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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kansas City's Country Club Plaza
The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO
A great seasonal childhood Christmas memory was our annual family trip into Kansas City to view the Christmas lights at the Country Club Plaza.

"Our Expiration Date"

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"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him" (Hebrews 9:27,28).

Pocket Testament LeagueFor many years we have appreciated the Pocket Testament League, a literature ministry headquartered here in Lancaster County. The main focus of this ministry is the power of individual Christians reading, carrying and sharing God's Word. They have active ministry all over the world and really stress the power of individual impact.

We receive regular email from this ministry with brief testimonies such as the one we received several days ago from someone who had distributed a Gospel of John. It really demonstrates the power of one individual to make a difference when they step out and share their faith:

“I handed a Gospel of John to a lady on the street one day who was accompanied by her pregnant daughter. I stood for a while talking. Only to come to the knowledge that they were on their way to their doctor's office to abort that very baby.

I told them God has a divine plan and purpose for that child. They were not believers of the Word at that time, but thanks to that opportunity the Gospel opened up the door for me to share that Word with them.

The pregnant girl was being forced to abort her unborn child, because she wasn't married. And she told me if she had gone through with her mother's demands, she would have later committed suicide.

Both mother and daughter are now believers of the Word! And the baby boy will soon be celebrating his 1st birthday, on December 23, 2013."

Mike Brickley 4/19/11

I met Mike Brickley
the president (photo above), over ten years ago when I heard him share his testimony at a business meeting. He was the founder and president of a bank in the Silicon Valley and had made vast sums of money during the nineties financing technology companies. He described the opulent lifestyle he was accustomed to, as well as the pain and loss he experienced during the dot com bust. He expressed the joy of serving Jesus and being part of an infinitely greater venture than financing high tech businesses! He shared a concept that really impacted my life.

Expiration date Like the products we purchase such as fresh milk, we all have an expiration date. This date is not displayed on our bodies, of course, but it is known by God. It's expressed in Scripture in a portion of the daily verse, "Man is destined to die once".

Now that's an indisputable truth regardless of your faith background.  How many of you know your great grandparents? (Perhaps a few of you do!) But what about your great, great grandparents or your ancestors before that? Over forty years ago I still vividly recall my dad receiving the news that his dad (my grandpa) had passed away and watching him brace himself against the wall weeping. Some thirty years after that it was my Dad's turn. I know who's next. Death is simply the God-ordained transition from this life. *

The main question is this: are we ready to die, and are we prepared for the judgment?  God has given us a will to decide and no decision in life is greater. However important the choice we make regarding our marriage partner, life's vocation or other big decisions, they pale in comparison to this decision.

Mark 8:36 Kember printBut this reality has a huge impact on how we live our lives. That's what was so impacting to Mike Brickley as he considered his own expiration date. Perhaps he considered the verse, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). We make the decision to live for Christ and then we should have a loving interest that others consider their expiration date and make life's most important decision and be prepared for eternity.

The decision is personally choosing to believe in Christ and making Him our Lord and Savior. I hope you have all made this decision and I surely believe most of you have.  But if somehow you come across this brief post and haven't yet surrendered your life to Christ or you are not sure let me strongly urge you to do so today. Our prayer today will provide a framework for this expression of faith. Remember, we all have an expiration date!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, when we were utterly helpless, You sent Jesus at just the right time to die for our sins. Few people are willing to die for a good person, but Jesus died for the good and the bad, even those who nailed Him to the cross. Amazingly, Jesus laid down His life for us while we were still sinners and lived as enemies of the cross. Through Your Holy Spirit You call us to Yourself to begin a wonderful new relationship because Jesus reconciles us to You through His death on the cross that covers our sins. We repent and receive Jesus' gift of forgiveness, His love and His lordship in our lives. And we see how very much You love us, for You call us Your children and this is what we are! Amen.

See Romans 5:6-11, I John 3:1

* I am aware that there are two individuals mentioned in Scripture (Enoch and Elijah) that did not die in the usual sense and the Bible teaches that the generation alive at the time of the return of Christ will pass directly to heaven (1 Thessalonian 4:13-18).

DonateWe want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry is comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and income. If you would like to make a donation see here for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

There are many excellent online presentations of the gospel.  Here's one of them called "Need Him" or call 888-NEED HIM to talk to someone about this most important matter.

"Just As I Am - I Come Broken To Be Mended"  Video  Travis Cottrell  What a moving song!!

"Come to Jesus"  Video  Chris Rice

"Just As I Am"  Video  Brian Doerksen

Pocket Testament League

Regarding the opening photo: The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is famously lighted for Christmas. It is an upscale outdoor shopping area about 5 miles from downtown. Here are some more photos from Google. Virtually every Christmas my Dad would take Mom and us kids into the city to see the lights. For us that was a big deal and great memory!

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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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