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Monday, June 26, 2017

Wisconsin Path 6/17/17 (Photo by Georgia M)
My cousin Georgia took this photo of an inviting walking path in Wisconsin


Message summary: If you come upon a person drowning you don't toss them a pamphlet titled "How To Swim". When someone is drowning they need rescued!

Note: Today's opening illustration is longer than usual. Skip down to Scripture graphic for exposition only.

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"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen" (Galatians 1:3-5).

O the blood, crimson love
Price of life's demand
Shameful sin placed on Him
The Hope of every man
O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

When I was in high school I took the Red Cross lifeguard training course providing me the opportunity to work as a lifeguard. I had occasion to apply the training a few times and it's rewarding to know I may have saved a life from drowning. It's a personal blessing to know I have the skills and I would hope that if someone called out "Help" while sinking in deep water I'd still be able to come to his or her rescue. Today we'll share a story about my most memorable lifesaving experience which took place about twenty years ago when we lived in New England.

Hotel Viking, Newport RI
Ester had a winter vacation day from school so we went to the Hotel Viking in Newport, RI, which was only an hour from our home at that time. The Hotel Viking is a historic hotel that at one time had been the main guest lodging on the famous island where the rich and famous stayed. We enjoyed a nice dinner and the next morning spent some time at the luxury pool since Ester wanted to go in the water.

Ester, who couldn't swim at the time, slowly made her way around the large pool by moving her right hand along the side of the pool and holding onto a round inflatable raft with her left hand. She'd done this many times before so we were comfortable with the arrangement. Brooksyne and I were fully dressed having no plans to swim that cold January day. I was relaxing beside the pool in a lounge chair, half asleep while Brooksyne stood guard beside the pool reading an article in the newspaper. After a bit she lowered the paper and looked for Ester but couldn't find her. In a panic she screamed for all to hear, "STEPHEN, STEPHEN". It startled and fully awakened me so I immediately looked for Ester's whereabouts in the pool but couldn't spot her, only the inflatable raft she'd been holding onto.

Hotel Viking pool, Newport RIIt's amazing how quickly the body can react when alarm is sounded and the adrenaline kicks in. My Red Cross lifesaving course taken 25 years earlier suddenly jolted me into rescue mode. I dove into the pool fully clothed, glasses, hiking boots and wallet included, and swam underwater toward the raft. Thankfully an older man was also reaching into the pool from the other side as I lifted her up to him. She had lost her grip of the side of the pool and instead of the raft saving her it flipped over on top of her and no one noticed what had happened since her scream for help washed away with the weight of the raft plunging her beneath the water. 

Ester was extremely frightened and dealt with severe stomach cramps and for several hours she threw up the ingested water but, thanks be to God, she fully recovered from this potentially tragic incident. The house maid arranged for us to use a dryer so I could dry out my soaked pair of pants, shirt and underclothes. My sopping wet hiking boots were a bit stiff and cold that I wore home later that day. But so what! The wallet was ruined but Ester still keeps it as a reminder
. It was a life-saving rescue for Ester which prompts me to share about a lifesaving rescue for all people in our message today.

Galatians 1:4
In yesterday's sermon the pastor used the following illustration that caused us to think about Ester's near drowning all those years ago: "If you come upon a person drowning you don't toss them a pamphlet titled 'How To Swim'".

He was preaching from our daily text and highlighting the glorious truth concerning "the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age."

Thank God that Jesus did not send a "How To" pamphlet but rather gave Himself for our sins and rescued us from our penalty of sin which is separation from God for all eternity!

J. B. Lightfoot writes that "the rescue strikes the keynote of Galatians. The Gospel is a rescue, an emancipation from a state of bondage to sin."

Have you taken hold of the redeeming hand of Jesus who desires to rescue you from drowning in your sins? If not, please do so today.

Be encouraged!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Merciful Father, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Our dwelling place is not found in the kingdom of this world but in Your spiritual kingdom where our life saving rescue took place as Jesus died on the cross on our behalf. Because of His sacrificial death You have delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of Your beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. There is no greater or more lasting rescue that changes the direction of our lives here on earth and also the direction of our eternal destiny in the life hereafter. We will thank and praise You for our life transforming rescue for all of eternity. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Church service 6/25/17

We'll share a larger amount of music today since we were blessed by both the singing in yesterday's church service and a concert last night!

"O The Blood"  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  Yesterday we were mighty blessed to sing this song in our church service.  This version includes the lyrics.

"Redeemed"  Video   Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"You Rescued Me" (Original song)  Video 

"You Rescued Me"  Video  Geoff Bullock

"Jesus Rescues Me"  Video  

Collingsworth Family 6/25/17
Last night we drove over to Lebanon with our long-time friends, Galen and Nancy Martin, to hear the Collingsworth family, thus we are prompted to share some of their songs today. For many years we have enjoyed their gifted harmonic voices as well as their instrumental giftings; piano, violins and trumpet.

"It Matters to the Master"  Video  Collingsworth Family

"I Can Trust Jesus
"  Video  Collingsworth Family

"Wherever You Are"  Video 
Collingsworth Family

"Redeemer of the Rain"  Video 
Collingsworth Family

For local readers: On Sunday evening, July 9 The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you.  Here's a sample of Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers music.  "I Won't Go Back"  Video  (The Singers are the travelling troupe of the more famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)

Finally today:

Studying for these messages I often come across more material than used in the message itself and this study comment blessed me from the Precept Austin online commentary:

Phillip Ryken observes four significant truths about Jesus' "rescue operation" on the Cross.

First, it shows the willingness of Jesus to go to the Cross. The crucifixion was a voluntary self-sacrifice. Jesus gave the most precious gift of all. He "gave Himself" (Gal. 1:4). He "gave Himself up" (Eph. 5:25), or He "gave Himself for us" (Titus 2:14). No one took Christ's life away from Him; He freely gave it away: "I lay down my life"—Jesus said—"that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord" (John 10:17-18). This is also emphasized in the Gospel of Matthew, where an unusual phrase is used to show that at the moment of his death Jesus "yielded up His spirit" (Matt. 27:50).

Second, this verse shows the purpose of the Cross. The reason Christ gave himself away was "for our sins" (Gal. 1:4). A transaction took place on the cross. We were the ones who deserved to die because we owe God an infinite debt for our sin. But Christ took our place on the Cross. He became our substitute, our sin-offering. He gathered up all our sins, put them on His own shoulders, and paid for them with His death. Thus the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not merely an example of supreme sacrifice, but an actual atonement for sin. It enabled God to forgive us by satisfying His pure justice....

Third, this verse shows the effect of the Cross. Christ was crucified "to deliver us from the present evil age" (Gal. 1:4). When we think of the cross, we usually think first of the atonement. As we have seen, Christ died to pay for our sins. But Christ was also crucified to emancipate us from this evil age. The Gospel is a rescue, like being released from servitude or freed from prison....

Fourth, this verse shows the origin of the Cross. Christ died "according to the will of our God and Father" (Gal. 1:4). The execution of Jesus of Nazareth was not an unforeseen tragedy, a mere accident of history; it was part of God's plan for the salvation of sinners. The apostle Peter said as much to the very men who nailed Jesus to the cross. In his famous sermon in Jerusalem, he declared, "This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men" (Acts 2:23). (Galatians Reformed Expository Commentary- Philip Graham Ryken)

Finally today #2:

John and Faithe Keefer at Ark Encounter
Pastor friend John Keefer and his wife Faithe, along with his brother and sister-in-law visited the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter last week. Now that's one big boat!

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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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