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Monday, July 8, 2019

Stasburg, PA farm
Farm on the Strasburg Pike, Lancaster County PA

"An Early Flight"

Message summary:  Ultimately our life and life span on this earth are in God's hands. May the Lord give us all the confidence of David when he wrote, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." 

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6). "My times are in Your hands" (Psalm 31:15a).

I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away
In the morning when I die,
Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

Tim HeitzLast week Tim Heitz, a friend of ours, passed from this life to be with the Lord. We had written about Tim several times in this series. In January he was diagnosed with a rapidly advancing form of ALS. Tim served the Lord faithfully and we are confident he is now dwelling in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6). He was just 58 years of age so he took an earlier flight out than what we, from our earthly perspective, would have desired.

Today I share a perspective on the early flight I found helpful after the death of my father in 1998.

I was at the airport in Kansas City with my brother, Pat, who was flying back to eastern Pennsylvania where he served a local church as their pastor. The TWA flight he was scheduled for was canceled so they put him on a Continental which required going to a completely different terminal at the KC airport. We talked and had a cup of coffee together
before I left him in the boarding area. Our dad has passed away only days earlier so I'm sure that much of our conversation touched on the grief and loss we felt at the time.

Lowell LundstromAs I walked back through the terminal I spotted evangelist Lowell Lundstrom. My heart was uplifted just at the sight of him since he was the evangelist who preached the night I got saved.

In August of 1971 I committed my life to Jesus at a large rally in Kansas City, Missouri. It was twenty-seven years later "by chance" I met him in the KC airport. He's not from the KC area, but had a connecting flight to Minneapolis. I shared my testimony story with him and of course he was thrilled to hear of a convert that had stayed the course.

We both walked back to where my brother was waiting to board and visited for a few minutes. Lowell sought to comfort us regarding the passing of our father, and the one that statement he made that has stayed with all these years later is this:
"Your dad took an early flight". His illustration was helpful and appropriate being in an airport and it brought about a different and more accepting perspective for me at the time. After a few minutes Lowell had to catch his flight and this brief "chance encounter" ended. He has since taken his final flight and that's the last time I ever saw him.

Whenever a loved one takes their flight from this life we experience grief and really, in so many cases, we consider it early since it's hard to let go, even when our loved one is older. My Dad lived to be nearly 80 so he had a long life. But "earlier" is a perspective we have only from this side. I don't think "when we've been there ten thousand years" we'll be giving much thought to how long we lived on planet earth!

"My times are in Your hands". Isn't this a great verse and source of assurance? We value healthy lifestyles, good medical care, safety features in equipment and so forth that prolong life.

But ultimately our life and life span on this earth are in God's hands. May the Lord give us all the confidence of David when he wrote, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our times are in Your hands whether it be the next minute, day or year. You orchestrate our lives in the time frame given us even before we were born and You "teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom". We learn the secret of making life count from this Psalm - living it one day at a time in a way that honors You and builds biblical character within us. We need Your guidance every day so that we live each day as though it is our last day. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"When He Carries Me Away"  Video  Collingsworth Family  Dedicated to Tim Heitz' family and friends.

"I'll Fly Away"  Video  Ransomed Bluegrass

"Until We Fly Away"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"Yes I will"  Video  Calvary Church worship team with the Strings Orchestra accompaniment. I include the brief intro by Pastor Dave and dedicate this song to all those going through a valley type experience.

"I Got Saved"  Video  Selah This is surely one of Brooksyne's and my current favorite newer songs.

Lowell Lundstrom is now with the Lord but I found this brief video clip probably from near the time I got saved.

Lowell Lundstrom's testimony in 2010 followed by an old-fashioned altar call likely similar to the one I responded to in 1971 Video

Finally today:

The new: New Holland Agriculture smashes the current GUINNESS WORLD RECORD title for most wheat harvested within eight hours with the CR10.90 combine Video (Link corrected from Friday's message)

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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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