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Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Sturgeon Point Lighthouse along Lake Huron near Harrisville, Michigan
Photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt
For a larger desktop size with Scripture click here.
Note: Today's message is longer and admittedly a bit disjointed but hopefully contains some seed for thought. It is prepared late Tuesday evening since we have chaplain visits on Wednesday.
Message Summary: Let us continue to serve our crucified and risen Lord. And let us continue to remember suffering people all around the world, the unborn children, and others subject to violence.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?" (Galatians 3:1). "They invent ways of doing evil" (Romans 1:30). "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way” (Ephesians 4:19,20).
My Dad's brother-in-law, my Uncle Henry, who passed away about 20 years ago, served in World War 2 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. In fact we are presently reading "Hitler's Last Days", and are right at the chapter dealing with the Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Henry was among the first wave of liberators at Germany's concentration camps. He personally witnessed the horrible scenes. He had photos of the camps which my Aunt Mary (Dad's sister), for some reason I don't understand, threw away when he died!
We both enjoy studying history and in the course of life have visited many museums. By far the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC is the most graphic and solemn museum I've ever visited, or maybe I should write "I've ever experienced". Hundreds of people slowly walk through the multiple floors of the museum, which depict the various stages of the holocaust. Apart from the slow shuffling of feet on the hard floors one hears only periodic gasps followed by "Oh, my." Those attempting to suppress quiet sniffles are heard throughout the corridor. The museum is a graphic reminder of man's evil.
Probably the most moving part of the Holocaust Museum experience is observing a display that shows photos from the most inhumane aspects of the holocaust. To see it you have to make an effort because the designers put a privacy wall around it and you have to look over this wall and down to view the monitors and the grainy early video. Man's inhumanities to his fellow man are astounding. Amazingly, just over 70 years ago Hitler and his minions sought to keep these activities in the concentration camps secret. And now there are many who want to deny it really happened.
This evil and inhumanity continues today. Just consider the horrific videos coming out of the Middle East posted by ISIS. Or the graphic video games and movies which surely dull the senses of those who partake. Scarcely a day goes by in our area without some report of violence.
On a national level we listened to Pastor Saeed in an interview last night with Greta Van Susteran. He was held prisoner and abused for years in Iran after he built house churches and an orphanage for homeless children. The judge falsely accused him of trying to use Christianity to change the government of Iran which he was not. But this gave them an excuse to imprison and abuse him.
Consider the graphic photos showing dismembered and chemically scalded preborn children; "products" of abortion. The abortionists and their deluded supporters hate these images, claiming they incite violence! What astounding blindness and hypocrisy.
But today let us examine a graphic image In Scripture.
Today's text begins in an interesting way, a strong rebuke by Paul to the Galatians: "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?" We dealt with this portion in yesterday's message. Today let us consider the rest of Galatians 3:1, "before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?"
We have no photos of the crucifixion of our Lord, only the visual depictions of artists, who lived many hundreds of years after the Event and generally likely understate the horror of the scene. Several years ago the "Passion of the Christ" film very likely more accurately conveyed the real historic event.
The Galatians had not been there and most certainly had not seen any movies or probably any artistic depictions. Yet Paul declares to them, "before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified." The Living Bible words it, "For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had waved a placard before you with a picture on it of Christ dying on the cross".
What descriptive preaching this must have been! This makes me wonder whether Paul himself had been a witness at the Crucifixion although the Scripture is silent on this and I have never seen it considered. Is it possible that Peter or another earlier eyewitness had been to this region and shared the story clearly portraying Jesus Christ's crucifixion? We just don't know.
Today let us continue to serve our crucified and risen Lord. And let us continue to remember suffering people all around the world, the unborn children, and others subject to violence.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we pray that the horrors of war, human trafficking, and abuse on many fronts not deter us from seeking to live an upright and godly life while standing with and praying for those who are personally affected by such acts of evil. We pray to Jesus, our Mediator, who is the supreme example of One who suffered unjustly yet remained faithful in His testimony, in His love toward His evildoers, and in His mission to provide salvation to all who call upon His name. We thank You for accepting His gift of forgiveness on our behalf. Amen.
Yesterday I alluded to a controversy at Wheaton College and placed up a link concerning the matter (see here).
David Penley, a friend for many years who is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary observed this paragraph from the article. "Calling for peaceful disagreement on theological points such as views on the Triune God, the Creed and the Virgin Birth, she pleaded: "Let there be unity in our diversity of views about all of the above. My wearing of the hijab as an act of advent devotion has certainly caused some to question the sincerity of my devotion. To those who question the authenticity of my faith, I love you."
David writes, "Does she believe in any of the basic tenets of our faith? The argument about unity has been misused far too often. Unity, yes. But not at the cost of God's Truth. Sounds like she needs to be teaching somewhere more like Harvard or Yale."
I wrote back to David, "I think more than a few of our "Christian" college teachers aspire to teaching at Yale, Harvard, etc and the prestige of that form of academia. I think many are more interested in being approved and accepted by those in these circles than remaining true to the Bible, which many in academia mock."
David and his wife Sabra have a wonderful writing ministry at Simply One
I invited some friends to dinner last night. Each provided a dish and most prepared a new recipe using healthy, lean ingredients to help us get the year off to a good start - health wise. It was a nice time to fellowship and share together. Rochelle, the youngest among us, made a spaghetti squash casserole that was delicious and was voted by others as the top five star dish! And of course she won a prize for her creativity and effort!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"At The Cross" Video Gaither Vocal Band
Pastor Saeed interview: This is about six minutes and is the first interview Pastor Saeed has given telling of his awful experience in the Iranian prison.
Today's photo of the solitary tree and winter scene was taken in Michigan by our friend Howard Blichfeldt, a professional photographer from the Pittsburgh area and committed Christian. More samples of his photographs are on his website.
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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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