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April 10, 2012

Amish horse and buggy scene (photo by Doris High)
Amish horse and buggy with lush background farm scene.
(Photo by Doris High)

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"The Apostolic Proclamation
Of The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ

"This man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him" (Acts 2:23,24).

A proud, ungodly professor tried to "reason" with a young child who believed in the Lord Jesus; "My dear little girl, you don't know whom you believe in. There have been many christs, in which of them do you believe?" The child confidently replied, "I know which one I believe in. I believe in the Christ who rose from the dead!"

This last weekend believers around the world rejoiced in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the foundational fact of our faith. However, it is so common during this season to also hear the latest, faddish pronouncements from "modern scholars", who reject the historical, Biblical record.

I consider a rather famous apostate (fallen away) bishop from an older mainline denomination who denies the literal bodily resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He boasts of a novel new theory, which is really not new. However this of course makes the news and can be a stumbling block for many, both unbelievers and weaker believers. These articles are common around this time of year especially as our unbelieving world is confronted with the message of Christ.

In our daily verse Peter is preaching to the curious crowd on the day of Pentecost. Fifty days earlier he was among the first witnesses to the greatest event in history. His statement, "But God raised Him from the dead" is the first reference to the resurrection in apostolic preaching in the book of Acts. Apostolic preaching consistently emphasized the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was and ever will be at the very heart of the Gospel. A faithful witness will always, "earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).

"Freeing Him from the agony of death." Peter, who had infamously denied the Lord at His trial, had been a witness to this agony, although perhaps at a distance.

Now he makes a great statement of faith, "It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him." He surely recalled the teaching of Jesus he had heard time after time. Early in His ministry Jesus had said "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:19). After Peter had made his great confession of faith, Jesus clearly taught that He would "suffer many things, be killed, and be raised again the third day." Even his enemies were aware of the claim and had made provision for a guard at the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). But no paltry Roman guard was going to stop this glorious, supernatural event! Death had forever lost its sting.

Be assured that heretics will continue to espouse their apostate views as they have all through the history of the Church. In fact according to Scripture "in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires" (2 Peter 3:3).

Today we indeed serve a risen Savior. Let us rejoice in this truth and live for the One who once died for our sins and now lives forever, for it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him! It is for this truth that we must earnestly, faithfully and vigorously contend!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the living hope we have through Jesus who did not die in vain, but instead He conquered sin and death. You raised Christ's body from the dead, because death could not hold Him.  The certainty of Christ's resurrection is taught and reinforced throughout the New Testament writings and is the cornerstone of our faith. Biblical perspective makes the reality of the grave not a finality, but a springboard from which we will enter into glorious, eternal life. With deep conviction we choose to earnestly, faithfully, and vigorously contend for this essential truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

* It's distressing that these heretics still have credentials with and are ultimately funded by many denominations that at one time contended for the apostolic faith. However in my observation many of the grassroots clergy and lay membership still hold to the faith.

All this week our daily encouragement messages will be on the resurrection of Jesus Christ as taught in each of the major sections of the New Testament.
Monday's message was from the Gospel accounts. We tend to be most familar with the resurrection accounts that each of the four gospels have and these are the passages that most preachers use on Easter Sunday. Obviously we could develop more than one message from these accounts but thought it would be beneficial to study the resurrection in the rest of the NT.
Today we examined how the resurrection was a core element in apostolic preaching in Acts.
Wednesday and Thursday we will study the resurrection teaching in the epistles and on Friday from the Book of Revelation.

Further study: In studying Acts for this message I see there are three prominent preachers from whom we have the text of their messages recorded; Peter, Stephen, and Paul. Both Peter and Paul have the resurrection as a very prominent element in their preaching. Stephen's sermon was interrupted when he proclaimed, "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered Him (Christ),
you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it" (Acts 7:51-53).

"When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him" (v. 54) and this progressed to his stoning. He was unable to complete his sermon which I am sure would have progressed to declare the resurrection. However, he declared the resurrection of Christ in another way: "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55,56). The risen Lord was seen by Stephen at the right hand of God! Praise the Lord!

For further study on today's Scripture text I found this resource by John Piper helpful.

We (Stephen especially) always enjoy seeing farm work. Yesterday the harvesters came to mow the grass in the field across from our home. I suppose it will be baled. The changing scenery is one of the elements to country living we enjoy!  The grass was green all through the winter but really took off with the warm Spring weather.

Rye harvest 4/9/12

Rye harvest 4/9/12

Rye harvest 4/9/12
Last night we took our trail walk and this is the distant view of our home at sunset centered across this field.

Rye harvest 4/9/12
Early this morning we had this view from our front lawn.

Animal in tree 4/9/12
Yesterday we walked the dogs and were startled to see this animal up in tree watching us as we walked by.  It would be a rather exciting photo if it was a black bear or mountain lion, but it was only a _____! (* see below songs)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

This week we will place the same songs up through the week on the resurrection, adding to them as we consider a new song.

"I see Jesus" Video I (Brooksyne) recalled a song that we sang when I was growing up in Oklahoma. Country and country gospel music was the only genre of music my dad ever listened to and thus, so did his children. "I See Jesus" was sung in our church a lot and I happened to find this recording by Hank Snow, one of Dad's favorite singers (we probably had the album or on an 8 track he played in his 18 wheeler truck). The song speaks of Stephen who declared, "I See Jesus" when he entered the promised land!

"Resurrection Song"  Video  Second Chapter of Acts  On Sunday morning, Stan Miller, our Sunday School teacher opened our class by playing this song for the class using his cell phone (though Keith Green was the singer)!

"See What A Morning"
 Video  Kristyn Getty  A fairly recent written anthem describing the historic resurrection morning.

"I'll Rise Again"
 Video  Dallas Holm  This song never grows old for me!

"Christ The Lord Is Risen Today"  Video  

"Christ Arose"  Video  Daniel Thornton

"He Arose"  Video

"Because He Lives" Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"He's Alive"  Video  Don Francisco

"He Gave His Life"  Video  Vocal Union 

"There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross"  Video  Vocal Union  Brooksyne heard this on the radio Saturday and called my attention to it.  It's a southern gospel rendering of a powerful message within the song.

Today's photo by Doris High was taken from this collection.

* Cat!

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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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