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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Lebanon County foliage
We enjoy seeing this rural setting on our way to work along Mount Wilson Road in rural Lebanon County.
(click to enlarge)

"Whatever Befalls"

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“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). "Above all, I must live as a citizen of heaven, conducting myself in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ" (Philippians 1:27)*.

One of the great faith conflicts we daily battle is focusing our attention on the invisible which is eternal rather than the visible which is temporary. In all fairness we must focus on both the visible and invisible, but finding the proper balance is a struggle from day to day, depending on the current circumstances of our lives.

Like many churches these days our church tends to use more recently written music. It's a great blessing to sing worship songs written by our contemporary brothers and sisters, but it's also important to sing hymns and spiritual songs written and compiled over our nearly 2,000 year history of the church.

On Sunday we sang one of the oldest hymns still used in many churches, "Be Thou My Vision".
It comes to us from deep in the early years of Christianity in Ireland. While it is found in a manuscript from the 10th or 11th centuries, traditionally it is thought to come from as early as the 6th or 7th centuries.

In light of these unsettled times singing "Be Thou My Vision" is very fitting, so much so that we sang it twice (before and after the sermon)! Two words especially leapt out at both of us from the final verse, "whatever befall". We don't use the word "befall" so much these days, but rather "happens" or "occurs".

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Kathleen McAlister writes, "In the face of uncertainty, girded with the peace of God, I truly can praise him, saying, 'Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of All'."

In the daily text Paul calls us to focus on the unseen. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." Fixing our eyes in this manner requires concentration, focus, and a huge dose of prayerful discipline. It means to "fix one's gaze upon, to concentrate one's attention on." Physically our eyes observe what is seen but Paul is referring to our spiritual eyes in this context; a focus on the unseen, eternal Kingdom that awaits all who follow Christ.

"For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." What we now see with our physical sight is extremely limited and temporary. Only God who created and oversees the entire universe is stable and unchanging. The Greek word used here for "temporary" (proskairos) indicates the contrast between the temporal, which is also indefinite and the eternal, which is definite.

The immediate preceding verse declares, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17). "For our light and momentary troubles." To make any sense from this phrase we must have an eternal perspective. During a season of trial it may not seem light or momentary but God's Word can bring assurance and confident faith to the believer.

We do well to remember all that we see with the visible eye is temporary, and that which God is building and designing in heaven will last for eternity. It will make the grandeur of this world pale in comparison. Let us fix our eyes on the unseen, which includes an eternal glory that far outweighs the visible trials on this side.

When we fully embrace this perspective it will make our troubles seem light and momentary. But if we fail to do so the trials of life will rob us of the wellspring of joy that Jesus gives to each believer to help us endure, overcome, and triumph on our foes. To keep the eternal perspective we must remember to "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

"Above all, I must live as a citizen of heaven, conducting myself in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ" (Philippians 1:27).*

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Jesus, though You are the High King of heaven yet You are touched by whatever befalls me down here below. You are familiar with my fears, my weaknesses and infirmities; and You ever intercede with the Father on my behalf. Help me to trust You keeping my attention on that which awaits me in my forever home as I conduct myself in a manner worthy of the salvation I find in You. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Be Thou My Vision"  Video   Calvary Church from our service last Sunday.

"Be Thou My Vision"  Video   Shane & Shane

"Whatever befall: Peace and Praise in the Face of an Uncertain Future" Blog article quoted in message.

(*Note: for purpose of personal application I changed the pronoun from you to I and yourselves to myself in this Philippians passage.)

Lebanon County photos

Lebanon County pumpkins
We stopped at the Seyfert's orchard in rural Lebanon County for Honeycrisp apples.
(click to enlarge)

Dog chasing buggy
We followed this buggy for awhile that was being chased by a white dog seen on the left

Lebanon County barn
Rarely do you see decrepit barns in our area and we don't recall seeing this one till yesterday which is along a route we regularly use so we wonder if it was damaged in a recent storm.
(click to enlarge)

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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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