The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, June 25, 2015
Note: This morning I (Stephen) will be travelling to Springfield, Missouri and visiting David Simpson, a longtime friend for a couple of days and then attending a chaplain conference Sunday through Wednesday morning, planning on returning home Wednesday afternoon. We don't expect to post messages tomorrow or Monday-Wednesday (June 29-July 1). We hope to resume Thursday, July 2.
My cousin Georgia took this photo of the Split Rock Lighthouse in upper Minnesota along Lake Superior.
"Better Than I Deserve!"
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"He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:10,11).
The last couple of days we have been considering responses to the common greeting, “How are you?” When we meet another face to face, in our conversation over the phone, or whenever we write a letter to a friend we regularly ask the question, “How are you?” It’s so common that, at times, I have taken a phone call and out of habit responded with the customary, “Fine” only to realize after doing so that I answered the question before they even asked it! Occasionally I respond with such phrases as "I'm doing great" or "I'm blessed" attempting to give a more meaningful response.
I recall a few friends, dealing with some emotional ups and downs in life, responding with a very candid admission, "I'm gonna make it" or “I’m overcoming" and far more common, "Hangin' in there!"
But today let us consider a true expression which can also be a thought-provoking response to the typical greeting. Many of you have heard it. It also provides an opportunity for a witness, assuming you have the boldness to go there and further explain your response.
Next time someone asks you, "How are you doing?" respond with, "Better than I deserve." I've done that and the response can be quite interesting, although it may take a few seconds for the words to sink in.
In one sense I consider the phrase as a counter to the whiny, entitlement outlook that permeates our culture. It seems so many, no matter how full their cup, fix their gaze on the empty portion. They center on that which is lacking in their life and what they feel they’re entitled to. Politicians are great at pandering to this attitude with promises such as "I'll fight for you. Help is on the way." That's a sizeable and growing voting constituency.
But it's the spiritual application that really blesses me. Consider just the first phrase in the daily text, "He does not treat us as our sins deserve." That's a portion of Scripture verse that you can memorize as you repeat it to yourself throughout the day. In fact you may want to personalize it, "He does not treat me as my sins deserve."
What do our sins deserve? The Bible answers in a simple Scripture phrase you should have memorized upon first coming to Christ. "The wages of sin is death." That is: spiritual death, separation from God, eternal judgment, hell. Not a popular theme in the modern church, infiltrated with the "I'm OK, You're OK" doctrine launched in the 70’s.
Probably the most famous sermon in American history was preached in Enfield, Connecticut on July 8, 1741 by the 18th century theologian, Jonathan Edwards, where he focused on that which we truly deserve. He wasn’t concerned with making believers “feel good” when he preached his sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” regarding the penalty of sin.
The next time you’re asked, “How are you?” consider the great love the Father has for you and gratefully respond, "Better than I deserve!" It might lead to a discussion that takes you below the surface to a conversation of the heart.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, we are thankful for Your great compassion and enduring patience; that You do not treat us as our sins deserve but with never-ending mercy. From everlasting to everlasting Your love is with those who walk with You, who keep Your covenant and obey Your precepts. Help us to live with an outlook of appreciation rather than entitlement. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
When we first moved to Lancaster County in 2001 we often sat in front of an interesting man in our church, Menno Brubaker, who lived well past 100 years. We only knew him in his final years as a rather short, bearded man, further hunched over by age and his leaning upon his cane for support. In his younger years he was very musical and his love for the hymns could still be witnessed as we sang the hymns of the church.
He was hard of hearing and wasn't able to converse much. But he would always warmly greet me by saying, "We have so much to be thankful for."
Several years ago I conducted a wedding service for a college friend who lived in Connecticut and we had an opportunity to visit the very site where Edwards preached the sermon, "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God"
The meeting house is long gone but this small stone marks the location where Jonathan Edwards preached.
Click on photo to enlarge
If you care to do so you can read Jonathan Edward's sermon here. Warning: It's not "seeker friendly"
Yesterday afternoon we took another rail to trail bike ride, this time on a trail through farmland called the Lancaster Junction Trail. At one point we got off the trail and rode up the long lane to this Amish farm. The farmer was pleased to report that he had just that morning picked the first sweet corn of the season. We bought six ears and had some for dinner last night. It was wonderful!
Excited about the first corn but preparing ahead as well.
Anyone know what these are?
Today through Saturday there will be a huge outdoor Christian music festival in central PA known as "Creation" It will have many musical groups and teachers. In fact Ester is watching it online. For several years back in the early 80's when we were a lot younger we enjoyed going to this with friends from our church. A classic photo we claim demonstrates church unity is this one when we all used the porta-potties together. I suppose we were in "one accord"! Now most in the photo are in their 60's!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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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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