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Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The Ramp Covered Bridge in Cumberland County PA crosses Conodoguinet creek near Newville. The name Conodoguinet is Native American and means "A Long Way with Many Bends" and this creek indeed has many bends, especially where it ends at the Susquehanna River. The Ramp Covered Bridge was built in 1870 using the Burr truss design. This is the only covered bridge left which is entirely in Cumberland County. We drove through the bridge last Sunday on the way back from a retreat, although we had to get off the main highway to do so. Click on photo for a larger image.
"A Blood Donor Saved My Life!"
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Daily prayer: Father, we are so thankful for Your redeeming grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt. This is possible because of the blood of Jesus which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Where our sin increased, Your grace increased all the more. Your refuge for our sin-filled souls took place at the cross of Calvary where Jesus shed His precious blood so that we might find forgiveness for our sins. This salvation is marvelous; it is matchless and it is infinitely greater than the animal blood sacrifice that took away sins for only a season. Christ's redeeming blood sacrifice frees us from the penalty of sin in this life and for all eternity. We thank You, Jesus, for freely shedding Your blood on our behalf and it is in Your name that we pray. Amen.
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). "And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins" (Romans 11:27).
Brooksyne and I have donated our blood since our freshman year in College. We feel it's important to help others who are in need of lifesaving treatment. A patient would be in trouble if we held the surgical knife but at least we can be of assistance to their medical needs when there is a need for additional blood. At our Sunday School retreat last weekend I saw Bonnie, a newer member of our class, wearing a sweatshirt that caught my attention. As seen in the lead photo it read, "A blood donor saved my life". I was curious when I read the message on Bonnie's shirt from a distance, wondering what illness or disease she had that required a blood donation.
Over ten years ago I had surgery that required a blood transfusion. Ester has had several due to her heart surgeries. My mother also required blood transfusions in her last years of life due to a blood disease she endured in her later years. In fact we have known several who have benefited from blood donations through the years. We are grateful for the people who make the effort, take the time and tolerate discomfort to donate blood.
Today we want to share about lifesaving blood that not only serves our physical needs but also has eternal soul-saving qualities. Today's first text is in the context of the Last Supper and initial Communion service. In passing the cup Jesus stated, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). He is speaking of His blood that will soon be shed on the Cross establishing the New Covenant (or promise).
In Romans Paul is speaking of the covenant that God has with the Jewish people to "take away their sins." This is a foundational aspect of redemption since sin is mankind's biggest problem, separating us from a holy God. The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ came to take away sin. "You know that He appeared in order to take away sins" (1 John 3:5). As the great old hymn asks and then adamantly answers the age old question, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"
Russel Moore, in a blog article titled "Is Your Church Losing Blood?", contends that the church is increasingly de-emphasizing the blood of Christ. "Let us never be embarrassed by our emphasis—in song, in public prayer, in evangelism, in discipleship, and in preaching—on the blood of Jesus."
The rest of the sweatshirt story: I noticed when Bonnie turned around that there was another message on the back of her sweatshirt. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. - Jesus (Matthew 26:28). Only the blood of Jesus Christ is a once for all complete atonement that takes away the sins of all who believe. John the Baptist summed up the fundamental mission of Jesus Christ so well; "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today.
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Last week we shared a photo of what we supposed to be an Amish farmhouse and an alert reader noticed an antenna on the roof. This is on a road with a lot of Amish farms but I need to verify that this one was indeed Amish. Also the Amish buy farms from others and it may be never removed the antenna from a previous owner.
I tried to email the observant reader but his system wouldn't accept my email even though I tried to send it from several email accounts I have. This is frustration from both a business and ministry perspective. I suppose we all experience this due to email filters. We email someone and our message gets trapped in a filter or is rejected. People may assume I never responded! Also we have valid subscribers who may have our messages snagged by these filters. We have no control on our end concerning this.
Brooksyne's note: A reader responded to yesterday's message that she is a Christian but would never have the courage to walk to the front of the church while others looked on and wanted to know if I thought her salvation was valid. Here's Brooksyne's response:
Thanks for your response to our message today. You certainly offered an interesting perspective different than my thoughts as I wrote the paragraph you referred to. Certainly there are many ways a person can be saved - in the quiet of their own bedroom, car or wherever. And certainly some may simply bow their heads and invite Jesus to be their Savior when an invitation is extended. When I used the illustration which is probably outdated in many churches since few even have altars anymore. I believe the invitation to walk up the aisle is so that the seeker might come and kneel at the altar and ask forgiveness. It's not intended for show, but more to invite one who is considering surrendering his or her life to confess such a decision before others. It also comes from the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:32 who said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven." We might call it a public confession of faith.
I know there are many who do not come forward but make a decision in their heart. I would never take away from that by my illustration. I was just simply expressing how often we pray for visible results and way too often see none. But, of course, only God can see the inner heart.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Glorie Mielului" (Glory To The Lamb) Video Corul si Orchestra Nationala BBSO Our Romanian brothers and sisters singing at an evangelistic service in Romania last year. I can't understand any of the words except for Hallelujah but ... WOW! What a blessing to see these young people singing with such vigor and excitement! That's one choir we want to hear in heaven. Such pleasant young people to watch.
"Grace Greater Than All Our Sin" Video Prestonwood Choir
"The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" Video Selah
"There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood" Video David Phelps and Homecoming Singers
"Through the Precious Blood" Video Sovereign Grace Music
"Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin" Video The Hoppers
"O The Blood" Video Gateway Worship
"Is Your Church Losing Blood?" The interesting article quoted from in today's message.
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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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