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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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Swopes Valley Road
Yesterday between our chaplain visits we took an autumn drive, crossing over the Blue Mountain Ridge and meandering through Swopes Valley Road near Pine Grove PA. We were pleased to see some fall foliage although many trees are already stripped bare.
(Click on photo to enlarge)


Message summary: As we approach both Thanksgiving (here in the US) and Christmas, we encourage you to long for and anticipate the Second Coming of Christ as you joyfully celebrate His first coming.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth" (Hebrews 11:13). "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).

Electric bikeToday I am expecting an order I have been anticipating for several weeks. Nearly a month ago I ordered an electric bike! We both continue to enjoy riding our bikes especially on the rail trails and hope to do so in future years. But alas we are experiencing some of the normal consequences at this stage in our life span, specifically joint issues and stamina, so we wonder if we might get a few more years with some motorized assistance. By the way you still pedal and get exercise with an electric bike, but the hills are no longer insurmountable!

Tracking map for ebikeLast week the order was picked up by Fed Ex in California and I have tracked it as it crossed the country; New Mexico, Texas, Kansas City, Chicago, and in Cleveland yesterday morning. Last night I saw it was in Upper Swatara, PA (near Harrisburg), which is the local Fed Ex distribution center. This morning I checked the tracking app and saw it was "out for delivery" so I expect it sometime today! The weather is beautiful today so I hope to assemble and check it out right after its arrival.

Looking ahead with anticipation is one of the joys of life. Children (and adults) look forward to Christmas and their birthdays. We look forward to events like graduation, marriage, a new house, the birth of a child or grandchild and many other events in life, both large and small. And I am probably not the only one who has been excited in anticipation about getting something new.

Today let us consider a far greater source of anticipation we all share. One is a celebration of fulfillment, the other a promise yet to be fulfilled.

The first verse goes all the way back to the time of Abraham.

"All these people were still living by faith when they died." That is, they died in a state of trust while believing God for His promises even though they had not yet experienced them, "they did not receive the things promised". Surely the greatest of these promises was the coming of the Messiah.

"They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance". Their faith allowed them to see what was not yet fulfilled but only seen "from a distance". In their case the first coming was still some 2000 years away! But now we look back and celebrate the fulfillment of that promise in the first coming of Christ. Peter likely looking backwards to the first coming and forward to the second coming writes, "Though you have not seen Him, you love him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8).

The second verse looks ahead to the promised second coming in a final word to Timothy and to all of us through the Holy Scriptures.

A promise of "the crown of righteousness... to all who have longed for His appearing". The Amplified Bible reads, "all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing". Other translations render it, "eagerly waiting for Him to come again" (GWT), "who have set their hearts on His coming" (NEB).

"If you have welcomed Christ into your life, long for His appearing, and are faithfully running your race, then the same prize awaits you. Count on it, plan on it, anticipate it! It's a promise from God." --DC McCasland

The tracking aspect of my anticipation at receiving my bike today is an analogy, though minuscule in comparison, to the signs of the times in Bible prophecy. Although many have erred in being overly specific and emphatic regarding the time of His return they were later proved mistaken. This has happened both historically and currently. But we still, as part of our longing for His appearing, do well to consider the signs of the times.

As we approach both Thanksgiving (here in the US) and Christmas, we encourage you to long for and anticipate the Second Coming of Christ as you joyfully celebrate His first coming.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Father, as the holidays approach we are given so much opportunity to celebrate Your goodness and abundant blessings in settings where we can overflow with thanksgiving. At the top of our list of Thanksgiving blessings is the plan You had in clothing Your Son, Jesus, in the flesh and sending Him to earth, to live among the common folks, healing, cleansing, forgiving, instructing, and giving His life as a ransom for many. We are eternally grateful for His first coming and so eagerly anticipate Christ's second coming that the angels spoke of to the Apostles when Christ ascended into heaven at the completion of His mortal ministry, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”. We are looking up! Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Redemption Draweth Nigh"  Video  Greater Vision

Signs of the times are everywhere
There's a brand new feeling in the air
Keep your eyes upon the eastern sky
Lift up your head, redemption draweth nigh

"Face To Face"  Video  Zach Williams

I’m a traveler far from home
I get lost but I press on
I’ve got a mansion, streets of gold
Where I belong of the times are everywhere

Today we share some photos from some rural scenes from our drive yesterday in northern Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties.

Lebanon County farmhouse
At the base of Blue Mountain we spotted this old farmhouse with clothes on the line blowing in the wind on a breezy afternoon.

Appalachian Trail near Pine Grove, PA
It was cold but pleasant and we hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail, about 1˝ miles in and back. It was a very pleasant sound hearing the leaves crunch under our feet, but a bit perilous as they covered the many protruding rocks that can trip you along the way!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Appalachian Trail overlook near Pine Grove, PA
This particular section of trail is taken through the forest without any overlooks, but this view is seen from near the trail-head parking area on PA Rt. 645.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Buddy's Log Cabin Diner
After our trail hike we had a very late breakfast at Buddy's Log Cabin Diner, Pine Grove, PA.
We both enjoy these folksy type places. This seemed like a small Cracker Barrel but was a locally owned restaurant that was proud to support the local sports teams and other small town activities.

Buddy's Log Cabin Diner
Buddy's Log Cabin Diner has lots of mounts, gun safety tips and other outdoor decor, including a large stuffed bear.

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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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