The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Work Horse on an Amish Farm.
I took this photo last Sunday when I visited Eli and Kate's farm.
"Friends On Earth And Friends Above"
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"For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Yesterday some friends stopped by and we enjoyed visiting for a few minutes. Brooksyne and I are blessed with many friends; locally, distant, overseas and even in cyberspace including those of you who drop us a line here and there. As we get older we especially value our long-term friendships. But we also enjoy making new friends as well.
There's a hymn many of us have sung with an interesting line. "Friends on earth and friends above." Do you recognize what hymn this line comes from? (We''ll tell you below!).
We easily identify with the words "Friends on earth". Some we see regularly, others less frequently. Social media has given us the ability to stay connected easier and in some cases connect again with long lost friends. But we still prefer old-fashioned face to face fellowship with our friends.
What a blessing friends are. A great line from the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life" states, "No man is a failure who has friends."
But as we age we have more and more "friends above". The hymnwriter here is surely referring to those who have gone on to be with the Lord. Throughout life this lists grows till there's a point our "friends above" exceed "friends on earth". Our seniors at the nursing home tell us they have more friends and family in heaven than here on earth. I like the story about the elderly lady in the nursing home that was living long on this side and was worried that her "friends above" would think she didn't make it!
I have two friends who are now in their 80's. They didn't know each other most of their lives but in the last several years have become good friends. Of course we continue to develop new friendships along the way and expect that many of these will also become long-term.
Our daily text speaks of a future event all believers look forward to. It's a time when "friends on earth and friends above" will gather in heaven.
It's a familiar passage dealing with what is commonly called the rapture. Today though we want to consider especially this thought, "We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."
This describes a great gathering of family and friends who are redeemed; a time when "friends on earth and friends above" will converge together with Jesus in their midst. It will be the ultimate gathering and will include several notable, distinct features, unlike any gathering ever held here on earth:
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I consider the character traits that make a healthy friendship: loyalty, compassion, kindness, honesty, patience, forgiveness and a listening ear are just a few of the qualities that are evident in a good friendship. There are so many stories in the Gospels where these qualities are easily seen in the friendships Jesus had with the disciples and others. May the foundation of my friendships be based on godly traits as I come alongside my friends to encourage, challenge, inspire, and stimulate them toward good works in Your name. Amen.
"Friends On Earth And Friends Above"
Do you recognize the hymn where this line comes from? (See below)
"Friends on earth"
Yesterday afternoon our friends Ken and Nila and children stopped by for a few minutes. They had been working at his parent's house in anticipation of an open house on Saturday. His parents, Luke and Anna Mae, now reside in Longwood Manor, a nursing facility we serve as chaplains. Just an few weeks ago we were preparing to say good-bye on this side as he was nearing death at our local Hospice. But God had other plans and restored him. He is back at Longwood much stronger and he continues to be a blessing to those around him. We met his son, Ken, right after we moved to Lancaster County in 2001 and he has been a tremendous blessing to our church and to us personally. He married Nila several years later and we have enjoyed watching the family grow. We saw each of these children on the day they made their entrance into the world, including David, the son in the middle, whose 8th birthday is today! Happy Birthday!
David, the oldest son, on the day of his birth in 2007.
Fifteen years ago this month our friend Bill Shibilo went to be with the Lord. He was a longtime faithful member of the church we served in New England during the nineties. He and his wife Veda, who is still living, were very supportive of our ministry. We thank God for our "friends above". Not only are we looking forward to the reunion, but Ester can hardly wait to see Bro. Bill again. In this photo he is graciously and voluntarily preparing our garden, located right next to the side of the church we pastored in Taunton, MA (part of our small yard). Our parsonage was on the other side of this photo. Ester always enjoyed chatting with him and staying with them.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
The line "Friends on earth and friends above" comes from the third stanza of...
"For The Beauty Of The Earth" Video
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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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