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Monday, March 12, 2012

Hans Herr home in Lancaster Country PA
Last week we passed the Hans Herr home, which is the oldest homestead in Lancaster County. 

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"One Thing I Ask Of The LORD"

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple" (Psalm 27:4). "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything" (1 John 3:19,20).

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

The power of enoughWhat are you aspiring for today? Observing the world there are many pursuits people crave such as wealth, fame, beauty, prestige, youthful vitality, and many other objectives that appeal to our base instincts. The apostle John describes such thinking with the following summary in 1 John 2:16: "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does."  But none of these meet our deepest and greatest need.

Psalm 27:4

David sums up what life's highest aspiration should be in Psalm 27:4: "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple."  To gaze or meditate upon the beauty of the Lord brings peace and assurance as one who has been forgiven and placed in right relationship with God.

Prior to placing our faith in Christ we are all under God's condemnation. His condemnation of us is absolutely just and completely consistent with the nature of a sinless, holy God. The repentant thief was wise in his observation as he spoke not just for himself, but for the entire human race, as he stated, "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong" (Luke 23:41).

Romans 8:1This condemnation is the result of the universal human condition of sin; "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). But when we believe in Christ and come into the truth a marvelous transaction takes place. One of the most liberating truths of Scripture is in Romans 8:1: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

The apostle John makes a statement in this portion of Scripture that describes the human condition of self-condemnation. He describes it in a way that I readily identify with when he uses the phrase, "our hearts condemn us." I've experienced this from time to time and I’m confident that you have as well. I don't believe John is speaking of the healthy Holy Spirit-prompted conviction of sin that leads us to repentance. Rather he speaks of self-condemnation that can afflict God's children, robbing them of the peace and assurance of salvation that God has provided through the sacrificial death of His Son.

The Study Bible comments on this portion of Scripture “our hearts condemn us” in the following words:  “An oversensitive conscience can be quieted by the knowledge that God Himself has declared active love to be an evidence of salvation. He knows the hearts of all – whether, in spite of shortcomings, they have been born of Him.”

Two truths need to be deeply appropriated from today's text:
1) "God is greater than our hearts"
2) "He knows all things"

Today we encourage you to rest in a deep assurance of the Father's love and acceptance. Some readers struggle with self-condemnation, which the enemy of our soul delights in. He will use that to create self-doubt, worthlessness, and tempt you to admit defeat and walk away from God; God who has not left us in our condemned state but instead has provided His rich mercy.  Let us accept the truth of God, Who is greater than our hearts and humbly realize that He indeed knows all things, even those things which we do not fully understand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily PrayerFather, as Your children we need to regularly examine our hearts to see if there are things, pursuits, or attitudes that are drawing us away from Your heart and thrusting us once again into the mindset of the world.  Our heart’s examinations are not intended to condemn us but to rid impurity, refresh our spirit, and remind us of our godly heritage.  Father, since You know our hearts more than we do ourselves, reveal to us that which helps and that which hinders our Christian walk. It's Your kindness that leads us to repentance. You do not hover over us in judgment, but walk alongside us assuring us of Your unwavering love and boundless mercy that will see us through on this side of the journey. We walk it step by step holding to the right hand of Jesus in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Ester at 23 with balloons
We shared in Friday's message that Ester had her 23rd birthday on March 9 so we enjoyed a week-end celebration. We loaded her down with some birthday balloons in the back of our van on Friday which add color and flare to our dining room. She appreciated the reader's responses to her life story that she wrote (with some support by Brooksyne).

Ester at 23 with balloons
Last night we had some friends over for a birthday meal for Ester including Mike and Nicole Martin who lead Triple Tree Biker church which reaches out to the motorcycle culture. They had some interesting stories to tell regarding their ministry efforts and Ester took this shot as we were visiting at the dinner table.

Today's Suggested Music and Sup
plemental Resources

"One Thing Have I Desired"  Video  Maranatha Singers  A beautiful rendition of Psalm 27:4, our first daily text.

"You Deliver Me"  Video  Selah

"No Condemnation"  Video  Don Moen

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  Crabb family

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  A powerful version by Dallas Holm we have periodically used in this series.

The Hans Herr home The 1719 Hans Herr House, built in that year by Hans’ son, Christian, is the oldest surviving dwelling place of European settlers in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is also the oldest original Mennonite meeting house still standing in the Western Hemisphere.

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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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