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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Front porch of Ressler family home
Front porch of the historic Ressler home, Mascot, PA

"The Ultimate Honorable Discharge"

Message summary: The final outcome for true children of God is always good! One day we will receive our ultimate honorable discharge as we remain faithful to God

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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Ron Boyle service photoYesterday I conducted the funeral service for Ron Boyle who had an interesting distinction, he was honorably discharged from both the Marines and the Air Force (I mentioned the reason for this in a footnote yesterday*).

An honorable discharge is the top-most ranking a service member can receive upon leaving the military. This status indicates the enlisted has faithfully and patriotically performed his or her duties, and conducted themselves in a manner of benefit to their service branch.

This is in contrast to a dishonorable discharge which is handed down for what the military considers reprehensible conduct. In most states, a dishonorable discharge is deemed the equivalent of a felony conviction, with attendant loss of many civil rights. *²

At Ron's service the thought occurred to me that in his death he received the ultimate honorable discharge. As a follower of Christ, like Paul, he had fought the good fight, kept the faith and finished the race (see 2 Timothy 4:7).

Our discharge is attained when we cross the finish line in life's race. Today let us consider this finish line that each one of us has in common; life’s finish line.

Where are you in regard to life’s finish line? Truth be told none of us really knows. I realize I’m well beyond the halfway point in a normal life span but the finish line is not always crossed due to old age. We may not know when our race will finish but we are all making preparations for that finish and whether or not we receive an honorable or dishonorable discharge.

Using the words of Jesus we will either hear, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (Matthew 25:34). Or these fateful words, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

Let us live daily in such a way that we will receive our ultimate honorable discharge.

Tim KellerLast week Bible teacher Tim Keller died and shared these words with his family in the days before his death,

"I am thankful for time God has given me, but I'm ready to see Jesus. I can't wait to see Jesus. Send me home. There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest."

Life has its setbacks, hurts and disappointments. We’ve all had them, though some more than others. You might be in the very midst of a trial today.

Remember, the finish line is ahead. Hold onto your faith in the ever-living Redeemer. In the end you will receive the ultimate honorable discharge and your faith will be eternally rewarded.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there are many goals, deadlines, and expectations we meet as we tarry here below. But there’s one goal yet unmet that will carry us to the very end of our lives here, and that’s to cross over the finish line that transports us from our temporal dwelling to our place of eternal rest. We await as your faithful followers our ultimate honorable discharge, the discharge from our duties on this side of eternity. We await rest from all that troubles us, a place where we will no longer taste of death, sickness, evil or sorrow. But until then we rejoice in knowing that Christ our Redeemer lives. He walks with us through every trial, every heartache, and every temptation that our enemy, the devil, hurls at us. We are victors through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

"DEATH to the Christian is the funeral of all SORROWS and EVILS, and the resurrection, of all JOYS."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Faithful Now"  Click to listen on YouTube  Vertical Worship

I am holding on to faith
Cause I know you’ll make a way
I don’t always understand, I don’t always get to see
But I will believe it, I will believe it

"Finish Well"   Click to listen on YouTube    West Coast Baptist College

* While in High School Ron was recruited and wanted to be a Marine. He went through the training but fell below the size requirements and was honorably discharged. He went back to the same recruiter who suggested the Air Force in which he served and received another honorable discharge!

Today's lead photo is of the Mascot Roller Mills & Ressler Family Home here in Lancaster County on Stumptown Road.

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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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