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Friday, April 29, 2011

Open Bible on Communion Table

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: We began a 40 day New Testament reading plan on 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 scheduleThe links below will open to the selection to be read along with a built-in listening device. 
  • Today's reading (April 29): 1 Corinthians 10-15 beginning here.
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"I'll Keep Believing"

"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14). "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Corinthians 15:19). "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20).

One of the benefits to aging is perspective. In my lifetime the attacks against my faith in general and the resurrection in particular have been ongoing and persistent. Yet as we study history we quickly find that such attacks are not at all unique to our age.

Only days after Christ's resurrection the stolen body story was circulated. Every Easter articles by "scholars" with new research attack the Biblical teaching and traditional understanding of our faith. (Every Christmas there are "newsworthy" articles with the latest conjectures concerning His birth as well, generally discounting what we are taught in the Bible.)

The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians is a powerful defense of the resurrection. What a despairing statement the Apostle Paul makes in our first two daily texts: "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."

Despairing but true; for the Christian faith is absolutely dependent upon a resurrected, living Savior. Although we could still glean some ethical teaching from Jesus while He walked on the earth His resurrection is at the very heart of Apostolic preaching and teaching.

But what I have really been pondering is the simple "fact or faith" equation. These theories and conjectures have come and gone even in my lifetime. Yet if it's an attack on the Biblical and traditionally held position it's usually framed as a "fact" proposed by "scholars" who have done extensive "research". I purposefully place the key words in quotation marks since the emphasis is in how conclusive their views are presented. The implication is, “What reasonable, modern, educated person could deny these findings?”

Well, I'll keep on believing the Biblical teaching. I also predict that the most recent contrived "facts" will come and go and others will replace them.

We all live life by faith. My faith is in Jesus Christ and the authority of the Holy Scriptures. I join millions who, for the last two thousand years, have believed and followed Him.

But the secularist "unbeliever" also lives by faith, as much as he would ardently resist this claim. In my lifetime a noted secularist made the emphatic statement to the effect, "When I die it will just be my physical remains that will slowly decay, that's all there is." Whether or not secularists admit it, this is a statement of faith! He hadn't died when he said this. Since he hadn't been on the other side of death he didn't know as fact what it was like, however emphatic he was!

God has ordained that we live by faith. The Scriptures declare that "the just shall live by faith" and "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Our faith is not blind nor unreasonable, but is solidly backed by what Josh McDowell calls, "Evidence that demands a verdict." The attacks will continue as long as we live on this side, but let us continue to believe wholeheartedly and faithfully serve the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, our faith is anchored in Your Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who died on the cross of Calvary and was resurrected on the third day. The cross and empty tomb are symbolic of the Christian faith and without them our Christianity is in vain. We place our compete faith in the finished work of Christ and the inerrant Scriptures that make us wise unto salvation. Thank You for releasing us from sin's effect – its guilt, power, condemnation and eternal damnation. Amen.

David WilkersonDavid Wilkerson died this last Wednesday in a car accident in Texas. He had a tremendous impact for Christ in his generation as the founder of Teen Challenge, a ministry that has impacted scores of lives all over the world including many of our friends and ministry associates.

For a very touching read see the unsolicited comments of tribute that are streaming into the CT Live blog.

Here's a tribute from his son Gary on David's blog. Interestingly he shared inspirational messages right up to the day he died.

David Wilkerson spoke at the conference
in Kansas City Missouri where I got saved in 1971. However my most interesting association was that for many years I preached behind his pulpit. He pastored a church in Phillipsburg, PA when called to New York City to start Teen Challenge. Years later we started a church about 60 miles away (St. Marys, PA) and the pulpit was donated to us and is still being used in a church in northern PA.

Josh McDowell 4/28/11 ABR Banquet
Last night I went to a banquet and heard Josh McDowell, another longtime servant for Christ and contender for truth. The banquet was for a ministry called Associates For Biblical Research of which I am a member.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Rise Again"  Video  Dallas Holm  An outstanding song and outstanding video graphics. This sure touches my heart. This last week I have used several Dallas Holm songs. Coincidentally, for many years Dallas Holm was associated with David Wilkerson.

"I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary"   Video  Gaither Vocal Band

I believe in a hill called mount calvary
I believe whatever the cost
And when time has surrendered
And earth is no more
I'll still cling to the old rugged cross

I believe that this life with its great mysteries
Surely someday will come to an end
But faith will conquer the darkness and death
And will lead at last to my friend

I believe that the Christ
Who was slain on the cross
Has the power to change lives today
For He changed me completely
A new life is mine
And that is why by the cross
I will stay

I believe in a hill called mount calvary
I believe whatever the cost
And when time has surrendered
And earth is no more
I'll still cling to the old rugged cross

"Glorious"  Video  Paul Baloche

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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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