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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Isaac Lightner Farmhouse, like so many, was a field hospital during and after the battle of Gettysburg. It is now a Bed and Breakfast Inn.

"But We See!"

Note: Due to a trip out of town Sunday and being away through Monday evening we did not prepare a Daily Encouragement message on Monday.

Message summary: 

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Sunday afternoon we visited Gettysburg, PA, the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place July 1-3, 1863. Gettysburg is only about 40 miles west of us and we periodically visit the famous battlefield from the Civil War. For several generations following the battle it was treated as a very sacred place but as generations are further removed it has developed a recreational vibe, especially since it's in such a beautiful area of our country. However the national battlefield still has over one million annual visitors. For the last several years there's been a more recent moral battle going on; whether or not to erect a casino there. *

"But we see" Gettysburg tombstone

As we walked through Gettysburg National Cemetery, the site where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address, we observed the seeming unending gravesites, many marked only by a number. But we especially took note of one that included a simple expression of faith on the tombstone of a chaplain who served in the war: "Now we see through a glass darkly… but we see!"

"For now we see through a glass, darkly" The first part of the phrase is based upon the daily text of Scripture. The apostle Paul is candidly writing of the partial sight and knowledge we have on this side. As we walk in faith we may indeed describe our human experience as that of seeing darkly and knowing only in part. Other versions translate the first phrase, "For now we see in a mirror dimly" (ESV); "For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma]" (Amplified).

The chaplain did not die in the war but saw the battle horrors first hand. He died about forty years afterwards. He surely carried those vivid battle scenes to his deathbed. Can you imagine the PTSD so many had that lived through that horrific experience. However his faith outlook is expressed in the simple epitath, "Now we see through a glass darkly...but we see!"

GPS on phoneWe all have matters in life that could be described as "seeing through a glass darkly". In these gloomy experiences we can choose to despair or place our faith in God, readily admitting that we see through a glass darkly. That's why we walk by faith and not by sight. Our faith is founded solidly upon the unchanging, ever dependable Word of God that is our roadmap or for an illustration more contemporary, our GPS, when the road ahead is dark and foggy. Regardless of our less than clear view of what lies ahead we should always see and view the Word of God as our GPS!

"Now I know in part". That's so true. We know only a part, actually a very very small part. But we know! A great study I have considered for a future message series is the phrase, "I know" or "we know" in Scripture such as Romans 8:28 or 2 Timothy 1:12.

This especially describes the state of our present knowledge of divine things which is imperfect and incomplete. But the time will come when our vision will be unimpaired, the veil will be lifted and the obscure made crystal clear. I will see then "face to face" and I will know "even as also I am known".

C.H. Spurgeon makes an interesting assertion that we couldn't handle any greater knowledge on this side of eternity.

"If we knew more of our own sinfulness, we might be driven to despair; if we knew more of God's glory, we might die of terror; if we had more understanding, unless we had equivalent capacity to employ it, we might be filled with conceit and tormented with ambition. But up there we shall have our minds and our systems strengthened to receive more, without the damage that would come to us here from overleaping the boundaries of order, supremely appointed and divinely regulated."

But today let's conclude with the last phrase on the chaplain's tombstone; "But we see!" What a powerful perspective! There's so much we don't see and there's so much we don't understand; some things make no sense to us at all. Indeed the tunnel may be narrow, dark, long, and filled with tripping hazards as we navigate our way through. Yet with the help of the Holy Spirit we too can declare "But I see!"

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word admonishes us to "Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." There are many obstacles that will lead us astray as we contend for the faith if our eyes become fixed on the obstacles. Instead we want to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who set His eyes on the throne of God, enabling Him to endure the cross, its shame and agony. Fix our eyes on the goal of heaven where all will finally be made perfectly clear when we see Jesus face to face. In the meantime sustain us by Your mercy, grow our faith, and help us to take as many as possible with us to our eternal home in heaven. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Jude 3, Hebrews 12:2

Cannons, Gettysburg, PA 4/28/19
Cannons in Gettysburg National Cemetery

Abraham Lincoln statue, Gettysburg, PA 4/28/19
President Lincoln removed his hat and invited visitors to come sit beside him on the bench so Brooksyne took him up on it (that's the way it looked, anyway).

Abraham Lincoln statue, Gettysburg, PA 4/28/19
Here Stephen looks down at the Gettysburg Address as written on the paper held by the man in the knitted cable sweater and corduroy slacks. Of course we all recognize Abe Lincoln even from a great distance.

Gettysburg, PA 4/28/19
You can easily see how this barn, outhouse and house reflect the Civil War Era.
(Click to enlarge)

Bill and Pat PrestonYesterday we had lunch with our longtime friends, Bill and Pat Preston, who live near Chambersburg, PA. We first met them around ten years ago when they lived near Ocean City, New Jersey and were introduced to us by our mutual friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt. Bill was a high school and college track and field coach for over 50 years and next week he is providing some input on a series about running the race. Pat was very active in Christian Women's Clubs for many years and still holds weekly Bible studies in their home. They both have a great zeal for the things of the Lord.

Pat Preston 4/29/19
Patty invited me, Brooksyne, into her Card Room upstairs. I wasn't sure of what she meant, but I was terribly impressed when I entered the room. She showed me several samples of cards she made and I was inspired by the many expressions of faith and encouragement in every direction I looked. For those of our readers who enjoy making handmade cards, you would have enjoyed browsing through Patty's Card Room. Bill built the shelves on the wall to hold her supplies!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Solid Rock/Cornerstone" Video  Calvary Church Choir and Orchestra

"He Hideth My Soul"  Video  Westminster Trio  This is from our local Westminster Presbyterian Church. Mark Espenshade, the man on the left, who solos at the beginning, is a project manager I see weekly at JK Mechanical.

"Trust His Heart"  Video 

"God Is In Control"  Video  Kristian and Shannon Walker

"The Greatest Thing"  Video  Shannon Wexelberg

"All Your Promises Are True"  Video  Shannon Wexelberg & Bethesda Community Church Choir

Gettysburg National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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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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