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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mississippi River Bridge (photo by Georgia)
Mississippi River Bridge
(Photo taken by my cousin Georgia)

"How Deep The Father's Love For Us"

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"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Today is Maundy Thursday, 
the Thursday before Easter, observed in the Christian Church as a commemoration of the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples on the night He was arrested and the eve of His crucifixion.  Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions marked by the shadow of Jesus' betrayal. Some churches, like our own, might have footwashing, communion, a time of Scripture reading, hymns reflecting the cross, prayers, and testimonies. Maundy comes from the Latin word, "mandatum" meaning commandment or mandate. Throughout their last meal together Jesus gave several mandates to His disciples.

For nearly 2000 years now men and women, boys and girls have been turning to Christ, believing the Gospel and being saved. A minuscule percentage of those people were actual eyewitness to the Sacrifice. What an experience it must have been to literally behold the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, seeing Him bear our sorrows and the stripes that bring our healing. All who have believed since that time have heard the message but were not eyewitnesses.
The daily verse should cause us to be in awe of what God has done in love's supreme demonstration. So many events of life concern us today; from our unique personal and family problems to the rapid decline toward absolute moral decadence (particularly here in America it seems), to various explosive international situations. We must be intentional in keeping our hope fixed on Jesus lest these troubling matters lead us to despair.

Watchman Nee, a Chinese follower of Christ was persecuted for his faith and died in prison in 1972. He was a prolific writer but a single note found under his pillow after he died powerfully summarizes the simple essence of his faith: "Christ is the Son of God. He died to atone for men's sin, and after three days rose again. This is the most important fact in the universe. I die believing in Christ."

Today let us see with spiritual eyes the supreme demonstration of God's own love for us. The underlying Greek word that is translated "demonstrate" is "sunistasin" which is in the present indicative active. This connotes a sense that God's demonstration of love is ever a present event, although Christ's literal death on the cross was a "once for all" atoning sacrifice; "Christ died for us." The demonstration of His love is ever present, but the sacrificial death of Christ is final and complete. We now look to "Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever" (Revelation 4:9).

The atoning death of Christ on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God's love resulting in:
•    Our redemption from sin
•    Our reconciliation to God
•    Our restoration to wholeness

On this Maundy Thursday, of Passion Week, let us rejoice in the ultimate demonstration of Christ's supreme love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, how marvelous is Your love.  So many things in life are unobtainable, just beyond our grasp, but You make Your love available to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Your love and tender care mends the broken heart; it cleanses the sin-filled heart, and it encompasses the empty heart. How utterly amazing that You would pour out Your sinless, extravagant love on the vilest of sinners who truly believes. Incredible to comprehend, but nothing in all creation can separate us from Your gracious and compassionate love. Thank You, Father for loving me.  Amen.

Note: Due to an extremely busy day yesterday we were unable to post a new message.

This morning we passed these sites on Queen Street in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster, PA
Queen Street in Lancaster is a beautiful city walk

Store window, Lancaster, PA
We enjoyed this colorful spring display.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"How Deep The Father's Love For Us"  Video  Phillips, Craig, and Dean

        Behold the man upon a cross.
        My sin upon His shoulders;
        Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
        Call out among the scoffers.
        It was my sin that held Him there
        Until it was accomplished;
        His dying breath has brought me life -
        I know that it is finished.

        I will not boast in anything,
        No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
        But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
        His death and resurrection.
        Why should I gain from His reward?
        I cannot give an answer.
        But this I know with all my heart,
        His wounds have paid my ransom.

"I Stand Amazed"  Video  Homecoming singers

"O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"  Video Sovereign Grace Music  This old hymn was written by Samuel Trevor Francis in 1875.  These outstanding lyrics will bless your soul and remind you of our great heritage as members of the Church Triumphant, written by one who is now experiencing glorious rest above! Samuel Trevor Francis (1834–1925) had a spiritual turning point as a teenager, contemplating suicide one night on a bridge over the River Thames. Experiencing a renewal of faith, he went on to author many poems and hymns and was a preacher in addition to his merchant career. The song compares Jesus' love to the ocean in scope, emphasizing the limitless, unchanging, and sacrificial nature of God's affections for the singer and all of humanity. The newer version is worded slightly different than the original and adds a chorus.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

Oh the deep, deep love
All I need and trust
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end

"I Am Redeemed "  Video  Brian Free and Assurance

Major Events of the Passion Week

An astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the four gospels cover the period beginning with Christ's triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the Gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of Scriptural revelation dealing with God's greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46
  • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6
  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12
  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30
  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

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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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