thirties start to look old!

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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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