Joshua 24:15
 
“Your Most Important Decision Day”
 
Message summary: We have our most important decision today. Do we decide to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ resulting in a change of heart and change of direction to walk in His ways rather than the ways of the world? Or do we pursue the ever-changing philosophies and trends of our day?

Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).
 

I voted sticker

As most of you are aware we had a mid-term election yesterday here in America. The three of us in our family voted and made a decision for the candidates that we believed best represented our values. We are thankful for the privilege to vote and the peaceful and efficient manner in which our polling place was operated. In spite of all the vitriol on the national level there was a representative from each major party providing information as we walked in and “amazingly” they were talking with one another and getting along!
 
We are sure glad another season of intense campaigning is over, at least for now. For the last several weeks we have been bombarded with campaign appeals, some tasteful and informative, others disgustingly deceptive. I received a text message over and over the last several weeks that stated “Hey Elizabeth! This is Shane with Keystone Progress. Can we count on your vote for ______ ?” (a socialist candidate). In spite of repeated pleas to be removed from whatever list I had been put on they just kept sending it to me. I am not Elizabeth, don’t know Shane nor what “Keystone Progress” is all about (although I have a pretty good idea). I find such a campaign method quite irritating.
 
There’s been a lot of talk about this election being the most important in our lifetime, which is something you hear in about every national election.
 
But an email I received yesterday prompted today’s message. It stated “It’s Decision Day For American Voters.” The title of today’s message, “Your Most Important Decision Day” may seem a day late but it’s not. In a sense it’s always decision day for the most important decision we will make in life.
 

Choose This DayJoshua challenged the Israelites to make a decision: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). The people had to decide whether to serve and obey the Lord God who had proven His trustworthiness or the gods of their time derived from the imaginations and philosophies of man. It is a decision we each make, one that will guide the eternal direction of our lives, but there’s also a sense we make this decision daily. Just like the ancient Israelites we must decide whether to serve and obey the one true God who daily proves His trustworthiness or the gods of our time derived from the imaginations, philosophies, and even the politics of our day.

 
I consider Joshua’s challenge practically every day and his bold proclamation of faith that he expressed when he proclaimed, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.
 
We have our most important decision today. Do we decide to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ resulting in a change of heart and change of direction to walk in His ways rather than the ways of the world? Or do we pursue the ever-changing philosophies and trends of our day? We really can’t do both, since trying to do so will bring about compromise, frustration, hypocrisy, lack of effectiveness and the real possibility of falling away from the truth once for all entrusted to the saints.
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

 

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the philosophies, trends, and mind-set of the world stands in great contrast to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your Word tells us that those who do not stand with You are against You. We can’t walk on both sides of the fence so we are faced with a choice we must make; the same kind of choice Joshua gave to the Israelites 3,400 years ago. We must choose whether to follow after the gods of this world and forsake You or we must forsake the world and devote ourselves to You. Father, I choose to follow after You; You who reconciled me to Yourself through Jesus. You have proven Yourself trustworthy for Your promises are true. You provide the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit to lead and direct my every path. I choose You today, exclusively and eternally!  Amen.

Colorado scene 11/2/18 (Click to enlarge)As I traveled with my sister, Elaine, over the mountains I found this view a bit different than most of the terrain near Rifle, Colorado. It looks a lot like an artist’s painting rather than a photograph.
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Home view 11/7/18 (Click to enlarge)
Our view from our front porch this morning.
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Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“I Choose Christ”  Video  Karen Peck & New River
 
“Say Amen”  Video  Brian Free & Assurance
 
“Medley of songs about Heaven”  Video  Calvary Church Choir This is the medley of songs used by our church’s choir two Sundays ago. Mistakenly, Stephen did not create the link correctly yesterday so that it would start right at the medley. Old-timers especially will enjoy these hymns as I did while singing these hand clapping time honored songs about heaven. Among my dad’s favorite hymns were “When We All Get to Heaven” and “I’ll Fly Away” so Ester especially enjoyed this medley, as did I. If you view the video and see the entire choir on the platform you’ll see the altos seated on the left, the tenor/bass in the middle, and the sopranos on the right where I sing. Look especially for the very enthusiastic male singer in the yellow shirt!
 
