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Monday, December 30, 2013

Tree in Michigan (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Lone Sentinel
(Photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)

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"What We Do Know"

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:1-3).

2014 calendar Having just celebrated Christmas most now turn their attention to the turn of the calendar year. In doing so, bold (or vague) predictions are made to sell papers or boost ratings on television or other media. Predictions are made by the "experts" for the market, politics, sports, weather, you name it. At one of our companies over a month ago employees were already worked up about the farmer's almanac that forecast a rough winter for our area. In fact we have had more snow already than we had all of last winter. But predictions are only correct some of the time, not all the time. People like to know and plan ahead even if it means they worry longer and stress more.

Each New Year we can focus on either assurance or uncertainty. Assurance provides security for those who trust in Christ and realize He has everything under control. On the other hand there is much uncertainty in regard to the specifics. We just don't know what may come our way this coming year. Yet our faith is strengthened and our worries are lessened when we make this acknowledgement:

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Prophet writing John is to the New Testament what Malachi is to the Old. Although God surely continued to work among His people between Malachi's death and the dawn of the New Testament age, there was no prophetic work written during this time period in Scriptures. Likewise, surely God has continued to work among His people these last nineteen hundred years since John wrote, but his inspirational writings are the final record in the Scriptures.

I find a particular portion of today's passage very interesting. Notice the very candid admission by John in the middle of the verse. "it has not appeared as yet what we will be." God has revealed so much but there is still a vast amount of information that He has not yet revealed. 

We are eager to know more and many have written books that seek to fill in the blanks, though they can do no more than speculate.  John forthrightly tells us, as the final writer of the inspired Scripture, that
"it has not appeared as yet what we will be."

God has always called His people to a life of faith where trusting Him is foundational to our relationship with Him. As we face the year ahead let's rejoice in what we do know as found in the passage (1 John 3:1-3) in outline form. It's expressed in five simple truths:

1)  The Father has bestowed on us His great love.
2)  We are the children of God.
3)  He shall appear.
4)  We will be like Him.
5)  Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Let us rejoice and act in obedience to the truths that have been revealed to us. May we always trust our ever-loving, ever-dependable Father in regard to what has not yet been revealed!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, though there is much yet to be revealed concerning Your plan for our lives, we've been entrusted with a lifetime of inspired Scripture that guides us each day on our earthly journey.  As we walk in unity with You we find You to be the Navigator who directs our paths according to Your Word and in accordance with Your individual plan for our lives. In the midst of tumult or uncertainty Your assurance is our anchor that holds us steady and firm. In the midst of change You are the changeless One. Thank Your for being that great certainty in our lives. Amen.

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!

Update on Ester: Ester is scheduled for a heart catheterization tomorrow at 1 PM. Dr. Weber (not her dad, thank goodness) will be performing a coil embolization (unless other surprise findings redirect his skills). About ten years ago Ester went through this procedure and received seven coils. Before all her other health issues surfaced following her pacemaker replacement on Sept. 24th this procedure was planned so that her oxygen would increase. So now she's back on schedule for this procedure. Since many of you inquire and seem to want to know the details the following info is about the procedure:

Coil embolization is a catheter-based procedure that allows precise closure of abnormal blood flow in a blood vessel. A catheter with a metallic occluding coil is inserted into an artery, usually in the groin (the femoral artery). It is then advanced to the abnormal blood vessel. Once properly positioned, the metal coil is released, springing into position within the vessel. It remains firmly in place by the expansion of the metal coils. A blood clot will form on the coil, completely obstructing the abnormal blood flow beyond the coil. Eventually a scar will form, creating a permanent seal.

You have been so generous with your prayers on her behalf as well as ours, and so we thank you in advance for your uplifting us in prayer again. We'll update you in Thursday's message regarding the outcome. It's been a testing time in Ester's life but we've also seen it as a growing time in her spiritual life for which we thank God and rejoice.

Some scenes from a visit with our Amish friends this morning.

Amish children with singing angels 12/30/13
This morning we stopped by to see our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth, along with their five children. The children were mesmerized by a choir of four angels that harmonize in eight Christmas carols. In exchange for the Christmas goodies we left, we took home a box of home canned goodies. We lovingly refer to these dear children as our "grandkids".  (Video)

Amish barnraising 12/30/13
Eli, another Amish friend, lost his barn when it burned down Christmas Eve. We stopped by seeking to encourage him. His Amish neighbors were already on the scene rebuilding the barn. The cement block wall was laid on Friday so today they're building upon that foundation. As I (Brooksyne) was visiting Katie, Eli's wife, she expressed how humbled they were at the people's generous response as they came to work outside in the cold. Their spouses sent different platters of food to feed the large group of workers.

Amish clothesline 12/30/13

Regardless of the weather you will almost always find a long clothesline drying clothes on any Amish or old order Mennonite farm.

Amish outhouse and wash tubs 12/30/13
Stephen:  An outhouse (non-functioning) along with some galvanized wash tubs. Both items bring a reminder of childhood at my grandparents who had a functioning outhouse (double seater).

Brooksyne:  I go back to my own childhood when we had an outhouse for a number of years in Tulsa before city water came through our rural area. But it was at my grandparents in Arkansas that we took baths in a galvinized washtub. Grandma would heat water on her wood cook stove and bring the washtub into the kitchen. She'd fill it with water so we'd be cleaned up for church on Sunday mornings. I couldn't get used to taking a bath in the kitchen but that's the way they did it in their very plain lifestyle. BTW: I looked up a wood cook stove online and found they've gone up in price - about $6,000.00 for one, if you're interested!

Amish restaurant wait seating 12/30/13
We had breakfast at Dienner's, an Amish restaurant and thought our readers might like to see what's available for those waiting to be seated in the restaurant!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Like A River Glorious "  Video

"Because He Lives"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"My Savior Lives"  Video  Aaron Shust

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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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