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Monday, June 1, 2009

Dottie & Roxie looking out the screen door
Dottie and Roxie looking out the screen door.

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"Peace Be With You"

"So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you" (John 20:19).

We have a full screen door opening to the outside of our home office (formerly a single stall garage and then remodeled into my mother's room three years prior to her death in 2005). It gives us a natural view of the outside world and provides a breezy ventilation inside on this beautiful first day of June. Our pets like to watch the squirrels and birds eating the bird seed.  They apparently realize they're not threatened by our inside pets.  Roxie and Dottie have also learned that, though they can see out the screen, they're unable to go through it.

Well, that's a lesson I learned the hard way just after it was installed in 2002. In fact the contractor was still here working and had just installed the door hours earlier. I admired how the mesh on the screen was so finely weaved that you could hardly see the screen door at all. Several hours later I absent-mindedly walked right through it, completely destroying it.  We sure had a good laugh at my expense (both pride and financially!)  I experienced what I surely already knew, that you just can't walk through a door!

That is, in the natural sense you can't! Today's text records a supernatural appearance of Jesus following His resurrection. The disciples were gathered and were surely discussing the events of the last several days and specifically the reports of the resurrection. But fear and anxiety gripped their hearts and the doors were shut, possibly bolted shut, in fear of the Jews. 

I wonder what kind of doors and locks they had back then. We know for certain it wasn't a screen door! Their doors were surely designed to give those within the house some measure of security. 

Suddenly, without warning, there in the disciples' presence Jesus appeared and stood in their midst.  Perhaps Jesus considered that a knock on the door would send them into a panic and wanted only to bring them reassurance and peace. And that was the simple but greatly needed message that Jesus conveyed, "Peace be with you!"

When things seem a bit out of our control we can easily give way to panic and fear.  Thirty some years earlier God sent down angelic messengers to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, also to Joseph, Mary, and to the shepherds in the field.  Each of them heard the same message from the angels, "Be not afraid."  God had a plan unfolding and it involved each one of them.  He wanted their hearts to find peace in the midst of unordinary circumstances and He wanted them to have faith regarding the unseen future. The host of angels also had to counter their fear with the message, "Peace, good will toward men…"

But on this miraculous occasion angels would not do His bidding, for Jesus Himself, needed to convey this message of peace, verbally and physically.  They needed to hear His calming words that brought peace to their troubled hearts.  They needed to see and touch the scars from His crucifixion wounds to settle in their hearts once and for all that, "Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed!"

Several miracles took place on this first day of the week. The heavy stone was rolled away, Jesus was no longer in the grave, He appeared through closed doors to the disciples.  Three days earlier the nails driven in Jesus' hands and feet, the spear in his side had caused deep grief and sorrow among his followers.  But on this eventful day the scars from those wound sights caused them to be overjoyed. Jesus had turned their fears into joys, their insecurities into assurance.

Jesus conveys the same message to His followers today as He did to His disciples on the first day of the week following His resurrection:  "Peace be with you."   He continues to work miracles in our lives.  "What is impossible with
man is not impossible with God, for with God all things are possible."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, I thank You for the peace You give us.  We are besieged by the troubles of this world and can easily be overwhelmed by the daily cares of life.  Yet we take heart and have enduring hope because You have overcome this world and You enable us to overcome this world as well.  Help us not to look for the solutions to our problems in the natural sense, but in the supernatural, because You are a Miracle Worker who answers our prayers through Your miraculous power.  Thank You for all You do on our behalf.  Amen.

Rick Masciantonio
Yesterday we were blessed to have Rick Masciantonio, a friend from Massachusetts preach God's Word in our church. Rick is a diligent student and expositor of the Scriptures and challenged our congregation with a message from Romans 10 using a text that Peter also used on the Day of Pentecost, "Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13).  Rick's messages are online on SermonAudio.com and here is a sample titled, "The Joy Of The Forgiveness Of Sin" (Audio) Caution: Rick's messages are not for just the casual listener, but for the earnest follower who earnestly seeks after the things of God!

Rick, his wife Liz and three sons were part of our congregation in Massachusetts through the nineties. Rick is a plumber by vocational trade but preaches in prisons, nursing homes and various churches throughout the northeast. He is an associate pastor in his home church.

Raymond & Ralph (Old Friends)
Yesterday several of us went to visit Raymond, a man from our church who has been homebound for several years. Raymond is now in his nineties but is still as sharp as a tack. He was sure pleased to have some old friends stop by and we sang some songs together and reminisced before we departed with a prayer. We asked Raymond if there was anything specific we could pray about and several physical related items were listed. He then looked up and asked that we would pray that he would stay faithful to the Lord to the end. Amen, what a good request.

Raymond became a part of that country church when he married in 1937. His wife died about 12 years ago.  The photo shows Ralph, another old-timer greeting him and brings to mind the blessings of old friends.
Seeing his joy as he fellowshipped with long-time friends brought a song to mind titled "Old Friends".  (Video)
Raymond & Ralph (Old Friends)

Early yesterday morning Brooksyne excitedly hollered us all to come outside and watch a colorful hot air balloon pass right over our house! I actually got some closer photos but since I was facing the sun they didn't come out well.  What a nice colorful sight to greet us on an early Sunday morning.

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.

"The Comforter has Come!"  Yesterday we sang this song using the traditional tune and words.  I am always so blessed by this verse,

O boundless love divine! How shall this tongue of mine
To wond’ring mortals tell the matchless grace divine—
That I, a child of hell, should in His image shine!
The Comforter has come!

Here's a group of Bible College students that do a great job!  Video

Now I'm not always pleased when a new group comes along and takes an old hymn and changes it, but these folks IMHO do a great job.  Video

"Holy Spirit Rain Down"  Video

"Then Came The Morning"  Video  Outstanding, what a great joy to serve a risen Savior!  In searching for music related to today's message Brooksyne suggested this song and I found this version and sure like other music by this group.

"Oh, What A Savior!"  Video

Our visit with Raymond yesterday and seeing his joy as he fellowshipped with old friends
brought a song to mind titled, "Old Friends".  (Video)

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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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