Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 moon
Ester's photo of the full moon with her own version of photoshop!

"One Day"

Note: We're often hesitant to post a new message on a holiday with many readers traveling, tending to special gatherings, or experiencing a break in their routine. But we personally find guidance, assurance and strength from eternal truths we glean from God's Word and consider that maybe others need the same reminders today on this first day of 2021.

Message summary: As we ground our faith in the truths of God's Word we can, in the midst of uncertainty or unpleasant circumstances, experience the hope, peace and assurance that is at the very core of living an abundant life.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16). “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3). “God has said, never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:5,8).

One day You'll make everything new, Jesus
One day You will bind every wound
The former things shall all pass away
No more tears

As we prepare our first encouragement message for 2021 we consider the various burdens and uncertainties so many are dealing with. Honestly we feel a sense of foreboding more so than at the beginning of any year in the past that we can ever recall. Let us stress, though, this sense of foreboding (defined as "fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen") is only in the sense of life as we have experienced thus far on this earth. When we get an eternal, heavenward focus we can declare, "All Is Well"! That's where we focus today.

In some cases Brooksyne and I can visualize who you are and the situations in which you struggle. You may be a family member, a friend, or former parishioner from the 30 some years of our pastoral service. Perhaps you’re among those we meet in our chaplain service or you’re a faithful long-time reader of Daily Encouragement, maybe one who has even shared a personal burden with us.

At creation God established the annual unit of time (Genesis 1:14). The passing of years is  like a chapter in one’s life, a good time to do some reflecting on the past as well as looking ahead to the next phase in our life’s journey. Each of us can look back to particular milestones this past year.

But many face the New Year with a great sense of uncertainty, especially in this age of covid, political turmoil, societal implosion which affects each one of us. Add your own personal ordeal which may be physical pain, ongoing management of a life altering disease or disability, a wayward child, financial hardship, the loss of a loved one, stress related to your care-giving role, on and on the list goes.

Some things in our day to day existence include circumstances we have little to no control over. Since the computer age and the search engine availability we seek answers and cures for everything that troubles, confuses or pains us and still we shake our heads in disbelief that we can't resolve the ongoing problem we would rather not deal with. It makes no sense to our way of thinking. Consider the following words that speak to a future time for the believer:

One day You'll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear

Settle deep in your spirit that our one and only certain source of living hope is Jesus Christ. Over the past year we heard day after day regardless of political party phrases like "We're fighting for the soul of our nation". Indeed there is a great battle going on but not in the sense many take it.

But keep this foremost in your hearts, Jesus alone is the anchor for our soul, holding it firm and secure expressed so well in the great hymn, “The Solid Rock”, especially in the line, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Hope that is built on friendships, finances, work,
education, politics or even our family and church relationships will eventually let us down, but hope that is built solidly on Jesus increases with intensity as our earthly journey moves us closer to the Promised Land.

We selected verses today that express four unchangeable truths concerning God:
  • His Everlasting Love: "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3a)
  • His Compelling Lovingkindness: "I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3b)
  • His Abiding Presence: He will never leave us. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • His Eternal Immutability: He is always the same. (Hebrews 13:8)
As we ground our faith in these truths we can, in the midst of pleasant or unpleasant circumstances, experience the hope, peace and assurance that is at the very core of living an abundant life.

We've been blessed by a song that combines an old hymn with some new verses called "One Day" by Matt Redman. It reminds us of a most certain reality; that Jesus will still be there. His love will never change, no matter what changes around us. As we have ended another year and move into a new one He is a never-changing presence and lasting security in our lives.  We can absolutely rely upon His everlasting love.

Yes, one day we will see face to face, Jesus
Is there a greater vision of grace?
And in a moment, we shall be changed
Yes, in a moment, we shall be changed
In a moment, we shall be changed
On that day

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we seek to be unwavering in our faith and confident in Your plans for our life as we stand on Your unending promises. You promise never to abandon us but steadfastly guide us through the steep hills and dark valleys included in this earthly journey. Our hope and peace increase as we sustain our faith through reading and obeying Your Word and focusing our attention on the future event when we are caught up with You on the other side. Grant us strength and courage in the days, weeks and months ahead in this new year of 2021. We gratefully stand on the Solid Rock, unchanging, firm and secure, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)"  Video  Matt Redman

"One Day"  Video  Calvary Church Orchestra and Choir from a service early last year. This version features the music along with the slides of those who were remembered. We only knew a couple of the people shown on the slides but at that time we both considered those we do know who went to be with the Lord the last year and do so again. If you choose to watch it perhaps you will consider those you want to remember who passed away this last year.

"One Day"  Video  Calvary Church Orchestra and Choir  This version was recorded from the balcony by Ester and shows the choir and orchestra singing the song. We sue miss seeing choirs!

"I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130)"  Video  Shane & Shane  This song also seems so appropriate as we face another year.

Mom's 100th birthday cake
Stephen's mother, Georgia Mae, lived with us the last four years of her life, until she passed away in 2005. Born on Dec. 31, 1920, even in her old age she got as excited as a child when her birthday neared each year. Aging didn't seem to trouble her and we all had such a good time celebrating with her. Yesterday would have marked her 100th birthday so Ester purchased a cake and put the candles on top to mark her 100th. Each of us blew out one candle in remembrance of our dear loved one now enjoying the glories of heaven. We sure miss her.

Finally today:

Jake and Nancy Shenk 1/8/17
We received word that Jake Shenk went home to be with the Lord this morning. Jake and his wife Nancy have served as missionaries in Africa since 1958 and just celebrated their 64th anniversary on Dec. 28th! He grew up in the farm house we first lived in when we moved to Lancaster County in 2001. We testify that, like the old E.F. Hutton ad stated, "When Jake Shenk spoke people listened". He indeed had a riveting gravitas. Many years ago he challenged us to see Christ's question to Peter as a question to all of us, "Do you truly love me more than these?" He shared how the unspecified "these" could be all the possible objects of our love.

Praying for Shenks at Mount Pleasant 1/18/15
This is a scene we miss with all this social distancing. Several years ago many in the congregation crowded around the Shenks as we prayed for safe travel and continued blessings on their ministry as they departed once again for Zimbabwe. As the pastor shared in his email this morning,  "In time we can also rejoice in the memory of his faithful service and the knowledge he has been welcomed home by Jesus with the words, 'Well done good and faithful servant!'"

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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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