The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Message summary: Hide John 3:16 deep in your heart. I find it helpful to personalize it. "For God loved me so much that He gave His one and only Son, that as I believe in Him, I will not perish but have eternal life". Indeed, God's wondrous love is given to us through the person of Jesus Christ. We cannot earn His love but we can receive it. Won't you receive Him today!
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"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
For many years early in our marriage we lived in a remote portion of northern Pennsylvania and often passed an historical marker for Phillip P. Bliss in northern Clearfield County along Rt 255. He was a songwriter during the era of D.L. Moody.
On December 29, 1876, shortly after 7 p.m., a train pulling out of Ashtabula, Ohio puffed its way across a trestle. Suddenly the passengers heard a terrible cracking sound. The trestle snapped and eleven rail cars plunged seventy feet down into a watery ravine. Even before the wooden cars slammed into the bottom, they were aflame, set afire by kerosene heaters. Of the 159 passengers in those cars, 92 were killed and most of the rest suffered serious injuries. Snuffed out by the wreck was a young couple whose bodies were never found. But you will almost certainly find the man's name in the hymnbook regardless of what church you attend (assuming you still have hymnals). It was Philip Paul Bliss. *
After Bliss's death, those who opened his luggage found words of a new song he had written. James McGranahan set this to music and it remains another favorite of the remarkable songwriter:
"I will sing of my redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free."
With so much new music being written in our time and with these newer songs being the focus in most churches these days let's focus on this classic hymn that was an old favorite of mine from my earliest days in the faith as it helps us consider the wondrous love of God for the human race.
3:16 is all that's needed for most long-time Christians to identify one of the most familiar verses in the Bible.
John 3:16 begins with the glorious phrase, "For God so loved the world". Amen, He sure does and He specifically loves you and me this day and every day. You may have experienced a loving earthly family as we thankfully have, but scores of people have not. Undoubtedly some have had a very difficult time in life and still do. On a community workday last week we visited the Water Street Mission in Lancaster, where scores of people gather who struggle day in and day out, whether it's joblessness, alcohol and drug addiction, hunger, homelessness, you name it.
There are also those of you reading our message who've had an abusive childhood or a relationship that carries deep scars. The sacred trust between an earthly spouse, parent, authority figure, or sibling was violated.
Though we often try to hide scars they're actually an indicator of healing where once there was a wound. When Ester was quite young she was very sensitive about her "zipper" that was opened and closed repeatedly over her chest cavity where she underwent numerous heart operations. And she now has three unsightly scars where her pacemakers have been inserted.
We can see only the outer scars of others, but I wonder what kind of emotional scarring God sees when He looks beneath the surface. Medical doctors are limited to treating our physical wounds, but only the Great Physician can apply salve to the inner wounds where healing and forgiveness must be applied; where love must replace hate, where trust must replace fear. God is in the process of preparing our hearts for eternity where pain, sin, and sorrow will no longer exist. As you fully receive God's love and provision for your life healing will come, if not fully in this life, it will come in the eternal life God has made possible for "whoever believes in Him."
Those who bear deep scars especially take note. You are now learning to trust your heavenly Father who is altogether trustworthy. His wondrous love never ceases. I know many of you have long ago memorized the daily verse. It's perhaps the single most memorized verse in the entire Bible. But don't allow its familiarity to diminish its power.
Hide it deep in your heart. I find it helpful to personalize it. "For God loved me so much that He gave His one and only Son, that as I believe in Him, I will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Indeed, God's wondrous love is given to us through the person of Jesus Christ. We cannot earn His love but we can receive it. Won't you receive Him today!
Sing, O sing of my Redeemer!
With His blood He purchased me;
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, any material treasure we receive pales in comparison to the unending gift of Your pure love given to us in the person of Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son. We are so grateful that He willingly laid down His life that we might inherit eternal life if we only believe. Not only do we receive a future eternal inheritance but we have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the daily struggles of this life and any baggage that weighs us down from our past. Thank You for Your redeeming grace that was provided to us through the birth of Jesus, our Redeemer. Amen.
A Scripture Reference Quiz
Today's message prompts a quiz regarding other references of well-known Scripture verses that many of you may be able to identify simply by the numeric reference even without the book title:
Just as 3:16 brings to mind John 3:16 what well-known verses do the following numeric references go with?
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Will Sing Of My Redeemer/You Set Me Free" Video Travis Cottrell
"I Will Sing of My Redeemer" Video Homecoming singers
"The Love Of God" Video MercyMe
* Story of "I Will Sing Of My Redeemer"
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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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