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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge
(Click to enlarge)

"Grace Alone"

Message summary:
What are the issues you battle as you seek to conquer sin's strongholds and the cravings of the flesh in your life?

Note: Due to Brooksyne being at choir practice and the time required for administrative changes to the email list we did not prepare a podcast for this message.

"For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14). "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15). "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect" (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Staples is a large office superstore that has presented some creative and humorous advertising through the years. Years ago they had an ad showing a man who was absolutely determined to get his office organized
each January but kept procrastinating year after year and never got it done. He started out as a young man but finally when he's middle-aged he comes across a Staples ad with items that are the key to maintaining a neat, well-organized office. (If only organization was that easy!) The next frame shows him in a perfectly organized office and now his new determination is to lose weight. That is until his buddies yell out, "Bob, we're going out for pizza". He jumps up to join them.

Wow, do I identify with that ad! And I'm still working on both disciplines. Now, Brooksyne reminds me that the bigger challenge is not getting organized but maintaining that organization. It's not taking the weight off but keeping it off.  Of course I already know this.  At times my office has been picture perfect and I've lost hundreds of pounds through the years. But shouldn't I have all this conquered by my early-sixties?

Paul's candor in Romans 6&7 is astounding. These chapters are among the most difficult portions in the entire Bible to interpret. Devout expositors have grappled for centuries with just what Paul was seeking to communicate.

I believe Paul is indeed writing from the perspective of his current relationship with Christ since in 7:22 he writes, "For in my inner being I delight in God's law." (Another interpretation views Paul writing Romans 7 from the perspective of his unregenerate state before he was converted.)

He writes, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  Can you identify with Paul? I sure can.

What are the issues you battle as you seek to conquer sin's strongholds and the cravings of the flesh in your life? I can think of several in my life. These are the obstacles that I believe are referred to in Hebrews 12:1 as "everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" that we are to throw off.

We don't know the personal issues that Paul was dealing with and any conjecture as to what they were would most likely be based upon the interpreter's own experiences. But he bluntly confesses his inward frustration, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24).

So who will rescue us? The great apostle tells us in the very next verse, "Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"  (Romans 7:25).   In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect."

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin."

Romans 8 goes on to speak of the power of the Spirit that enables us to live a victorious, overcoming life. Now that is encouraging!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the words of a song come to mind; "I'm not what I wanna be, I'm not what I'm gonna be, but thank God I'm not what I was." There is a major difference in my actions and attitudes since I made You the Lord of my life. If I trace back to the beginning of my relationship with You I see more clearly the major changes You made in my heart. But since my life is a living sacrifice there are always new challenges to tackle, temptations to resist, and trials to endure as a believer. It is not in my own physical strength or power that I am equipped to conquer the enemy, but it through Your Holy Spirit that I come against the giants of doubt, fear, bitterness, greed, lust, discontent and all the other negative foes Satan throws in my path. Though I'm far from perfect and always will be on this side, help me to endure to the end when that which is imperfect will be gone. Sin will no longer have a grip and finally I will be completely whole. All because of Your amazing grace as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Mount Joy farmhouse 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
Today we continue to share photos from our journey through the Lancaster County countryside after Sunday morning's snow. We always enjoy seeing this big old farmhouse in the snow.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"By Grace Alone"  Video  Maranatha! Praise Band

"  Video  Rend Collective

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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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