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Friday, February 27, 2015

Farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
This morning we passed this beautiful farm in southern Lancaster County.
(Click for larger photo)

"Going Home"

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"We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it" (2 Corinthians 5:7-9).

Many times in my childhood when we've traveled so far
By nightfall how weary I'd grown
Father's arms would slip around me and gently he'd say
My child we're going home

I don't have a lot of childhood memories of long trips. We lived in the Midwest and almost all of our travel were in states adjacent to Missouri. But we made two long trips. Once with my Mom and little sister to see our older brother Mike in California. He and his wife had just had a baby, the first grandchild, and we took the train out while my dad stayed home to work.

Children sleeping in carThe other trip was in a car with my mom and dad to see our other older brother Pat who was in the military and stationed in South Carolina. Looking back on that trip it's hard now to imagine how many miles we travelled. My mom didn't drive and my sister and I were too young to drive so Dad did all the driving. The last day we visited Washington DC and stayed in western Virginia that evening. Early the next morning we got up and headed home. Dad drove all the way about 900 miles so he could go to work the next day. I can't recall anything about that leg of the trip and assumed I slept a good part of it (Please note: Photo is for illustrative purposes only and is not really my sister and me in 1967!)

“Who wants to go home?” is a question we often ask following a long trip or certainly after a stay at the hospital. Home generally conveys a message of comfort, warmth and safety where we envision just being ourselves, relaxing and shutting out the busyness of the world. Home for many of us is a haven. "It's great to be home!" is what we say after being away for a while.

We love our home. Sure we enjoy our rural location and the house we live in, but primarily it's the family God has given us that brings warmth and comfortable acceptance to our home. We hope many of our readers share that same sentiment.

Landis Homes
Last Sunday afternoon I opened the service at Longwood Manor by sharing a story that took place shortly after we moved to Lancaster County in 2001. An employee had asked me to visit her grandmother who was dealing with cancer and lived in "Landis Homes" (one of the many huge senior housing complexes in our area). I located her room number and knocked on her door. She warmly welcomed me into her room where the Bible laid on her table which caught my eye immediately. After visiting a few minutes I shared a Scripture from her Bible and prayed with her.

Like so many of the elderly, she expressed how much she missed her own home but she made a great statement of faith with a contented state of mind. As we visited in her very modest, but tastefully decorated room, I complimented her living arrangements. Afterward she said with a tone of acceptance: "This is fine for now… after all, it's not my permanent home."

I knew what she meant. She didn't anticipate returning to her own home or ever moving into a bigger apartment. Clearly when she referred to her "permanent home" she meant her eternal home in heaven. What a healthy spiritual outlook and example of contentedness! Although I have long lost contact I am quite sure she is likely in her permanent home.

Going home, I'm going home
There is nothing to hold me here
I've caught a glimpse of that Heavenly land
Praise God, I'm going home

We should all have a longing for our permanent home. Paul refers to it in our daily text as his preference: “To be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

He's including other believers in his statement (notice the personal pronoun "we").  We are both confident we will be and indeed would prefer to be at home with the Lord. Paul is contrasting this with our present physical life where "we are at home in the body" (v. 9).

Bible teacher Erwin Lutzer writes concerning our arrival home with the Lord, "At death we cross from one territory to another, but we'll have no trouble with visas. Our representative is already there, preparing for our arrival. As citizens of heaven, our entrance is incontestable."

Now the twilight is fading, the day soon shall end
Lord, I get homesick, the farther I roam
But the Father has led me each step of the way
And now I'm going home

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we’re abundantly grateful for our earthly dwellings where we find pleasure, companionship, comfort, rest and sustenance. If we’re not intentional, we will give more time and affection to our temporal home than our future eternal home. Perhaps it's because we're living in the here and now and the future seems so distant and unfamiliar. Help us not to fear the future nor foolishly think it will not come, but to embrace it so that we are prepared when that moment comes. May our heart's yearning, our primary focus, and our physical labors also have heavenly goals each day as we seek to live for You daily.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Robert Grant
Obfuscation: Yesterday I shared a message about obfuscation and the need for discernment. I purposefully began with a true but misleading story to illustrate what obfuscation is (making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, or harder to interpret"). I truly know Robert Grant, who is a friend from college and it is true that Robert Grant wrote the hymn "O Worship The King". However as astute, discerning readers noted it is not the same Robert Grant!!! The first Robert Grant is my age while Robert Grant (photo to right), the hymnwriter, was born in 1779.

David Penley, a Texan friend and careful reader elaborates: "I have been a Southern Baptist from the cradle roll in my first church, and we have sung "O Worship the King" as long as I can remember. It is one of my most dearly loved hymns. So I wondered how the Robert Grant you knew could have written it. I did further research. What can I say? I'm a professor. It's what I do. I can't help myself. I have in my library a book entitled "Handbook of the Baptist Hymnal" which relates the story behind every song in our hymnal. The song was indeed written by Robert Grant - Sir Robert Grant. He was born in 1779, was a member of the British Parliament and Governor of Bombay when India was under English rule. He wrote the song in 1833, the year before he became governor of Bombay and was knighted. He died in India in 1838.

Thanks to all who replied. We're pleased to see that we have many "Berean" readers/students.

Today following a chaplain visit we drove through scenic southern Lancaster County.

Amish farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
An Amish farm in southern Lancaster County.
(Click for larger photo)

Firewood wagon on Amish farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
This Amish family was running out of firewood on these cold days.
(Click for larger photo)

Collie and wagon on Amish farm in southern Lancaster County PA 2/27/15
A collie peacefully resting on this beautiful but cold day. Somehow this setting reminds me of what we might have viewed from the old series, "Lassie". Make sure you click to see the old tire swing.
(Click for larger photo)

Covered bridge and Amish buggy
Amish buggy entering into White Rock Covered Bridge.
There's the distinct sound of the clickety-clack of horseshoes on the wooden bridge deck!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Going Home"   Video   Bill Gaither with some of the old-timers, several who have gone on to their permanent home.

"Home Where I Belong"  Video  Mark Lowry

"But You're Not Home Yet!"

This moving story took place about 100 years ago that makes us pause and consider where our home really is.

An old missionary couple who had been working in Africa for many years returned to New York City to retire. With no pension and broken in health, they were discouraged and somewhat fearful of the future.

They happened to be booked on the same ship as Teddy Roosevelt who was returning from a big-game hunting expedition. They watched the passengers trying to glimpse the great man, the crew fussing over him, photographers flashing their oversized cameras…

Back at the dock in New York locals squeezed into every available space, the band with their instruments positioned to break into celebratory music as the president departed the ship. Yet the missionary couple who had given their all to reach the African people for Christ slipped off the ship completely unnoticed.

That night, in a cheap flat they rented on the East Side, the man's spirit finally broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly."  His wife, no longer able to cope with his agitated spirit, suggested he go into the bedroom and speak to the Lord about that which he was feeling.

A short time later he walked out of the bedroom with a brighter countenance.  His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"

"The Lord settled it with me," he said. "I told Him how bitter I was that the president should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one was present to meet us as we returned home.  And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But you're not home yet!'"

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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