The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, April 1, 2010
Last night we had a beautiful walk and passed this farm pond with a barn in the background. I like the way the barn casts a reflection on the pond and our neighbor's friendly Saint Bernard adds to scene!
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"The Message Of The Cross"
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Perhaps you've seen the bumper sticker that states, "April 1, National Atheist's Day". When I first spotted the sticker I was intrigued and a bit annoyed, but not necessarily surprised. After all, they have special days for about everything now. Then I moved my car in closer to read the small print. It was actually an attempt to be a witness for the Lord, as it quoted Psalm 14:1, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" It was then that I made the connection; "Oh yeah, Fool's Day is April 1st"!
I knew a pastor in New Jersey who officially opened a church on a Sunday that happened to fall on April Fool's Day (which is April 1 here in America). As I recall, his first message was titled, "I'm a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?" Now I did some pretty unconventional things when I pastored, especially when I was young, but I never did this! I have long appreciated the sentiment of missionary martyr Jim Elliot who wrote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
To many the message of the cross is foolishness but we rejoice in the Cross, which is a demonstration of the love, wisdom and power of God! The simple, yet profound words of the daily text are so wonderful this special week when we remember what Christ did for us.
In our daily verse the apostle Paul bluntly says, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing." Indeed to so many the message of the cross is mocked and ridiculed. Our Savior is cursed and blasphemed. Apostasy (which means a falling away from the faith) is growing. Many are ignoring the redemption plan offered by God in the Bible and attempting to devise another one. Some, who claim to have a heritage in the church, have gone so far as to assert the message of the cross is unneeded in our "enlightened" age.
"But to us who are being saved it (the cross) is the power of God." We rejoice in the cross, which is a demonstration of the love, wisdom and power of God! Its power continues to break the heavy chains of sin and bondage.
I thank God that Christ's sacrifice on the cross is final and absolutely adequate to provide forgiveness for sins. Christ died once for all on Calvary's Cross to redeem fallen mankind. No better plan is needed. No updated, customized or modified version of the original account should be improvised. The mission of the effective church and faithful Christian is to steadfastly proclaim the salvation message of the cross through the teaching of Scriptures and through the way we live our lives.
The apostle Paul said, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14). Today join me in proclaiming, "I love that old cross."
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross,
Where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Where my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, we consider everything that You went through was for our benefit. Your tender response to betrayal and cruelty serves as an example to us when we are treated unjustly. Your obedience in life and especially Your death on the cross shows us how to remain steadfast in the face of tremendous opposition. You embodied the very teaching You delivered to Your followers as You carried out the will of the Father no matter the cost. Each wound that tore Your flesh brought us spiritual and physical healing. You were numbered with the transgressors so that we could be numbered with the saints. Because Your death was redemptive in power, the dark cross of Calvary has a wondrous attraction where we witness Your divine sacrifice on our own personal behalf. What wondrous, amazing love! It demands my soul, my life, my all. Amen.
Today is Maundy Thursday, also referred to as Holy Thursday; a commemoration of the Last Supper. This is the setting where Jesus took the role of a servant and washed the disciples feet and warned them of what was about to happen. A simple explanation of the word, "Maundy" is that it is a derivative taken from the Latin "mandatum" or mandate, command ("A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you"). Jesus showed "the full extent of His love" through serving the disciples. His servant's heart was visible as He washed their feet (John 13:12-17). Churches of various backgrounds continue to practice this act of servanthood since Jesus told the disciples, "Now that I, Your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet" (John 13:14).
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.)
"It's Still The Cross" Video
"The Old Rugged Cross" Video
"The Power Of The Cross" Video
"The Basin and the Towel" Video Michael Card
"The Bridge" Video This powerful dramatic video illustrates the sacrifice God made in allowing His Son to die for our sins.
Yesterday I shared about a plaque I kept on my pulpit for many years. This prompted a memory from a reader.
After reading todays message, I felt I had to tell you a story. When I was a lad of about 10 I accompanied my dad to a mission point where he was asked to preach. It was a very small church and the pulpit was in a corner with diagonal pews. On the front of the pulpit, in hand carved letters, was the message, "Sir, we would see Jesus." I was impressed and on the way home I remarked to my Dad that I thought it was neat. He said to me, "Yea, but you didn't see the message behind the pulpit where I sat. It said, "The sermon can be preached in 20 minutes." My dad was 'old school' in that regard and seldom finished in less than 40 minutes. We drove in silence for a few minutes when all of a sudden he said, "Humpf!! They want to see Jesus in twenty minutes." We had no further conversation until we got home for dinner. Ronn Moyer
We passed this scene last night just as it began to get dark.
Major Events of the Passion Week
Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.
The four gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. But most of this material deals with just the 3½ year period of His earthly ministry. However, an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels cover the period beginning with Christ's triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God's greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.
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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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