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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean
"Like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea.
Comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me!"

"Grace Upon Grace"

Note: Due to travel we did not prepare a podcast for this message.

"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16).

Yesterday we walked the boardwalk looking out over the ocean in Ocean City, NJ. Growing up in the Midwest, far from any ocean I only saw the ocean two times as a child, once on each coast. Brooksyne who was raised in a poor family in Oklahoma didn't see the ocean at all until her mid-twenties after we had been married for several years. Some raised near the ocean can't even recall their first ocean sighting but for both of us and many others it is a distinct memory.

Our favorite "first ocean sighting" story took place several years ago when we drove an Amish family to the shore. Upon arrival the excited children discharged themselves from the 15 passenger van and beheld the great expanse of water. Little Eli, about three at the time, just couldn't get enough play from the large waves that swept up on the sandy shore. When his mom wanted him to rest a bit he informed her and all of us, "But I want to go back in the big pond!"

I've long associated the daily verse with the ocean due to a sermon I heard as a young Christian. Jeff Ronald was a fellow Bible School student who was preaching from John 1 and used the persistent, rolling waves of the ocean as an illustration of the phrase, "grace upon grace."

Today we have friends on our hearts who seem to be experiencing one heartache after another. This could be many including some reading this message. Today we want you to experience grace upon grace.

John wrote his gospel late in the first century. Most believe his writings were the last in the Biblical canon. Some sixty years after his encounter with Christ and His earthly ministry he sat down as an old man to write his gospel.

Three other accounts had already been written (Matthew, Mark and Luke) but surely John's perspective in writing was long awaited by the early church. His purpose in writing is clearly stated in Chapter 20:30 & 31. "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." Thus his intent was in part evangelistic; hopeful that unbelievers would receive his account and respond in belief.

The daily text begins with the phrase, "For of His fullness we have all received." What an incredible blessing to be a recipient of His fullness!

The last phrase is "grace upon grace." The Amplified expresses, "one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift." It's a little like a husband and wife receiving the news that they're not only giving birth to one baby, but they've been doubly blessed with twins!

What a marvelous blessing grace is; this unmerited favor and undeserved gift. In understanding grace many have found helpful the descriptive acrostic "God's Riches At Christ's Expense" or "Gifts Received At Christ's Expense."

Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? By believing you may have life in His Name. That's the greatest gift of grace!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: God, You've given the greatest treasure available to all people. We don't have to fit into a particular segment of our population nor are we required to live during a certain time period to receive this unsurpassed gift. The gift of Your grace is available to every generation and exceeds any temporary material blessing that we'll ever receive. Your grace not only brings reconciliation through Your Son, but it continues to pour into us grace upon grace, much like the waves of the ocean. Thank you that You gave in abundance so that we could be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God through the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ. How unlimited and ceaseless is your grace upon grace! We in turn offer you thanks upon thanks for Your overflowing goodness to us. Amen.

Jim and Dorothy Schmidt 7/14/14
We enjoyed a delicious lunch; salmon, crabcake, scallops - the seafood works with our friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt and afterward drove throughout Ocean City ending up at the boardwalk. We became friends with these good folks back in New England during a conference when Jim represented Send Int'l. They live in Ocean City and remain active in ministry. Dorothy had a very serious head concussion several months ago that required intensive recovery. Though she's still recovering we were delighted to see how good she looked. 

Fortress Financial, Ocean City, NJ  7/14/14
This business along the main street in Ocean City takes its name from a Scripture verse. As we passed this business Jim pointed out the verse and also spoke of the opportunity he had in leading this businessman to Christ many years earlier.

Boardwalk store sign, Ocean City, NJ  7/14/14
We thought this was an interesting sign on a store along the boardwalk.

Ocean City beach
This is what the beach along the Jersey shore looks like mile after mile.  An otherwise bland sandy beach was decorated with multi-colored umbrellas and beach towels as sunlovers and swimmers take advantage of a perfectly warm sunny day!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Like A Mighty Sea"  Video 
An old hymn most have probably never heard but we recall singing in churches years ago.

"Your Grace Still Amazes Me"  Video  Phillips, Craig and Dean

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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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