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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Crossroads ABF class 9/16/23
Some of our ABF class on a bike ride this last Saturday. I asked Ed, a builder in the group, if he saw much promise for renovation. As we peered inside we could still see a stairwell standing on the right side of the two story house but no one wanted to see if it would support their weight should they climb the steps!
Click on photo to enlarge

"Our Temporary House"

Message summary: One day we will be transported to our eternal home and 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!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"We know that when the tent which houses us here on earth is torn down, we have a permanent building from God, a building not made by human hands, to house us in heaven" (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Yesterday morning as we were completing our message we heard a loud noise as if something fell off a truck and it sure got our notice and the dogs as well. Initially we thought it was close by so Brooksyne walked through the house and I walked around outside. We didn't find anything amiss so went about our work. Shortly afterward we heard a lot of sirens, but at the time we made no association with the noise.

Later we learned that a house exploded west of us and that was the source of the noise. The video (link below) shows complete devastation. Tragically a 68 year old man was killed in the explosion. Just the day before he and his wife were at the shore with their family celebrating the wife's birthday. Unexpected events like this underscore the uncertainties of life.

Last Saturday our ABF class took a bike ride through Swatara State Park, which is one of our favorite bike trails. (We shared several photos yesterday). There are two parallel trails on each side of Swatara Creek or as locals call it, "the Swattie"; one, a rail trail and the other a gravel road closed to vehicles called the Bear Hole Trail, which is where I fell last year and tore my rotator cuff. On our ride Saturday there were no serious problems though one fell due to loose gravel but was not hurt badly. Brooksyne spoke to her in choir on Sunday and learned that she sore from the fall but not injured for which we are thankful.

Stephen's note: At one point Brooksyne began talking with a bike rider who was pulling two of his dogs in a cart. Our group was ahead of her and when we made a turn she didn't notice which trail we took. At the junction she turned on "Moonshine Trail" (actual name) which was not the way to go! Thankfully she got back on the right trail after about 20 panicky minutes.

Swatara trail leads to rustic Bordner cabin, which was built by hand in 1939 by a local high school shop teacher, Armar Bordner, and some of his students. Our group enjoyed walking through the cabin and seeing rooms where once Armar lived along with his wife and daughter.

Along the way I asked the group to pose in front of a dilapidated house we pass each time we ride on the Swatara Rail Trail. (See our lead photo.) It's right along PA Rt 443 and through the years I have taken a photo about every time we pass it. It is slowly decaying, demonstrating the law of entropy or 2nd law of thermodynamics. That is "as one goes forward in time, the net entropy (degree of disorder) of any isolated or closed system will always increase."

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

Novelist Joseph Conrad described the temporariness of youth as:

“The feeling that will never come back any more –the feeling that I thought could last forever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort –to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires –and expires, too soon, too soon –before life itself.”

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 temporal state of our present life. One day this old house will be torn down, a euphemism for death. Our physical bodies are examples of increasing entropy!

Billy Graham put it this way in the book he wrote at 93 years of age, "Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well":

"I never thought I would live to be this old. All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die. I wish they had because I am an old man now, and believe me, it's not easy."

He couldn't have known at the time he would live to be 99 years old and it never got easier, that we can be sure of!

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 peace and 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 man Daily 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 by the moans and groans, the tears and breaks of this earthly body. Until Christ returns or until You call us home, we remain faithful, hopeful and vigilant in our spiritual pilgrimage, no matter the condition of this flesh and blood body. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"This Ole House/When the Saints Go Marching In"  Watch video on YouTube  Ernie Haase and Signature Sound One of Brooksyne's dad's favorite songs that he played on the record player over and over when she was growing up: "This Ole' House" written by Stuart Hamblen who was  on a hunting expedition in the Sierras, when he and his fellow hunter, actor John Wayne, came across a hut in the mountains. Inside was the body of a man, and the man's dog was still there, guarding the building. This inspired Hamblen to write "This Ole House".

The song describes the last words of an old man living in an old house that has fallen into such disrepair that it is no longer structurally sound. The man tells of how the house "once knew his children" and "once knew his wife," but that he was not going to need it any longer nor did he have time to repair the house's numerous flaws because he is dying and going to heaven very soon ("ready to meet the saints"). [Wikipedia]

"I'll Have a New Life"
  Watch video on YouTube  Gold City  (dedicated to Tina Matangelo, who enjoys this group)

Big Valley Scripture sign 9/15/23
Scripture sign in Big Valley
We passed through a very remote area known as the Big Valley last week on the way home from Pittsburgh. There are a series of signs on the main road through the valley with various Scriptures.

Rosie meets horse on Old Windmill Farm 9/15/23
Brooksyne joined us as we drove across the County to take Moses home to the Old Windmill Farm last Thursday and we took along Rosie. She wasn't too sure about meeting a horse face to face!

Feeding goat on Old Windmill Farm 9/15/23
It was chore time so little Stephen gave me a bottle to feed a baby goat.

Playing catch on the Old Windmill Farm 9/15/23
Stephen, who turns 6 tomorrow, just couldn't get enough "catch" before it got dark. It brought back memories of my friend David and me playing catch till it was too dark to play back in the 60's in Belton, MO where I lived in my childhood.

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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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