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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Leaning silo
A leaning silo in rural Virginia.
I wonder if it's still standing?

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"Our Hope In Christ"

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe" (Proverbs 18:10). "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Andraé Crouch, a very popular Christian musician throughout the 70's and beyond, wrote a song that comes to mind this morning as I reflect upon our daily text.  The words of one stanza are as follows:

Andrae Crouch
"But if heaven never was promised to me.

Neither God's promise to live eternally,
It's been worth just having the Lord in my life;
Living in a world of darkness,
He came along and brought me the light."

Now I like that song and located it today as I prepared the message. I know what 
Andraé Crouch is trying to convey regarding the joys and blessings of the Christian walk in contrast to the dark void of living without Him. Crouch's thoughts expressed in this song are a sentiment that many believers would agree with.

When we were spinning out of control and had no real purpose for living, receiving Christ and His abundant plan for our lives turned our desperate situation into hopeful expectation. We are among "those who walked in darkness [who] have seen a great light!" 

Having said all that, any allusion to heaven or eternity not being a part of God's future plan for the believer is contrary to Paul's statement in the daily text. The apostle Paul wrote, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Corinthians 15:19). In the greater context of 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is giving his great defense of the resurrection of Christ.

"We are to be pitied" because, apart from the resurrection, the very foundation of our faith would be fatally flawed. The literal physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of our faith. Our hope of salvation hinges on Christ's resurrection. Our power to overcome sin is also based on His resurrection.  In the very next verse Paul emphatically proclaims, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Otherwise His death was to no avail, since he would be numbered among all others before Him who died and was buried.  The End! Those who have endured persecution and suffering for Christ would have done so for nothing.   Those martyred for their faith would have died an early death in vain, instead of receiving "a crown that fadeth not away."

Christ truly makes a wonderful difference in earth's journey. Indeed, if this life is all there is to experience, His fulfillment and the order He brings is wonderful.  However it's not only for this life that we have hope in Christ! We all face death and loss, but what an astounding difference for those whose hope is solidly anchored in Christ. We do not grieve as those who have no hope because our hope is not diminished at death. Instead the Spirit of God ushers us beyond the lifeless grave to heaven where our blessed hope is realized as we see our Savior face to face. (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Life is fragile and unpredictable. Now is the day of salvation. Place your hope in Christ, in this life and the life yet to come.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus and His obedience in dying for our sins that we might be forgiven and experience eternal life.  We're so glad that You did not abandon Him to the grave, but instead You raised Him up on the third day so that we might have eternal salvation.  We place our hope in You for all that concerns us in this life.  We also look beyond the grave knowing that our greatest hope awaits us there. Keep us faithful in life's journey so that our hope on this side will be fully realized on the other side.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

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.)

"If Heaven Never Was Promised To Me"
Andraé Crouch

"My Hope Is In The Lord"  Video  

"The Solid Rock"  Video  "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less" A beautiful acapella arrangement.

The Case for the Resurrection of JesusThe Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
By Gary R. Habermas & Michael R. Licona / Kregel Publications
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, along with an interactive CD, will prepare you to make a compelling argument for the historicity of Christ's resurrection, even to those who do not accept the Bible as divinely inspired. The authors first develop principles by which a historical event can be accepted as true, then apply them to belief in Christ's rising from the dead, and finally offer sample scenarios illustrating the use of these principles.

By Jeremiah Burroughs / Reformation Heritage Books
The world today is lost in sin and full of despair. Yet there is hope for the world---hope found in Christ and His Gospel. In this never-before-reprinted book, Puritan preacher Jeremiah Burroughs examines the nature of hope, the object of hope, and the reasons why Christians should have hope in this world. One contemporary of Burroughs said that this work was especially helpful for putting to death the fears and doubts that assail us so that we might look forward to the future with confidence.

Call 2 Fall logoRegardless of what country you may live in we sure need a revival! On Sunday morning July 5 our church will join thousands of others in participating in "Call2Fall", a nationwide prayer meeting. We encourage others to look into this, especially pastors here in America. Essentially this is a definite time during worship on Sunday, July 5th when we get on our knees before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19).

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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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