The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, March 20, 2015
Sunset over Catalina Island from pier at San Clemente, California
(Click for larger photo)
Note: Today is the first day of spring but we wrap things up early Friday afternoon it's snowing!
"The Kingdom That Can't Be Shaken"
Listen to this message on your audio player. (Note: I failed to update the link for yesterday's podcast. The podcast for that message is here.)
"The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:27,28).
Yesterday after a couple of very early morning chaplain calls I (Stephen) attended an all-day conference sponsored by the American Pastor's Network, an organization equipping pastors and other Christian leaders, to stand faithful for Biblical teaching. It was a powerful day with many inspiring speakers including George Barna, David Barton and evangelist Sammy Tippet.
The last presentation was from Steve Scheibner, a speaker I had never heard of before who began his speech with "In My Seat"; one of the most powerful, moving videos I have ever seen. It includes a compelling presentation of the gospel. The video is on YouTube and, when you have about 15 minutes, it is well worth watching. The link to the video is below or here (but please return to read our message)!
Steve is a pilot for American Airlines who was initially scheduled to co-pilot Flight 11 on September 11, 2001 from Boston to Los Angeles. "In My Seat" recounts the events leading up to Flight 11 and the subsequent death of Tom McGuinness who was in the pilot's seat that should have been filled by Steve Scheibner.
That brought to mind an email I received shortly after 9/11/01 from Tom McGuinness' wife Cheryl. She had been receiving the daily encouragements and wrote to thank me (at that time Brooksyne was not involved in the writing). She gave me permission to share her story which demonstrates the mysteries of God's Providence. One Christian pilot was saved to live longer on this earth while another was promoted to heaven.
September 11 started out as a beautiful day when the usual morning routine began for Cheryl and her husband, Tom. He kissed her goodbye and left for work very early that morning. Cheryl and Tom, along with their two children, had committed their lives to Christ years earlier. A pilot with American Airlines, Tom had a routine transcontinental flight from Boston to LA. As he took off in the aircraft and headed west across Massachusetts they, along with all Americans, were about to experience a tremendous shaking.
You see, Tom piloted American Airlines flight 11 from the very seat that Steve Scheibner had initially been assigned to. Flight 11 was the first plane that flew into the World Trade Center before 9 AM that morning. Cheryl pointed out that it's quite possible that Tom was the first of the thousands killed by terrorists on September 11, 2001. His body was destroyed like all those on board the plane but, as a redeemed believer, Tom's spirit was ushered into the kingdom that cannot be shaken. Cheryl tells her story in a remarkable online testimony of overcoming and has written a book titled, "Beauty Beyond The Ashes".
I have heard it said that reality ultimately consists of two things; that which can be shaken and that which cannot. We can also narrow it down to this: all that we see with our physical eyes can be shaken.
The daily text acknowledges the reality of the shaking of the created order that we have all experienced, although some like Cheryl, in a far more stunning way. Consider your life for a few minutes. Look back over those periods of severe shakings. Some surely have had more severe types and perhaps even a greater frequency of "shakings". However there will be very few reading this that can't identify with the concept of being shaken. This morning I visited with a friend who lost a grandson in an auto accident several years ago and we recalled what a shaking time that was for his family.
We so want to avoid the shakings, but a "no shaking promise" is not made in Scripture. Quite the contrary, Jesus warns that believers will have trouble in this world. But we can find comfort as we look at Scriptures that point to a future date when "shakings" will become a thing of the past.
In the latter part of the daily text we are greatly encouraged by these words, "We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken". We must intentionally focus on the eternal, spiritual realm; on the "kingdom that cannot be shaken". It's in the everyday routine of life that we often come upon an unexpected shaking that will detour us from the smooth life we mapped out for ourselves. But as long as our life's map is tucked into the palm of His hand no unplanned event, setback, conflict or major disappointment will foil our future plan of abiding forever and ever in God's "kingdom that cannot be shaken."
We are "receiving" this kingdom and the present tense verb is quite significant. Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come". Our journey through this life is but a transition to the future eternal Kingdom God has prepared for us, one that cannot be shaken. As we get older we are keenly aware of how quickly life passes, but I am also convinced that very early in eternity we will recognize even more so the brevity of our earthly journey. But for now it's all we know, and during difficult periods, it seems long and wholly significant.
Today I encourage each reader to keep the eternal perspective. We are receiving this kingdom! It's a definite certainty. Therefore "let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe".
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, today we are thankful for our journey here below. We also thank You for our future heavenly dwelling where we will live in an unshakable kingdom that has no end, where sin and its awful consequences cannot enter, where we will worship You with reverence and awe throughout the myriad of time. How good it is that we can also worship You here with reverence and awe, with thanksgiving and praise even as we live in the midst of a world filled with sin, even as we praise You from a heart that plays tug of war with the enemy of our soul. We want to be purposeful and focus on that which cannot diminish over time, that which has eternal value, and that which will grow our love and devotion to You, our loving Father and Redeemer of our soul. Amen.
More scenes from our visit in Southern California
Today we will share our final set of photos from our trip.
We realized that during our trip we rode in our car to get to the airport, on planes to get there and back, shuttle bus, rental car, train trolley, trolley bus, tour bus and SEAL boat. Thus we traveled by land, water and air! (The SEAL boat was much like the duck boats, commonly used in other areas. It travels on both land and water.)
Monday we returned to San Diego from San Clemente for our final full day. This is the drive beside the harbor and we both noticed the beauty of the straight rows of palm trees.
A photo of us taken by the tour guide during the SEAL tour
We saw several large navy ships leave San Diego
Sea Lions sunbathing
As we walked along the harbor we saw a most unusual sport called Flyboard.
We didn't get a clear photo but, if you look carefully, you'll see a man at the top of the surging water hose. Fascinating to watch, we even saw a couple doing it together. This is a fun sport for young bodies, a bit more unappealing for those of us who are not as limber in our growing years. The man in the photo even did flips in the air and came back up on the "flyboard".
San Diego Harbor. We were impressed with this thriving cactus that stood alone amidst hundreds of thousands of rocks all along the shoreline.
We stopped at a scenic view along I-5 in Camp Pendelton and were mobbed by friendly squirrels and seagulls wanting a bite to eat. Any ideas for a caption for this photo? Suggest here.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"When My World Is Shaking" Video J.J. Heller
"In My Seat" - A Pilot's Story from Sept 10th - 11th Video (This is the video referred to in the message. We encourage you to watch it.)
Steve Scheibner's ministry "Character Health" website
"Beauty Beyond the Ashes – Choosing Hope After Crisis" Cheryl McGuinness ministry
American Pastor's Network (The organization that sponsored the conference I was at yesterday)
Flyboard World Champion Video (This is the new water sport we saw in the harbor)
We had a wonderful time during our California visit and we met many nice people. Although the traffic was, as expected, very congested we even had good road experiences overall. Drivers seemed especially courteous of pedestrians (with a few exceptions!) It was interesting that motorcycles just ride between the traffic which seems like it's already on narrower lanes than we're accustomed to. At times I was concerned they would scrape our car. Some roads even had 8 lanes on each side! What a contrast from our Kraybill Church Road which can go a long time without any traffic and then it just might be a horse and buggie!
We did see a couple of interesting sights which struck us. I won't show the photos on this page but if you're interested (or just plain curious) you can go here and here and draw your own conclusions.
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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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