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Monday, March 11, 2013

Stone marking location where Jonathan Edwards preached "Sinners in the hands of an angry God"
This small stone marks the location where Jonathan Edwards preached.
Click on photo to enlarge and read

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"That God Should Love A Sinner Such As I"

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Brooksyne and I were recently discussing an unforgettable pitiful scene we witnessed about fourteen years ago when we were visiting in Boston. It was near the Massachusetts General Hospital in mid morning when we came across a man sprawled on the sidewalk in a grossly drunken stupor, his clothing but rags and his human waste leaving a foul odor. It was a most pitiable site and most uncomfortable for us to explain to Ester who was 9 or 10 years old at the time. It was the ravages of sin graphically on display for all passersby to see.

Yesterday our service opened with the old hymn:

Such love, such wondrous love
Such love, such wondrous love
That God should love a sinner such as I
How wonderful is love like this.

In our age of emphasis on human worth and self-esteem we tend to avoid labeling people. The label "sinner" is very politically incorrect, and seen by many as offensive, intolerant and judgmental.

However throughout the Holy Scriptures "sinner" is a designation often used to describe the fallen human race. A short, concise Bible verse many of us have memorized puts it this way: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Christ said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). Indeed the process of salvation begins when we acknowledge our sin and realize our need for God's forgiveness. Today, I challenge you who read this message to examine your life. Have you acknowledged your sinfulness and come to the Savior for forgiveness of sins?

Jonathan EdwardsOn July 8, 1741 Jonathan Edwards stepped behind the pulpit of the church he served in Enfield, Connecticut and methodically delivered what is the most famous single sermon ever preached in America. Christianitytoday.com describes Edward's preaching style: "By all accounts his delivery was not sensational or emotional. It was not due to theatrics. One observer wrote, 'He scarcely gestured or even moved, and he made no attempt by the elegance of his style or the beauty of his pictures to gratify the taste and fascinate the imagination.' Instead he convinced 'with overwhelming weight of argument and with such intenseness of feeling.'

The sermon had a title rarely used today! But "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" and the astounding conviction that came over the assembled listeners that day had a powerful and lasting impact. People wept and cried out to God for mercy and many were saved. The next several years America experienced a sweeping revival known as "The Great Awakening."

Webers standing next to stone marking location where Jonathan Edwards preached "Sinners in the hands of an angry God"The meeting house itself where Edwards preached burned down in 1775 and only a small, engraved stone now marks the spot where it once stood. Brooksyne and I prayed at that very spot and reaffirmed our commitment to faithfully serve God in our generation. Sadly most of the churches influenced by that great awakening have long since fallen from the faith.

In America in the early to mid 1800's there was another period of revival known as the "Second Great Awakening" and some consider a period in the late 1800's as the "Third Great Awakening". Many are crying out to the Lord for another Great Awakening as the only hope for stalling our country's rapidly increasing slide into apostasy. Among the foundational characteristics of any true revival or awakening will be the acknowledgment of sin and our need for Jesus, our redeeming Savior, to forgive and cleanse us from our sin.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we come to you as sinners; poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore, weary and wounded by the fall. How eternally grateful we are that Jesus stands ready to save us and empower us through His mighty Holy Spirit. As we arise and go to Him He embraces us with His loving compassion, and complete pardon for our sins. In Him we have unending blessings both now and forevermore. Amen.

Prayer inspired by the hymn, "Come Ye Sinners"

Ester's 24th birthday meal 3/10/13
It's hard to believe that Ester turned 24 on Saturday. Of course she's our one and only, and has overcome many health and cognitive challenges over the years so she continues to get royal treatment in our household. She invited a few friends over on Saturday and this group of friends on Sunday night. As I climbed upon a chair to take this shot Brooksyne said, "When you take a photo at the beginning it looks like we offer very little food to our guests." But folks, there was plenty of food brought out after we ate our spinach salad.

Ester's 24th birthday cake 3/10/13
"24" just seemed too big a number to write on Ester's cake so I (Brooksyne) decided to break it down to 12 + 12 since it seems only yesterday she turned 12. In fact I was doubly reminded when I opened a new box of candles and had none left over!

Ester's 24th birthday cake 3/10/13
Ester considering her birthday wish.

Here's a scene many have never seen. Our friend Lee Smucker sent this photo from Pinecrest (near Sarasota FL) a famous Amish and old order Mennonite vacation spot in Florida. In areas with a large Amish population such has here in Lancaster, Holmes County Ohio and northern Indiana regular bus service is provided to and from Florida. In this photo the folks have enjoyed their vacation and are boarding buses to head back north. For some more interesting photos of Pinecrest see this blog.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Just As I Am"  Video  Brian Doerksen

"Come To Jesus"  Video  Chris Rice

"A Sinner Saved By Grace"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"Come Ye Sinners"  Video  
Martha Bassett

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love, and pow'r.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Saviour,
O, there are ten thou-sand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall.
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.

Today I came across this interesting "Hymn of the Week" blog. Here's the post about this song.

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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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