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Monday, March 30, 2015

Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit.
Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit.
The white horse is "Duke".

"Love So Amazing, So Divine"

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"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51). "As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it" (Luke 19:41). "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).

Palm Sunday
Yesterday we observed the Triumphal Entry when we recall how Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy mentioned in Zechariah 9:9. He was lauded with glory, honor and praise from the crowd of onlookers. Palm branches were spread before Him which is why we also use the term "Palm Sunday". The crowds cried out, "Hosanna!", a cry for salvation and declaration of praise. This was, of course, the beginning of the final days that led up to Jesus' crucifixion. 

In the first daily text Luke's narrative gives us a glimpse of the Lord's deep resolve to fulfill His Father's mission, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." The Amplified Version states, "He steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem." The NASV uses this description, "He was determined to go to Jerusalem."

Bible teacher Albert Barnes comments on this passage, "The time appointed for him to remain on the earth was about to expire, and he resolved to go to Jerusalem and die. And from this we learn that Jesus made a voluntary sacrifice; that he chose to give His life for the sins of men. Humanly speaking, had He remained in Galilee he would have been safe."

"He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem: This is the beginning of a new section of the gospel. Jesus begins His long, final journey towards Jerusalem, with steadfastness fitting the difficulty of the task ahead of Him. There are two kinds of courage - the courage of the moment, which requires no previous thought, and a “planned” courage, which sees the difficulty ahead and steadfastly marches towards it. Jesus had this kind of courage; He could see the cross in the horizon, but still steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem."
(David Guzik)

Of course before Jesus was taken up into heaven He, once for all, made the final blood sacrifice by the shedding of His own blood. That sacrifice would take place through Jerusalem. We will see this resolution most powerfully demonstrated through the events that unfold this Passion Week.

Triumphal entryJust prior to the Triumphal Entry we read in Luke 19:28, "He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem." The phrase "going up" is very purposeful, translating the Greek "anabaino", the same word used when Zacchaeus "climbed" the sycamore tree. The King James Version translates it "ascending". Now there was an elevation sense but we believe also a deeply spiritual sense to this "going up". Luke reveals the spiritual heartbreak of Jesus in the following statement, "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it" (19:41). His heart was broken for the lost!

Today we too should "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3). Pastor
Steven Cole writes, "While rejection is always difficult to handle, if our Lord was rejected, we can expect the same treatment in this wicked world. He deliberately steeled Himself for the coming rejection in Jerusalem. As His followers, we must steel ourselves for rejection and not take it personally, even if it is meant that way."

Why is Christ's entry into Jerusalem referred to as the Triumphal Entry when Scripture reveals that over the next few days anguish, sorrow, and death would overshadow any potential cause for victory?  Because, in the midst of the evil and cruelty that is about to unfold, God's plan to provide salvation for the human race was not thwarted, but divinely fulfilled. Christ's triumphal entry was truly triumphant because He came into Jerusalem:

•    As a victor not a victim.
•    To fulfill the ultimate plan of God.
•    To demonstrate the full extent of His love.

Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world. He had fulfilled His Father's purpose and was Victor over sin. He loved His own, and in His act of great sacrifice, He showed us the full extent of His love. Today, let us live for Him who died for us!

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, our hearts are stirred as we consider the extent of Your love in sending Jesus to die for our sins. As He wept over Jerusalem we see His tender humanity in relation to our sin problem.  How grateful we are that Jesus yielded Himself fully to be  a sin sacrifice, once for all, not just for Jerusalem but for peoples of every tribe and language; for all generations prior to His sacrificial death and for all who follow. Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Amen.

When I study for these messages I come across a lot of interesting notes yet can't place them all in the message. Bible teacher Gene Brooks further elaborates on today's text, "Jesus’ Galilean ministry comes to a close at Luke 9:50 and at Luke 9:51 opens a new focus. From this point to his Passion is six months. The long section from Luke 9:51-18:14 is, along with Luke 1-2 and 24, Luke’s most distinctive contribution to the Gospels, the Lord’s Travelogue from Galilee to Jerusalem and His Passion. No matter that his disciples do not understand, the Lord resolves that the time has come for him to accomplish his mission, and in perhaps an echo of the third Servant Song, “I have set my face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7; Ezek 21:2), Jesus set out resolutely (Luke 13:31-35). Coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration, he sets Mount Zion – the city of Jerusalem – before himself as a goal for his “taking up,” or ascension, which we see in Acts 1."

