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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Lebanon County home with landscaping
Yesterday we passed this home and beautifully landscaped lawn along Rt 343 in Lebanon County.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Strengthened By Grace"
(Part 1)

To face life's changes,
look to the unchanging God.

Note: As study progressed for today's teaching it became necessary to make it a two part message as I studied the richness of our text. Tomorrow we will focus on the phrase, "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace".

Message summary: Today may peace strengthen your heart as you look beyond the present turmoil in our world and in your life to the immutable God.
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"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so" (Hebrews 13:8,9).

In May I (Stephen) had a bike accident on a mountain trail and sustained several surface injuries where my body hit the gravel, but most severely I tore my rotator cuff. The surface injuries to my knees and arm have healed leaving only  scars as a reminder, especially my left knee. I am slowly regaining strength in my shoulder, in part aided by Physical Therapy. I had a similar injury about fifteen years ago when I was swimming in Louisville, KY. Over time, without medical intervention, that injury healed, although the healing left some limitations that I could live with.

Regarding my most recent injury I am in the process of seeing just how much restoration will return to my shoulder though it is already diminishing as a result of aging anyway. I don't think I will be doing any power-lifting but I never had that aspiration anyway!

Though our physical strength diminishes due to the aging process, the good news is that our spiritual strength can increase and help mature us in our walk with Christ, "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace". More on that thought tomorrow.

I was blessed by the context of our verse today, a verse many of us have memorized, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever". Jesus is the same unchanging Rock,  immutable Hope, and Firm Foundation today that He was yesterday, that He is today and He will still be tomorrow and always will be! An old, now rarely sung hymn states,

"Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same,
All may change, but Jesus never, glory to His name!

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever". This is a timeless doctrinal truth. It's always a present tense verse.

Today (August 9, 2022) or whenever you may read this message, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday (since the beginning), today (in context, as God calls us to be strengthened by grace), and forever, into never-ending eternity. Christ the Immutable One is our sure anchor amid waves of suffering, affliction and uncertainty, "an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).

Consider the instability of this present world and how we long for stability and security. But don't be deceived, the world is unable to offer any real guarantee for this stability. Wars and rumors of wars, terrorist actions and threats of all kinds will always exist on this side of eternity. It's real and a part of our fallen world which is in rebellion against God Almighty.

Today may the peace of God strengthen your heart as you choose not to solely focus on the present turmoil in our world, but wholeheartedly focus on the immutable God.

On Your faithfulness, God
You're faithful God
Jesus, You're the same
Yesterday, today, and forever

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Faithful Father, to You we ascribe glory, honor and majesty, for You are the same yesterday, today and forever. You change not, Your mercies are renewed daily, and just as You have been in the past You forever will be in the future. Our Lord is the same unchanging Rock, immutable Hope, and Firm Foundation today that He was yesterday, and that He will be tomorrow! What more could we hope for than that which You have already supplied through the sacrificial life and unstoppable love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Yesterday, Today, Forever"  Video  Congregational singing by Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington KY. This is the chorus to the song referred to in the message. This is how singing was in our early days!

"Yesterday, Today And Forever"  Video  Passion, Kristian Stanfill (In searching for the old hymn mentioned in our message I found this new song.)

"Same God"  Video  Jonsal Barrientes (We also used this song yesterday but it also fits so well with today's message)

Last Saturday Ester joined a group of her friends from her Sunday School class, called Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) in our church, to go to Longwood Gardens.

Longwood Gardens
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbekia)
Longwood Gardens has one of the most astounding variety of flowers in the world and is considered one of the world's premier flower gardens.
Click on photo to enlarge

Longwood Gardens
I am surprised they would have fake birds! But it's still a neat sight. (I know why - no messes to clean up throughout the pristine flower garden displays.)
Click on photo to enlarge

Longwood Gardens lights
They now have a temporary feature called "Light".
Installations by Bruce Munro at Longwood Gardens  Video 

Longwood Gardens fountains
A highlight for Ester was the illuminated fountain show. We first saw this magnificent presentation about 5 years ago with our late friend Jerry Smoker
Illuminated Fountain Show 2022 - Longwood Gardens  Video

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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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