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Message summary: It's amazing to believe, that God so loved the world, means even me!
Note: Due to busy day Thursday including a banquet last night and early morning chaplaincy visits a podcast was not prepared for this message.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
For quite some time we have turned the radio up when we hear the introduction to a song we have come to thoroughly enjoy titled "Even Me" sung by The Triumphant Quartet. The song rejoices in realizing that the wonderful truth of John 3:16, though memorized by many believers as a young child, finally realizes that "whosoever" includes "even me"!
I've heard it all my life, even had it memorized, but it was only words to me,
Red letters on a page, just something people say;
Till it brought me to my knees; those words in John 3:16.
For God so loved the world He gave, gave His only Son away,
A way to save a wretch like me.
Me, the one who needed grace, grace to cover ev'ry stain,
Stains that He no longer sees.
It's amazing to believe, that God so loved the world,
Means even me.
One of the benefits of Bible memorization is our cooperation with the Holy Spirit in recalling sacred Scripture at opportune moments. Most readers have memorized John 3:16 which is probably the most memorized Scripture verse in all of Christendom. We never want to lose the wonder of that verse even with all its familiarity.
Many years ago we both also memorized the second daily text, actually set to music. Each word ministers to my heart. But today let us slowly consider one phrase, "who loved me".
Writing of a deep assurance of Christ's love for him Paul simply says, "who loved me". This is Paul, who at one time with hateful vengeance, had persecuted the Church and at His conversion heard this troubling question spoken from Christ, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And now after his conversion he reflects on the love His Savior specifically has for him. So much so, that Paul tells his listeners, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me".
"God so loved the world". Amen, He sure does and He specifically loves you and me this day and every day. You may not have experienced a loving earthly family as we both thankfully have but we personally know so many who have not. There are those reading our message right now who have been abused and carry deep scars. Some have had the sacred trust of a spouse, parent or sibling violated. You are now learning to trust your heavenly Father who is altogether trustworthy. His steadfast love never ceases, even during times that you have proven to be untrustworthy or vacillated in your commitment to Him.
Pastor and Author, Rob Morgan, makes this observation: "If you could have one verse of Scripture engraved onto your tombstone, what would it be? Or if you could have one verse and only one scripted and framed to hang in your living room or kitchen, which verse would you choose? Or, to put it a little differently, if someone were to write a biography of your life and put one verse on the title page, what verse would best summarize your aspirations and experiences as a Christian? I'd like to suggest that out of the 31,102 verses in the Bible, you'd have a hard time coming up with a better choice than Galatians 2:20."
Those with deep scars especially listen to me today. Take our daily verse from Galatians 2:20, write it on a card and memorize it. Say it over and over, phrase by phrase, or better yet put it to a familiar tune so you'll never forget it. Hide it deep in your heart. For what Paul said for himself, you can say for you and I can say for me. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me"
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Last night I attended a banquet at the Shady Maple for a powerful ministry I have appreciated for many years called Associates For Biblical Research. The speaker was Dr. Peter Teague who is retiring after serving for 20 years as president of Lancaster Bible College.
I first met Dr. Teague shortly after moving to Lancaster County in 2001 when he had read an article about our business chaplaincy in the local paper and invited me to lunch to discuss it. He seems to have a heart to learn about and develop creative ways to minister to our world. We commend him for his long tenure of faithful service. Today at 9:00 AM the next president of LBC will be introduced.
Last night he shared a powerful message on the authority of Scripture. He ended his message with this quote:
This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelerís map, the pilgrimís staff, the pilotís compass, the soldierís sword, and the Christianís character. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object; our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.
Another faithful man.
Elvin Martin is retiring next month after working 57 years for same company as a tool maker! It was nice to visit him yesterday. He started at 20 so you can guess how old he is.
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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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