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August 17, 2018

Knoebels Park 8/15/18 (Click to enlarge)
A view of Knoebels Park from the ski lift
(Click to enlarge)

"Whatever Happened To Joseph?"

Message summary: Ultimately it's God who opens and closes doors. What peace that brings to the quivering heart!  Let us all keep serving God in whatever door He opens and trust that He knows best when a door is closed.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

"'Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.' So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. And they prayed and said, 'You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.' And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:21-26).

As you get older you find yourself saying, "I wonder whatever happened to ________?, (a high school or college friend, someone in a former church, a work associate, etc.) Then if you're a member of Facebook you go and see if you can find them there. And sometimes you can! Brooksyne has reconnected with cousins she had lost touch with since before we married so some of her "I wonder how, where....." and other such wonderings have been answered.

Today we'd like to know whatever happened to Joseph, perhaps asking a question few have given any thought to. There are several Josephs in the Bible but this Joseph is a man whose name appears only in the first chapter of Acts and then disappears. The only reference given to this particular Joseph; he was a disciple who had been with the Lord from the beginning of His ministry and witnessed His resurrection. These are pretty astounding credentials.

He, along with Matthias, was being considered for a very important job. Actually, the opportunity of a lifetime. The disciples had an opening to fill among the Twelve and he and Matthias were up for it. Here's the Scripture reference, "So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias." After an earnest prayer and a selection procedure Matthias was chosen.

I wonder what happened to Joseph? Did he get bitter or resentful? Was he envious of Matthias? Did he question the fairness of the selection process? Did he stew, "Life just isn't fair".

Or did he go on, like millions have since his time, and faithfully serve the Lord the remainder of his life in relative obscurity? We really expect this to be the case.

And I believe there are a lot of people like Joseph. Really, each of us can relate in one way or another. We've all had disappointments haven't we? That job offer that fell through, the personal rejection that still stings, that election or promotion that went to the "other guy".

How we handle it is what really matters. Sometimes it is made clear to us why a door didn't open, though not always immediate, but more often over time. At times more training or skills were needed for a particular job situation. There are those circumstances where God was protecting us from a potential danger we ourselves could not see at the time.

We've found both in house hunting and in pastoral ministry that God closed the doors we had hoped to walk through only to provide a much better opportunity that was not available at the time. The above examples and many more turn into life lessons that can't be learned just by reading a book or taking a written examination.

Ultimately it's God who opens and closes doors. What peace that brings to the quivering heart!  Let us all keep serving God in whatever door He opens and trust that He knows best when a door is closed.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we desire to have You guide us in the paths of righteousness that lead us in the way everlasting; where we can be of value to others and find inward fulfillment as well. Sometimes the next step we take is clearly visible and other times it is a step of faith when darkness seems to veil Your leading. As we earnestly pray we can trust You who stills the tempest and turns darkness into light. We pray for discernment, just as the apostles did when having to choose between Joseph and Matthias. We want a good spirit to follow Your leading in all matters, no matter the outcome. Amen.

Of course today's question "Whatever happened to ________?" could apply to many Bible characters including Joseph, who married Mary and to Matthias.

Some scenes from Knoebels Amusement Park

Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family-owned and operated amusement park, picnic grove, and campground in Elysburg, Pennsylvania (here on Google map). It is and has been America's largest free-admission park for 91 years of operation. Opened in 1926, the park has more than 60 rides, three wooden roller coasters, one steel roller coaster, a 1913 carousel, and a haunted house dark ride.

Knoebels Park entrance 8/15/18
Wednesday morning we took five of the children we often speak of to Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. After the long ride up from Lancaster County they were more than ready to go when they entered the park!

Knoebels Park 8/15/18
They were off on their own for the first several hours but we met them coming up the ski lift as we were going down.

Knoebels Park ride with Lizzie 8/15/18
We gathered together again after meeting the children on the ski lift and had lunch together. Lizzie the youngest was ready to join us for a while and let her older siblings do the more adventuresome rides. She managed to get each of us to ride with her on a ride that was not necessarily scary but sure got us dizzy, which is not a good idea especially after lunch.

Knoebels Park ride with Lizzie 8/15/18
You saw Brooksyne smiling in the photo above before the balloons took off, went up and swirled them around. Her smile quickly faded to looking like she needed to get off before she lost the lunch she ate just before the ride!

Knoebels Park flood levels 8/15/18
Knoebels Park is an example of perseverance. Here is a marker with flood levels through the years. They will need to update this as they have had floods the last several weeks which temporarily closed the park.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Will Carry You"
  Video  Brian Free and Assurance  In our view Brian Free is one of the best tenors in Gospel Music!

Knoebel's Amusement Park  For several years we have taken the kids up to Knoebels each summer and they really look forward to the trip. It's a park in a mountainous, wooded area with an old-fashioned feel similar to the amusement parks we went to as children. A neat feature is that entrance to the park is free and you can buy tickets just for the rides you want or if you plan on riding a lot you can get an all-day pass.

Finally today:

Our photo quiz on Wednesday was apparently way too easy for our Daily Encouragement readers. As everyone answered correctly, it was a huge mushroom growing in our backyard!
With all the conflict in our world isn't it great to see people getting along? I saw these two Val-Co machine operators enjoying a break together yesterday morning. One is from the Dominican Republic, the other from Vietnam.

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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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