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Friday, December 29, 2017

Anchor in Plimouth Harbor
Anchor in Plimouth Harbor, Massachusetts
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Anchor For The Soul"

Message summary: Faith in Christ will keep us steady in the stormy sea of change!

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"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19). 

Today in this final Daily Encouragement message for 2017 we continue with the second of a three-part series based on the daily verse. It has long been a favorite Scripture verse for many, us included, and for 2018 we are making it our
personal annual theme verse. Our brief consideration of this verse will span the ending of 2017 and beginning of 2018.

Yesterday we considered the words, "We have this hope". As we move through the annual transition of one year to the next what a tremendous blessing to be able to say,
"We have this hope!"

Hebrews 6:19 plaque
The writer of Hebrews goes on to illustrate this hope with the words, "as an anchor for the soul."

"Anchor" translates the Greek word ankur (ἄγκυρ). So this is a case when the word sounds the same in English as it would have in the Greek. It is used several times to denote a literal anchor during Paul's shipwreck experience in Acts 27 but this is the only place in Scripture that "anchor" is used figuratively. Yet the anchor theme is popular among devotional writers and songwriters probably because it's such an easily understood illustration and visual as well.

In the Greek secular world during the New Testament age anchors symbolized hope. In the text it is used as a vivid picture of that which supports and keeps one steadfast in the midst of waves of doubt or stormy trials. If you fear, if you doubt, place all your trust in Christ: the Anchor who holds the past, present and future. The anchor was an ancient Christian symbol for safety, security, and hope. (Joseph Thayer)

Adding to yesterday's list let us consider four more blessings (though there are many more) concerning our hope in Christ:

1) Our hope in Christ is a secure hope.  Many things on earth claim to be secure. Politicians promise us security, financial gurus claim to provide financial security, we strive for job security, companies advertise products for home security, and here in the US we have a government program called Social Security and the list of promises of security goes on and on. But you know what? None of them are really secure (as many testify of their experiences that proved otherwise)! Only in Christ do we have the hope of real, lasting security. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).

2) Our hope in Christ is a sufficient hope. When we write these messages it's heartening to share truths that are not limited to a specific region, race, language, economic status, education or the scores of other things that differentiate us. If you are reading this our hope in Christ is sufficient for all that concerns us. He is "The hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas" (Psalm 65:5).

3) Our hope in Christ is a fulfilling hope. Consider disappointments you've experienced this past year. We've all had them. Some may come to mind as you read this. But be blessed by these two verses! "I am the LORD; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed" (Isaiah 49:23). "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us" (Romans 5:5). (Note: It's a challenge to find a satisfying antonym for disappoint but we chose fulfill!)

4) Our hope in Christ is a comforting hope. We've all experienced disappointments and many have experienced significant losses, including that of a loved one or perhaps a spouse due to a break-up. Such a loss can often lead to deep grief and distress. Receive great comfort from this verse, "O Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress" (Jeremiah 14:8). God's delight is to administer comfort to wounded souls. The Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote it this way in his hymn, "Come Ye Disconsolate", "Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal".

Hope, Hope, Hope for all nations.
Hope, hope for every need.
Hope, hope for the life that's been broken.
He's always been, forever He'll be.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, there are experiences in our life's journey that crush our spirit and wound our souls. There are times when it seems there's no hope for a situation we're called to endure, but we believe You are the Healer and the Comforter who gives us all-sufficient hope to believe even when matters seem impossible. The Psalmist reassures us with the consoling words, "He heals the broken-hearted and they cry no more." Our hope in You brings great encouragement for the days and years ahead because it is timeless, secure, sufficient, fulfilling and comforting for anything we have experienced over this past year and for that which we'll face in the coming year of 2018. Keep us steady, holding to the Anchor of our soul, which is Jesus, the solid Rock. Amen.

Chocolate gravy and biscuits
Brooksyne's Note: I've been on a sentimental journey with my siblings via telephone and email as they live far away. My mom was the best cook and we've talked about some of our favorites including the peanut brittle she made every Christmas (I made several batches this year using pecans which I prefer over peanuts). The day after Christmas I decided to make some gravy and biscuits. That's no big deal for most from the south since it was included in our breakfast meals often. But once in a while Mom would treat us to Chocolate Gravy, which my four siblings and I loved! That stopped after I got married since Stephen doesn't think chocolate and gravy should be used in the same sentence, forget mixing the two in a skillet. I was recently skimming a Paula Deen recipe book and came across it and simply had to make it along with angel biscuits. If you want to try something different that your children will love and you as well (if your mind is open), here's the recipe:

"It's no secret that we Southerners love gravy with our biscuits. Here's one we can't live without" - Paula Deen:

CHOCOLATE GRAVY (enough for 6 to 8 servings, depending)
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter
2 C. whole milk (I used skim which was fine)

1. In small bowl whisk together sugar, coco, flour, and salt.
2. In large skillet, heat the butter over low heat. When butter is melted whisk in the sugar mixture. Whisk till dry ingredients are incorporated.
3. Slowly pour milk into skillet, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Stir till gravy is thickened and pour over angel biscuits (or you can dip your biscuits).

It is oh, so good!! Any biscuit recipe will do but if you want a biscuit that also tastes a little like a roll try this recipe. You can store your leftover biscuit dough in the fridge for a week and roll out as needed.

Donate to Daily Encouragement NetSpecial Year-end Financial Appeal: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.

To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376

Make A DonationPlease Note: We also provide this familiar option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states "Brooksyne Weber"

Thank you

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Hope For All Nations"  Video 
Karen Peck & New River   This song will bless and encourage you not only today but steady and increase your hope for the coming year. It's a song we can play over and over and be blessed each time.

"We Have An Anchor"  Video  Robin Marks

"I Have An Anchor"  Video 
Gold City

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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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