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Thursday, October 19, 2017

New River Bridge, West Virginia Photo by Keith Felizzi
New River Bridge, West Virginia

Photo by Keith Felizzi

"An Accomplished Life"

Message summary: "Christians should have their work accomplished, and when that hour approaches, have nothing to do but to die, and return to their Father in heaven." (Albert Barnes)

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"I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4).

Keith Felizzi 10/17/17We enjoy visiting people at work and see many who share our faith. Although we look for the opportunity to provide spiritual input we also hope to encourage others by just showing interest in their lives.

Keith is a project manager in one of our companies and an adventurous "empty nester". He shared with me a couple of weeks ago that over the weekend, he and his wife had taken a long motorcycle ride down to Skyline Drive in Virginia and then over to the New River Bridge in West Virginia.

We visited the New River Bridge this past summer and it is a remarkable sight. I asked Keith if he knew about the annual "Bridge Day" which is this coming Saturday, October 21. The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic and open to pedestrians. It's a huge event with some 100,000 visitors and activities like BASE jumping, a zipline and rappelling from the bridge. Keith's eyes lit up and he informed me that an activity like this was on his "bucket list". He plans to go to "Bridge Day" next year so we may have a story about that!

Bucket list is a term that has become popular the last several years. It describes things you want to do or places you want to see before you die or "kick the bucket". The Merriam-Webster definition is "a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying".

Actually I don't have a bucket list in part due to being influenced by my older brother Mike, who for some reason despises the term. But I do tease him by describing my most mundane life experiences as having been on my bucket list! The one thing I provide caution to, in regard to having a bucket list, is the sense a life is incomplete until these items are achieved. There's a lot I would like to do but will probably never accomplish but I don't want to live my life with a sense it's not complete until I do certain things.

New River Bridge rappellingKeith was excited about a jumping activity off a bridge 876 feet above the New River, the highest bridge in the East and only about 75 feet less than the Royal Gorge Bridge over the Arkansas River which we crossed about 15 years ago. The Duge Bridge in China is currently the tallest at 1,854 feet but I don't expect to cross that anytime soon let alone jump off it. At this point in life I certainly don't have any interest in jumping off anything more than a couple of feet off the ground!

What's on your bucket list? Many of you have one and I am sure bucket list items would be as varied as we are.

At risk of seeming somewhat sacrilegious I wonder if the Lord had a bucket list when He lived upon this earth?

On the one hand as the Creator He could say, "Been there, done that." On the other hand in His humanity he saw a relatively tiny portion of the earth geographically. He also would not have experienced many of the activities we now deem "must do" since they hadn't been invented yet! But most importantly He fully accomplished His mission.

The daily text is taken from our Lord's High Priestly prayer. He makes a remarkable statement,
"I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do."

What a powerful statement! There's so much we may wonder as to why His life was cut short in His relative young adult years and the additional teaching we would have if He had just lived longer as a human. But He was confident and expressed that He had accomplished the work His father had ordained for Him.

Now consider your own life and your most important accomplishments. The Psalmist declared, "My times are in Your hand" (Psalm 31:15). "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them" (Psalm 139:16).

Bible teacher Albert Barnes who ran his course of life in the 1800's has an interesting note on this passage: "When He (Christ) says 'I have finished' He probably means to include also His death. All the preparations for that death were made. He had preached to the Jews; He had given them full proof that He was the Messiah; He had collected His disciples; He had taught them the nature of His religion; He had given them His parting counsel, and there was nothing remaining to be done but to return to God. We see here that Jesus was careful that His great and important work should be done before His dying hour. He did not postpone it to be performed just as He was leaving the world. So completely had He done His work, that even before His death he could I say, 'I have finished the work.' How happy would it be if men would imitate His example, and not leave their great work of life to be done on a dying bed? Christians should have their work accomplished, and when that hour approaches, have nothing to do but to die, and return to their Father in heaven."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we're thankful for the adventures, sights and experiences we have while traveling here below. There are things we've yet to experience and places we've yet to visit, and our wish list will likely include plans that will never unfold on this side of eternity. Our times are in Your hand. In Your book were written all the days ordained for us before we even drew our first breath. May we find peace and satisfaction with a heart of thanksgiving for all the pleasurable experiences we've enjoyed here below, for that which is yet to come, and for the greatest eternal adventure that awaits us over yonder. In the name of Jesus our Saviour we pray. Amen.

Albert Barnes also wrote, "Praise now is one of the great duties of the redeemed. It will be their employment forever."

On a walk through our rural neighborhood yesterday afternoon Brooksyne took some photos of the autumn decorations.

Autumn garden cart 10/18/17
For many years we have enjoyed decorating the garden cart in front of our home

Autumn decoration 10/18/17

A good use for old wooden boxes and an old bushel basket!

Autumn decoration 10/18/17
This pump and old water basin provides a good setting for this Mum.
Easy to water also!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

John 17:4 in a variety of translations.

"Between Twelve And Thirty-Three"  Video  The McKameys This song is about as country sounding as you can get, but the words and message of this song is very interesting in considering our Lord's "silent years" and how He accomplished His Father's purpose. The lead singer is in her 80's and started singing with the group in 1954!

Our photos of the New River Bridge taken last summer are here  Crossing the New River Bridge was not nearly as frightening as crossing the Royal Gorge bridge for me. That's not because a bridge collapsing at 876 feet would feel much different than one collapsing at 955 feet! When we approached the Royal Gorge Bridge you immediately sense the deep canyon below and can look out over it as it is only a two lane road. In crossing the New River Bridge concrete jersey barriers kept us from seeing over plus the outside lanes were closed on the four lane road when we were there!

Bridge Day at the New River Bridge

New River Bridge is here (google map)

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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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