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Friday, May 6, 2016
"Now Is Ascended, My Lord Evermore!"
Message Summary: Ascension Day is one of the great WOW days of the early church.
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"After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).
Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer in America. We wrote about that in yesterday's message and share some photos from an event we attended below. But we failed to mention another significant event remembered on that day. In fact we gave it no thought at all until we noticed a larger than normal amount of old-order traffic yesterday while travelling. Then it occurred to us; it's Ascension Day, the great event 40 days following Christ's resurrection when He ascended into heaven! The Amish and Mennonite communities close their businesses, have services in the morning, and then make an afternoon of games and visitation; thus the make-shift baseball game we passed on a farm north of Intercourse shown in our lead photo.
In most of Christendom this day doesn't have nearly the emphasis as other notable events in our Lord's earthly life such as His birth, death, and resurrection. I wonder how many readers even recalled that yesterday was Ascension Day prior to reading this message? For some reason, I suppose because it's not on a Sunday, many don't pay much attention to Ascension Day. I probably would have missed it entirely had I not gotten out yesterday.
This day is one of the great WOW days of the early church. Can you imagine the stories the eyewitnesses had to tell?
Today's text is Mark's simple straightforward account: "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God".
Acts 1:9-11 gives us the most complete record of the event. Jesus had just reinforced the Great Commission, the church's primary mission, and then He was taken up to heaven before their very eyes. This was important for the disciples to witness and is an essential part of the Biblical record. It reinforces that Jesus Christ is God and that He returned to His home in heaven. An ancient creedal statement of the early church is found in 1 Timothy 3:16, "He was taken up in glory."
When Jesus was taken up the disciples gazed intently into the sky as He departed. Two men dressed in white (angels) suddenly appeared and gave a promise, "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."
That promise is reinforced and expanded upon throughout the New Testament. Paul calls it the "blessed hope". One day, perhaps soon, perhaps today, there will be another universal WOW day. Let us faithfully serve the Lord, who now sits at the right hand of the Father, until that great day!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, Your physical life on earth is so important for all to see and comprehend God in the flesh. We have a picture of the Father through the life of the Son. You also came to bring salvation to Your creation, willingly leaving the splendor of Your home in heaven to change the course of history and to redeem the fallen sinful race. Your ascension into heaven serves as a reminder that You completed Your mission on earth and are now at the right hand of the Father ever interceding for us, Your children. One day we will see You come in the same way You left, but on that day You will take us with You to spend eternity in the home that You have prepared for us to take up permanent residency. Help us to be faithful and eager for the blessed hope of Your second coming. In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Yesterday morning we attended the Mount Joy prayer breakfast on the National Day of Prayer held at "The Gathering Place" with several hundred in attendance.
Jimmy Carr (center) is the chaplain for our local fire department and lives with a disability. Our small town community embraces Jimmy and extends compassion and genuine interest in him. I recall several years ago when he had gone out to Colorado to visit Don and Carole Musser, mutual friends. Upon his return the mayor at the time, with no fanfare, drove all the way down to the Baltimore airport to pick him up. Ester really connects with Jimmy and every time we pass his apartment, if he is sitting on his porch, Ester jumps out of the van to give him a hug which he heartily welcomes. The other man in the photo is a good friend of Jimmy's.
I had the opportunity to lead the group in prayer for the business community. Our current mayor spoke for a few minutes. Deeply troubled with a burdened heart he asked us to pray for the drug impact in our community. He pointed to a map behind him which showed the locations where overdoses leading to deaths have occurred in recent years. As in most communities heroin is the leading cause of drug overdoses. We also had leaders prayer for:
It was a very well organized prayer meeting and we really did pray. There are occasions when people gather to pray but only talk about the needs or just one person prays. We had a number of different people participating including Dona Fisher, our chairperson for Lancaster National Day of Prayer task force. However before the prayer time we also enjoyed a nice breakfast!
Matt and Carol Frigm led us in several songs before the prayer time.
The have a ministry called Sweet Life Music.
We heard an interesting presentation from Glenn Eshelman who founded the Sight and Sound Theater here in Lancaster County and in Branson, Missouri. He pointed out that the very first precursor to the Sight and Sound began 51 years ago in the very room where we were meeting. He and his wife, Shirley, made a slide presentation with a record playing in the background. Shirley held the flash light so Glen could read the script that he had written for the presentation! Many of our readers have visited Lancaster to attend the 2000 seat Sight and Sound Theater so you can appreciate just how far along this ministry has come with millions of viewers and millions of testimonies as well!
Here's a current photo of our baby robins taken late morning 5/6/16
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Glorious Day (Living He loved me)" Video Casting Crowns This song has the line that is the basis for the title of today's message, "Now Is Ascended, My Lord Evermore!"
"Before The Throne Of God Above" Video Kristyn Getty
Lowes ad "We've Only Just Begun" Video This ad has been coming on a lot when I find suitable music and like most sponsored ads I click cancel after the obligatory few seconds. However last night I watched the whole ad and it has a great message, especially since the song would have been popular during our "young love" period in life. This Sunday we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The song manages to put life events in the right order which is refreshing. Watch it till the end for the kicker.
The Merchandiser is our hometown weekly newspaper and it also includes classified ads. Here's one you probably won't see where you live: "5YO standardbred gelding, traffic safe and sound, upheaded, classy, broke good enough for the woman, ready for miles, $4,500"
And one more!
Mollie was determined to get a "face" adjacent to the first limb off the large oak tree in front our home. Yesterday she managed to "climb" and gave the tree a "face lift"! Ester made this fun short video.
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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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