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Friday, April 25, 2014

Cameron Estate mansion 4/24/14
Late yesterday afternoon we walked through the grounds of the Cameron Estate Mansion about 1 mile west from our home. The huge red brick farmhouse was built in 1805.

"The Centrality Of Christ's Resurrection"
Alive Forevermore!

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“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:17,18).

What great assurance the truth of Christ's resurrection brings to the follower of Christ. Mysteries abound in this life. There is so much we just don't understand and I am frankly convinced we won't till the other side. Yesterday we heard the report of the three killed at a mission hospital in Afghanistan who worked with Cure International, a medical mission based not far from our home in Central Pennsylvania.

Let us consider John when he wrote Revelation. Tradition asserts that all the other original twelve disciples were martyred for their faith, the first recorded being James, who was beheaded in Acts 12. John is the only original twelve disciple to have died a natural death. Although we are unaware of the extent of communication at that time I wonder what John felt like being the last living disciple of the original twelve. Surely his eyewitness memory of Christ's resurrection was a bulwark to his faith. Yet Jesus appears to him again and reminds him that He is alive forevermore!

As we prepare today's message an old chorus comes to mind that some of our readers may recall.

Alive, alive, alive forevermore.
My Jesus is alive, alive forevermore.
Alive, alive, alive forevermore.
My Jesus is alive.

All this week we have been examining the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in each major section of the New Testament. Today we consider the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in the final book of the Bible, the book of Revelation.

We may not associate resurrection teaching with the Book of Revelation, a prophetical book that reveals the future. But since the resurrection is foundational to the Gospel we shouldn't be surprised to see John, who also wrote the Gospel of John and three letters in the New Testament (1,2,3 John), revealing this truth early in the book. Actually the two verses used today are direct quotes from the forever alive Lord Jesus Christ, whom John describes as "the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth" (Revelation 1:5).

Henry M. Morris writes concerning the importance of the resurrection. "The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the apostles is secondary in importance to the resurrection. If the resurrection did not take place then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth."

Today let us especially consider the phrase,
"Behold I am alive forevermore". Christ says, “behold,” emphasizing that His demonstration of life beyond the grave is of paramount importance, for Christ’s resurrection bears witness that those who trust in Him will likewise rise from the dead (John 14:19; Romans 6:8-9). If not for the fact of the resurrection—without the “Living One”—Christianity would be meaningless (1Corinthians 15:12-17).

He is alive forevermore! Other versions state; "alive forever and ever" (NIV) "alive for timeless ages!" (Phillips), "I am alive now and for all the ages—even ages to come" (Voice). The literal Greek expression is aionion to aionion (ages to ages or eons to eons). That sounds like a long time to me - without end!

Sing alleluia, sing alleluia,
My Jesus is alive forevermore.
Sing alleluia, sing alleluia
My Jesus is alive.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus who conquered death and is alive forevermore. And because He lives we live also. What hope and assurance this brings to all who repent and believe, to all who receive Your Son, Jesus, as their personal Saviour. We worship "the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. For He is alive now and for all the ages - even the ages to come." And we give praise, honor and glory to Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come. Amen.

Report of martyrdom from Afghanistan. This is such a sad story for the families of those martyred. Amazingly, in the very midst of their fresh grief, doctors would perform lifesaving surgery on the man who killed their colleague and two of his visiting family members, all medical doctors.

Personal note: Tomorrow we will be travelling to Texas to visit Brooksyne's sister, Elaine, who lives near San Antonio. We hope to post several messages during our trip but we do not expect to post daily.
We will not only see Elaine but also look forward to visiting several Daily Encouragement friends while we are there.

Technical note: Earlier this week I shared about a problem I am having regarding the orientation of photos as they appear on the web and in email. Although the photos are properly oriented when I edit them and build the page using html, some of them display sideways on the web. If you have a phone with auto rotate you will be chasing the photo around trying to get it to view properly! A thoughtful reader shared this website that addresses the issue. I think I figured out how to fix the problem by deleting the additional data
that is included with a photo when I edit the photo if I remember. I believe this is called EXIF data. It would be my preference if I could just have a setting to not include this data in the first place. Any ideas?

Cameron Estate duck family 4/24/14)
We walked through the grounds of the Cameron Estate last night to see if the new goslings from the eggs we showed on Monday had arrived. They had not but Mom was still nesting and Father goose was protecting by hissing at us as we walked by the other side of the Donegal Springs pool. Farther on the walk these three ducks came up to greet Brooksyne. Surprisingly they all turned in synchronization to the right and then later to the left, as though they were posing for their picture, but preferred a side view.

Sunset over Galen and Nancy Martin's pond 4/24/14
Ester went fishing with a friend at our friend's farm pond and snapped this photo.

Donegal Springs road buckwagon 4/24/14
Our neighbor on Donegal Springs Road appears to be cleaning out his barn and must have found this old buckwagon he has now parked along the road. Brooksyne thinks it would be even more interesting with some flowers on the bench seat. We'll see if the farmer's wife comes up with the same idea!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

All this week we have shared songs with the Resurrection theme.

"Alive Forever, Amen "  Video  Travis Cottrell  (Newly posted today) A powerful more recently written Resurrection song.

"Alive, Alive, Alive Forevermore"  Video  WorshipHouse Kids (This is the chorus we began our message with. It's hard to sing it without smiling!

"He Lives!" (song and hymn history)  Video

"Christ The Lord Is Risen Today"  Video  (traditional)  Video  (a bit more contemporary)

"Power Of The Cross"  Video  Steve Green

"Easter Song"  Video  Matthew Ward

* "See What A Morning"
 Video  Getty/Towend team  I (Brooksyne) really appreciate the Biblical resurrection account being recounted in such detail and colorfully presented in this song by the Gettys and Stuart Towend, one of 12 hymns they collaborated on, based on the core beliefs as articulated in the Apostle's Creed.

"I'll Rise Again"
 Video  Dallas Holm

"Christ Arose"  Video  Daniel Thornton
Sing alleluia, sing alleluia,
My Jesus is alive forevermore.
Sing alleluia, sing alleluia
My Jesus is alive.

"Because He Lives"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"He Arose"  Video  Stone Church choir

"He's Alive"  Video  Don Francisco

"He Gave His Life"  Video  Vocal Union 

"There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross"  Video  Vocal Union

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Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
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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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