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Friday, April 4, 2014

Pansies at Village Farm Market 4/3/14

A hanging pansy/allysum arrangement at Village Farm Market near Ephrata, PA
A sure sign of spring we saw yesterday!

"Jesus Saves!!!"

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"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15). "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2,3).

Oh, to Christ, how great a debtor
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Are the saints who shout together
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Rising up so fast and strong
Lifting up salvation's song
The redeemed will sing forever
Jesus saves

Jesus Saves For several days we've been studying the 2 Timothy 3:14-15 phrase by phrase. Today let us consider the phrase, "salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

Bible teacher David Guzik comments, "many people are wise in many different things - wise for cars, wise for money, wise for health, wise for cooking, wise for computers - but are we also wise for salvation?  This is the most important wisdom one can ever have! Where does this wisdom come from? The Holy Scriptures, in and of itself, the Bible does not save us - but it is only through the Bible that we can receive God’s truth about Jesus, and place our faith in Him."

Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me. The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word "trust" is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word "faith" or "belief." The reason is that we can "believe" something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. (Grudem, W. A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Zondervan)

Our second daily text begins. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him..." To "fix our eyes" means to look away from other things and steadfastly or intently locus on a distant object, at that which fills the heart. The idea is to direct one’s attention without distraction.

Today let us consider three grand events in the life of Christ as expressed in the remainder of this verse:

1) Christ endured the cross. We have the accounts in the Gospels of His endurance as He was completing the mission His Father had sent Him to earth to accomplish; His sacrificial death for the redemption of the human race.  Endured literally means "to remain under but not simply with resignation, but rather with a vibrant hope". It describes one who continues in an activity despite resistance and opposition. Jesus endured short-term pain because of the certainty of long-term gain.

2) Christ scorned the shame. I find an elaboration in the Amplified Bible helpful here, "ignoring the shame". The cross at His time brought only shame (it was the most shameful of deaths, “yea, the death of the cross” Philippians 2:8). But Jesus ignored that and did His Father’s will by submitting to it.

3) Christ sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The death and resurrection of Christ are not explicit in this passage but certainly powerfully taught. He who endured and despised the shame of the Cross, died for our sins, was resurrected, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. In fact the writer of Hebrews introduced Jesus with the description... "When He had made purification of sins (His work of salvation as the sacrificial Lamb of God was accomplished once and for all), He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus SavesWe are called to "consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men." The word "consider" translates the Greek "analogizomai" which is used only here in the entire New Testament. (The English word "analyze" is related to this word.)  It means to carefully estimate and contemplate. 

There's a powerful reason for this consideration, "so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Encouragement is a prominent theme in the book of Hebrews. In fact regular readers may recall that the theme verse for this ministry comes from Hebrews 3:13, "encourage one another daily."

Today we have this same need don't we? By deeply contemplating these various aspects of Christ's redemptive work, we receive encouragement and renewed determination to press on in our faith, even in the midst of opposition.  Jesus Saves!

Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout it brightly through the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Jesus, we want to fix our eyes, our thoughts, and our affections on You, our blessed Redeemer.  Though You faced enormous opposition that would provide understandable excuse for altering Your redemption plan, nevertheless You endured the cross and scorned it's shame. Thank you that you died for our sins and rose in victory and returned to Your Father to sit at His right hand. When we consider the depth of Your commitment we're even more determined to be faithful in the night seasons of our Christian walk.  Help us to endure by keeping our eyes, not on that which is seen, but on the unseen future rewards that You promise to those who are faithful.  We pray this in Your name.  Amen.

We enjoy our role as chaplains to various companies here in the south central PA area. We meet a lot of interesting people and today will share some photos with you.

Mihad at Vallorbs 4/3/14
Mihad is from Bosnia. He asked me to take his photo to add to his collection of photos taken at work in other countries where he has lived.

Mixaythong at Vallorbs 4/3/14
Mihaythong is from Laos. Even though we have difficulty communicating with her in depth, she  still seems to enjoy our visits and our efforts at expressing friendliness. She's enrolled in an English class and making good progress!

Tom at Vallorbs 4/3/14
I visited for a few minutes with a celebrity (at least I'm making him one.)

Yesterday we shared a photo of an old farm tool from a friend's barn. It is a seed potato cutter. Based on lack of any responses it appears this stumped everyone. As I recall Galen had not seen this used or at least not since he was a child.

Mystery farm equipment
Today we have another piece of equipment from Galen's barn for the consideration of old-timers and farm stuff buffs. Let's see how observant some of our readers may be for a clue. It's not a hand cart or a sled! If
you recognize what it is respond here.  We'll post the correct answer Monday along with another photo quiz.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus Saves"  Video  (Newer arrangement)  Travis Cottrell

"Jesus Saves" Video  (The old hymn) Buddy Greene and Russ Taff

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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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