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Friday, January 6, 2012

McConnells Mill, Portersrville, PA (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
McConnell's Mill
(Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
The gristmill in western Pennsylvania was one of the first rolling mills in the country, processing corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat for local customers.

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"We'll Have A New Body!"

"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:50-52). "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven" (2 Corinthians 5:1,2).

During the course of our chaplaincy visits yesterday Brooksyne visited with Jean, an employee, who inspects small parts. She's not just your average, everyday employee since she’s 83 years old and has worked at the same company for over 60 years!*

"I'm new!" 2 year old boyFollowing a holiday break employees excitedly converse with us about their family gatherings.  Jean is intent on her work and usually rather quiet, but she enjoys talking about her extended family. A single woman, she comes from a large family who had gathered for Christmas where she had a conversation with her two ½ year old great, great nephew. Jean was slowly rising from her seat and noticed the child observing her carefully. She explained: "I move slowly because I get stiff; I’m old and have aches and pains. Do you ever get that problem?" The little boy responded, "No…. I'm new." I like the way Estienne put it, “If Youth but knew; if age but could.”

Man jumping over carWell, the fact is many of us identify with the aging and perishable aspect of our earthly bodies, similar to Jean. We may also recall when our bodies were young and vibrant. I recall when Brooksyne and I were dating and the day that I jumped over her car to impress her.  (Editor’s Note: The photo on the right is not Stephen. Thankfully, he didn’t dent my orange Maverick that I’d received for High School Graduation when he was showing off his long jump.) Actually I did more than a few potentially foolish things when I was younger and even in my younger middle aged years such as jumping off a church roof in New England into a pile of snow, over and over on a bright fun-filled winter afternoon! "Beauty is fleeting" the Bible says, and so is youth. It’s a fleeting season in our lives that passes before we even realize the benefits of being young!

Novelist Joseph Conrad described the temporariness of youth as "the feeling that will never come back any more --the feeling that I thought could last forever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort --to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires --and expires, too soon, too soon --before life itself."

2 Corinthians 5:1Youth is temporary, but so is middle age and old age. The Apostle Paul is speaking of our temporary situation in the daily text: "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." That's a good verse to hide deep in our hearts. Elsewhere we read: "For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14). The Apostle James describes this temporary situation quite graphically: "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

It's interesting that in the daily text Paul speaks of the "earthly tent" which underscores the temporariness of our present life. However our future abode is described as "a building from God, an eternal house in heaven."

The ongoing challenge for each of us is not driving the stakes too deeply in our present "tent". We must take care in not getting too settled nor should we ceaselessly strive for comfort on this side. That's particularly true for those of us who live in relative affluence, which can be such a seducing trap. One day we will be transported to our eternal home and we'll have a new body; one that won’t grow stiff or slow down due to the aging process commonly experienced on this side of heaven!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we look forward to the mysterious moment when we who follow Christ will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, when the trumpet sounds from heaven. Our perishable bodies will take on the imperishable and we will be forever young, no longer plagued with the moans and groans of this earthly body. Until Christ returns or until You call us home, we remain hopeful and vigilant in our spiritual pilgrimage, no matter the condition of this flesh and blood body. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

* We wrote a message about Jean in 2010 when she reached the sixty year employment milestone. We will be writing about Everett, another employee in this same company, who also reached the 60 year milestone this month. Everett is one of the most colorful and joy-filled workers we have ever encountered. This particular company has a lot of long-time workers and I try to identify the reason. By appearances it would not be the most interesting work; some of it is quite tedious and downright monotonous. But a feature we have noted is that the employees really do love and care about each other.

A reader noted in regard to yesterday's message on "Devoted To Study": This message reminded me of a viewing my husband and I recently attended. 
The man was James Hess, a great man of God. He and his family were missionaries in Honduras many years. At the viewing the Bible was on display in which he had marked down every year he read through the bible.  Starting in 1950 he had read through the Bible 55 times.  Several years he had read the New Testament twice.  We found this amazing!  He was 85 years at the time of his death.

Our friend Tommy Carpenter, who lost his wife and grandson this last October in an automobile accident, (see footnote here) shares the following perspective on the city to come:

I’m Looking For a City

“By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should receive for an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith, he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).

I’m looking for a city:
  • With no Anguish, Anxiety, or Anger;
  • With no Bereavement or Burdens;
  • With no Corruption, Crime, or Confusion
  • With no Disease, Discouragement or Danger;
  • With no Enemies, Earthquakes or Embalmers;
  • With no Failures, Famines or Farewells;
  • With no Greed, Guilt, Germs or Graves;
  • With no Hate, Harm or Hunger;
  • With no Iniquity, Injury or Immorality;
  • With no Jealousy, vulgar Jesting, Jezebels or Judases
  • With no Kicking, Knifing or Killing;
  • With no Lameness, Loss or Lying;
  • With no Maliciousness, Murmuring or Misery;
  • With no Necessities, Neglect or Night;
  • With no Occult, Offenders or Oppressors;
  • With no Peril, Perplexities or Pain;
  • With no Quitters, Quarrelers, or Questions;
  • With no Rebels, Reprobates or Robbers;
  • With no Separation, Sorrow or Satan;
  • With no Troubles, Torment or Tears;
  • With no Unbelievers, Ungodliness or Undertakers;
  • With no Violence, Vexation or Vanity;
  • With no Weakness, War or Weeping;
  • With no X-cuses, X-tortion or X-iles;
  • With no Yearning, Yokes or Yesterdays;
  • With no Z’s to Zap our imaginations limiting our vocabulary to adequately express the beauty and splendor of heaven!
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I'll Have A New Body"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"I Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now"  Video  The Happy Goodmans

"The Light Of That City"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Today's gristmill photo was taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt and was used with his permission. He comments: This is a beautiful location no matter what time of year you arrive. I have seen it in all seasons since the time my father brought me here as a child to fish or walk. One must be careful though as Slippery Rock Creek can be very dangerous water and the shoreline rocks are as slippery as black ice. That said, this is a place worth visiting more than once and winter is especially pristine. The water is pure and the blanket of snow makes everything look so unspoiled. The sounds of winter are plentiful here whether the occasional chatter of a red squirrel, the tapping of a lone woodpecker, the sound of rushing water or the absence of anyone else, I am always drawn into the peacefulness of the moment. Nature always finds a way of reminding me of its healing power, a force exceeded by no one but the One who provides it. Howard's photo site is here.

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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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