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, August 6, 2021

Barn sale tractor
This morning we passed this barn sale near Willow Street with a good attention-getting prop, a FarmAll tractor!

"If Only For This Life"

Message summary:  Above all else place your hope in God and His promises, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19).

All through life we all have hopes and dreams. That's a healthy part of life. We're not speaking here only in a spiritual sense but the hopes we have throughout life.
  • Children have hopes like having a fun summer and seeing their friends when school resumes in the fall and the various activities of childhood.
  • Families have hopes regarding a planned vacation and other healthy pleasures in life.
  • Young people have hopes regarding graduation, college and career.
  • Young adults have hopes regarding marriage, bearing children and having a fulfilling job.
  • Later it may be the middle years with an empty nest and hopes during that phase of life such as travel.
  • Seniors have various hopes depending on their health and age. We are now a "young" old (mid-sixties) and as our "working" years begin to phase down Brooksyne and I have hopes regarding what we hope our retirement years look like.
Our daily text has been on my heart the last several days, especially the phrase "If only for this life". We see the continuation and increase of perilous times in our nation and world. Regardless of what we hope for on this side it seems to be diminishing. So many have hope only for this life and when conditions seem increasingly hopeless they may easily despair. What a fitting time to look beyond this life!

When we were young Christians we both enjoyed a popular Christian musician named Andraé Crouch. He wrote a lot of great songs including one that we used in our wedding, "To God be The Glory" (My Tribute).

Andrae CrouchHe had a lesser known song with some intriguing words titled, "If Heaven Was Never Promised to Me".

But if heaven never was promised to me,
Neither God's promise to live eternally.
It's been worth just having the Lord in my life.
Living in a world of darkness,
You came along and brought me the light.

The basic premise if that even if there were no eternal future it would be worth it "just having the Lord in my life" here and now in our earthly journey. Now that's a great perspective to have but, thankfully, we do have God's promise to live eternally!

Let's examine today's text. It's part of the long chapter (1 Corinthians 15) Paul wrote in defense of the resurrection. Incredibly even in the early days of the church an error had crept in that there was no future resurrection for the believer. In the verses preceding our daily text Paul had written:

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost" (1 Corinthians 15:12-17).

Paul sums up this paragraph with the daily text. "If only for this life we have hope in Christ we are of all people most to be pitied."

Christ said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". Regardless of the conditions in which we live, Jesus Christ wants us to have a full and abundant life. As Andraé Crouch wrote, It's been worth just having the Lord in my life. Living in a world of darkness, You came along and brought me the light."

So why would we need to be pitied?" Because Jesus Christ is the living Lord and has indeed been raised from the dead. The very next verse states, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (15:20). His resurrection is foundational to the Gospel. We serve a living Savior!

Eternal (everlasting) life is also at the heart of the Gospel! In what is likely the most famous verse in the entire Bible we read, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

So above all else place your hope in God and His promises, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In Your great mercy You have given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for us, who through faith are shielded by Your power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this we greatly rejoice, though now for a little while we may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of our faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though we have not seen You, we love You; and even though we do not see You now, we believe in You and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for we are receiving the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
(Adapted from 1 Peter 1:3-9)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"To God Be The Glory (My Tribute)"  Video   Andraé Crouch

"If Heaven Was Never Promised to Me"  Video   Andraé Crouch

"Christ Our Hope in Life and Death"  Video   Getty, Boswell, Kauflin, Papa, Merker

What is our hope in life and death?
Christ alone, Christ alone
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to Him belong
Who holds our days within His hand?
What comes, apart from His command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The love of Christ, in which we stand

"Sovereign Over Us"  Video  Aaron Keyes

There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You're sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You're teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways
Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace
You're the lifter of the lowly
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me
And Your promises are my delight

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You're working for our good
You're working for our good and for Your glory

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

"Living Hope"  Video   Shane & Shane

Yesterday we posed with a giant Amish man with a winnowing fork on the property of Hershey Farm where we are beginning to plan for our 2022 family reunion. The giant sure gives us the appearance of appearing as little people! Just take a look at his big feet!

Lancaster County traffic
This family is filling up the wagon!

Finally today:

Earlier this week we developed a little quiz based on employees we see who have Bible names.

Yesterday at Smucker and Sons home improvement I visited with these two carpenters.
Left: He is named after one of the two spies who gave a good report to Moses who is not named Caleb.
Right: He is named after a beloved physician.

Bible names
I visited with these two young men at Kleen-Rite this morning.
Foreground on phone: I was mistaken that he had a Bible name but it is a rather famous name in church history. In 165, he was arrested for his faith. In answer to threats of death, he is reported to have said, "If we are punished for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hope to be saved." He was beheaded under the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, son of Antonius Pius, and he later became known as ______ Martyr.
Standing in background: He is named after a man, who as a boy was rather curious as to why his father was going to a place of sacrifice without taking a sacrificial animal.

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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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