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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Communion Table decorations 9/4/16
A dear older sister in our church does an outstanding job of decorating our Communion Table. Do you notice all the ways people serve to make your church a pleasant place to worship?

"A Lesson From Bones"

Message Summary: Where is your home today? Who has your heart? Are you doing well in "Egypt"? So, how are you doing in your sojourn through "Egypt"? I hope you're remaining faithful to God, thriving in your Christian walk. We must remember where home is, where our true allegiance lies, and like Joseph, remember where our "bones" belong.

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"By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones" (Hebrews 11:22).

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

BBC Earth series I enjoy watching the nature series presented by the BBC. These outstanding documentary type films are on Netflix and are surely available as videos to rent or purchase. The photography is just amazing and the narration by Sir David Attenborough is stirring. His voice, its inflection and tone just makes you want to call him "Sir"! Now you do have to be aware of the indoctrination of a strictly naturalistic, evolutionary viewpoint but I am able to overcome that by the realization that all that is filmed is actually God's amazing creation! (see 2 Corinthians 4:4)

One video showed a group of elephants coming across the bones of a relative. Their movements, observations, and interest indicated their sense of recognition and respect. The adult elephants and their babies all seemed to indicate some awareness of this ancestor as they gently nuzzled their trunks against the bones.

Let us consider an account in the Scriptures concerning bones.

Today's rather obscure verse speaks powerfully regarding the imminence of death and the vital truth of knowing where our real home is. Of all the evidences the writer of Hebrews could use, from the Biblical account of Joseph to demonstrate his faith, this verse is the single instance in the "Faith Chapter".
"By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones."

This morning we received word of the passing of a friend, Sam Smucker. The somber words in our text
"when his end was near", candidly remind us of our own physical mortality. Each morning at 5:00AM the song "10,000 Reasons" awakens us, which includes this verse:

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

Joseph, prime minister
The story of Joseph is recorded in Genesis 37-50. As a youth Joseph was sold as a slave by his own jealous brothers. After some tough bumps and setbacks, over a period of thirteen years including a lengthy imprisonment, he rose to the position of Prime Minister in Egypt. He had power, wealth and prestige; a tremendous contrast to the years he spent in prison. Surely one would assume that living under these conditions in  Egypt, the dominant world empire at that time, this would have become his home.

Yet on his deathbed he had something else in mind. Long before the Egyptian bondage even began he was speaking of the Exodus. In Genesis 50:25 he made this request to his brothers; "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."  (From Egypt to the land of Canaan.)

Carrying Joseph's bones
Another rather obscure verse in Exodus reveals that this promise was faithfully kept over 400 years later! "Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, 'God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place'" (Exodus 13:19).  Can you imagine... this oath was faithfully repeated from generation to generation until its fulfillment 400 years later!

Can you imagine being assigned to carry those bones around? But they did and finally in Joshua 24:32 we read: "And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants."

Even though Joseph was a ruler in Egypt, he knew his home was elsewhere. He had last lived in Canaan as a lad of 17 but the teaching of his childhood had a remarkable, enduring impact on him. Although he had been the Prime Minister since he was 30 and died at 110, Egypt never really gripped his heart. He remembered where home was.

Where is your home today? Who has your heart? Are you doing well in "Egypt"? So, how are you doing in your sojourn through "Egypt"? I hope you're remaining faithful to God, thriving in your Christian walk. We must remember where home is, where our true allegiance lies, and like Joseph, remember where our "bones" belong.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, because the Scripture tells us so much about our future eternal homeland, we find ourselves homesick for a place we've never been. Perhaps that's because we've chosen to live as strangers in this world in reverential fear toward You, our holy God! Our hopes, our affections and our joys will be fully realized on the other side where Jesus will wipe away the tears from our eyes and we will know no sorrow, no suffering, no good-byes and no sin. Can't wait but will endure till you call us home! Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"All I Once Held Dear"  Video  Robin Mark

"Ten Thousand Reasons"  Video  Matt Redman

"Hello After Goodbye"  Video  Legacy Five  A very touching newer song (to us anyway) we just came across. Today we dedicate the song to a group of friends whose father, Sam Smucker, just passed to the other side. May they find great comfort in the anticipation of a future hello. We will write a tribute concerning Sam in a coming message.

"I Can Only Imagine"  Video  MercyMe

"Finally Home"  Video  MercyMe

"Homesick"  Video  

"Paul Grabill... His Life and Legacy" with background song "You Hold Me Now"  Video  This was the video tribute at the Memorial service for a longtime minister friend of mine. This, in our view, is an excellent example of a video tribute.

Nature series by BBC  I am watching the series on Netflix but you can get good samples on this site. "Elephants Grieving"  Video  BBC wildlife

BBC Earth YouTube Channel

"Has Joseph’s Tomb Been Found in Egypt?" An interesting article concerning archeological evidence for the discovery of Joseph's initial tomb prior to his bones being taken to Canaan. A 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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