The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, April 22, 2011
And I love that old cross
where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain!
40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: This suggested 40 day reading plan began Sunday (April 3). If you want to participate and have not been following the reading schedule up to this point we suggest starting with today's reading and reading previous portions after this reading period ends. Here's the entire 40 day schedule. More information concerning the Scripture reading plan is below the daily message. Note: Today reading will take us 1/2 way through the 40 day plan!
The links below will open to the selection to be read along with a built-in listening device.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
If you can do so listen to this song prior to reading our message: Dallas Holm singing "I'd Rather Have Jesus" Video
"Not A Cunningly Devised Fable!"
Introductory note: Today's message developed differently than I would have planned for a message on Good Friday but is a heartfelt message concerning what some report “is a massive shift coming in what it means to be a Christian.” In this shift Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of mind rather than the upholding of our faith based on divine revelation. We need assurance and reminding of the solid historical basis for our faith; an empty manger, an empty cross and an empty grave!
"And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree" (Acts 10:39). "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).
Next week I have the opportunity to hear Josh McDowell, who has been a strong defender of the historic Christian faith for nearly 50 years. As an agnostic at college he decided to prepare a thesis that would examine the historical evidence of the Christian faith as he attempted to disprove it. However, in the course of his study he converted to Christianity, after he found overwhelming evidence in support for, instead of against the Christian message! I first heard Josh speak at Kansas State University when I was in high school. He is an apologist, a defender of the faith, and has had a mighty influence for the Truth in our lifetime. He has a ministry that continues to reach the young although he is now 71 years old!
During our forty day New Testament reading period I prepare a message from a text that is in the reading for that day. This week as we consider the cross and the death of Christ I would normally be taking passages from the Gospels, but our readings are presently in Acts. In preparing these messages I am reminded that the basic essence of apostolic preaching is the death and resurrection of Christ!
Today's first text is part of Peter's final recorded sermon. In testifying of the Gospel to Cornelius and his household, Peter proclaims: "And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree." His emphasis on being a witness is a vital part of the credibility of the record. To this day the most effective testimony in a court case is the eyewitness account of an event or crime that took place.
Peter declares in his final epistle, "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty." What a tremendous assurance of the firm foundation our faith is grounded upon. Peter had some amazing eyewitness experiences with our Lord and he was determined that, after he departed this life, his hearers and readers would not forget the message of Christ and the essential teachings and truths He taught (2 Peter 1:15). Peter admits to being repetitious, but he knew his time was near and wanted to reinforce important truths that would keep Christ’s followers true to their faith.
Over the years I have had an ongoing interest in apologetics which is "a conscious, articulated defense of the claims of the Christian faith." There are many Christian apologists who give an excellent defense of the gospel and the validity of the truth claims of Jesus Christ. As I read the Apostle Peter's matter of fact reminder in our daily text I am so thankful for the firm basis of our faith!
The daily sub theme for this daily encouragement ministry declares; "Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation." Today let us receive rich assurance as we consider the foundational Christian truth concerning the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and remain true defenders of the "faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Good Friday stands out as the crisis point of the Christian faith where helpless followers looked on as their Master died in disgrace on a cross between two thieves. He seemed unable to save Himself from evildoers and it appeared that evil had triumphed over good. Confusion, helplessness, disappointment, and fear were the order of the day for Christ’s followers. It would seem that Satan’s plot had foiled God’s plan. But we have the full account and know that Your redemptive plan, veiled on the day of Crucifixion, fully unfolded on the first day of the week when our Saviour rose from the dead! How grateful we are for the disciples who sought to obey You rather than man. They, with great care and conviction, recorded these events for those not only in their generation but for those who follow. Let us apply their message to our hearts and repeat it often for others to hear. We thank You for Jesus who died in our place. Amen.
Last night the tables were set up in the shape of the cross with a vivid mural of Christ praying in Gethsemane at the head. Brooksyne and I look forward to Maundy Thursday when we focus on the songs of the cross, testimonies of our faith, communion, and the footwashing. It was a memorable evening once again affirming our faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as well as servanthood within the family of believers.
When you sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday and hear your pastor repeat Biblical truths that you've heard him speak about many times maybe you can recall Peter's perspective. Last night we went to a Maundy Thursday service and focused on the sacrificial death of Christ. This Sunday I will be preaching of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ although I know most of my listeners have heard that story many, many times before!
Perhaps the old hymn line should come to mind, "I love to tell the story to those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest." It's so important that we never grow weary of hearing the fundamental teachings of our faith even as we grow in spiritual wisdom and maturity. That's a powerful deterrent to the many cleverly invented stories we are subjected to year after year.
Cleverly devised fables abound in every venue. In regard to politics I expect to hear the spin regardless of the political persuasion. I am increasingly skeptical as there is a proliferation of internet and email hoaxes. It doesn't take much to concoct a hoax and put up a web site or email it to scores of people. Then it's spread through forwarded email, which often directs the reader to "send this to everyone in your address book." Some have certain believability about them; a "cleverly invented story." Others are so ludicrous that it strains the credibility of the one sending it. Many of you are smiling as you read this as you consider the junk that comes your way; free tickets to Disney World, promised blessings and veiled curses if you don't forward on that spooky but spiritual sounding chain letter, inheritances passed onto you from strangers, bizarre stories, etc. etc.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"There Is A Redeemer" Video Keith Green
"When I Survey The Wondrous Cross" Video Kathryn Scott
"Alas And Did My Savior Die" Video Haven Quartet
"Hallelujah What A Savior!" Video Sovereign Grace Music
"The Old Rugged Cross" Video Dallas Holm
Josh McDowell Ministries
Here's the Albert Mohler article on “A Massive Shift Coming in What it Means to Be a Christian?" In my view Albert Mohler is one of the most powerful defenders of the faith in today's Church. He regularly blogs here.
After I finished today's article I checked his most recent entry and it is very similar to that which has been on my heart today. Of First Importance — The Cross and Resurrection at the Center
40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening 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. (At this point we suggest starting at the reading for the current day and then reading the portions you hadn't read when the 40 day period is over.)
These readings take 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 for the next 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 is a page where you can download the entire Bible to your computer in a variety of versions.
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.
The 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.
Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.
"Tortured For His Faith" We would highly recommend this book which is available to Daily Encouragement readers for the month of April free of charge! It is tremendously inspiring and will stir you to faithfulness in the face of persecution. It will also create a greater hunger for the Bible as a result of reading it. Merely go to this page and fill out the form on the lower part of the page. Indicate that you are a daily encouragement reader and request the book in the comment box. (Don't forget to include your mailing address.)
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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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