Finally today:

Happy pets 11/6/18It was nice to be welcomed by my family after visiting with my extended family in Colorado last week. Silly as it might sound to non-dog owners I really miss the dogs when I’m away. They pounced on me the moment I took to the recliner last night to watch the election results and Stephen caught it on camera.
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“What Children Believe”

November 6, 2018

Colorado National Monument 11/3/18 (Click to enlarge)
Colorado National Monument is near Grand Junction Colorado in the western part of the state. This looks like a scene from Monument Valley in northeast Arizona.
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“What Children Believe”
 
Message summary: A consideration of what children perceive.

Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:11-13).
 
Our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth have seven children. We met them in early 2003 right after they got married and have seen the blessings come along one by one.
 
Anna Ruth shared an instructive story with us concerning a conversation with Sara Beth, who is now three years old. She has five older siblings and a younger brother. Anna Ruth was explaining to her that there was a time when it was just her Mom and Dad and no children. Sara Beth was surprised at this and she just couldn’t imagine that. After all, in her entire existence, all she has ever known is having a house full with a Mom and Dad and brothers and sisters. At three years old she probably can’t even remember a time she didn’t have a little brother!
 
Thus far Sara Beth has had a very protected life, such a blessing for a child, which of course is not the case for so many these days. It brought to mind a song we enjoy called “What Children Believe” which seeks to see life through the eyes and understanding of little children being raised in a loving, protected setting.

“Love lasts forever
Mom & Daddys stay together
Cheater’s never win
and a promise is somethin’ you keep
It’s bad to lie, but it’s okay to cry
Dreams never die and faith is all you need”
Today’s text is from “The Love Chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, a beloved portion of the Bible that many have memorized. In musing over Sara Beth’s perception I considered the phrase, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child” especially the words “reason like a child”.
 
It’s entirely understandable that Sara Beth would reason this way, after all that’s her entire frame of reference. She thinks it’s always been that way since that’s all she’s known. It’s hard at 64 to remember what it was like at Sara Beth’s age but thankfully I was also raised in a loving, protective home.
 
But there’s another point in this story I want to consider. Sara Beth’s perception will expand as she ages and she will be able to imagine when her Mom and Dad first got married and there were no children in the Lapp household and she’ll also learn the world is a lot bigger than what she now experiences. Sadly she will also learn, as we all did, that this world is a very broken place.
 
But I also wonder that in light of eternity and the spiritual realm if our understanding is actually similar to Sara Beth’s? The text goes on to state, For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” I think we really know a very small part of the “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we now see through a mirror dimly and now know only a small part. Thank you for that future time when we shall see and know fully. In the meantime help us to keep the faith and live in obedience to your revelation even when we may not understand and even if it goes against the grain of culture. Fill our hearts with an assurance of Your steadfast love and care. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.



Colorado National Monument 11/3/18 (Click to enlarge)Colorado National Monument
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Colorado National Monument 11/3/18 (Click to enlarge)
Colorado National Monument
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Snowy mountains near Vail 11/2/18 (Click to enlarge)

On Friday on the way to Grand Junction from Denver they passed snowy mountains near Vail.
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Snowy I-70 11/4/18
On the way back from Grand Junction to Denver on Sunday on I-70 Brooksyne passed through a snow storm near Vail. Two hours late they closed the highway so their timing was good.
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“What Children Believe”  Video  Gold City  The songwriters have a thoughtful second verse:
Sometimes I wish
I didn’t know now
what I didn’t know then
When my world was so small,
back before all of this trouble we’re in
and right and wrong mattered
and truth was in style
and hope could be seen
through the eyes of a child

“Melody of songs about Heaven”  Video  Calvary Church Choir This is the medley of songs used by our church’s choir in last week’s service. See if you can find Brooksyne! Old-timers especially will enjoy these songs.

