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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Eden resort display 10/5/16

Colorful autumn display at the Eden Resort, Lancaster, PA

"He Holds The Keys!"

Message Summary: Today, we can rejoice that Jesus Christ holds the keys!

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The risen Christ proclaims, "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:17,18).

Answered Prayer Locksmithing 10/5/16

Several months ago we* misplaced the second key to our older van and needed a backup in case we should ever lose the other key
. Yesterday I used the services of a locksmith. Not just any locksmith but "Answered Prayer Locksmithing".

John Williams, the founder and owner of the business, had a job but wanted to start his own company. He also wanted to do God's will so after discussing the matter with his wife on a Friday they both began praying about the matter. They asked God to show them very clearly what steps they should take. The very next Monday he walked into work and was told that he had been fired! Well, that was answered prayer (though not the kind we usually pray for), and thus the name of his company, Answered Prayer Locksmithing.

My interaction with the locksmith got me thinking about keys. The first reference to a key in the Bible goes all the way back to the period of the Judges in a rather frank description of Eglon, king of Moab's death in Judges 3:25, "when he (Eglon) did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them." See here for the context and rather gruesome details. Judges 3:12-30

I did some study but really can't determine the amount of similarity in keys of the Bible to our own time. Based on the graphic on the Answered Prayer Locksmithing van (photo above) it was a skeleton key! Whatever it might have looked like they must have had some means of locking doors using keys.
See 1 Chronicles 9:27.

"Key" is also used figuratively such as this wonderful verse from Isaiah 33:6: "He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure."

Probably the most famous Biblical reference to keys is Christ's words to Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:19).

But our word of encouragement today is from Revelation 1:17,18,
"Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

David Guzik, in the Enduring Word Bible Commentary makes three observations from this text:

1) Jesus is the First and the Last, the God of all eternity, Lord of eternity past and eternity future.

2) Jesus is the One who lives, and was dead, and is alive forevermore. He has the credentials of resurrection, and lives to never die again. The victory that Jesus won over sin and death was a permanent victory. He didn’t rise from the dead just to die again.

3) Jesus is the One who has the keys of Hades and of Death. Some imagine that the devil is somehow the “lord of Hell.” Some imagine that the devil has authority or power to determine life or death. Clearly, they are wrong, for only Jesus holds the keys of Hades and of Death. We can trust that Jesus never lets the devil borrow the keys.

Today, we can rejoice that He holds the keys!

For He holds the keys
He holds the keys
And though we've been held captive
At long last we are free
For He holds the keys

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus who died on the cross for our sins; past, present and future. It was but a short time that He was held captive to the power of death, but He will die no more. Jesus is alive forevermore, and we who express godly faith will live forever with Him, because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. As we believe on Him, though we may die a mortal death, we shall yet live an immortal life. Jesus holds the keys to the invisible world which will one day be made visible to all creation. He also holds the key to our heart's door, but will only turn that key when we invite His entrance. Today we not only invite Jesus to enter but we welcome His residency as His Holy Spirit constantly abides with us, guiding us into all truth. We love You, Father, and we come to You through Your Son, Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

* Brooksyne's Note: "We" - As best as we can determine Stephen likely inadvertently placed the van key in a bag that went to a thrift shop!

From a Bible Dictionary:

Key as mentioned in Scripture. It is called in Hebrew maphteah , i.e., the opener (Judges 3:25); and in the Greek New Testament kleis , from its use in shutting ( Matthew 16:19 ; Luke 11:52 ; Revelation 1:18 , etc.). Figures of ancient Egyptian keys are frequently found on the monuments, also of Assyrian locks and keys of wood, and of a large size (Compare Isaiah 22:22 ).

The word is used figuratively of power or authority or office (Isaiah 22:22 ; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 1:8; comp 9:1; 20:1; Compare also Matthew 16:19; 18:18). The "key of knowledge" (Luke 11:52; Compare Matthew 23:13) is the means of attaining the knowledge regarding the kingdom of God. The "power of the keys" is a phrase in general use to denote the extent of ecclesiastical authority.

Bishop EW Jackson at American Pastor's Network breakfast 10/5/16
Yesterday morning we attended a breakfast at the Eden Resort in Lancaster sponsored by the American Pastor's Network
and heard an outstanding message by Bishop E.W. Jackson of Virginia. He has an incredible story of overcoming poverty and ten years of foster care, but eventually got on the right road. While studying law at Harvard he became a Christian and his life drastically changed. His powerful quoting of Scripture passages lifted our spirits as were once again reminded of the power we have in the authority of the Scriptures.

Dan and Sharon Kurtz 10/5/16
Another group was also gathered at the Eden Resort yesterday morning, a minister's retreat from New Jersey. Although we never served a church in New Jersey we have several friends that do and visited with Dan and Sharon Kurtz, longtime friends who served a church in a neighboring community when we lived in northern Pennsylvania about 35 years ago. We didn't recognize each other at first, as the years do make a difference in our appearance, though the warm and engaging personality remains the same - it was such a delight to meet up with them again.

John Stevens Gallery 10/5/16
The John Stevens Gallery is in an old stone mill near Bird In Hand, PA. Their plants and flowers, during every season, capture our attention as we drive by weekly.

John Stevens Gallery 10/5/16
Do any readers know what this cart was used for? (We think we do but aren't sure.)
Contact Us

Amish Costco traffic 10/5/16
Costco was busy yesterday and this Amish family appears to be really stocking up.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Holds The Keys"  Video 
Steve Green

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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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