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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Horses in pasture
We pass these grazing horses about a mile from our house on Colebrook Road.

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40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: This suggested 40 day reading plan began Sunday and if you are just reading this and want to participate it's not too late to begin! Here's the schedule. (These links will open to the selection to be read and a built-in listening device.) More information concerning the Scripture reading plan is below the daily message.)
  • Today's reading (April 7): Matthew 25-28 beginning here.
  • Tomorrow's reading (April 8): Mark 1-6 beginning here.
"Confession Of Sin"

"Pilate … took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. 'I am innocent of this man's blood,' he said. 'It is your responsibility!'" (Matthew 27:24).  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). 

BiplaneToday in our Scripture reading through Matthew we first encounter the most famous Pilate in history, memorialized in the Apostle's Creed.  As a child I attended a church that regularly recited the Creed and I recall, for many years, thinking that we were talking about a pilot named Pontius!

In the course of our chaplain visitation I had a very interesting question directed to me. An employee who reads this encouragement series asked, "When we turn to Christ for salvation do we need to confess every sin we ever committed?"  Now if that were to be the case many of us would never finish the "sinner's prayer"!  We'd still be praying it when our name is called out from heaven.

I briefly explained that when we accept Christ we confess that we are sinners and accept God's forgiveness for all the sin we have committed, although at the point of our conversion, we may have a specific gripping sin we confess as well.  Following our conversion, as a Christian believer, the indwelling Holy Spirit will continue to convict us of specific sins, and it is in these matters that we confess our sins to God and ask His forgiveness and ability to eliminate the sin from our lives.

Pilate washing handsIn the first daily text Pilate publicly washed his hands, but there's no evidence that he privately cleansed his heart.  He sought to absolve himself of his responsibility in Christ's death, seeking to place that responsibility instead on the crowd.

But he couldn't. The ancient Apostles' Creed states, Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate."  Pilate thought the symbolism of washing his hands was all that was needed.  How typical of the world's way, which so values symbolism over substance.  That's the way of false religions and even many distortions of Christianity.

I believe symbols have some value and can be helpful as reminders of inwardly held faith.  After I accepted the Lord as a teenager I was baptized and publicly professed my faith in Christ in the presence of other believers in a church in Independence, Missouri. I regularly participate in the Lord's Supper as commanded by Jesus before He died.  I have a fish symbol on my car and sometimes wear a cross on my lapel or a tie that has a witness for Christ.  These are visual symbols of the inward presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. 

But I understand these symbols have value only to the extent that they reflect my commitment to Christ in the way I live my life.  I find great personal value and often quote the second daily verse written by the Apostle John, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).  Now that's substance!  Joy wells up within me as I share this liberating truth with you today. 

Two interesting observations about this verse:
1) The use of the first person pronoun by John. He's not writing merely to them.  He's one of them. 2) "Confess" means "to agree with or say the same word."  When we confess we acknowledge God's perspective concerning our sin problem.  The word is in the present active indicating our need to continually confess our sins as well as our absolute dependence on God.

Today I urge you to make this confession of sin a regular practice in your life. That's the heart and substance of genuine Christianity.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we confess our sins to You.  You are the One who cleanses our hearts so that we stand righteous before You through Jesus Christ our Lord.  It is not in ourselves that we are made righteous, for our righteousness is as filthy rags.  It is in Jesus' death and resurrection that we are forgiven of our sins.  It is not by works of righteousness; it is not by doing that which is seen by others as commendable, but it is according to Your grace and mercy that we are saved, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Brooksyne and I enjoyed the "Amen preacher" feedback from many readers in response to yesterday's message!  Amen & Amen!!

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planOn Sunday April 3 we began a forty day program of reading through the New Testament and we encourage Daily Encouragement Net readers to consider joining in as we read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This takes about 30 minutes per day. Prior to each message 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 (or, on Mondays this may also be from a Scripture portion read over the weekend.)

Here's an overview of the plan I have prepared with practical tips (pdf)

Here's a schedule for the entire 40 day reading period along with discussion questions. This is especially suitable to bookmark during this period as it contains links that will open directly to the passage to be read for the day.

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planThe reading links open to Bible.is, an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful. For those who may prefer the KJV it is available. For international readers there may even be a version available in your native language. Just click the small tab directly below the Bible.is logo on the top left to see available versions. 

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.

Daily Encouragement on Facebook Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What Sin?"  Video  Morgan Cryar A wonderful message concerning forgiveness.

"Purify My Heart"  Video  Brian Doerksen

"Psalm 103"  Video  A nice presentation of this Psalm with background photos and music.

"Grace By Which I Stand"  Video  Keith Green  This song has a great expression of faith that always touches me "But nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus." Amen!

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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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