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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Assateague Island wild pony 9/23/17
Assateague Island Wild Horse

"Known By The Scars"

Message summary: It has been said that the only work of man in heaven, will be the marks of Calvary on the body of our exalted Saviour.

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"Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!" (Luke 24:39).

We arrived at Rehoboth Beach late last Friday afternoon and even before unloading our van we walked up Rehoboth Avenue to the Boardwalk to see the ocean before sunset. We didn't expect it to look any different from previous visits but predictability is in many ways a blessing in our increasingly unpredictable world!

It was getting dark when we walked down the busy boardwalk and I heard someone shout out "Steve Weber". I looked around and the booming voice was from a hotel balcony facing the ocean five or six stories up. I couldn't see who it was so he gave me a hint, "You visit me very Friday morning." Well, since we see three company locations on Friday morning I asked which one till I finally identified the source of the friendly greeting. It was another Steve, the warehouse manager at JK Mechanical. He came down to see us and we visited for a few minutes.

Since it was getting dark I asked how he could identify me walking along on a crowded boardwalk in poor light. Frankly I slightly blushed as I considered it might be my weight and asked him. Whew! It wasn't my pouch but rather my suspenders which made me feel a little less self-conscious. Several years ago this also happened as Joe, from a different company, was visiting Rehoboth Beach with his family and noticed a guy with suspenders, did a double take, recognized me and called out my name in the crowd!

That got me thinking. What else am I known for? My loud voice, saying "Stay faithful", my big nose? But what spiritual qualities am I known for? I hope a consistent walk, being dependable, and so forth.

That is something for each of us to consider. How do people recognize you? What characteristics do you demonstrate to a watching world.

Today let us consider the distinguishing mark of the Risen Lord, His nail-scarred hands and feet.

When Ester was little she asked me an interesting question that sure got me pondering. She was very disappointed that I didn't have the answer since I was a pastor. "How did they get the nails out of Jesus?" Of course I assume they just pulled them out, probably as they removed His body from the Cross and prepared it for burial. Removing the nails from the flesh of His hands and feet posed no problem but how did they get them out of the wood? Ester motioned with her hands what a claw hammer looked like and perceived, "They probably didn't have those in the old days."

Did the hardened Roman soldiers merely tear His flesh off the nails? Did they realize what they were doing? Or was this chore left to the friends burying the body who would surely want to remove the nails with tender dignity? If so it did take some special skill. Were any tears shed? Did they know that in just three days His dead corpse (if you will) would gloriously rise and live forevermore? Were they aware that the nail prints would distinguish our Lord for His redemptive work? Jesus said to His doubting disciples on the Day of resurrection, "Look at my hands and my feet."

Resurrection evening he walked with two disciples on the Road To Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). He sought to reveal Himself through the Scriptures but their eyes remained closed as to who He was until, "He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight" (30,31). Although not specified many Bible teachers have speculated that the sight of the nail prints revealed who He was.

And a week later He urged Thomas to examine this critical evidence. Jesus said to Thomas who had said, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." Jesus was pleased to meet this request when He was with the disciples a week later, "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'"

It has been said that the only work of man in heaven, will be the marks of Calvary on the body of our exalted Saviour.

Yes I'm headed for a home
Built by God alone
Hallelujah praise the Lord I am
Where the only thing
That's been made by man
Are the scars in the hands of Jesus

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are born with the sin nature, and though we die to our own self-will when we take on our spiritual nature, we still find ourselves at times filled with skepticism and doubt. Certainly, there is good reason to doubt and test certain criteria or suspect persons from day to day, but when it spills over to doubting Your Word, not believing Your promises, or ignoring Your teaching we only hurt ourselves. You instructed Your disciples that You would rise from the dead in three days, but they did not give careful attention to Your words, thus some of them were filled with doubt and skepticism at Your appearance. We want to be people of faith, filled with Your Spirit, so that we may have discernment based upon our understanding of Scripture and the Spirit of Christ within. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Saturday afternoon, after a long walk along the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, we went to Assateague Island for a 12 mile bike ride, including a time of relaxation on the beach and actually fell asleep briefly. We saw wild horses all along our bike trail. Assateague Island is off the coast of both Maryland and Virginia. The southern herd is known as Chincoteague ponies and are managed by Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Fire Company controls the herd size with a pony auction on the last Thursday in July. Each year tens of thousands of spectators come to watch the Saltwater Cowboys swim the pony herd from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. The northern herd (separated by a fence) are managed by the National Park Service and are wild.

Assateague Island wild ponies 9/23/17

Assateague Island wild ponies 9/23/17

Assateague Island wild pony 9/23/17

Assateague Island wild colt 9/23/17
We called this foal Eclipse since he was born on the day of the Eclipse last month, though as of yet he is not named!

Steve with grandson 9/23/17
Steve (man in today's story) works for JK Mechanical where we serve as chaplains. Here he is with his grandson Giianni (whom I thought was named Giovanni), thus the background.
Steve is shown in a video featuring one of JK Mechanical's young service techs, Cameron Hawthorne, sponsored by Thaddeus Stevens College where Cameron graduated. I have enjoyed visiting Cameron for several years now. Seeing a young man with technical skills and a strong work ethic along with his courteous, respectful demeanor is very encouraging!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"By the Mark"  Video
  Dailey & Vincent

"Scars In The Hands Of Jesus"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"Known by the Scars"  Video  Michael Card 

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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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