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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Snow storm 3/21/18
Last week we returned from our trip down south to the heaviest snowfall of the season. We hope it's the final for the season since we are ready for Spring weather!

"Wise For Salvation"

Message summary: By deeply contemplating these various aspects of Christ's redemptive work, we receive hope, encouragement and renewed determination to press on in our faith, even in the midst of opposition. Are you wise for salvation?

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"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14,15).
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2,3).

Oh, to Christ, how great a debtor
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Are the saints who shout together
Jesus saves, Jesus saves
Rising up so fast and strong
Lifting up salvation's song
The redeemed will sing forever
Jesus saves

Many rightly strive for knowledge and wisdom. We both want to keep learning and now there are so many avenues of gathering information available on the internet. For instance, so many now bless others by preparing "how to" videos about virtually any subject. The other day I had a question about a home repair and sure enough came across several helpful "how to" videos.

Based upon the access to this information as well as "formal" education, we live in an age when people should be smarter and wiser than ever. But that really isn't the case! In fact it seems that the maxim from Romans 1:22 is on full display!

However, it seems a decreasing amount are wise in regard to a vitally necessary type of wisdom, that is being "wise for salvation". Bible teacher David Guzik comments, "many people are wise in many different things - wise for cars, wise for money, wise for health, wise for cooking, wise for computers - but are we also wise for salvation? This is the most important wisdom one can ever attain! Where does this wisdom come from? The Holy Scriptures, in and of itself, does not save us - but it is only through the Bible that we can receive God’s truth about Jesus, and place our faith in Him."

Jesus SavesBeing "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus". This week we especially consider the atoning work of the One who can save us from sin, our only Saviour, Jesus Christ. We remember that "Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust" (1 Peter 3:18a). This is received by what theologians call "saving faith".

Wayne Grudem states, "Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me. The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word "trust" is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word "faith" or "belief." The reason is that we can "believe" something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it.*

Our second daily text begins. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him..." To "fix our eyes" means to look away from other things and steadfastly or intently focus on a distant object, at that which fills the heart. The idea is to direct one’s attention without distraction.

Today let us consider three grand events in the life of Christ as expressed in the remainder of this verse:

1) Christ endured the cross. We have the accounts in the Gospels of His endurance as He was completing the mission His Father had sent Him to earth to accomplish; His sacrificial death for the redemption of the human race. Endurance describes one who continues in an activity despite resistance and opposition. Jesus endured short-term pain because of the certainty of long-term gain.

2) Christ scorned the shame. I find the wording in the Amplified Bible helpful here, "ignoring the shame".  Consider the great shame our Saviour endured in the hours leading up to His crucifixion and certainly while hanging on the cross. The cross at His time was the most shameful of deaths, “yea, the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). But Jesus ignored that shame and did His Father’s will by submitting to Him.

3) Christ sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He who endured and despised the shame of the Cross, died for our sins, was resurrected, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. In fact the writer of Hebrews introduced Jesus with this description... "When He had made purification of sins (His work of salvation as the sacrificial Lamb of God was accomplished once and for all), He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus Saves We are called to "consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men." The word "consider" translates the Greek "analogizomai" which is used only here in the entire New Testament. (The English word "analyze" is related to this word.)  It means to carefully estimate and contemplate.

There's a powerful reason for this consideration, "so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Encouragement is a prominent theme in the book of Hebrews. In fact the theme verse for our ministry comes from Hebrews 3:13, "encourage one another daily". The greatest way we can encourage you is by reminding you that "Jesus Saves".

By deeply contemplating these various aspects of Christ's redemptive work, we receive hope, encouragement and renewed determination to press on in our faith, even in the midst of opposition. Are you wise for salvation?

Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout it brightly through the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily Prayer: Jesus, above all types of wisdom we want to be "wise to salvation". Help us to fix our eyes, our thoughts, and our affections on You, our blessed Redeemer. Though You faced enormous opposition that would provide understandable excuse for altering Your redemption plan, nevertheless You endured the cross and scorned it's shame. Thank you that you died for our sins, rose in victory, and returned to Your Father to sit at His right hand. When we consider the depth of Your commitment we're even more determined to be faithful in the night seasons of our Christian walk. Help us to endure by keeping our eyes, not on that which is seen, but on the unseen future rewards that You promise to those who are faithful. We pray this in Your name.  Amen.