Finally today: Today we honor the cousin-in-law:
 
Brooksyne with Stephen's cousin Kane and her husband Tom 11/1/18Brooksyne with my cousin Jane and her husband Tom near Breckenridge, CO. Since we have an annual family reunion on my Mom’s side we have stayed connected with my cousins for many years. Jane is in her seventies now and has (if I’m not mistaken) climbed all of the fourteeners in Colorado; that is peaks over 14,000 feet!
Colorado National Monument 11/3/18 (Click to enlarge)
Colorado National Monument
(Click to enlarge)
 
“Praise Him In The Heights”
 
Message summary: Today’s text is an exhortation to “praise Him in the heights”. Let us do so!

Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights” (Psalm 148:1).
 
Brooksyne on bluff in Colorado 11/3/18 (Click to enlarge)Brooksyne standing on Cold Shivers Point Overlook in Colorado National Monument

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For the last several days Brooksyne has been out in Colorado visiting with her sister and an elderly aunt. She posted the photo above at appropriately named “Cold Shivers Point”, I am sure knowing it would give me the cold shivers. She knows I get the severe heebie-jeebies if I see anyone near a drop-off.
 
Father with daughter on bluff in Colorado 11/3/18Some identify this condition as Acrophobia (fear of heights). However that is really not the case for me and in reality most others having this condition. Rather we have a fear of edges. This of course also has a fancy name, Cremnophobia (fear of precipices).
 
I’m OK at 40,000 feet in an airplane or on the top floor of a skyscraper. However get me near the edge of a roof on a two story building at sea level and I am very uncomfortable!
 
This is particularly the case for me or someone I love but observing any human near an edge will prompt this feeling. Brooksyne also took this photo at Cold Shivers Overlook and I get a feeling of dread just looking at it. What is this father thinking! (at least he is holding her with two hands but what if he slips? *)
 
But there is a height we should all strive to be. I consider a song many of us have sung. CCLI reported “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” as the most popular song used in churches every year from 1997 to 2003. Today’s text is an exhortation to “praise Him in the heights”. Let us do so!
 
Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad Your in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word consistently call Your creation to praise you. Help us today to lift Your Name on high and sing Your praises.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colorado tree 11/4/18The trees are pretty in Colorado but Brooksyne observed most are a bright yellow lacking the variety of fall colors we see in our area.

John Uhler, living history chaplain 11/3/18
Saturday afternoon I visited with John Uhler on the Old Windmill Farm. John has an interesting ministry as a “living history” chaplain. He began with an interest in WW2 reenactments playing the role as a chaplain and went on to become ordained and endorsed, perhaps the only in the nation with this distinction. He has many opportunities to minister to others both in the sense of explaining the chaplain’s role in the service during WW2 but also to other reenactors and guests.
 
John Uhler, living history chaplain display 11/3/18
This last weekend he was down to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum in Strasburg with special display.
Click on photo to enlarge
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Lord I Lift Your Name On High”  Video  Maranatha! Singers
 
“God Is Good”  Video  Rick Founds, who wrote the song above continues to write and share his music. He was born in 1954, the same year I was!
 
“Big Enough”  Video  Joseph Habedank
 
* “Cold Shivers Point is at the top of a vertical cliff. The overlook is airy and exposed spot, especially if you stand next to the fencing. The long fenced area offers plenty of great photo ops so resist the urge to scramble onto the canyon rim for a different vantage point. Footing on the cliff edge is insecure and the stone beneath your feet can break. Keep control of your children. Several people have died here from falling over edge of the overlook. Remember that falls are the third leading cause of deaths in National Parklands.” (from this site)
 
 
I just don’t understand the compulsion to get right to the edge to take a photo of a distant scene. When at the Grand Canyon I observed people standing right on the edge to take a photo of the other side of the canyon. According to my calculations with the canyon being 18 miles wide that places the photographer .005% closer than if he stood back from the edge 5 feet!
Finally today: Today we share some family photos from recent visits.
 
