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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Should Have Been Crucified
One of my most treasured gifts is this small piece of art the church I served in New England gave me.  It depicts our role in the crucifixion of Christ and forgiveness from the very One whom we crucified.

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"Because He Lives"

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20).

This last weekend all over the world Christians acknowledged and celebrated the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. Indeed, it is true, He is risen and He lives forevermore!

About 40 years ago Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a song that resonated at the time and continues to do so. In fact I know a number of people who say that this song is among their favorites and is included in more recent  hymnbooks.  It begins, "Because He lives I can face tomorrow." I recall attending Gaither concerts in Kansas City and Springfield shortly after I became a Christian. The Bill Gaither Trio was considered a contemporary Christian singing group at that time and drew large crowds. As might be expected, the years have multiplied and the Gaither homecoming series is now seen more for "old-timers" and continues to draw large crowds!

He lives!  A constantly true proclamation of faith and truth, pertinent to every generation, young, old and in-between.  

It was a proclamation of the early church. "Christ is risen indeed!"

Throughout the last two thousand years a people have faithfully contended for this truth and scores of songs have been written declaring it.  Oh, how I love the resurrection songs!

The faith of the Christian believer has a sound, objective, verifiable historical basis.  Paul makes it very personal. "Christ died for our sins." Yes, I believe that!  Praise God.  His death was not meaningless nor was it an accidental slip-up in the plan of redemption.  No, Jesus Christ was born to die for our sins.  Whatever you're facing today dear friend, hold on to that glorious truth!

But early in the history of the church some error had crept in and some of the Corinthians were denying the resurrection. This prompted Paul to write a powerful defense in the 15th chapter of I Corinthians in which he asserts:

Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have a:

1) Lifeless Messiah  (15:12,13,16)
2) Useless Gospel  (15:14)
3) Truthless witnesses  (15:15)
4) Worthless faith  (5:17)
5) Hopeless eternity  (15:18,19)

Now you fill in the positive outcome. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have a:

1) ________ Messiah
2) ________ Gospel
3) ________ witnesses
4) ________ faith
5) ________ eternity
Paul ends this part of his defense of the gospel with the phrase, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (v. 20).  John R. W. Stott has observed that "Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion.  The concept of resurrection lies at its heart.  If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed."  We indeed serve a risen Savior!  It's not merely a wishful thought or part of a religious creed.  It's an historical reality.  It's the central truth of our faith.  Because He lives, we can also live the abundant life. In confidence and peace we can overcome any obstacle the enemy throws in our path.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, because Jesus was resurrected to life again we have the courage to work through the seemingly insurmountable difficulties that would otherwise plummet our faith.  We walk in the power of our resurrected Savior that makes life worth the living in our present life and increases our hope and expectancy of imperishable life yet to come. Amen.

Thompson family 4/5/10
Yesterday in Western Maryland we stopped by to visit Dean and Jill Thompson  and their captivating children.  (18 month old Lincoln is missing in the photo since he was napping.)  Regular readers will note that our daughter, Ester,  is proudly holding Wilton, one of the twins.

Thompson family with Dourte Family
Wilma and Jesse Dourte are pictured with the Thompsons as they hold their twins born in October.  The Dourtes celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary yesterday.  The Thompsons will celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary in a few months and inquired of the Dourtes, "What tips do you recommend for a happy and enduring marriage?"  They quickly responded, "Be loving and kind, be forgiving, and say I'm sorry." Wilma later added, "and mean it!" They had a few other tidbits as well.  Dourtes traveled with us to their daughter's home in Roanoke, Virginia where we dropped them off to enjoy a few days together.  We are enjoying a few days with Genelle and Cesar Sankarsingh.  Genelle is Stephen's sister, who lives near Greensboro, North Carolina.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Because He Lives"  Video  

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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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