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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Monday, January 3, 2022


"Unshakable Kingdom"

Message summary: We are receiving this eternal kingdom that cannot be shaken! It's an absolute certainty.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from heaven. At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:25-28).

The New Year's weekend of 2022 is now behind us and the nearly full month of January is before us. Hopefully you were able to carve out some time during these busy holidays to consider the various ways God has met your needs and those of your family members over the year of 2021. Today many of us begin another work week in the "real world" and resume our usual schedules after the special activities of the last ten days.

Yesterday, following our church service, we had the entire Lapp family over for a visit; Jesse and Anna Ruth, along with their seven children ages 4 to 18. The next seven hours sped by as we ate a late lunch and later dinner and the children opened their packages. Big Stephen could hardly wait to give four year old Stephen a four car toy train for his Christmas present. What fun it was to watch the youngest and the oldest among us get equally excited as the train blew its whistle, shined its lights and went round and round and round on the child size train track.

Brooksyne read "All Is Well" by Frank Peretti as the younger children crowded around the rocking chair in the living room. The adults attempted to fellowship amidst all the lively noise and we packed in so much activity in so little time that we overslept this morning after going to bed very weary.

Though we live only about 23 miles apart the Lapp's visits to our home are extra special since it's too far a drive for their horse and buggy. We visit them often on the Old Windmill Farm but the children get very excited about coming to the Weber's house for a visit. After their family grew in size it's not as simple to transport them to our home. As long time readers know we have a very loving bond with this precious family so they are much like our own children and grandchildren. Many families throughout the world went the "extra mile" over the holidays to physically connect with their immediate and extended family members to enjoy that very special "chaotic" gathering to reinforce their genuine love for each another.

In the past the expectation of getting together with family over the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Years was a given in one's schedule every year. But in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began to emerge our world was shaken to the core and the norms of gathering with family members took on numerous challenges, including distancing from the very people we love the most. It also presented different views regarding how one deals with the ongoing fallout from the pandemic. Instead of uniting us it has sadly brought about a great deal of division among the public at large and even among families, and friends and even churches.

The real world includes the inevitable surprises and shakings in life, some which are enduring and others that appear only for a season. Reality ultimately consists of just two things; that which can be shaken and that which cannot. All that we see with our physical eyes can be shaken or completely disappear.

In Friday's message we shared that we want our ministry theme for 2022 to be "ambassadors of hope".*

Lois, a long time friend from northern New York wrote concerning this,

"Hope is a good theme for every year, so this excites me. I listen to or read very little news anymore because there is no hope (or certainly very little) found in looking at what is happening in the world. Scripture tells me in 2 Timothy 3 that it’s only going to get worse. So for me to keep hope I can’t spend much time looking at or thinking about the evil that will ‘wax worse and worse.’ Thank you for pointing us to the Word of God to find the basis for our hope.

Unshaken is my theme for 2022, I’m starting with Hebrews 12:25-29. I’m excited to see what the Lord will show me in Scripture in the coming year."

Lois's message prompted a consideration of this "unshaken" concept and Scripture portion.

The twelfth chapter of Hebrews ends with the powerful, assuring truths expressed in our daily text. The apostle is writing to encourage faithfulness to God's children who were enduring persecution. Their world was truly being shaken. And there are times when our world is being shaken as well! It is during such times of instability that we do well to look to Scripture for spiritual understanding and go into intercessory prayer with God. When we do so it will bring needed perspective and restore our hope as we consider our future "kingdom that cannot be shaken".

I heard an interview with a person drastically affected by a tragedy who spoke of how he intentionally sought to hear the voice of God in the midst of the tragedy. Spiritually speaking, I wonder how intentional we are in listening for the voice of God in the chaos and discord of our world. Our daily Scripture portion begins with a timeless message from God, "See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking". Yet so very many refuse Him who is speaking.

The daily Scripture text acknowledges the reality of the shakings of the created order that we all experience in various ways. Consider your life for a few minutes and look back over those periods of severe shaking, whether it was personal, family or experienced on a national or worldwide level. Though we prefer to live comfortably, without these brutal, unexpected, and life-altering interruptions, they are inevitable.

But Scripture has a comforting future promise in the latter part of the daily text, "We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken".

We are indeed "receiving" this kingdom and the verb tense is quite significant. Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come". Our journey through this life is but a transition to the future Kingdom God has prepared for us. I am convinced that very early in eternity we will recognize just how brief life's journey was, although since it's the only thing we know it seems long and wholly significant. The apostle James wrote, "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

Today we encourage each reader to keep this perspective: We are receiving this eternal kingdom that cannot be shaken! It's an absolute certainty. So "Let us be thankful, and let us worship God acceptably with reverence and awe!"

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us to seek first Your unshakable kingdom and pray in the spirit so that we can live in victory even while encircled by conflict, danger, and evil. Shakings in this life can bring instruction, correction, and growing faith when we seek spiritual understanding. Though land, dwellings, and people are destroyed due to the hardness and evil within the heart of man and due to the natural causes that destroy, Your kingdom is indestructible. Scripture assures us that we who believe are receiving this Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, so we come with thankful hearts and worship You today with holy fear and awe, for You, our God, are a consuming fire. We pray for those currently enduring great shakings. May they look to You, the eternal One, for grace to trust. May they find You to be their strength and hope in the midst of their testings as they hold onto the unshakable kingdom that is promised to those who believe. In Jesus' name we pray Amen.

* The concept of having an annual ministry theme or scripture text, in our experience, goes back to a practice by Earl Martin, an elderly minister who visited us at our rental home when we first moved to Lancaster County in early 2001. He offered a most memorable written prayer for us as well as a shoofly pie, his wife Helen had made. He invited us to his church where we attended for many years. Earl would stand up the first Sunday of January and share with the congregation his verse of the year. He stood up in early January 2003 and shared his theme verse for the coming year, "The joy of the Lord is my strength" from Nehemiah 8:9. That's a great spiritual perspective to have in one's youth or senior years, as was the case for Earl. The summer of that same year Earl went to be with the Lord and this verse was a backdrop for the theme of his funeral which, in addition to the inspiration of the written Holy Word, added special personal meaning.

We wonder if we might have other readers who have a practice similar to this and would like to briefly share your 2022 verse or spiritual theme. Just respond on his form or use the email address.

Mounce quote
Yesterday we heard a most encouraging message based on Revelation 5 and the assurance of Jesus being the final victor. The service ended with a moving rendition of "Is He Worthy" Video from our service, which includes the conclusion of our pastor's message.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The House Of The Lord"  Video  Phil Wickham  We sure enjoying this lively song and sang it in our service yesterday!

We worship the God Who was.
We worship the God Who is.
We worship the God Who evermore will be.

Endless unwrapping
Endless Unwrapping! The Lapp children had such fun watching Ester unwrap three gifts they gave her. As you can see from  this photo the package started out big, but Ester unwrapped layer after layer of paper until she finally got down to her gift of a $10.00 bill in an envelope. After unwrapping two other similar packages she had a mountainous stack of package wrapping which she dove in afterwards, bringing about a room full of laughter from the onlookers. (She confided later that the dive actually jarred her pacemaker but she recovered just fine.)

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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.

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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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