Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Daily Encouragement (04/14/15) "Our Heavenly Citizenship"

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A peaceful spring river walk (Photo by Georgia)
A peaceful spring river walk
(Photo by Georgia)

"Our Heavenly Citizenship"

ListenListen to this message on your audio player. Ouch! Yesterday I again failed to update the link to the audio message! Here it is if you care to listen to it.

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).

Tax timeHere in the USA it's tax time. Yesterday I spent several hours on the process and this morning all the forms are filled out and Brooksyne mailed the envelopes on the way to a meeting. Many pay someone to prepare their taxes.  Regardless of income, many taxpayers have relatively easy forms and do it early because they have money coming back.  I do my own which can be a bit complicated and I am not among those with money coming back!

I try to get a good start in February and March but typically finalize everything toward the due date. Since our income is from a variety of sources we need to use several forms.

At this time of year I have to take a deep breath and fortify myself with some powerful Biblical truths since I am fulfilling the legal obligation to "render unto Caesar" but admittedly I don't do so joyfully!
I consider myself blessed to live in America and want to do my part, but when I file my taxes I'm reminded of the corruption and waste that is a part of human government, a stunning evidence of the Fall. I find it helpful throughout the process to purposefully recall my heavenly citizenship.

Philippians 3:20Paul, a Roman citizen, surely had his own issues with the government of his time. After all, when has human government ever been perfect! He enjoined the believers in Philippi with the forthright statement, "But our citizenship is in heaven." This is one of those powerful truths we must keep before us if we are to find the reality of God's promised peace. Yet we often let other outlooks dim our vision and rob us of peace.

Romans 12:1Early in my Christian walk I heard an expression I have often used. In referring to Romans 12:1,2 which calls us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, "The problem with a living sacrifice is that it's living and keeps on jumping off the altar!" Now this is true not only in regard to consecration but in many other areas as well, including our thought life. We can commit a matter to the Lord and, if we're not intentional, we take it back to start our worrying all over again. Do you ever do that?

When my focus is on my earthly citizenship I find myself experiencing anxiety and at times even despair, especially as we see conditions so similar to 2 Chronicles 36:15,16 unfold before our very eyes. I find that in my life the source of agitation and anxiety often comes from placing too much value in this present life and failing to realize where my primary and ultimate citizenship lies.

What issues are you facing today? What has the potential of robbing you of God's peace and promised abundant life? Undoubtedly for some of you, like me, it will be taxes. But there are many other matters that concern us.

Today remember Paul's words to the Philippian believers. Chained and imprisoned he nevertheless was able to express and encourage joy more in this short epistle than in any other. He wrote, "So you too should be glad and rejoice with me" (Philippians 2:18).  It just seems like he's bubbling over with the joy of the Lord. If he can have joy in his horrible surroundings, I can have joy while sending out these forms and you can have joy regardless of what you are facing today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, at one time we were alienated and excluded from heavenly citizenship. We were foreigners destined to perish. But You, in Your great mercy, redeemed us through Your precious blood and thereby we receive our heavenly citizenship. We also consider the privilege of being citizens of the country from which we were born or choose to live in. There are many benefits as well as responsibilities placed upon us - much that we appreciate and understand and all the while we struggle with the corruption and defiance of many in power who no longer heed the Judeo Christian heritage of our great country's founding. We want to do our part to turn it around not only for ourselves but for our children and our children's children. But above all, we fix our attention on our heavenly citizenship in the midst of our disappointments on earth so that we do not lose heart. As our focus is heavenward we are filled with renewed hope and an enduring spirit until You call us to our home in heaven. Keep us obedient, faithful, and hopeful till that glorious day. Amen.

Our neighborhood was touched by two tragic events this last weekend:

The Posie Patch is a 90 acre commercial flower grower on Kraybill Church Road right around the bend from our house. The owner and his wife were killed in an auto accident this weekend. We toured the farm several years ago and met Ralph Cramer the owner. He restored old cars as a hobby. Here's an article about the accident from our paper.
We have some photos of the Cramer Posie Patch here.

On the other end of our road Brooksyne visited with the sister of a 19 year old young man who loved the Lord who also died this weekend in a motorcycle accident. Here's an article about that accident. For many years his grandmother, Mary Sweigart, was our neighbor. We include these especially for our local readers who would take special interest and pray for these suffering tremendous, unexpected loss.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"It Matters to the Master"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

Yesterday's message on "Mundane Faithfulness" prompted a couple of interesting comments from two Texan friends:

David Penley wrote, "The importance of simple, persistent, every day faith is so vital. The Lord has really been speaking to me about this in recent days. I read a book about this very thing a couple of months ago entitled "Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World" by Michael Horton, one of my favorite writers, that really spoke to me.

Jim Scanlon wrote, I have always been a "plodder", not interested in making the "headlines", just following My Shepherd. Warren Wiersbe wrote a book a number of years ago to that effect: "In Praise of Plodders". This is from Prophet 2U, and has what I think is a portion of the book. In Praise of Plodders :: Warren Wiersbe

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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 38th anniversary photo (click on photo to enlarge)
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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
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"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.

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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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International
* The phrase "terrestrial ball" is found in the great hymn ...

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