Brooksyne with sister Elaine and their Aunt MaryBrooksyne with her Aunt Mary and sister Elaine in Grand Junction Colorado on Saturday.
 
With my brother Pat 11/4/18
Yesterday Ester and I drove up to visit my brother Pat and his family in the Lehigh Valley. We attended church with them and then enjoyed a meal together.
 
Ester with my brother Mike with san Francisco skyline 11/4/18
Ester with my oldest brother Mike, whom we visited several weeks ago in San Francisco.

“The Chain Breaker”

November 2, 2018

Alcatraz (10-21-18)Alcatraz
 
“The Chain Breaker”
 
Message summary: We may not all be called to prison ministry but we can all pray for the ministry that is taking place behind prison walls.

Note: A podcast was not prepared for this message. Just too tired and another early morning on Friday!

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:34-40).

This week we have been gleaning lessons from observations we made while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco two weeks ago. The first four dealt with the bridge itself. But today we want to consider a can’t miss scene from the bridge as you look toward the city skyline, Alcatraz, which most famously was a federal prison from 1934 until 1963. About twenty years ago when we were out that way to attend my niece’s wedding my Mom and I took a tour, which of course required a ferry ride since it’s an island. It was an amazing experience.

Due to the harsh waters of the San Francisco Bay the prison had a reputation for being escape proof. “During its 29 years of operation, the penitentiary claimed that no prisoner successfully escaped. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught alive, six were shot and killed during their escape, two drowned, and five are listed as ‘missing and presumed drowned'” (Wikipedia)

Prisons are notoriously rough places with huge problems of violence, inmates learning new ways to do evil and recidivism. But today we consider the redemption that extends into the harshest conditions.

I have friends that are prison chaplains such as Manny Cordero, who I went to college with. Manny served his entire career in the federal prison system and is now the leader of our chaplaincy department (my boss). I also consider the labors of several friends in churches I served such as Mike and his wife Kathy who serve as volunteers in a prison in North Carolina and Rick and Tom who take turns leading Bible studies in a prison in Massachusetts. Rick has done this since 1993! What incredible sacrifice with often disappointing results.

Eric 11/1/18However I get to work with the good results! Yesterday morning I visited with Eric, who spent 15 years in a state prison here in Pennsylvania. Eric is doing a good job staying on the right track for several years now and we have the opportunity to encourage him and several other ex-cons we see in the course of our work. (Eric gave me permission to share his photo and story.)

Listing the characteristics of a faithful follower Jesus stated, “I was in prison, and you came to Me”. Explaining what he meant He told His disciples (including us) that “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me”.

We may not all be called to prison ministry but we can all pray for the ministry that is taking place behind prison walls.

For several years I have enjoyed the song “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams. I just found this version recorded live in a Tennessee prison (link below). What a blessing to see the men sing out. May they all experience the power of the Chain Breaker!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank you that whom the Son sets free is free indeed. What a blessing Your redemption is to all of us who have experienced it. We especially pray today for the ministry taking place in prisons all around the world. It can be very hard and discouraging but we thank You for those who are being redeemed and experiencing the wonder of new life. You continue to seek and save the lost and to break the chains that bind us. Amen


Alcatraz (10-18-18)
View of Alcatraz from one of the cable car lines.

Alcatraz (10-18-18)

View of Alcatraz (left) from high above the Golden Gate Bridge
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Chain Breaker”  Video  Zach Williams
 
Finally today:

Golden Gate Bridge supports
Helping hold up the Golden Gate Bridge!
Golden Gate Bridge (10-21-18) Click to enlargeGolden Gate Bridge with fog
Click on photo to enlarge
 
“The Necessity And Blessing Of Flexibility”
 
Note: This week we are gleaning lessons from observations we made while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
 
Message summary:  Consider the blessing of flexibility as God brings to pass that which He has planned for us even though it might not be the way we had expected it to happen, in the time frame we had in mind or even as we want it to.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands” (Proverbs 16:1, The Living Bible). “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that'” (James 4:13-15).
 
