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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Bob Sentz at old house near Swatara State Park
Bob Sentz at the fixer-upper near Swatara State Park
Click on photo to enlarge

"When Our House Is Torn Down"

Message summary: When this house is torn down our future house is described as “a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens".

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"For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Last Saturday morning Brooksyne hosted a ladies breakfast at our home which we shared about yesterday. After helping her set up I went with Bob, a husband to one of the attendees, to ride our bikes at Swatara State Park about 35 miles north of us.

We rode 20 miles in a long loop through the park both on a rail trail and on the Bear Hole trail where I fell last Spring and tore my rotator cuff. We started at the southern side and rode up the northern trail head off Swopes Valley Road. We also rode the entire width of the Appalachian Trail! (Read the previous sentence carefully, friends.)

I wanted to show Bob, who has realtor experience, the house in our lead photo. I asked in a serious tone, "Do you think there is much potential in this house?"  You might imagine his response. On Sunday I had some fun showing the picture of the dilapidated house to a few friends. Bob's wife said, "I've always wanted a fixer-upper". I showed it to Ed, a man in our Sunday School class who's also a homebuilder, and asked his opinion about fixing it up. Unfamiliar with my sense of humor, I think he took me seriously, and advised that it would be best just to tear it down and start all over.

We have seen this same dilapidated house in various ram-shackled stages for many years and expect that someday it will completely fall to the ground even without human intervention.  But every time we go it's still there. It reminds me of a post card we saw many years ago that showed a house like this with the caption, "We finally found a house we can afford".

Today let's consider another house that will be torn down, our mortal body. David wrote concerning age progression, "I have been young, and now am old" (Psalm 37:25).

Youth is temporary, but so is infancy, childhood, middle age and old age. The Apostle Paul is speaking of our temporary situation in the daily text: “For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens”. That’s a good verse to hide deep in our hearts. Elsewhere we read: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). The Apostle James describes this temporary situation quite graphically: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

When Paul wrote, “For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down” he was underscoring the decay and temporariness of our present life. One day this old house will be torn down, a euphemism for death.

When this house is torn down our future house is described as “a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens".

The ongoing challenge for each of us is not driving the stakes too deeply in our present “tent”. We must be purposeful in not getting too settled nor should we ceaselessly strive for comfort on this side. That’s particularly true for those of us who live in relative affluence, which can be such a seducing trap. One day we will be transported to our eternal home and we’ll have a new body; one that won’t grow stiff, break down or slow down due to the aging process commonly experienced on this side of heaven!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we look forward to the mysterious moment when we who follow Christ will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, when the trumpet sounds from heaven. Our perishable bodies will take on the imperishable and we will be forever young, no longer plagued with the moans and groans of this earthly body. Until Christ returns or until You call us home, we remain hopeful and vigilant in our spiritual pilgrimage, no matter the condition of this flesh and blood body. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Brooksyne's memory: Jean is a woman who was in her eighties at the time I visited her as a chaplain about ten years ago. She worked at the same company for over 60 years! She shared an interesting perspective on aging. She comes from a large family who had gathered for a holiday meal. After the meal Jean was slowly rising from her seat and noticed her little 2˝ year old great, great nephew observing her carefully with a puzzled look on his face. She explained to him: “I move slowly because I get stiff; I’m old and have aches and pains. Do you ever have that problem?” The little boy thought a moment and then responded, “No…. I’m new.” Jean got quite a chuckle out of his youthful perspective.

Well, the fact is many of us increasingly identify with the aging and perishable aspect of our earthly bodies, similar to Jean. If not, in one way or another, you will if you have a long enough tenure on this earth!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"This Ole House/When the Saints Go Marching In"  Video  Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

"I'll Have a New Life"  Video  Gold City  (dedicated to the Tina Matangelo)

You can see the dilapidated house in our lead photo here on a Google streetview.

Swatara State Park is located here on Google maps

Some photos from our rail trail ride in Swatara State Park

Mark on rail trail 9/17/22
We ran into Mark who was riding on the rail trail. He's a friend from Audrey's, a company we serve as chaplains, in Lebanon County.

Wagner's Pond 9/17/22
Wagner's pond is on the north end of the trail.

Bordner's Cabin
Along the Bear Hole trail we passed Bordner's Cabin which was built by Armar Bordner, a high school shop teacher in the 1930's. Armar’s home was taken by eminent domain for the Swatara State Park, but he won the right to live in the home until he died at age 90 in 1994. He passed away in a bed as he looked up at Aycrigg’s Falls from the picture window in his living room. This photo was taken from the falls which wasn't running very much on Saturday.
Click on photo to enlarge

Bordner's Cabin picture window
Here's a photo taken last year from inside the cabin through the huge picture window (minus the glass). The waterfall varies in intensity depending on rainfall and snow runoff.

Swatara Creek Kayakers
Kayakers on Swatara Creek that runs through the park.

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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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