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Wednesday, May 11, 2022
The Lebanon Valley from Rexmont, PA
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Message summary: Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice stated that "the expectation of the Lordís personal and imminent return gave joy and power to the early Christians and to the Christian communities." May it do so for us as well!
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"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body" (Philippians 3:20,21).
Readers of Daily Encouragement are citizens of a variety of different countries all over the world and there is a healthy sense of national pride we all may have. It's especially gratifying to hear from those in places so different and remote from where we live.
Grover DeVault, a longtime friend who lives here in Lancaster County, is a retired army chaplain. Back in the mid-sixties he flew with a group of military personnel to the North Pole where he held a church service at the Pole, fulfilling Christ's commission to preach to the remotest parts of the earth. Today we may not live in the remotest part but all who serve Christ are called to be His witnesses. May the Holy Spirit empower each of us to faithfully proclaim His message of salvation in the country where we are citizens.
Each of us who has accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior has an infinitely greater citizenship of eternal significance. Paul, writing from a prison to the believers in the Roman colony of Philippi, declares a citizenship we all share and can rejoice in today: "Our citizenship is in heaven". Although he found his Roman citizenship a helpful defense in a time of trial, he undoubtedly considered his heavenly citizenship of incomparably greater value. And so should we!
Our heavenly citizenship is one of those powerful truths we all need to keep before us. With this perspective before us we find the reality of God's promised peace. An ongoing faith struggle for the believer is to remember where our primary citizenship really is. I believe that is particularly true in places where life has been very good.
However, when our focus is on our earthly citizenship we might experience anxiety and at times even despair. I find that in my life the source of agitation and anxiety often comes from placing too much emphasis in this present life or failing to realize where my primary and ultimate citizenship lies. Brooksyne often reminds me of this needed perspective.
What troubling matters are you facing today? What has the potential of robbing you of the blessing of God's peace and promised abundant life?
Today, I encourage you to remember Paul's words to the Philippian believers, "Our citizenship is in heaven". Chained and imprisoned he nevertheless was able to express and encourage joy more in this short epistle than in any other. In the previous chapter he wrote, "So you too should be glad and rejoice with me" (Philippians 2:18). It just seems like he's bubbling over with the joy of the Lord. If he had joy in his imprisoned condition we too can experience joy regardless of our temporal, earth-bound circumstances when we focus on our heavenly citizenship!
We're thankful for the occasions in life that prompt the joy of anticipation. Life would be rather bland without anticipation.
But there is an anticipation that should grow as we age. It's expressed in the words "eagerly await" in our daily text. It's an anticipation of our future move to heaven where our true citizenship lies. Yesterday our friend Linda Trout joined us for breakfast and our conversation turned to the rapture of the church and our future home in heaven. She commented, "If I think about it very much it kind of makes me giddy." I think that's the way we should all feel as we anticipate Christ's return.
James Montgomery Boice stated that "the expectation of the Lordís personal and imminent return gave joy and power to the early Christians and to the Christian communities." May it do so for us as well!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, at one time we were alienated and excluded from heavenly citizenship. We were foreigners to the covenant of eternal promise, hopeless and destined to perish. But You, in Your great mercy, redeemed us through Your precious blood. We received forgiveness for our sins and the Holy Spirit which is a down payment guaranteeing our inheritance. Help us to endure sickness, pain, disappointments, poverty, and all the ills confined to this present age which are insignificant when compared to the blessing, privileges and glory yet to be revealed in the age to come. Fix our attention on our heavenly citizenship in the midst of our trials on earth so that we do not lose heart but are filled with growing anticipation regarding Your soon return. Keeping our focus heavenward fills us with renewed hope and gives us an enduring spirit till we are called home. Even so come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Homecoming" Video Yesterday we heard this rather long song that gives wonderful articulation regarding the joy of our heavenly citizenship and our future homecoming. "Thank God that stone was rolled away!"
"Hymn of Heaven" Video Phil Wickham
Yesterday after our first chaplain visit we ate breakfast at our favorite Railroad Diner in Richland with our good friend Linda Trout. She is such an inspiration to all who know her as she daily lives out her life for Christ. Her husband, Michael, and her precious mother, Etta, went to be with the Lord this past year so she, along with the rest of us, are getting more anxious for our reunion with loved ones who now reside in heaven.
The Railroad Diner is small, folksy eatery that sits right next to a main rail line in a small farming community in eastern Lebanon County (here on Google maps). The kitchen crew are all young people, including the owner who took over the business as a teenager. He's now arrived at the "old" age of 22!
This old iron railroad bridge in Cornwall, PA is now part of the Lebanon Valley rail trail, a recreational trail we have ridden on many times.
Yesterday afternoon we made a hospital call to Hershey Medical Center to an employee who had an accident and passed by the iconic Hershey Cocoa shrubbery and smokestacks. When you look at the brown lettering in the shrubbery, Hershey Cocoa, and the brown smokestacks you can almost smell the chocolate in the air.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, 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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