Golden Gate Bridge deflection plaque
 
On the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge there’s a nice visitor’s center that has information about the bridge and of course a gift shop. As I was waiting for Brooksyne and Ester to walk across the bridge I saw the sign above which deals with “bridge deck deflection”. Essentially the Golden Gate Bridge is designed to sway 27 feet to either side to move flexibly in the wind.
 
In engineering, deflection is the degree to which a structural element is displaced under a load. It may refer to an angle or a distance. It is a necessary design feature due to varying loads upon the bridge and environmental factors.
 
Similarly we must have flexibility in life. Things don’t always work out the way we plan or want. The character trait of flexibility has been defined as “Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others.
 
James describes this necessary flexibility: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15).

God directs our lives every day, whether it’s a day of routine or whether it’s a day of upheaval. Flexibility allows us to have peace and assurance regardless. It’s during those times of upheaval that we often have difficulty hearing His voice and knowing which step to take next. Uncertainty looms over us and we want to make the right choice or give the proper response. How good it is when we take our concern to the Lord and we hear His voice in our spirit directing us, “This is the way, walk in it”.

 
A proverb Brooksyne quotes often is “We may make our plans, but God has the final say” (paraphrase of Proverbs 16:1). Planning and strategizing short and long term goals is an important part of life, but it is especially reassuring that God’s sovereign hand overrules our limited knowledge, as we trust our lives to His care. That’s the blessing of flexibility as He brings to pass that which He has planned for us even though it might not be the way we had expected it to happen, in the time frame we had in mind or even as we want it to.
 
 
Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we recognize from Scripture that You long to be gracious to Your children, to show them compassion and give them direction. You bless those who wait upon You. Though you give us the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, you also give us teachers, prophets, and believing friends who affirm or challenge us as we seek Your face and Your will for our lives. As we hold up the lamp of Your Word to lighten the path before us, how good it is to hear Your voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk in it”. You’ve promised that You will never leave us or forsake us. Darkness will not overtake us, for You are the Light of the World, and in You there is no darkness at all. Thank You for Your reassuring presence that You walk with us step by step on this day of our journey. Help us to understand the necessity and blessing of flexibility. We’re in route now but we’re assured that our final destination will have an eternal glorious address where our dwelling will be with You in heaven forevermore.

 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“God Leads Us Along”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band
 
Finally today:

2018 coal deliver 10/31/18A beautiful day yesterday but we must get ready for winter!
Golden Gate Bridge in fog (10-18-18) Click to enlargeGolden Gate Bridge with fog
Click on photo to enlarge
 
“An Anchorage For The Soul”
 
Note: This week we are gleaning lessons from observations we made while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
 
Message summary:  Rest in this blessed assurance; God and His Word provide the steady anchorage and sure foundation for the soul. Today let us focus on the immutable God, whose Word has promised: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3,4).

Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).

Golden Gate Bridge tower (10-18-18)Stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen throughout the San Francisco. Today’s photo shows the fog coming in under the bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf. On Monday we shared a photo of the bridge and city skyline from a scenic overlook in Marin County on the other side of the bridge from the city. There are views where all you see is the top of the towers.

 
But a special sense of the immensity of the bridge is attained when you walk across, which we did the first full day we were out there. It’s about 3 miles to go from the parking lot on the San Francisco side to the anchorage for the cables at the far end of the Bridge and then walk back. But we did it, the longest single walk we believe Ester ever did!
 
I enjoy viewing the bridge from an engineering perspective. I’ve wondered what it would be like to pretend I was an engineer with a role in designing a massive project like this. In the early thirties they didn’t have computers and CAD so they did a lot of calculating and plotting on paper. I would have preferred to work on the design of the massive towers or cables, two bridge elements that immediately catch your attention.

