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Friday, April 15, 2016

Moon (Photo by Ester Weber)
"The lesser light to rule the night" (Genesis 1:16)
Ester really enjoys photography. She was out with her tripod and camera  the other night and
captured this detailed image.

"Our Death Due Date"

Message Summary:
The main question in life is this: Are we ready to die? Are we prepared for the judgment? God has given us a will to decide and there is absolutely no decision we make in our lifetime that is greater than this one. As important as it is that we select the right marriage partner, our life's vocation, or other major life decisions, these pale in comparison to decisions regarding our eternal destiny. 

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him" (Hebrews 9:27,28).

Benjamin Franklin A friendly public service announcement from the staff at Daily Encouragement Net: Today in America taxes are due. Pennsylvanian Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to M. Leroy in 1789, famously observed: "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."  Well, Franklin certainly paid taxes during his lifetime and when he died just a year later on April 17, 1790 he personally proved and experienced the other certainty.

Here we are, over 200 years later, and there's no change in Franklin's two certainties. Today Americans are certainly reminded of and likely dealing with the certainty of taxes! For my entire life April 15 has represented the tax due date, although this year it's April 18! (See here for why)

Death due dateIt may seem like this is a less than encouraging subject but today let us consider our death due date. What if we all had our death due date prominently displayed on our forehead? I imagine women would wear bangs all the time and men everywhere would always wear hats. It's interesting to think of how conversations would go. You meet someone and try to politely avoid looking at their death due date but curiosity overrules and you find yourself discreetly noting the date on their forehead (while they're doing the same with you). You see it and, as you feign interest in your conversation, you're actually doing some mental calculating, determining how much longer the person has to live.

Well, of course we were not born with this date notably engraved on our bodies. Aren't you grateful for that!  The date has not been revealed to us, but we most certainly have one and we can be certain that God knows it. Our death due date is expressed in Scripture in the straightforward phrase: "Man is destined to die once." Other versions use the word appointed or ordained.  It's in the present tense indicating a fact which is continually true.

Hearse with Uhaul
Another certainty is expressed by the Apostle Paul, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1 Timothy 6:7). But most people really don't live their lives as if this were true! The other day I was riding with a group of friends and we passed a hearse. I noticed that it did not have a UHaul behind it.

The main question is this: Are we ready to die? Are we prepared for the judgment? This is a certainty that Benjamin Franklin didn't note. God has given us a will to decide and there is absolutely no decision we make in our lifetime that is greater than this one. As important as it is that we select the right marriage partner, our life's vocation, or other major life decisions, these pale in comparison to decisions regarding our eternal destiny. 

The decision is to personally believe in Christ, receive Him as our Lord and Savior and daily live our lives for Him. This leads to another wonderful certainty: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). We hope you have all made this decision. 

But if somehow you have come across this brief message and haven't done so, or you are uncertain of your salvation through faith in Christ, we strongly urge you to examine your heart today. Remember, we all have a death due date! God’s instruction from His Holy Word properly prepares us for the most important date of our human existence.  Let’s be ready.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, it will take my entire life on earth and all of eternity to express my love and devotion to You. In Your great love and compassion You saw my need for redemption and paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross in my place. You paid in full the sin debt You did not owe so that I could receive complete forgiveness which I did not deserve. What indescribable peace this brings to my life on this earthly pilgrimage. Although I do not know my death due date I have an assurance of eternal life when You have destined to call me home, not because of what I've done or who I am, but because You gave Your all for me! I receive that gift from You today!  Amen.

On this very date
April 15, 1775

"RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer...to confess the sins...to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven."

By Order of the [Massachusetts] Provincial Congress,

John Hancock, President

Florence Bogden 6/4/10
Well done, good and faithful servant.
We received new this week that Florence Bogden has gone home to be with the Lord.  When we began our ministry in Pennsylvania in 1977 Florence and her late husband Stephen pastored in Clearfield, a neighboring community about 35 miles away. They befriended us and were a great source of encouragement as we planted a church. Several years later they moved to Philadelphia and Stephen served as the pastor of the historic Highway Tabernacle near the Center City for many years where they had an outstanding ministry serving the Lord faithfully and impacting many lives for Christ. On a couple of occasions we took groups of young people from our church in rural northern PA on mission trips to assist them and give the kids from a small town the taste of ministry in a big city. Pastor Stephen and Florence especially had a ministry befriending international students from area colleges and hosting them in their home. This photo was taken about six years ago when Florence was in her mid-eighties. We received many warm letters from her over the years. We rejoice greatly in her wonderful glorious promotion, for she suffered severely over the past 15 years or so with crippling arthritis. Now she is walking and leaping and praising God on streets of gold!

Jeremiah 29:11
Yesterday we stopped by the Village Farm Market and admired some new Scripture signs which they kindly took off the wall for us to photograph.

Recess at an Amish one room schoolhouse 4/14/16
A great scene in rural Lancaster County is the Amish children playing outside during recess.

Recess at an Amish one room schoolhouse 4/14/16
They were playing softball

Some of our chaplaincy friends.
Val-Co assemblers 4/14/16
Assemblers at Val-Co
We enjoy the international aspect of our service. In this photo we have an American Indian, Puerto Rican, Russian, Lancaster County native and South African.

Vallorbs machine operators 4/14/16
Machine operators at Vallorbs
In another plant we have a Kenyan, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Laotian and Dominican Republic

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"10,000 Reasons"  Video  Matt Redman  This song has been immensely popular the last several years. Especially pertinent to today's message is a verse that states.

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

"Going Home"  Video  Bill Gaither and Tanya Goodman Sykes

"What a Day That Will Be"  Video 

Note: The model who volunteered the forehead for our death due date photo chooses to remain anonymous.

Yesterday's photo of the animal in the tree was actually a black cat, although you may have thought it was a black bear or Puma!

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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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