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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New York Farmhouse
Red farmhouse near East Springfield, New York

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"This Grace In Which We Stand!"

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1,2).

Keith Green
Yesterday I was blessed as I heard an older song on our local radio station.  The song touched me when it first played in the early 80's but it gripped my heart afresh as I carefully listened.  The late Christian artist, Keith Green, was a "contemporary" singer when I was a young Christian. His lyrics, in my view, were Scripturally based, expressive, and written from an honest heart, often reflecting the inevitable struggles of living out our life in Christ.  Read the lyrics of this song thoughtfully, "Grace by Which I Stand", so that you too may feel the heart of the message:

Lord, the feelings are not the same,
I guess I'm older, I guess I've changed.
And how I wish it had been explained,
that as you're growing you must remember,

That nothing lasts, except the grace of God,
by which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away,
except for grace, by which I'm saved.

Lord, I remember that special way,
I vowed to serve you, when it was brand new.
But like Peter, I can't even watch and pray, one hour with you,
And I bet, I could deny you too.

But nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus.
I'm sure that my whole life would waste away,
except for grace, by which I'm saved.

But nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away,
except for grace, by which I'm saved.

It would seem that our text today is the springboard from which the lyrics of this song were originated: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith." This is a foundational teaching in the Bible, first expressed in Genesis 15:6 where we read that Abram believed in God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.  The prophet Habakkuk declares that, "The just shall live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). 

Justification is powerfully and succinctly defined in the Westminster catechism as "an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone."

"We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."  This is the reconciliation aspect of peace. Sin and unbelief separates us from God, putting us at enmity (hostility) with our Maker. But a picture of justification is the cross of Christ which becomes a bridge for us to cross so that we, through Jesus' sacrifice, are reconciled with the Father and it is then that we find peace within our soul.

"Through whom (our Lord Jesus Christ) we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." The Apostle Paul asserts that this peace is a result of grace (unmerited favor) and is the very source of our present standing with God. Another song that comes to mind regarding this point is "Grace Alone".

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."  The thief of our soul regularly attempts to rob us of our peace, our rejoicing and the hope we receive in this glorious grace. We face the unique pressures of our own circumstances as well as matters common to all as we see this old world in such turmoil.   I find Paul's words in Romans 8 so instructive in this matter: "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:19-21).

God's redeemed people come in such a grace variety package: young and old, black and white, rich and poor, educated and illiterate.  Some greatly delivered from the ways of the world, others greatly preserved.  Some grew up in church, others on the street.  Some have their Sunday School pens indicating years of perfect attendance, Others have ugly scars from their old way of life. All are overcomers and all are still overcoming.  All are great sinners and all are greatly forgiven.  All standing in God's grace alone!

It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that all are justified.  It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we have peace with God.  It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we have access to God.  It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  All this and infinitely more blessings we receive as recipients of God's grace.  Today, let us rejoice in this grace by which we stand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, there is nothing that brings greater satisfaction than the deep, settled peace in my soul that comes from receiving Your forgiveness.  Jesus paid the debt for my sin.  He paid it in full and I fully commit my life to Him.  There isn't one merit badge I can earn or apply to my standing in Christ, for it is only through His grace that I overcome the power of sin.  Thank You for sending Jesus and receiving His death as an atoning sacrifice for my sins. I stand uncondemned and fully forgiven through Your grace and I am so thankful.  Amen.

Sour cherries ready for prep 6/14/10Yesterday we shared a photo of  9 bowls each holding 1# of sour cherries we had picked at a friend's house on Monday afternoon.  We have photos of Brooksyne making the cherries into jam yesterday along with the finished and tasty product we enjoyed this morning!

Cherry jam prep 6/15/10
After the pitting process and chopping of the cherries Brooksyne poured the cherries into a dutch oven, adding sugar and pectin and bringing to a full boil.
She then ladled juice and cherries into canning jars.

Cherry jam prep 6/15/10
Then comes the boiling water bath where they are processed for five minutes.

Cherry jam prep 6/15/10
Out they come to cool off.  The popping sound from the lids sealing is "like music to my ears" Brooksyne often says.  The popping confirms that lids are sealed and  jam will keep for one year or longer on the shelves.

Cherry jam 6/15/10
Two of the three colorful batches sitting pretty on our dining table.

Cherry jam on toast 6/16/10
Cherry jam spread on the toast just before Brooksyne and I each ate a half.  And, ohhhh, so good!  Worth the picking, pitting, and processing when you bite into the sweet cherry fruit slathered on top of warm buttered whole wheat toast!

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.) 

"Grace By Which I Stand"
 Video  Keith Green

"Grace Alone"  Video  

"Amazing Grace"   Video  

"Grace Greater Than All Our Sin"  Video    

"Wonderful Grace Of Jesus"  Video  

"Jesus Paid It All"  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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