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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Amazing Grace scene

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"A Great Saviour"

This is what the LORD says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:23-24). "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25). 

John Newton (1725-1807)As John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace aged his memory began to fail him. This is demonstrated in a poignant scene from the movie "Amazing Grace" when Newton is shown in his aged condition declaring, "Although my memory is fading I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior."  His sight is also fading when he quotes a line from his own hymn, "I once was blind but now I see". He then asks, "Did I write that?" He was assured, "Yes, indeed, you wrote those very words."  Newton responded, "Now at last it's true."

What do you know today? Well, surely that varies among our readers. Some of you know a little about a lot of different subjects; others know a whole lot about only a few subjects. I just hope we all have an experiential knowledge about the most important matter in life: our heart's condition with God and His remedy for that condition.

Using the message of our first daily text we, who are of the faith, are among those, "who understand and know that He is the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth." In fact God delights in these virtues. They're a stark contrast to the bullying, injustice and ungodliness that are daily captions in our newspapers or major stories in the news media. 

John 9 records the miraculous healing of the man blind from birth. Although the account clearly deals with a literal physical healing it is very instructive in regard to the spiritual healing as well. Jesus had wondrously healed and saved the man who then became the subject for various attacks against Christ.

Man born blindAfter his healing the religious leaders picked this man and his healing apart! What's his background? What was the cause of his blindness? Did he know the background of the one who healed him? Well, the formerly blind man knew the answers to some of these questions but to others he hadn't the faintest idea.

Yet his response to the critical, negative religious leaders is so powerful: "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" This is experiential knowledge. He knew the physical condition of his life before the healing and he certainly experienced its radically changed condition afterwards. He could now see!

Attacks against our faith in Christ abound just as they always have. This is especially true today as we're seeing more and more attacks through the media, entertainment and academia. Sadly our own government and public education system here in America is increasingly part of the attack. People of faith in Christ are portrayed as ignorant, old-fashioned, and downright naive. As the pace of decadence hastens, sometimes referred to as the moral cliff, those who hold to Biblical standards are portrayed as hateful, mean-spirited and intolerant.*

The attacks will also come as you live out your Christian experience. How vital to have a bedrock knowledge of the spiritual reality and assurance of our salvation. Much like a machine gun the devil barrages us with his bullets of fear, doubt, jealousy, strife and a host of other emotions seeking to diminish our hope and lead our soul astray. In response to the enemy's attacks let us declare along with the healed blind man, "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see. (Newton)

My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace. (Tomlin)

If we remember nothing more at the end of our lives than this spiritual truth: "I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour" we have remembered the most important truth of our human existence. It loosens our chains that held us captive to sin and is the key to life evermore with our Great Savior where we will experience His unending love, His amazing grace, and His splendid provisions for all eternity.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I thank You for the marvelous transaction that took place when You delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me into the kingdom of Your Son in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. There is no earthly transaction that will ever bring about such a major change in my life or affect my future such as Your mighty deliverance. I was lost in darkness without hope but now, because of Your glorious deliverance and transfer, I walk in endless hope in the radiant light of Jesus. I have been found by Your love and kept by Your grace. Praise be to Your name! Amen.

* Among the more astounding forms of attack is the attempt to designate groups and churches holding to Biblical and traditional values as "hate groups". Presently there is a petition for the Catholic Church to be designated a hate group due to the Pope's remarks regarding the redefinition of marriage. (see here)

2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show

In early January we usually visit the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, a huge indoor agricultural exposition similar to state fairs in other states. Ester and Brooksyne know this is something I just like to do. On Monday afternoon we visited the show and shared several photos yesterday and will do so again today.

Frick steam tractor at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
 Antique Tractor at the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show

Tractor at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
The main exhibition hall has a lot of machinery, new and old.
I (Stephen) enjoy antique machinery!

Potato man at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
A mean-looking hot potato man!

Boot planters at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
Here's a great way to put some old work boots to use! These boots remind us of the one we have in our front yard. It's a boot that our farmer friend, Galen wore out. His wife Nancy didn't throw his boots out but used them instead for planting hen and chicks and blessed us with one years ago. Because these plants take very little water and live over the winter the boot planter is pretty much self-sufficient!

Gutter watering system at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
Here's an interesting idea we may try this spring. Sections of slightly sloping gutter are used as a plant box along a wall. The rain water runs through the gutter and waters the plants.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs through this Saturday. Ten dollars to park the car and then it's free admission to the show. Several hours+ of wholesome family entertainment, Don't miss the Food Court and a steaming bowl of creamy portabella mushroom soup! And, yes, we recommend the milk shakes to help support our milk farmers (even as it pleases our taste buds)!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Amazing Grace"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"If That Isn't Love"  Video  David Phelps

"Blessed Assurance"  Video  The Isaacs

"Oh What A Savior"  Video  Charles Billingsley

"It's Still The Cross"  Video  "Voices" of the University of Mobile

"Grace"  Video  Laura Story

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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