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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mount Pleasant church building with Scripture
My friend Mike Book took this photo leaving his home early last week.

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"The Rebound Principle"

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

AdoreeLast night we had Care Group and the youngest member of our group is just about ready to walk on her own since she'll soon be a year old.  Adoreé is at the stage where she can pull herself up with the help of a chair or other piece of furniture and then she holds on for dear life.  I observed her last night as she held tightly onto the back rung of a kitchen chair.  Getting up isn't so much a challenge as falling back to the floor afterwards, but she eventually tired and, plop! She finally went down.

Have you ever fallen?  Of course you have!  You did so a lot when you were learning to walk.  Just ask your parents.  We've all fallen a few times after being fully grown and how embarrassing that is!  Some of us will remember the low budget, rather cheesy TV ad from the late eighties with the elderly person calling out the memorable line, "I've fallen and I can't get up." It became the catch phrase for many years and was used jokingly in various settings.

Brooksyne stumbled on a step several years ago
All of us have stumbled and fallen physically, but as believers we've also fallen spiritually at times. The Apostle James says, "We all stumble in many ways" (3:2).  Sometimes we fall "big time", but more commonly in the "small ways".   In the last few years Brooksyne experienced both kinds of physical falls:  In our photo today we show her laughing at herself after she stumbled on the step between our sunken dining room and kitchen where she took quite a splattering on the kitchen floor. But when she fell last May and broke her ankle it was no laughing matter and it took several slow and trying months for her to recover.

The seasoned believer will quickly distinguish the difference between a spiritual stumble and a plummeting fall.  The persevering believer has an ongoing testimony of overcoming spiritual falls.  In basketball a rebound refers to the ball being retained after a missed shot and the offensive team has another opportunity to score. Because even the best players miss shots, rebounding is an important component to having a good basketball team.

Thank God for another kind of rebound. If you've been a Christian for a while I hope you've memorized the daily verse: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It's one of those remarkable truths in the Christian life that form a fundamental principle.  One Bible teacher has called it "the rebound principle."  It describes the wonderful means that our gracious God has provided for us to rebound or bounce back after we stumble or fall.  The good news is that thought we may fall we are not cast down. By the grace of God we can get back up, for the Lord upholds us with His righteous right hand (see Psalm 37:24b)!

The apostle John is writing late in the first century, perhaps sixty years after he had walked with Jesus.  Peter, Paul and many of the other notable apostles died about thirty years prior to this writing.  He's surely very physically and spiritually mature by now. If anyone was ever expected to have fully made it in this life and be entitled to point his finger and use a preachy "you" it would have been John.  But I find encouraging significance in the personal pronoun he uses throughout the passage. It's known as the first person plural.  John does not say, "if you confess your sins" but "if we confess our sins."

Have you stumbled?  Have you fallen?  Perhaps you are even down right now as you read this. God has provided a means for spiritual rebound with no additional conditions or limits.  Just a straightforward promise based upon His character of forgiveness. "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  This really is good news and the best kind of rebound.  Joyfully accept His cleansing and forgiveness today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God.  Thank You for bearing them all and freeing me from the accuser's condemnation.  I confess my sins to You, both big and small, so that my crimson stains are washed white in the blood of the sinless Lamb of God and not a stain remains.  Thank You for being the Sinbearer that redeems me from the slimy pit of mud and mire.  You are the Solid Rock on which I firmly stand.  You are faithful and just and forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  You put a new song in my mouth and a hymn of praise and thanksgiving for Your wondrous love and forgiveness.  Thank You in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Lunch with friends 01-13-09
Yesterday Brooksyne and I joined some friends for lunch at a Smokey Bones Barbecue in Reading, PA. (pronounced Redding). Rick Steudler (with beard) is one of the company owners we work with in our chaplaincy ministry. He introduced us to Bob Weaver (right in photo), an auto dealership owner, who is interested in starting up the chaplain program in his company. Grover Devault (left in photo) is a retired military chaplain and presently serves as a chaplain with the PA state police. He had a very special ministry at the time of the Amish schoolhouse shooting here in Lancaster County as described in this article.

It's a joy to gather with others who have a heart to serve the Lord. Yesterday we not only prayed the customary prayer before our meal but also before we departed. Grover led us as we joined hands and formed a circle of prayer right in the restaurant.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Faithful One"
 Video  A song reminding us of God's unchanging nature.  He is faithful in caring for us and in forgiving us our sins.

"Mighty To Save" Video  Nothing is too difficult for our Lord Jesus! He moves mountains, He changes lives and He will meet You in your difficult trial and see you through to the other side.

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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.

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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