A great resource for those who value expositional study is the Precept Austin online commentary which is a compendium of many resources. Many of them are arranged by verse such as Hebrews 12:3 where I read this note: "The hostility describes the opposition the Messiah endured from sinful men, even (and especially) religious (Jews who should have known better) men in both word and act. In the present context, the Jewish readers who had been born again (or were strongly considering the claims of the Messiah) were persecuted and mistreated by their Jewish brethren (not spiritual brethren but physical for both were from the lineage of Jacob) who were still clinging to the order of the Old Covenant of Law, including things like the temple sacrifices. The writer calls to their mind the example of the Author and Perfecter of their faith to encourage his readers to "hang on" despite the opposition which they were meeting with that endured by Messiah, and to do this in order that they would not be weary, fainting in their souls. Believers today need the same encouragement, especially in our culture which is sliding further and further from Biblical standards and into the abyss of paganism, debauchery and false spirituality, all of which are hostile toward Christianity. (Underscore mine)

Dinner guests 3/27/15
Friday evening we had three couples over for a New England style seafood dinner. The men drank rhubarb punch from their redneck jars. Left to right; Ron and Bonnie Hoover, Fred and Bev Steudler, Rick and Jackie Steudler. We work with these men in the course of our chaplaincy ministry. Ron chairs our local Convene business group.  Fred and Rick own local businesses we serve. 

An interesting "It's a small world" concerning Ron Hoover: In the nineties we served a church in New England founded by a businessman named Augat who also owned a company in Attleboro Massachusetts called Augat Manufacturing. He passed away over 50 years ago. While we were in New England Ron was the CEO of that company although we didn't meet till we were in Pennsylvania.

Dinner guests 3/27/15

We had a fine time sharing around the table during our meal and thereafter. Following our dessert and coffee we ended the evening by each saying a prayer.

Central Market alley with police horse in Lancaster PA
I received an interesting email this weekend. The commander of our Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit had apparently come across the photo above. I took it about 8 years ago as I recall at the Central Market in Lancaster, PA. He wrote that the horse's name was Duke and he was black when the police force first received him. In my photo he looks dark gray. He is now white!

Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit.
Another photo of these stately animals.
Duke is in the center.
A great prophetic Bible verse references a white horse!
(See Revelation 19:11)

Emma (Lab pup) 3/29/15
Yesterday afternoon, following our church service at Longwood Manor, a young guest visited. Our neighbors brought over their new white Lab puppy Emma to play with our dogs in our fenced back yard. Initially frightened she quickly warmed up and of course I taught her to fetch frisbee (one of the teaching specialties I have, thanks to Mollie). Mollie demonstrated jealousy at the attention our young guest was receiving but eventually got over it. She's never had to share her frisbees with anyone else, human or canine!

Emma (Lab pup) 3/29/15
I am sure Emma was tired by the time our play was over!
(Puppy photos taken by Ester)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"And Can It Be That I Should Gain" Today rather than posting a variety of songs I will share a variety of versions of this outstanding Isaac Watts hymn
Traditional big church with pipe organ
Video  Acapella
Video  Sovereign Grace Music
Video  An example of the blessed talent in so many local churches.
Video  Altar of Praise Chorale
Video  Chris Tomlin uses it in his song "Amazing Love"

Convene is group that supports business leaders in pursuit of honoring God in their business. Ron shared a video with wisdom from a surprising place regarding the importance of faith.

Lancaster City Police Mounted Unit Facebook page

Finally today:
Ester at Carman concert 3/28/15
On Saturday evening Brooksyne and Ester attended a Carman concert here in Lancaster and assisted the concert promoters by helping sell merchandise. Carman is cancer free as of today. He initialy was given a terminal prognosis, but after much prayer and chemo treatment he is now free of cancer. Carman is our age and first became popular when we were young.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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