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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Farm house on Eby Chiques Road, Lancaster County, PA 2/4/14
The snow and ice has made for some pretty scenes in our area. We passed this snowclad farmhouse on Eby Chiques Road east of Mount Joy. An interesting characteristic of many Amish farms is how they keep adding on to accommodate a larger and often extended family, such as providing for their aging parents.
(Click on photo for larger view)

"The Hope We Profess"

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"Where now is my hope?" (Job 17:15). "My hope is in You" (Psalm 39:7). "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).

If you feel today that you can't make it
Keep holdin' on, cause you can take it
If you hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on

Weber childhood 1962
I (Stephen) grew up in the sixties in Belton, Missouri, a small town about 20 miles south of Kansas City. That was a nice time and place to live a childhood. The photo to the left shows me (right) along with my Mom, older brother Pat and younger sister Genelle.

I was a boy scout and many times rode my bike to the church about a mile away where Troop 210 weekly scouting meetings were held. In those days it was safe to be out even at night in the dark. My dog Suzy often ran alongside me to the meetings and would wait outside during the meeting. Afterward she would run alongside my bike as I pedaled toward home.

One night I got a ride home with a friend’s dad. I don't recall the specifics but I apparently left my bike and forgot all about Suzy until the next morning. We drove over to the church that our scout troop met in. There was my dog Suzy, still holding on and waiting patiently by the very door I had gone in for the meeting the night before! That was a good lesson for me at a very impressionable age on loyalty and faithfulness. *

I read a story about a young boy whose dad left him on a downtown corner one morning and told him to wait there until he returned in about half an hour. But the father’s car broke down and he could not get to a phone. Five hours went by before the father managed to get back, and he was worried that his son would be in a state of panic. But when the father got there, the boy was standing in front of the dime store, looking in the window and rocking back and forth on his heels. When the father saw him, he ran up to him and threw his arms around him and hugged and kissed him. The father apologized and said, “Weren’t you worried? Did you think I was never coming back?” The boy looked up and replied, “No, Dad. I knew you were coming. You said you would.”

That's a good illustration of the hope we profess in regard to God's promises.

Hebrews 10:23 plaque

"Let us hold unswervingly." In life there are many ways in which it is imperative that we hold unswervingly such as our commitment to our marriage, our family, sound doctrine, moral standards, our integrity and so forth. Other versions state, "Let us hold fast without wavering" and "Without wavering, let us hold tightly."

The text begins with the words "Let us" which is known as the hortatory subjunctive. This is my favorite preaching and writing style whether I am the listener and reader or whether I am the preacher or writer. One of the first sermons I ever preached was from Hebrews and throughout the message I repeatedly used the phrase "Let us". After the message a listener thanked me for the salad sermon (lett-uce)!

The author of Hebrews uses this phrase "let us" twelve times. When I read this book or hear sermons preached using this phrase I am encouraged, as it seems the author or preacher is leading me, not pushing me. The writer conveys that he was facing the same circumstances as his readers so he presents a form of personal resolve in his writing.

But the most essential is to "hold unswervingly to the hope we profess." It's such an edifying study to examine the word "hope" found around 150 times all through the Bible, depending on translation.

I believe today's text is the singular key text in the entire book of Hebrews. This call to faithfulness is directed to the earliest believers who were the initial recipients of this Scripture and to all others through the ages of the Church, including us today. That's a vital way we read the Scriptures.

We are to "hold unswervingly to the hope we profess." Of course primarily this hope we profess is the hope we have in Christ. Earlier in the book we read, "we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end" (Hebrews 6:11).

And this hope we profess is absolutely secure, "for He who promised is faithful." Rest in this wonderful assurance today and join us in holding unswervingly to our hope in Christ!

Weeping may endure for the night
But if you trust in Jesus
Everything's gonna be all right
Just hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on
Hold on

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, in this ever-changing society where transition beckons us daily, You are the Changeless One. As we hold tightly to the hope we profess we will not be swayed to the right nor to the left. And we hold to this hope because You are faithful to Your Word and to Your divine character. Though the heavens are silent at times and the world continues to slide into decadence and intolerance toward true Christians we remain faithful. We will hold on a little while longer and shine as lights in this dark universe so that we can influence as many as possible. As we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess we will not give up due to weariness, weakness, or a wayward heart, for Your unchanging truth  makes the triumph sure. We joyfully have enlisted, led by Your grace divine. We are on our Lord's side, Father, we are Thine. Amen.

We share a few more photos of the nice scenery as a result of the snow and ice storm the last couple of days.

Winter scene from Nolt Road, Lancaster County, PA 2/4/14
This expansive scene is from Nolt Road east of Mount Joy.
(Click on photo for larger view)

Winter scene on Eby Chiques Road, Lancaster County, PA 2/4/14
Amish farms on Eby Chiques Road east of Mount Joy.
(Click on photo for larger view)

Backyard dogwood in snow 2/3/14
Our backyard dogwood sparkles in the snow.
(Click on photo for larger view)

Oak tree recovered after ice storm 2/6/14
Yesterday we shared a photo of one of our front oaks bowing heavily due to the snow and ice. We used this as an illustration of trials. Well, today all is well!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Hold On"  Video  Selah

"My Hope Is In You"  Video  Aaron Shust

"My Hope is in the LordVideo  Robin Mark

"My Life Is In You, Lord"  Video  Joseph Garlington

"My Hope Is In You Lord"  Video  Tommy Coomes Band

* "My Dog Suzy", a reflection I wrote many years ago about my dog Suzy.

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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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