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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Backyard following snowstorm 3-3-09
Our backyard view
Yesterday we had the biggest snowstorm of the season.
Today it's clear but very, very cold, still in the single digits!

ListenListen to us share this message on your audio player.

"γώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς"

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus answered, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

Interstate highway signWhen I visit my brother Mike who lives in the Bay area of northern California we travel on an interstate north of Oakland.  For several miles the same interstate is used by two separate routes with this apparent inconsistency: a directional interstate sign that reads, I-80 East/I-580 West. (Actually the highway, East Shore Freeway, travels in a north/south direction along the Bay.)

But can you really travel both east and west at the same time?  Now that's a silly question you rightly respond.  Of course you can't.  Both directions are mutually exclusive.  You simply can't travel east and west at the same time.

We hear a lot today about tolerance.  It seems to me that tolerance is reckoned as among the greatest virtues of the modern age and being labeled as intolerant is anathema.  It's one of the great issues in the continued "no absolutes" mindset that our culture is bombarded with. This is particularly damaging to impressionable young people and is infecting the Church as well.

Although the concept of absolute or relative truth may seem merely philosophical to some, it is at the very heart of our battle against the forces of evil.  It's deadly. The Scriptures declare, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). But today scores of people contend that there are many valid views about what constitutes right or wrong. Even asserting that there is a single right way is unloving and intolerant to many.

Years ago I met some college students on a leadership retreat. One young lady had a t-shirt that displayed these Greek characters:
ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς
καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια
καὶ ἡζωή

I looked at the shirt, recognized it was Greek and pronounced the words and then translated the phrase to English.

We visited for a few minutes and her campus ministry leader came along and shared with us as well. The shirt was an expression of her faith in Christ. She told me that I was the first one who had ever come up and read the verse to her and then translated it, but the intent was for others to approach her and ask, "What does that mean?" This would then give her an opportunity to express her faith. Now that's an interesting witnessing approach!

The Greek phrase printed on the student's T-shirt were the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ taken from John 14:6. Translated into English they read, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." (The entire verse states, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.")

That is the essential message we must present to our world. Those of us who boldly and unashamedly assert the Biblical exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father are maligned as ignorant and narrow-minded bigots.  Well, label me.  So be it. That is what our Lord Jesus taught!  Today, and even when the Son of Man walked on the earth, His statement might be considered the very essence of intolerance.

The early apostles were also very "intolerant" in this regard.  They proclaimed, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  And later the apostle Paul wrote, "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).

Lord, help us today to contend for the truth and the faith once for all entrusted to the saints!" (See Jude 3.)

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, we thank You that salvation comes from You alone.  We would fall way too short if we relied on our good works, our personality, our status in life or our worldly accumulation to purchase our salvation.  You are the sinless Lamb of God, the only acceptable sacrifice to God, who provides salvation to every man, woman, boy and girl from every region on the face of this earth who call upon Your name.  There is no other name in heaven or on earth whereby we can be saved.  We also cannot earn our salvation because You give it freely.  We choose to receive Your gift of salvation through our faith in You, Jesus Christ our Lord.  And we are intensely grateful for Your merciful compassion toward us.  In Your name, Jesus, we give heartfelt thanks.  Amen.

Here's all of John 14:6 in the Greek: λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι' ἐμοῦ.

Foam hand sign "We're #1"I recall the popularity of the one way sign in my early days as Christian in the seventies, that is lifting up the index finger in proclaiming that Jesus is the one way to heaven. In the halls of Truman High Scool in Independence Missouri it was a gesture proclaiming our faith.  Now most would take that gesture as "I'm #1" 

"Upside Down"
Curt, a friend of ours, shared an interesting video witness with us. View here and make sure you watch the entire video (2:18).

Interstate highway sign
I-580/I-80 (google map)  The reason for this signage is that I-80 is heading north along the bay before heading east toward Sacramento and then all the way across the country ending when it merges with I-95 just before the George Washington Bridge in NYC.
(When we lived in northern PA we often travelled along I-80)

I-580 is also heading north at this point before continuing west across the Bay. 

Frontyard view following snowstorm 3-3-09
Here's the view this morning from our front yard

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.

"I Know That My Redeemer Lives"  Video   This is an outstanding version of a grand old hymn with scenes from "The Passion Of The Christ". This hymn was written by Samuel Medley in the 1700's.

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

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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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