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Friday, June 26, 2009

Sunrise over the Atlantic (Myrtle Beach SC)
"Like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea.
Comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me!"

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"Grace upon Grace"

"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16).
Yesterday I was sitting on a bench with Brooksyne looking out over the ocean at Ocean City, NJ.  I glanced at her and took note of her quiet but pleasant expression and asked, "What is it that you like about the ocean?"  She responded quickly, "It's so much bigger than man.  People can take no credit for its vastness, for the way the waves just keep on coming to shore. It's one of the great wonders of creation."

Growing up in the Midwest I rarely saw the ocean as a child; only two times.  Brooksyne didn't see it at all till after we were married so we especially enjoy spending time at the shore.  We have walked nearly fifteen miles the last several days along the shore, mostly on boardwalks. Yesterday we walked the Ocean City boardwalk and enjoyed seeing scores of young families, seniors, middle-aged, and young people all enjoying the warm sunshine.  There is such a great variety of food stands, beachwear, and amusement park rides.  But far more interesting than all of these man made boardwalk attractions is the mighty ocean.

I've long associated the daily verse with the ocean due to a sermon I heard as a young Christian.  Jeff Ronald was a fellow Bible School student who was preaching from John 1 and used the persistent, rolling waves of the ocean as an illustration of the phrase "grace upon grace."

John wrote his gospel late in the first century.  Most believe his writings were the last in the Biblical canon.  Some sixty years after his encounter with Christ and His earthly ministry he sits down as an old man to write his record. 

Three other accounts had already been written (Matthew, Mark and Luke) but surely John's perspective in writing was long awaited by the early church.  His purpose in writing is clearly stated in Chapter 20:30 & 31.  "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name."  Thus his intent was in part evangelistic; hopeful that unbelievers would receive his account and respond in belief.

The daily text begins with the phrase, "For of His fullness we have all received." What an incredible blessing to be a recipient of His fullness!

The last phrase is "grace upon grace." The Amplified expresses, "one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift."  What a marvelous blessing grace is; this unmerited favor and undeserved gift.  In understanding grace many have found helpful the descriptive acrostic "God's Riches At Christ's Expense" or "Gifts Received At Christ's Expense." 

Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?  By believing you may have life in His Name.  That's the greatest gift of grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: God, You've given the greatest treasure that is available to all people.  We don't have to fit into a particular segment of our population nor are we required to live during a certain time period to receive this unsurpassed gift.  The gift of Your grace is available to every generation and exceeds any temporary material blessing that we'll ever receive. Your grace not only brings reconciliation through Your Son, but it continues to pour into us grace upon grace, much like the waves of the ocean.   Thank you that You gave in abundance so that we could be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God through the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ.   How unlimited and ceaseless is your grace upon grace!

Ocean City boardwalk lightpostOcean City is a very family-oriented area, a marked contrast to Atlantic City, which is just ten miles away. Brooksyne always checks out the decorative planters when we travel to popular vacation sites.  This year the planters at Ocean City are filled with colorful Wave Petunias. They're huge and surely thrive with the ocean air. Just about every home and condominium that border the oceanfront are accessorized with beautiful and heavily blooming hydrangeas.  We didn't get photos but sure enjoyed the views as we walked along the sidewalks.

Ocean City beach
After a rather dreary week it was beautiful yesterday and this is what the beach looked like mile after mile.  An otherwise bland sandy beach was decorated with multi-colored umbrellas and beach towels as sunlovers and swimmers took advantage of a perfectly warm sunny day!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Your Grace Still Amazes Me" (Video)  Silvie Paladino

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 many 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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