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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Statue of Liberty
The Statue Of Liberty

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"The Statue Of Liberty"

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Yesterday we visited New York City with a busload of fellow ministerial friends from our area here in central Pennsylvania. Included in our sightseeing was a visit to the Statue of Liberty. The bus driver told us a story of driving through New York with a group of foreign businessmen that he was taking to the airport for their return home. They wanted to see the Statue of Liberty so he pointed it out to them in the distance as they drove by. They excitedly asked if they could stop and see it up close. When the driver explained that they wouldn't have time the grown businessmen began to cry.

Well, we saw this impressive statue up close yesterday which was the first time for Ester. Brooksyne and I hadn't been for over twenty years so it was extra special for us as well. It really is a stirring symbol and, along with our tour of Ellis Island, made for a great afternoon although we were pinched for time.  There's way too much to see and read in just an afternoon.

Effective teachers will often use colorful illustrations or visually demonstrate a truth to their students. Musicians also do this and seeing the Statue of Liberty reminds me of a stirring song from my earliest years as a Christian called "Statue of Liberty." The Couriers, a group of young men who got together at the Bible College in Springfield, Missouri where Brooksyne and I also attended years later, wrote and popularized this powerful song that many are familiar with.

Essentially the song draws a parallel between the symbolism of the statue of liberty being a symbol of political freedom and the cross of Christ being a symbol of our infinitely more precious spiritual freedom.

Jesus employed both illustration and demonstration in His teaching ministry, but the supreme demonstration of His love involved His very own death on the cross. The daily verse should cause us to stand in awe of what God has done. In all the events of life that concern us today, from our unique personal problems to the international situation, let us see with spiritual eyes the supreme demonstration of God's own love for us.

The underlying Greek word that is translated "demonstrate" in Romans 5:8 is "sunistasin" which is in the present indicative active. This connotes a sense that God's demonstration of love is ever a present event, although Christ's literal death on the cross was a "once for all" atoning sacrifice, "Christ died for us."  The demonstration of His love is present, but the sacrificial death of Christ is final and complete, and more than adequate.

The atoning death of Christ on the cross is at the heart of our Christian faith.  His death affected our redemption from sin, our reconciliation to God, and our restoration to wholeness.  Consider the truth expressed in this beautiful chorus many of us sing in our worship:

You did not wait for me to draw near to You
But You clothed Yourself with frail humanity.
You did not wait for me to cry out to You
But You let me hear Your voice calling me.

And I'm forever grateful to You
I'm forever grateful for the cross
I'm forever grateful to You
That You came, to seek and save the lost.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, Your sacrificial death that became an atoning sacrifice for me provided pardon for my sins and promise of eternal life with You.  The cross is a powerful reminder of the ultimate price You paid to free me from the bondage of sin that ruled my life.  No longer do I view You as a distant, unfamiliar figure that some refer to as a higher power.  No, You are the Savior of the world and yet you lovingly reign within this heart of mine.  I am forever grateful that when You came to seek and save the lost, You count me among that number.  Glory be to God!

Our trip to NYC also included a view of Ground Zero and a prayer service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle church.  The church was packed with people of all colors and languages.  The worship was inspiring as voices linked together in powerful song and united praise.  We were warmly greeted by those who regularly attend the church. I plan to write more about this service tomorrow.

Hungry pigeons
We were quite hungry by the time we got to Liberty Island and bought some very expensive concession food. It was hard to pay out the amount they were asking but we did. We were enjoying it outside so that we could enjoy the view of the bay when a pigeon flew over Stephen and dropped its waste right on his hand and on his golden brown chicken tender. Irritated, he quickly flailed it on the ground and it made for a great catch for the pigeons. He was so hungry he did eat the fries since they did not "appear" to have gotten hit. What an effective strategy the pigeons have for getting their food!

After a busy afternoon on Liberty Island we went to Manhattan on the ferry.  We were so weary I said to Stephen, "If they charged for benches with cushions for people to lay on I'm sure they'd be willing to pay."  But when you don't have benches to lay across you can make do with a makeshift pillow like Ester did.

Suggested music:
"The Statue of Liberty" (Audio)

"I'm Forever Grateful" (Audio)

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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. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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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