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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Farm pond, Mount Wilson Road, Lebanon County, PA 3/5/19 (Click to enlarge)
We drove past this mountain pond early yesterday morning along Mount Wilson Road in Lebanon County.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Our Great Reconciler"

Message summary: The atoning death of Christ on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God's love resulting in:
•    Our redemption from sin (yesterday's message)
•    Our reconciliation to God (today's message)
•    Our restoration to wholeness

This week we will be examining each of these three "r's".

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Romans 5:10,11).

Hardly a day goes by that we don't personally observe the need for reconciliation in marriages, with family members, friends and other believers, and of course the need for reconciliation with God.

Believers may say, "Find out what God is doing", as if He's always changing and doing something different! People will flock to conferences, buy books or DVDs and participate in whatever program or seminar is currently hyped to find out what God is doing.

But God is doing what He has been doing since the original transgression of Adam and Eve. He is reconciling the world to Himself through Christ. Specific methods change but the overall plan; His mission remains the same. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:18).

The word "reconcile" comes from the Latin and means to "bring a person again into friendly relations with another after an estrangement". Reconciliation describes the change from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship. It pictures the reestablishment of an interrupted or broken relationship.

Henry Blackaby writes, "Sin breaks our relationship with God; it severs relationships with others as well. Broken relationships are the epidemic of our day. Sin alienates family members, separates friends, divides churches, and destroys marriages. Sin creates mistrust, jealousy, hatred, and greed, all of which devastate relationships. Only Christ has the remedy for the disastrous effect of sin on human relationships. As His ambassadors, we are to take the message of reconciliation to a broken, divided world. We urge reconciliation first with God, and then with each other."

Reconciliation produces restoration of a relationship of peace which has been disturbed between God and man in the garden of Eden. Sinful man is reconciled in that his attitude of enmity toward God is changed to one of friendship.

We encourage you to scroll up the page and read that daily Scripture portion again, slowly, meaningfully and aloud if possible. Hear the glorious truth: "we have now received reconciliation"! Rejoice in this truth and pray for opportunities to share it with others! Today all over the world, in large settings and in small, God is using His reconciled children to proclaim the glorious message of reconciliation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is because of the great love of Your Son, Jesus, and His willingness to take our sins upon Himself that we can be reconciled to You. It is the greatest news of all time for all generations. Father, we want to be passionate as Christ's ambassadors since You are making Your appeal through us reaching out to others with the greatest message of all time:  "Be reconciled to God." When we were lost, broken, and without hope Christ reconciled us to You who sought us, repaired our broken lives, and gave us eternal hope. Where would we be without Jesus! Thank You for receiving, redeeming, reconciling and restoring us to Yourself, our Creator. Amen.

Further study:

Reconciliation is a vivid word, pointing to the making of peace after a quarrel. It describes the bringing together again people who have been estranged and describes the state of those who have been restored to friendship. In the New Testament it refers, of course, to God's reconciling of the world to Himself through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Thayer describes it as "the res­toration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ".

Pastor R. Kent Hughes comments, "The ministry of reconciliation is not telling people to make peace with God, but telling them that God has made peace with the world. The gospel is not good advice, but good news."

Warren Wiersbe sums it up, "Totally apart from Law, and purely by grace, we have a salvation that takes care of the past, the present, and the future. Christ died for us; Christ lives for us; Christ is coming for us! Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

Growing up in southern Missouri (Stephen) and northeast Oklahoma (Brooksyne) we both recall seeing a lot of farm ponds. Brooksyne had one next to the house she grew up in and another at the end of their pasture where she learned to swim. There are not as many in this part of Pennsylvania probably because so much of the land is tilled and there's not as many pastured livestock. But we sure enjoy seeing the ponds! Today we will share some photos we took over the last several days of ponds in our area (Lancaster and Lebanon Counties).

Martin farm pond, Mount Pleasant Road, Lancaster County, PA 3/2/19 (Click to enlarge)
For many years we have appreciated this view of the Martin farm pond with the evergreen trees in the background. We took this photo on Saturday before the most recent snowfall.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Farm pond along 283 3/3/19 (Click to enlarge)
Sunday afternoon we passed this scenic farm pond along Route 283 between Lancaster and Mount Joy.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Wenger pond, Milton Grove Road, Lancaster County, PA 3/5/19 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday morning we drove by this pond along Milton Grove Road. Notice Buford and Beauty the swan couple in the lower left.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Swans on Wenger pond, Milton Grove Road, Lancaster County, PA 3/5/19
We first began taking photographs of the swans in 2007 (here). Swans mate for life and have a lifespan of 20-30 years (here). Here's a collection of photos from several years ago.

Farm pond, Mount Wilson Road, Lebanon County, PA 3/5/19 (Click to enlarge)
We drove past this mountain pond yesterday along Mount Wilson Road in Lebanon County.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Farm pond, Spangler Road, Lebanon County, PA 3/5/19 (Click to enlarge)
Early yesterday the snow geese had already descended on this pond along Spangler Road in Lebanon County likely coming over from the nearby Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. See here or here for videos. Here's the location on Google maps.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Just When You Thought"  Video  Joseph Habedank

For every prodigal who’s thrown their whole life away
Feeling completely unworthy to mention His name
For every soul that’s been shattered by choices you’ve made
The Father still hears every prayer that a broken heart prays

"You Came Down"  Video  Calvary Church children's choir  In Monday's message we mentioned these children singing in our service this last Sunday.

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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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