Some more photos from last week's snowstorm.
We hope this is our final set of snow photos this season!

Leon snow-blowing our driveway 3/21/18
Last Wednesday evening the snow stopped falling and our neighbor Leon plowed us out so we could get to work on Thursday. During the winter storm Leon also provided 5 firemen a lift on his tractor to extinguish an abandoned snowmobile that caught fire in a neighbor's field.  Several firetrucks answered the alarm but couldn't drive through the snowy fields. They hopped on board the tractor and Leon dropped a scoop of snow to help extinguish the fire. Too bad the reporters weren't there to get a photo of that unusual scene!

Snowy-scene sunrise 3/22/18
We had a pretty sunrise the morning after the snow.
This is a scene
of our back yard from our bedroom window.

Snowy-scene sunrise 3/22/18
Another back yard view.

Lancaster County snow landscape 3/24/18
Brooksyne took this photo in White Horse, PA in eastern Lancaster County on Saturday.

Snow ice cream 3/21/18
When you have lemons you make lemonade.  When you have snow you make snow ice cream or at least that's what Ester has come to expect in our home for many years. Though she's in Texas till Saturday she asked me to make her a bowl and store it in the freezer. I did but it won't taste nearly as good as it does fresh from the mixer! 

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus Saves"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"It's About the Cross"  Video 
The Ball Brothers

* (Grudem, W. A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Zondervan)

Yesterday we received an interesting note regarding our article on Kember Prints.

"I was just reading all the comments on this site about the Kember texts. I am a daughter of Walter and Wilma Kember and have a lot of memories of the text business at home. From the endless hum of the saw in our basement cutting frames to countless hours our mom spent walking around huge stacks of printed cards taking one off each pile to shuffle the cards so each box would be and assortment of different texts. It was quite a production line he had and we tried to stay out of the way or we'd get put to work too.  Many people came from far down in the USA with trucks and were loaded up and mom served them lots of good meals and often testimonies were shared around the kitchen table. At times dad would load (or I should say overload) his red dodge van and head off to the east or west coast with a load of texts to deliver along the way. I live on the east coast myself now and many texts are still found at yard sales, antique stores, value village. One even hung in one of the tiniest homes in Nova Scotia that at one time was part of the exhibit at the Upper Clements Theme park. It's pretty amazing really, and it all started as a result of an accident on our farm that claimed the life of our oldest brother. After that dad became exercised about sharing the gospel through the printed texts, the first ones were hand printed by his sister who was an artist. I believe the first text he had was actually a framed poem and it hung in our home. I think it went like this:

Trials make the promise sweet
Trials give new life to prayer
Trials bring me to his feet
Lay me low and keep me there.

Anna (Kember) Potter

(This week is known by many as Passion Week or Holy Week which covers the events in Christ's life from the Triumphal Entry to His resurrection. We will leave the following materials up throughout the week.)

Major Events of the Passion Week

The 4 gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. Most of this material deals with the 3˝ year period of His ministry. However an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels deal with the period from Christ's triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of material dealing with God's greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.

Here's an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.

  • Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
  • Jesus Clears the Temple: Mt. 21:12,13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45,46
  • Jesus' authority challenged in the temple: Mt. 21:23-27; Mk. 11:27-33; Lk. 20:1-8
  • Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Mt. 21:28-23:36; Mk. 12:1-40; Lk. 20:9-47   
  • Greeks ask to see Jesus: Jn. 12:20-26
  • The Olivet Discourse: Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21:5-38
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10,11; Lk. 22:3-6
  • The Last Supper:  Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-20
  • Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room:  Jn 13-17
  • Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1
  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lk. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:2-12
  • Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Mt 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mk 14:53-15:20; Lk 22:54-23:25; Jn 18:13-19:16
  • Jesus is crucified and buried: Mt 27:31-56; Mk 15:20-41; Lk 23:26-49; Jn 19:17-30
  • The glorious resurrection: Mt. 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18
(This material is developed from an outline in the Life Application Bible)

"It's Still The Cross!"

(A selection of Scripture verses focusing on the Cross for personal, family or congregational reading.)

Worship leader: Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18

Congregation: This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. Acts 2:23

Worship leader:  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Congregation: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

Worship leader: By abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  Ephesians 2:15-17

Congregation: He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name.  Philippians 2:7-9  

Worship leader: For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19,20 

Congregation: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13,14

All: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

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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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