The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, March 30, 2018
Yesterday we passed this sign along Rt 322 east of Ephrata, PA
"When Darkness Reigned"
Message summary: This Good Friday let us give deep, heartfelt thanks to God for His incomparable love and the demonstration of His love as seen in the One impaled on a bloody cross.
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"This is your hour--when darkness reigns" (Luke 22:53).
Today we, who hold to the Christian faith, look back nearly 2,000 years ago to the ultimate Sacrifice. On this Good Friday we solemnly remember that our Savior breathed His last at the hands of wicked men. We also realize this day is good because God showed us the full extent of His love by making restitution for our redemption.
When He was arrested Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, "This is your hour--when darkness reigns" (Luke 22:53). This hour of darkness, which we believe included the period of time between His arrest and resurrection, appeared to be a hopeless situation, an excruciating time in the cosmos. Again consider, this was the period when our Lord Himself declared, "darkness reigns"!
Pastor Grant Gunnink observes, "It must have been agonizing for Jesus – the Word of God made flesh – to acknowledge that in what was about to happen – the powers of darkness, which He could have no doubt thrown back with a single word – had been given free reign."
Although we believe Jesus was primarily speaking of spiritual darkness a physical darkness was demonstrated at His death during His final three hours on the cross when "darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining" (Luke 23:44,45).
However, of vital importance is that although darkness reigned, God ultimately reigns. (It's so important to also realize this during the seasons in our own life when darkness seems to reign.)
In a much earlier time period evil was also present in the dark deeds inflicted upon Joseph by his eleven brothers when they plotted his death. Consider the merciful perspective expressed in Joseph's response to his wicked brothers after many years, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).
This took on much greater fulfillment, in the person and work of Christ, as Christ poured out His goodness on those who sought to do Him evil. Yes, surely God intended the cross for good. He even used evil hearts to bring about His set purpose. He was not overcome by evil, but He overcame evil with good. God's plan of salvation was divine in nature, but He also helps us every day to overcome evil with good. We walk in newness of life and in the power of His resurrection.
We were blessed yesterday when we saw the message on the sign in our lead photo, "Only A Living Savior Can Rescue A Dying World".
This Good Friday let be very intentional in praising God from whom all blessings flow as we remember the greatest Sacrifice of all time. Let us give deep, heartfelt thanks to God for His incomparable love and the demonstration of His love as seen in the One impaled on a bloody cross.
Amazing love, O what sacrifice,
The Son of God, given for me;
My debt He pays and my death He dies,
That I might live, that I might live.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the words that Jesus spoke to the chief priests upon His arrest, "This is your hour… when darkness reigns" would days later turn into the finest hour on the Christian calendar. Torture and death did not have the final say, for darkness dissipated and light broke through as Jesus rose from the tomb. We are joyful and victorious as we walk in this newness of life provided through the death and resurrection of our Savior. We are also reminded that evil and death have no permanent hold over us, for the former things have lost their power because Jesus defeated our greatest enemy. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift of salvation. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Several years ago, following a Maundy Thursday footwashing, Ester suggested we have a group hug. So the ladies gathered in a circle, from 21 years of age up to 84 years of age. We interlocked our arms together as we sang, "They'll know we are Christians by our love". Some verbally expressed their appreciation for the sisterhood in Christ as others received that warm message with nods and smiles. There's just something extra special that goes beyond my ability to adequately describe the depth of one's gratitude when joining with believers of like faith as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas and the triumph of Easter. The greatness of God clothing Himself in flesh and giving His all that we might live is heightened when we enjoy these celebrations with our brothers and sisters. If it were possible I'd like to have a group hug with all our listeners and readers of the Daily Encouragement. Wouldn't that be a picture beyond words… since we come from all over the world, speak in many different languages, and vary in age from children to seniors. Some have walked with God for 50 years or more while others only a short time. Some have been raised in godly homes while others knew nothing of Christ until they came to faith as adults. The picture of our interconnection through this faith based website would be a marvel to see, but it's not going to happen on this side. So until we reach the other side we'll just stay connected through the power of the internet and give thanks for the Spirit that makes us one in Christ. Happy Easter to all our devoted readers!
Yesterday morning we joined his fellow workers at JK Mechanical in saying farewell to Tim, a manager we have become friends with over the last several years. Each of the balloons have a small white sign listing characteristics Tim demonstrates such as being compassionate, encouraging, knowledgeable, etc.
Walking into the lobby of Val-Co yesterday we were greeted by this rooster about as big as me. Val-Co is a company that designs and manufactures equipment for the poultry industry so the big rooster is a fitting greeter! However he is also a reminder of an event that took place during the trial of Jesus. (Matthew 26:34)
We both enjoy seeing things being made. This photo is from Smucker Laser, a shop that cuts metal pieces using huge laser machines. Eric was rolling this sign into place so we could read the letters that read, "Clean Eats Cafe", located in Lancaster.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Amazing Love" Video
"He Was Nailed To The Cross For Me" Video Steve Holder and Anointed Praise
"It's Still The Cross" Video Gold City
"When Darkness Reigns" a message on this verse.
(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.
(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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