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Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The daffodils in our area are blooming beautifully.
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"Snatching From The Fire"
"Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh" (Jude 1:22,23).
This last weekend we heard a testimony from Shawn Couturier, a truck driver, who was involved in a tragic accident in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts over ten years ago. Shawn was crossing the highway with his three year old son when they were struck by a speeding pickup truck. He was severely injured and his son died 3 days later.
During that time he experienced the care of a chaplain friend, Bunny O'Hare, who ministered to him and his family, showing mercy, love, and spiritual care. After a very slow and difficult recovery, Shawn, who was very distressed about his tremendous loss, continued in his sinful lifestyle and completely lost contact with Bunny. But some ten years after the accident he contacted Bunny again and over the phone he prayed to receive Christ!
Bunny couldn't save Shawn from the horrible pedestrian accident he suffered in this life, but he was able to reach out in faith and snatch Shawn from the eternal fire he would have suffered in the life to come. Bunny also provided premarital counseling and officiated Shawn's wedding to his fiance, Gloria, who was instrumental in his coming to faith.
Today's verse is known as the "firemen's verse". Brooksyne and I are personally thankful for the dedicated work of firefighters. Nearly 25 years ago when we lived in Saint Marys, PA we had a dangerous situation due to a furnace malfunction that filled our home with smoke while we were sleeping. Although there was not a fire, at least yet, we were told the smoke would have killed us. It's amazing how discombobulated we were when the smoke detectors awoke us to a room full of smoke and we had to get the presence of mind to make a call to the fire department. I was shaking so much I could barely dial. After frantically placing a 911 call the first responders from the local volunteer fire department arrived within minutes and showed great diligence, skill and compassion as they helped us overcome the situation.*
The apostle Jude used a vivid metaphor in describing the critical mission the church and every true believer has: the call to "snatch others from the fire and save them" which is an ongoing description of the Great Commission. We know, of course, that ultimately God does the saving, but He has called all of us to participate in the saving mission!
The challenge to receive Christ may come through an altar call to a group of people. It might come from a caring brother or sister to an individual who needs Christ. These are examples of only two of the many ways we seek to snatch unbelievers from the fire. We are all involved in the process, including those who faithfully pray, for these lost souls to be saved. In Jude's descriptive phrase the emphasis is on the urgency and seriousness with which we are to take up our call.
Today let us remember God's call in our lives as followers of Christ. All around us there are people who need the Lord; people who need to be snatched from the fire and saved from eternal damnation. As we reach out to those living in sin, we must love the sinner but hate the very sin that has entrapped them. Just as firemen must suit up in their fire repellent uniforms for their protection we must suit up daily in the spiritual armor that repels spiritual forces of evil and protects us from the evil one (Ephesians 6:11-17).
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Merciful Father, we confess that we can be impatient and judgmental toward those who reject You. We've come to realize that we can't live without You but the unbeliever feels he or she has no need for You. It seems we're worlds apart in our outlook. Use this passage from Jude to speak to our hearts about applying Your mercy to those who are not of the faith. They do not see through eyes of faith, but are blinded to spiritual truth. Jude also reminds us that while we must embrace the sinner in mercy and love, we must never embrace or endorse the sin. The allurement to sin is always before us, so we ask You to keep us safe, even as we may need to set up safeguards, while reaching out to those who are in sin's entrapment. Father, we don't want to be complacent but want to be spiritually burdened with the critical need of reaching those who doubt the Gospel message of salvation. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
* Regarding our fire call: I had done some service work on my forced air furnace earlier that evening and in the course of tightening the belt from the blower motor to the blower had tightened it too much. When I turned the power back on the thermostat did not immediately call for heat. Later when we were in bed the thermostat called for heat and the motor came on but since I had over-tightened the belt it was bound up and smoked. This in turn filled the ductwork in our home with smoke. The very first fireman who arrived immediately set foot in our home, smelled, and said "Where's your furnace?" and immediately identified the problem! However they stayed until the smoke was cleared from the house using large exhaust fans.
Bunny and Peg O'Hare (left in photo) along with Shawn and his wife Gloria
Introduction by Chaplain Dennis (Bunny) O'Hare Video 5:43
Shawn's testimony Video 13:15
(Shawn shared his testimony for the very first time Saturday night at the Transport for Christ banquet. The next morning he also shared his story in our service. Shawn had hand written his testimony and occasionally lost his place as he was delivering it. Gloria stood next to him and lovingly kept him on track. It was a lovely sight to see one so new in Christ sharing from his heart alongside a very supportive spiritual wife.)
40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening PlanBeginning Sunday, April 3, 2011 we are encouraging Daily Encouragement Net readers to read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This will take about 30 minutes per day. We will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day (and several links for the weekend daily readings).
The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day.
See Bible.is for an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful. For international readers there may be a version available in your native language. Just click on the ESV tab to access all languages available.
Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.
A schedule for the entire reading period along with discussion questions is here.
Here is what the daily reading reminder will look like from daily encouragement beginning this Friday:
For Sunday, April 3 read Matthew 1-7 beginning here.
This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.
Here's an overview of the plan I have prepared with practical tips (pdf)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Rescue The Perishing" Video Billy and Cindy Foote
Fanny Crosby likely had our daily verse in mind when she wrote this song, "Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave".
Normally I prefer my hymns to the original tune but this couple does an outstanding job with this Fanny Crosby hymn and adds a thoughtful line as well. Whoever put this video together also did a great job of using related photos.
"Rescue The Perishing" Video (first verse and chorus only) with the original tune performed right here in Lancaster County!
"People Need The Lord" Video Steve Green
Everyday they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes;
Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where.
On they go through private pain, living fear to fear;
Laughter hides the silent cries, only Jesus hears.
We are called to take His light,
to a world where wrong seems right.
What could be too great a cost,
for sharing life with one who's lost?
Through His love our hearts can feel all the grief they bear.
They must hear the words of life only we can share.
People need the Lord, People need the Lord.
At the end of broken dreams He's the open door.
People need the Lord, People need the Lord.
When will we realize people need the Lord.
"Mercy Saw Me" Video Faith Church Choir, Sherman, Texas
"I'm Amazed" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
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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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