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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
"My Permanent Home"
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"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1). "We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it" (2 Corinthians 5:7-9). "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23).
We took a plant tour yesterday of Four Seasons Produce, a company where I, Stephen, served as a chaplain ten years ago. It's a large company with over 500 employees and due to the nature of the business we weren't able to visit as many people as we would during a regular chaplain visit. However I did see a number of familiar faces including one big Hispanic man who walked over to give me a bear hug. I was so pleased to visit for a few minutes with a faithful minister as well.
The visit also prompted some ministry memories from years past such as the time a father, deeply burdened in regard to his daughter's rebellion said to me with tears, "Help me salvage this life." ("Salvage" is an interesting synonym he used for redemption.)
I saw another employee yesterday that also prompted a memory from over ten years ago. She had asked me to visit her grandmother who was dealing with cancer and lived in "Landis Homes" (one of the many huge senior housing complexes in our area.) After I finally located her room number I knocked on her door and she warmly welcomed me into her room. The prominent Bible on her table caught my eye immediately. After visiting a few minutes I shared a Scripture from her Bible and prayed with her.
Like so many of the elderly, she expressed how much she missed her own home but she made a great statement of faith with a contented state of mind. As we visited in her very modest, but tastefully decorated room, she said with a tone of acceptance: "This is fine for now… after all, it's not my permanent home." I knew what she meant. She didn't anticipate returning to her own home or ever moving into a bigger apartment. Clearly when she referred to her "permanent home" she meant her eternal home in heaven. What a healthy spiritual outlook and example of contentedness!
The Apostle Paul is speaking of our temporary home in the daily text. "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." That's a good verse to hide deep in your heart. 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 home quite graphically: "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).
It's interesting that in the daily text Paul speaks of the "earthly tent" which underscores the temporariness of our present life. However our future abode is described as "a building from God, an eternal house in heaven."
The ongoing challenge for all of us is not driving the stakes too deeply in our present "tent". We must take care 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 transferred to our eternal, permanent home which, regardless of how our lives have been on this earth, will be "better by far".
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we're mindful of the Scriptures that caution us 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. Likewise we are to regard our bodies as perishable, like that of earthly tents. Ever since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil our bodies have taken on mortality. Our physical body is decaying day by day even though we try to delay the discomfort and limitations that accompany the aging process. But the most wonderful news for the believer is that these future resurrected bodies of ours are not built by human hands but by You, our Creator. And on Your appointed day our eternal spirit will be joined with our flesh that has taken on immortality. We will no longer groan from the painful anatomical effects of aging, for our new bodies will be perfect, disease free and ageless in the everlasting life. Knowing that such unending blessing lies in our future gives us hope and endurance for the ills of this present life. Amen.
For more study about the spirit and immortal body read I Corinthians 15:46-58
Several days ago we shared a photo of 4 robin eggs in a nest in our barn rafters. I have been checking regularly and this morning see one has hatched!
Nelson Longenecker, whom I met a short time after moving to Lancaster County in 2001, led us on our tour. We went with our pastor John and his wife Faithe who is a lifelong friend with Debbie Hollinger, whose husband David founded the company 38 years ago. Nelson has a vast amount of knowledge about the produce business and a zeal for his work pointing out various ways the company has improved efficiency. One of the obvious features in working with produce is that it is perishable and the inventory moves and changes very quickly. We observed scores of forklifts zipping through the gigantic warehouse moving products here and there. Nelson shared about a new door that is invisible. In fact it looks like it's open in the photo above. It's an air door. If I understood Nelson correctly it is capable of maintaining room temperature on one side and a freezer temperature on the other separated by nothing but a curtain of air. I know there is a spiritual lesson somewhere in this! Maybe that will come to me in a future message.
Notice the blue light on the floor ahead of the forklift. Any idea what that is for?
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Going Home" Video Bill Gaither and friends
"Heaven Is Better By Far" Video Haven Quartet
"Finally Home" Video MercyMe
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber (Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
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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. Other versions are also occasionally used.
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