Golden Gate Bridge cable anchorage (10-18-18)
 
Likely though, for the typical pedestrian, a lot less attention and appreciation is given to the four huge concrete blocks, two on each side of the bridge. These are known as the cable anchorages, which form a vitally critical role in the structure and much thanks should be given to the engineers who designed and workers who built these. There are 182,000 cubic yards of concrete in these anchorages, along with the pylons and cable housing. The function is to anchor the massive main cables that hold up the bridge. You can see in the photo above the main cable going into the anchorage. The cable anchorage serves a vital role in securing this cable. If the cable slipped out there would be catastrophic consequences.

Today let us consider the anchorage for the soul based on one of my favorite Scripture passages. Of course the allusion here is to a ship’s anchor, not the anchorage for a bridge cable, but the principle is the same.

How thankful we should be for the blessed anchorage of hope we have in Jesus! This anchorage is eternally firm and secure. The daily verse is the only place in the Bible where the word “anchor” is used figuratively. It is used literally in Acts 27 during Paul’s shipwreck. The Greek word is Aγκυρα, pronounced “ankura” (our English is merely a transliteration of this word). The anchor was used in the Greek world as a picture for hope.

Believers all throughout the ages have received assurance in their hearts as they consider the security an anchor provides in the midst of battering storms. I am so gripped by the early part of the daily verse, “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged“. Although I have valued this verse for many years since I was a young Christian and in fact have often alluded to it in these daily encouragement messages today the words “greatly encouraged” especially jumped out.

This hope is what the believer has “fled to take hold of”.  The worldly sources of hope are temporal and short sighted. The hope Jesus offers is the only true and lasting source of hope. Once we firmly take hold of this hope we are indeed “greatly encouraged”.

Hope, as used in the Bible, is not a wishful thought but a confident expectation of absolute certainty. The Holman Bible Dictionary offers this insight: “Hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.”

 
“Firm and secure” are two qualities to this anchorage of hope that may seem similar in the English, but indeed express two complimentary truths. It’s as if the Holy Spirit wants to make it absolutely clear to us just how dependable this anchor is! The two words, firm and secure, have a different focus. The first is outward, the second inward.*

Perhaps you’re in a wind-tossed storm as you read this. Or there may be a storm on the horizon. Today we want to encourage you to ground your faith in the anchorage that is immovable that will weather the worst storms of life. Truly, this anchorage of hope we have in Jesus Christ is firm and secure!

Rest in this blessed assurance; God and His Word provide the steady anchorage and sure foundation for the soul. Today let us focus on the immutable God, whose Word has promised: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3,4).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us not to resent the storms of life or be fearful of their effects. Much like we prepare for a ravaging storm by anchoring valuables to a firm foundation, help us to anchor our souls in the firm foundation of Your Word that will help us to withstand the testings and trials of life that are certain to come our way. Even as the huge cable anchorages of the Golden Gate Bridge have stood the test of time, may we have an assurance of Your absolute reliability, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity. Amen.

* Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament

Here’s a quote written about 350 years ago by Jeremy Taylor. It fully embraces the timetable of the Gospel journey and is a great focus for the believer using in part an anchor theme:

“Faith is the Christian’s foundation,
Hope is his anchor,
Death is his harbor,
Christ is his pilot,
And heaven is his country.”
Contemplate this thought-provoking quote: “In order to realize the worth of the anchor, one needs to feel the stress of the storm.” Faith is put to the test and best demonstrated during the deepest of trials.
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“We Have An Anchor”  Video  Robin Mark

“Soul Anchor”  Video  Michael Card
 
“Never Walk Alone”  Video   Brian Free and Assurance
 
I never thought about this until preparing today’s message: How did Anchorage Alaska get its name? That it served as a port of anchor is the way in which Anchorage, Alaska, got its name. Anchorage owes its development to its usefulness, not as a fishing or mining center but as a port of anchor for the railroad-building activities of the Alaska Engineering Commission in 1914.
 
