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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Barn from Junction Trail 4/17/16
Barn with new quilt pattern
as seen from our bike ride along the Lancaster Junction rail to trail. This type of art is known as Pennsylvania "Dutch" Hex Signs and is more common in Berks County to our north. Some attach a religious significance to it, others just see it as decorative.

"God Is Not Running For God"

Message Summary:
We conquer! "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"

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“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:22). "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Now the iron bars are broken, Christ from death to life is born;
Glorious life, and life immortal, on this resurrection morn.
Christ has triumphed, and we conquer
By His mighty enterprise; we with Him to life eternal
By His resurrection rise.

Isaiah 45:22
Last week I mentioned attending a banquet sponsored by the Associates For Biblical Research and hearing Voddie Baucham speak (that message is here). Voddie made a brief allusion to our present presidential campaign with this simple reminder, "God is not running for God". Indeed He has spoken in finality, "I am God, and there is no other." Our proper response is to turn to Him and be saved. That's the timeless appeal from God Himself recorded in Isaiah some 2,700 years ago and applicable to the ends of the earth and to all generations.

Many now seem to be looking for a political savior. Regardless of party there are so many that express a practically worshipful attitude toward their favored candidate. A recent visual reminder of this was a photo I saw the other day of a man sitting holding a laptop with his favored presidential candidate's name plastered on the back of his computer as well as a photo of the candidate displayed on his socks!*

1 Corinthians 15:57
Today let us focus on this simple straightforward truth, "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

On Easter our choir sang a song with a familiar tune but different words. It's written to Beethoven's tune, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee", so the melody was familiar. "Alleluia! Alleluia!" was written by Christopher Wordsworth. The song has a line that especially blesses me. "Christ has triumphed, and we conquer by His mighty enterprise."

Whenever we read of our Lord's suffering for our sin, we know the rest of the story - Christ has triumphed.  But try to imagine what it would be like if we did not know the outcome. Although Messianic prophecy and our Lord Himself had promised His resurrection and victory we know the despondency and deep despair of His followers at the time of the crucifixion and before the resurrection.

He spent His final hours with the disciples teaching, sharing His love and instituting the Lord's Supper. Later that evening Jesus prayed in the garden and then the definitive betrayal would follow. Knowing just this and the horrible events that follow is a heartwrenching story where we would cry out, "foul"!. But we know the rest of Story - Christ has triumphed!

Romans 8:37
He not only triumphed over the grave at His resurrection but the Holy Scriptures also promise His ultimate triumph and that we will conquer as well (see Romans 8:37 for one of many such promises). But today some of you are going through a deep, discouraging night season of life and may find yourselves in despair, similar to the disciples during this time of their Lord's suffering, prior to the resurrection. Like them you've heard the promises of triumph but that's sure not what you see right now.

Yet we indeed conquer by His mighty enterprise. In life there is an overarching story, a meta-narrative, which supersedes all the confusion in the world that we presently observe with our physical eyes and may very well be personally experiencing.

We conquer! "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"

Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to heav'n and voices raise;
Sing to God a hymn of gladness, sing to God a hymn of praise.
He who on the cross as Savior, for the world's salvation bled,
Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, now is risen from the dead.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, help me to trust You even when circumstances would lead me to feel that You are distant and unaware of my circumstances. When I am focused on the difficulties in my life I can easily become overwhelmed, fearful and confused. But when I look to You, my victorious risen Savior, who endured the times of testing by spending time in passionate prayer, whether it was the 40 days in the wilderness when You stood strong against Satan's frequent temptations or when You prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane,  I am strengthened and encouraged by Your example.  When You were overwhelmed with sorrow even to the point of death You fell with Your face to the ground and surrendered Your human will to the Father's plan which included unjust suffering and even death. And, whether we like it or not, Scripture tells us if we are to share in Your glory we must also share in Your suffering. Help me, Jesus, to watch and pray so that I will not fall into temptation during those experiences that involve suffering, but rather that my spirit and flesh will be strengthened so that I remain victorious through You, Jesus Christ my Lord, in whose name I pray.  Amen.

Tulips 4/17/16 (Photo by Ester)
Flowers are blooming!
(Photo by Ester)

Columbia furnace ruins 4/18/16
Last night we rode our bikes along a new section of the Susquehanna River trail and passed this huge furnace of some type.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God and God Alone"  Video  Appears to be a Chinese choir

Pennsylvania Dutch folk art

Today we will be joining the employees from JK Mechanical, one the companies we serve as chaplains, for a community service work day

* I am not kidding, for a photo of using socks to support your candidate see here.

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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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