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April 30, 2018

Marietta, PA cherry trees in bloom 04-28-18
Cherry trees line Front Street along the Susquehanna River in Marietta, PA

"The Assurance Of Knowing Our Redeemer Lives!

Message summary: I know He holds my life, my future, in His hands!

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"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth" (Job 19:25).

We've been enjoying the song, "Because He Lives, Amen", written in 2014 by Matt Maher. We sing it in our church and perhaps you sing it as well. The song merges a classic Gaither title "Because He Lives" with a fresh new approach as you can see in the following stanza:

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives every fear is gone
I know He holds my life, my future in His hands

Practically daily we have current news of the evil that abounds in our world due to the rejection of God's Messenger of peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer for the fallen human race.

There's been another mass slaughter of Christians in Nigeria after Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked villages in Benue state this week, leading to the deaths of at least 39 people. Sadly these atrocities are so common they tend to be ignored by most news sources. (See here for the report.)

Many times this does not directly affect us but we have all experienced in one way or another the consequences of the ravaging sin in our world. There are scores of "why" questions concerning these hard times and so many other things about life. These "why" questions cause many to stumble and for some followers of Christ it may cause them to lose their faith.

But God has given us all that we need to know about Him and the way He works in the heart of mankind to bring us to salvation. He calls us to humbly trust Him in light of this revelation as we walk by faith day by day. Better to acknowledge there is much that we will not know or understand on this side of heaven, and trust God for that which is most important, our salvation and eternal future.

Today let us focus on that which we do know. Like Job we can declare with confidence "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth."

This Scripture text is one of the greatest statements of faith and assurance in the entire Bible. Most Bible students place Job historically in the time of the patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus he had absolutely none of the written revelation of the Bible as we know it.

He had lost his children, possessions and health. He had endured several conversations with his well-meaning friends which essentially sum up the false or skewed philosophies of this world. And he sure didn't get any support or encouragement from his nagging wife.

Throughout the nineteenth chapter Job recounts his afflictions and they are certainly dreadful on a personal level. Physically, socially, financially; he might say today "I went through the wringer". He sums up his troubles with the descriptive phrase, "I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth" (19:20).

Yet in all this Job kept his faith and makes the great affirmation of today's text. He does so without the benefit of Romans 8:28 and so many other Scriptures of assurance, encouragement and hope that we know and love in our Bible.

Let us examine two sections in the text:

1) "I know that my Redeemer lives."
This appears to be the first chronological reference to God as Redeemer in the entire Bible. Job was confident that His Redeemer lives. What a joy to have that same confidence today!

May you be refreshed by several specific "I (or we) know…" statements in Scripture:
  • "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
  • "I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me" (2 Timothy 1:12).
  • "We know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1).
  • "We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2).
  • "We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).
2) "And that in the end He will stand upon the earth." Job made this declaration right in the midst of his sufferings. He didn't know what his personal outcome would be but he was confident that in the end God's will would prevail. Likewise that is an assurance we may all have as well.

What an example Job is to us. He is recognized years later by the prophet Ezekiel as an example of righteousness, along with Noah and Daniel (Ezekiel 14:20). James refers to him as an example of perseverance: "As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy" (James 5:11).

Today, in the midst of our "why" questions let's make Job's affirmation of faith our own. What a tremendous peace comes, when regardless of our personal questions and circumstances by faith we declare, "I know that my redeemer lives!"

I know He holds my life, my future, in His hands!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, fill our hearts with assurance and hope no matter our personal circumstances or the troubled world in which we live. We are not without hope, for we know that You are a God of hope that fills believers with all joy and peace as they trust in You, so that they may overflow with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit. It is only through the power of Your Spirit that we can still have hope when Satan seeks to destroy and wipe out our brothers and sisters who speak up and live for Christ. We do not close our eyes to the persecuted but instead we uphold them in prayer; those personally affected by such godless and heinous attacks. Though the slain believers are now in heaven we pray for surviving widows, widowers and orphans as they're forced into forging a new way of life without their loved one(s). We declare by faith Job's proclamation, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth." In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Some scenes from our weekend

Shocks Mills Bridge 04-28-18
Saturday afternoon I (Stephen) rode my bike on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail starting in Marietta and up along the river for a total ride of 21 miles. I sure felt it when I was done!
In this photo the rail trail follows the Susquehanna River under the Shocks Mills Railroad bridge, built in 1903.
Video  It's very impressive to view what people are now doing with drones! You can see from this video the bike path occasionally floods and is impassable.

Old wooden bridge on undeveloped Northwest trail 4-28-18
Beyond where the finished trail ended in a little river town called Bainbridge I decided to ride on an undeveloped portion up to Falmouth PA and came to this wood bridge over Snitz Creek. It looked rather rickety and was over a deep ravine but it held up just fine as I rode over it although I's quite sure it will be replaced when the trail is finished.

Children at choir concert 4/29/18
Yesterday afternoon Brooksyne attended a concert to hear one of her former Sunday School students, Tirza, who stands in the middle background along with her siblings and peers.

Children's choir 4/29/18
MCL (Children's Choir of Lancaster) 160 children and youth in kindergarten -12th grade at their spring 2018 concert. MCL mission is training children to glorify Jesus Christ through excellent choral singing. Tirza (middle front) sings in the Carol Choir which is joined with the Chamber choir for this number. Note: The choir is made up of children from various denominations.

Rend Collective 4/29/18
Later that evening Brooksyne joins Ester at the Rend Collective concert. It was quite a contrast to the earlier concert, and yet both settings glorified God as they exalted Christ and brought edification to the body of Christ who listened and periodically participated.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Because He Lives"  Video  Matt Maher

Background story to "Because He Lives, Amen"  Video

"Redeemed"  Video  Big Daddy Weave

"I Know"  Video  MercyMe

"I Can Only Imagine"  Video  One Voice Children's Choir

"You Are Worthy"  Video  Prestonwood Choir & Orchestra This coming Sunday Brooksyne will be joining the choir in singing this upbeat song of praise at Calvary Church.

Brooksyne cleaning after "Rend Collective" concert 4-29-18Ester had a long day yesterday. She helped at a Rend Collective concert last night. Since the concert was held at the church we attend, following the morning service, she stayed all afternoon and joined a local team of volunteers unloading the equipment and helping the band crew set up.

They came in three busses alongside a tractor trailer truck with all the equipment so there was lots of unloading! The concert was at 7pm and was sold out so she had duties managing the crowd but of course was able to watch most of the concert as well.

Brooksyne was already out to another concert yesterday afternoon so she stopped by to pick Ester up and ended up assisting in the cleanup after 10:00 last night. As most of you know modern concerts have a lot of theatrics including blowing confetti all over the place last night so it was quite a chore cleaning all that up!

Ester was excited to share a song she enjoyed from the concert that is based on a verse from Romans 8 that I have sought to instill in her since her childhood: "More Than Conquerors"  Video  Rend Collective

"My Lighthouse"  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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