Finally today: Here’s a heartwarming love story that took place where we served a church in the nineties in Taunton, MA  Video  We met a couple, Bob and Joan, many years ago that share the same experience and we shared their story here.
Golden Gate Bridge walkway (10-18-18)The Golden Gate Bridge walkway (from the south side)
 
“We Are Not Maintenance-Free”
 
Note: This week we are gleaning lessons from observations we made while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Message summary:  Today I encourage you to recognize that your life, both physical and spiritual is not maintenance-free. We must “exercise self-control in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25) and “train yourself to be godly”. A foundational component of this maintenance is the implementation of God’s Word to our hearts so that it is carried out in our actions. Remember, in regard to the pursuit of godliness, we are always in maintenance mode!

Listen to our message on your audio player.
 
“Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7b,8).
 
The Golden Gate Bridge was built in just over four years from 1933-1937 during the Great Depression. A rough estimate of the $76 million dollars the bridge cost (including interest) in 1933 is over $1.2 billion in 2007 dollars. Some 60,000 southbound toll paying vehicles cross the bridge daily at $8.00 per car (some $40.00 for trucks). Do the math and that generates a lot of income.
 
When any amount of fee is this large there’s a lot of people who wonder where all the money goes (the original cost of the bridge with interest has been paid off since 1971). However I don’t live there so the $8.00 I paid to cross back into the city was worth it as a tourist visiting every ten years or so!
 
However, undoubtedly a lot of money is required for maintenance. The bridge is constantly being maintained. When we walked across the bridge there were workers performing maintenance work under a tarp (see photo above)*. With exposure to the harsh elements the bridge is certainly not “maintenance-free”.
 
“Maintenance-free” is a quality we value in life. We especially see this term used in building materials. We have brick over several sides of our home which requires very little maintenance and vinyl siding over other parts and these components may be considered maintenance-free and last my lifetime but certainly not forever!
 
We’d like to be in a condition where our lives are maintenance-free but that would be a figment of our imagination. From conception on our lives have required maintenance. The same is true for our spiritual nature.

The daily Scripture portion is an allusion to sports. Paul writes, “train yourself to be godly”. The NASV uses an expression that has blessed me over the years, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”

 
Surely the apostle Paul is speaking here of maintaining the spiritual development and disciplines we volitionally participate in that contribute to a growth in godliness. This maintenance includes Bible reading and study, Scripture memorization, prayer and praise, church participation, Christian service and other forms of spiritual discipline.

“Train” translates the Greek word (gumnaze) from which we get the English word “gymnastics”. It indicates a present, ongoing action we participate in and is strongly enjoined upon us.

 
The verse continues, “Physical training is of some value”.  Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit so properly caring for our physical nature is a means of glorifying God.

But comparatively speaking physical training is of little value in relation to spiritual training expressed in the phrase, “Godliness has value for all things”. Godliness impacts every area of our personal life; our family, our church, our work and our society at large. And this godliness holds “promise for both the present life and the life to come”.

A linguistic resource I use has a powerful thought on this point: “It is not the self-centered aesthetic struggle of the individual for his own moral and religious perfection, but the training necessary for the unhindered pursuit of God’s purposes. This exercise was a vigorous development and application of all Paul’s strength and ability that he might bring glory to God with every thought and action.” *2

Today I encourage you to recognize that your life, both physical and spiritual is not maintenance-free. We must “exercise self-control in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25) and “train yourself to be godly”. A foundational component of this maintenance is the implementation of God’s Word to our hearts so that it is carried out in our actions. Remember, in regard to the pursuit of godliness, we are always in maintenance mode!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber



Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know there is a deeper work within our soul which cannot be accomplished by mere physical exercise. Just as we maintain our bodies to submit to a rigorous routine of endurance, abstinence, and sacrifice, we must apply the same maintenance tools to bring our spirits into submission to Your will for our lives. We must train ourselves to be godly. Though physical training is of value in this life, godliness has value for all things, and holds promise not only for the present life but also the life to come. Help us to pursue this noble task in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Take Time To Be Holy”  Video  Joseph Habedank
 
* After reading this article I wonder if this is related to a huge suicide prevention barrier that is projected to cost 211 million dollars.
 
*2 Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament
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