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Monday, October 17, 2022

Lebanon County, PA silo
We often pass this silo along Route 322 in Lebanon County, PA.
Click here for larger version of Scripture text.

"No Lasting City"

Message summary: We want to remember where our ultimate home is. An old gospel song provides a fitting aspiration, "And I can't feel at home in this world anymore!" God never intended that we drive the stakes of our earthy tent too deeply. "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14).

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"For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:8-10). "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14).

This world is not my home; I'm just a passin' through.
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me, from Heaven's open door.
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore!

Yesterday at sunset the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot ended. It's a week-long fall festival commemorating the 40-year journey of the Israelites in the wilderness. In 2022, the Feast of Tabernacles began on the evening of Sunday, October 9, and ended on the evening of Sunday, October 16. Along with Passover and the Festival of Weeks, Sukkot is one of three great pilgrimage feasts recorded in the Bible when all Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem.

I admit I have never paid much if any attention to this feast, seeing it as a rather obscure part of the Old Testament not practiced by Christians today. But last week our friend Jesse on the Old Windmill Farm told me that orthodox Jews from New York and New Jersey come to the farm and set up temporary tents or booths to commemorate and faithfully observe their historic past. Today, the requirement to dwell in the booth can be met by eating at least one meal a day in it. However, some Jews still sleep in the sukkah. Since Sukkot is a harvest celebration, typical foods include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

So this prompted a study of the Feast of the Tabernacles and how it relates to our Christian faith!

Rabbi Michael CaliseRabbi Michael Calise is from a Sephardic Jewish background. He came to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah of Israel in his early twenties and immediately sensed a call from God to prepare for full-time ministry so he enrolled in Bible college. God also called him back to his Jewish roots and Jewish ministry which led to him joining the Jewish ministries group at Bible College. He and his wife, Carol, have been the messianic rabbis of Beth Emanuel Synagogue, in Holbrook, NY, since 1994.

He writes regarding one teaching element in the Sukkot for Christians.

"Sukkot (tabernacles) are temporary structures inhabited for seven days and highlight the transient nature of the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. They also speak to the transient nature of a Christian’s life in this world. Like Abraham, we understand that this world is not our home as we look forward to a heavenly city whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10)."

As we look at the increasingly troubled world around us ramping up in greater and greater rebellion against God we want to have a perspective like Jesus. The dominant system when Jesus was on this earth ultimately determined that His views were worthy of death. At His trial before Pilate Jesus calmly addressed the heart of the matter, "My kingdom is not of this world". Earlier in an exchange with the religious leaders of His day He minced no words, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world" (John 8:23).

Jesus also applied this phrase "not of the world" to His followers in John 17:16, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world". We want to remember where our ultimate home is. An old gospel song provides a fitting aspiration, "And I can't feel at home in this world anymore!" God never intended that we drive in the stakes of our earthy tent too deeply. "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:14).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we're cautioned in Scripture not to fix our attention, energy, and finances solely on our temporary brick and mortar dwelling here on earth, for it will one day perish or be taken from us. This world is not our home, though it is all we've personally known since our existence on earth. So we walk by faith on our journey here below while we also fix our affections on the city that is yet to come where Jesus is preparing a place for us to dwell eternally. Keep us faithful and fix our hopes on that which is yet to come. Through Christ Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Worth Is Not in What I Own"  Video  John Piper, Keith & Kristyn Getty, We Are Messengers

"Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me"  Video  CityAlight  We ended our service yesterday with this beautiful song.  “When my race is complete, still my lips shall repeat, yet not I but through Christ in me“

LESSONS FROM THE HUT: UNDERSTANDING FEAST OF TABERNACLES (article by Rabbi Michael Calise quoted from today)

Study Note: The verse used from 2 Corinthians 5:1 is normally, and I believe correctly, interpreted as the "tent" being our physical body. However in studying for today's message the verse came to mind in regard to life in this present physical realm in general.

Crossroads class bike ride
Saturday we joined with friends from our "youth" group for a bike ride on the Susquehanna River trail. (Actually we are from our "youth at heart" Adult Bible Fellowship class at church)
Click on photo to enlarge

Crossroads class bike ride
Standing on the famous "White Cliffs of Conoy" overlooking the Susquehanna River.

Crossroads class bike ride
Allan, a faithful walker from Bainbridge, was on the trail with his 23 year old umbrella cockatoo named Mollie. Mollie is very comfortable with strangers, including Brooksyne and others from our group! She even has videos on YouTube.

Crossroads class bike ride
Some from the group on the "White Cliffs of Conoy". The cliffs are the result of a limestone quarry that once existed up the hill from the cliffs. Once pulled from the ground, the limestone and dolomite were crushed and burned to create a variety of products for local farms and businesses. Over the years, the excess limestone and dolomite were piled up near the river, creating large white mountains up to 30 feet tall. It’s entirely possible that the White Cliffs of Conoy is the first great industrial waste tourist attraction in the world!
Click on photo to enlarge

Shocks Mill Bridge
It's a beautiful trail along the river including passing under the Shocks Mill Railroad Bridge.
Click on photo to enlarge

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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