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Monday, July 2, 2012
East Point Lighthouse NJ
(photo by Greg Schneider)
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"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). "For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10). "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).
In the course of my work this last week I visited several who told me they were going camping this week. Now "camping" means different things to different people. The image we conjure up of camping varies greatly and is largely related to age and income level. The first several years of our marriage we camped in pup tents with several very memorable rainy nights. For several years we went to a large Christian festival in central PA called "Creation" and stepped up to a four man tent. Those "getting in touch with nature" days are over for us now; we can do that by sitting on our swinging bench on our back deck. However, a number of our peers now camp in motor homes, quite a step up from a tent you set up by driving pegs in the hard earth!
A few years ago we became acquainted with William and Joseph who worked in one of the companies we served as chaplains. They had come to the states as refugees and had been among a group called "The Lost Boys of Sudan". It is surely one of the saddest stories of human suffering in history and one day we hope to develop a message based on their testimony. We had them over for dinner and heard their story first hand. In relation to today's message I recall their bewilderment at the very concept of finding any pleasure in camping. Forged by their own experience in "camping" they just couldn't comprehend why anyone would to do this for pleasure!
"A Child Of The King", an old hymn of the church states, "A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They're building a palace for me over there." God is the Master Builder. "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible" (Hebrews 11:3).
He's also at work in preparing a place that people of faith through the generations have been anticipating. In the first daily text I rejoice in the line that states, "if it were not so, I would have told you." Jesus always tells us the truth and just what we need to know.
Like Abraham the great man of faith, we also "look forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." We only have glimpses of what this "city" will be like, but we can be assured it will be indescribably wonderful. "For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14).
He's also at work building His church and transforming the individual lives of those who turn to Him in faith and obedience.
Today on the personal level some of you are dealing with what appears to be a lapse in the building program. At times it may even seem that God has abandoned His building project in your life. Your prayers seem to be unanswered. Issues in your life aren't getting resolved as you would like. There may be strife in your marriage and home. Some are dealing with a long-standing stronghold of pornography or other destructive addictions they're seeking to overcome. Others are dealing with lengthy career transitions that have thus far not worked out as they had anticipated.
Whatever challenge you are dealing with, don't give up. Hold to your faith in God! Here's a promise that we can all count on; "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion!" Fellow believer, wherever you live, whatever you're going through; stay faithful to the Mansion Builder, for the Mansion Builder is ever faithful to us. "Do not throw away your confidence, for it will be richly rewarded" (Hebrews 10:35).
"Why should I worry, why should I fret,
Cause I've got a Mansion Builder
who ain't through with me yet."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank you for the absolute truthfulness of your Word. We rely on Your promises in Scripture concerning our future eternal home. Help us as we deal with what Your Word says are "our light and momentary troubles" and to recognize that they are "achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." Today "we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." Amen.
(See 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 for further inspiration)
"Call To Fall" Report: Yesterday our church participated in the Call to Fall prayer event we mentioned in last week's encouragements. It was a solemn and moving time. Our pastor encouraged all who were physically able to bow on their knees as he led us in an impassioned prayer for repentance and called on God to bring about revival in our hearts and in our land.
Following our church service we went over to the Longwood Personal Care home where Brooksyne often plays the piano during the resident's dinner hour. During that time Ester and I visit the folks at their tables as they eat. Following the meal Brooksyne continued to play since several hymns since the residents meandered over and began to sing along and request their favorites. Alma (singing along) recently lost her husband after more than sixty years of marriage. He was a retired pastor in his nineties and we enjoyed our visits with him till his call to heaven. Ester has made many friends among the residents and shared this photo she took.
This week we will be featuring photos from several Daily Encouragement friends in our featured photograph at the top of each message.
This last Friday I attended a special retirement party for Mary Ann Miller, a friend of ours. Sam S. Smucker and Sons is a local family owned home improvement company we have the opportunity to serve as chaplains. Sam S. Smucker (2nd from the right in the photo) started the company and they have been in business for 52 years. Sam's been retired many years and on Friday they held a surprise retirement party for Sam's daughter Mary Ann who has worked there since her youth. Sam's sons Marlin (right) and Lee (second from left) remain active in operating the company. Sheldon (far left) assumed his mother Mary Ann's position and several other grandchildren also work for the company!
Here's a Bible quiz: Can you think of a family run business in the Bible (father and sons)? After giving thoughtful consideration here is the answer!
Saturday evening we attended a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game along with other employees from the Smucker company at a company picnic. Lancaster has a beautiful minor league park that is immaculately clean and purposefully family friendly. The game was followed by fireworks and to top off a great evening, our team won!
Today's lighhouse photo was taken by Greg Schneider. Greg is a professional photographer we met when we moved to Lancaster County eleven years ago. He works for a newspaper as a sport's photographer but, in sharing this collection for Daily Encouragement readers, he shares his real photographic passion, as described below for other Lighthouse Chasers:
"I am a lighthouse chaser and my life list is currently at 159 seen, visited, and/or photographed in Canada (2), Connecticut (13), Delaware (13), Maine (24), Maryland (10), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (12), New York (42), Ohio (15), Pennsylvania (4), Rhode Island (17), Vermont (4) and Virginia (2). And, God willing, my wife and I hope to add about two dozen more this summer when we make a quick weekend run through Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. Karen (my wife) is actually just a lighthouse "tagalong" - not a "true" chaser (she likes them, but really just goes for the scenery, beaches (usually), restaurants, etc.). She has never accompanied me (and thinks I'm crazy for taking them) on one of my 700-800 mile, one-day jaunts to New Jersey, New York, Long Island, Ohio, etc. And, perhaps I am a bit touched, but I have to confess I really enjoy them. Sort of like a long-distance scavenger hunt for lighthouses. Finding them used to be a real challenge, but the GPS has made that part of the chase a lot easier, although you have to be careful. I put the longitude and latitude coordinates in the GPS and sometimes it gets really interesting considering the coordinates are often times actually in the water. My GPS babe has more than once given me some very unusual directions."
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource
"A Child of the King" Video Homecoming series
"Mansion Builder" Video Second Chapter Of Acts A very popular group during our younger years. In fact we probably heard them at the Creation festival.
"I've Got A Mansion" Video The Cathedrals
Here is an article on "The Lost Boys of Sudan" A movie has also been made.
East Point Lighthouse
Sam S. Smucker and Sons
Our friends Jim and Wendy Gambini stopped by today. Jim was our pastor the first several years we lived in this area and they remain good friends. They both exhibit a faithful walk with Christ.
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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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