Monday, March 03, 2014

Daily Encouragement (03/03/14) "Coming To The End Of Life's Journey"

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Mount Joy fire and ice train 3/1/14
This weekend our community had a Fire and Ice Weekend. We've sure had lots of ice and the weather remains cold with more snow overnight. We are expecting Spring soon and more than ready for it!

"Coming To The End Of Life's Journey"

Note to regular readers: We have been studying Romans 1 in this series but interrupt today so we can pay tribute to a friend whose life's journey ended last week. We expect to resume our study on Romans 1 tomorrow.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

Soon I'll come to the end of life's journey,
And I'll meet the one who gave His life for me;
I want to thank Him for the love that He gave me;
And ten thousand years, and more, I'll praise His name.

"Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people" (Genesis 25:8). When David had served God's purpose in his own generation he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed" (Acts 13:36). For the time of my departure has come" (2 Timothy 4:6).

Jerel and Fran BookSaturday morning we attended a filled to capacity funeral service celebrating the life of Pastor Jerel L. Book. We became friends with his son, Mike, shortly after moving to this area. At that time Jerel was pastoring a church in Indiana, prior to his retirement. About eight years ago they moved back to this area and we appreciated getting to know Jerel and Fran at church and even more so in a small group Bible Study we held in our home. Over the last several years Jerel's health declined which added special burdens upon the family. We, along with many of you, have experienced the emotional and physical upheavel this places upon a family. Seeking to encourage people through this winter season of their family's life is a common theme in our chaplaincy and even in this writing ministry.

Mike and Kay BookThere are a number of reasons we might attend services for someone who has died. We may desire to show respect for the deceased and lend our support for those left behind. Truth be told there might be times we feel obliged to attend. However we also attend these services for our own benefit since they remind us of our own physical mortality and the main event in life that really does matter.  These services can be a powerful witness to the community of the importance of having one's spiritual affairs in order. Not only did Pastor John put forth this challenge, but Mike (pictured with his wife, Kay) did so as well with passion and conviction evident in the challenge he put forth while also giving tribute to his father and the godly path he laid out for his family.

Fulfilling God's purpose is the major calling in each of our lives. Consider the daily text. In the historical books we have a lot of information on David. In fact perhaps apart from Moses, we have more biographical information on David than any other Old Testament personality. But the apostle Paul, preaching in a Jewish synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, makes a simple statement concerning David's life, "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation."

God places us all on this earth for a season, a period of time known as our "own generation.” It's a journey beginning with our conception till our time of death.  The amount of time we have varies; some die young, others middle-aged, and yet others at a "ripe old age" (one of the most colorful descriptions of aging in the Scriptures! See Genesis 25:8.) But like David, all of us (except the final generation) will eventually fall asleep (die) and our physical bodies will decay but in great contrast our spirits will soar.

We can live our life for self or in consecration to God's purpose. Recall the old saying, “Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.”
How are you impacting others for Christ and eternity? Let us choose, like David and Pastor Jerel Book, to serve God’s purpose in our generation!

Ten thousand years and we'll just be started;
Ten thousand years and we've just begun;
The battle's over, and the victory is won;
Ten thousand years and we've just begun.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we're grateful for those throughout history who chose to be men and women of faith, whose hearts were fashioned in Your image, and who served Your purpose in their generation. We also want to serve Your purpose in our generation.  Help us to stay steadfast and strong as we run this race set before us. Thankfully, in this race, we're not in competition to be the only prizewinner. Instead we take hold of the hands of those who run with us, those who've fallen and struggle to get up, and we invite others on the sidelines to join us in this great lifelong journey. As we cross the finish line we will receive the grand prize of life eternal with You. And it's only possible because of Jesus' shed blood on our behalf. We thank You for it. Amen.

Jerel and Fran Book
Three years ago we ate at Gus' restaurant in Mount Joy and sat next to Jerel and Fran Book, on his 70th birthday. The servers are singing "Happy Birthday" to him and he is clapping right along! The smile captures well Jerel's enthusiam for life.

Jerel and Fran Book 7/3/11
Jerel and Fran Book's anniversary in 2011. They have both had significant overcoming in life. What a blessing to see their two sons along with many friends and family honoring them at this major milestone in their marriage.

2008 home Bible Study picnic
A 2008 home Bible Study picnic with Jerel and Fran to the far left.
(Click to enlarge)

Senior ministry couples
Our church has been blessed to have three retired ministerial couples, representing spiritual ministry veterans who are now in their seventies, eighties and nineties!
Left to right: Jerel (now with the Lord) and Fran Book, Jim and Eva Ketner, Jesse and Wilma Dourte, along with our current pastor and his wife, John and Faithe Keefer.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Ten Thousand Years"
Ernie Haas and homecoming singers (Song beginning with "Soon I'll come to the end of life's journey.")

"My Life Is An Offering"  (Video)  Sovereign Grace  Great song based on Romans 12:1,2!

"Offering"  (Video)  Paul Baloche

"You Hold Me Now"  Video 

"When It's All Been Said And Done"  Video  Don Moen

"The Law Of Rewards" (A thoughtful article on living a life of purpose.) Here's a quote by Randy Alcorn. "Gather your family and go visit a junkyard or a dump. Look at all the piles of “treasures” that were formerly Christmas and birthday presents. Point out things that people worked long hours to buy and paid hundreds of dollars for, that children quarreled about, friendships were lost over, honesty was sacrificed for, and marriages broke up over. Look at the remnants of gadgets and furnishings that now lie useless after their brief life span. Remind yourself that most of what you own will one day end up in a junkyard like this. And even if it survives on earth for a while, you won’t. . . . When you examine the junkyard, ask yourself this question: ‘When all that I ever owned lies abandoned, broken, useless, and forgotten, what will I have done with my life that will last for eternity?"

Personal note: Mike wrote a poem when his dad went into the hospital that has given him assurance and he gave me permission to share with our readers as well. We believe it will bless many!

A Hiker's Leap of Faith

There are times when the trail is so lonely;
There are times when the way is so steep.
But Jesus is walking beside me
And His strong hand in mine I will keep.

I can't see what path lies before me;
I don't know what's 'round the next bend.
But as long as my Savior is with me,
He's guiding, on that I can surely depend.

For He's hiked up the hill of Mount Calvary
And He bore the sin cross on His own.
So He knows all about my life's struggles
And He makes heaven's victory known.

Our trials are not for our evil;
He uses them making weak strong.
He exercises our faith on the pathway;
He trades in our grief for a song.

So when I am hiking and stumble,
Or slip near the edge as to fall,
I trust in the grasp of my Savior.
I love him and make Him my all.

My future eternal is with Him;
He knows
all my days to the end,
He loves me and cares for my needs now,
He my soul does completely defend.

And here's the best part of my story.
My friend Jesus can also be yours.
You can trust Him to hike with you also;
His love, He freely out-pours.

His hand can grip yours and guide you,
In your journey rough as it is.
He's The Master, The Expert, The Climber,
And the power and glory are His.

He created us, loves and protects us,
His grace He freely extends.
He paid for it through His own life's blood.
His counsel and wisdom He lends.

So come all you hikers of life,
Whether flat paths or high mountains steep.
Join me with my Savior sojourning.
When with Him, don't doubt; take the leap.

Our faith is assurance of the unseen.
Inspiration strengthened with hope.
Our carabiner* is locked on God's harness;
He is at the end of our rope.

Written by Mike Book
With Dad in hospital during the night

* When I read Mike's poem I didn't recognize what a carabiner is till I looked it up and saw a photo (left).

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Stephen and Brooksyne WeberStephen and Brooksyne Weber
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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 I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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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.
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