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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Lancaster County, PA farmhouse 5/27/19 (Click to enlarge)
Monday afternoon we passed this Lancaster County, PA farmhouse near Lampeter.
Looks like they kept adding on as the family grew!
(Click to enlarge)

"A Wretch Like Me"

Message summary: We are wretched people in our sinful state. Apart from the redemptive power of Christ and the outflow of the spiritual fruit from His indwelling Spirit we have nothing of lasting, redemptive value to offer to others. But with Christ as our Saviour we have a life-changing, redemptive message that can save even a wretch like me.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24,25).

There's a song we've sure been enjoying the last several months called "Even Me" by the Triumphant Quartet. (Link to song below). Last night I picked Brooksyne up in Baltimore after her trip to visit family in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and on the way home this song came on the radio. It has a line that touches our hearts as we consider how great a God we serve and how great a salvation He provides for any who choose to follow Him.

For God so loved the world He gave
Gave His only Son away
A way to save a wretch like me

The word "wretch" is not used much today. It sounds so archaic. Webster defines wretched as "deeply afflicted, dejected, or distressed in body or mind; extremely or deplorably bad or distressing; being or appearing mean, miserable, or contemptible; very poor in quality or ability".

But most all of us have sung this word in these two well-known songs. (Hopefully we still do!)

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!

Paul's Epistle to the Romans is considered by theologians to be his Magnus Opus (a phrase meaning "The greatest single work of an artist, writer, or composer"). Now of course all of Scripture is equally inspired by God but Romans contains the basic theological framework for all the rest of Paul's collection of writings.

Romans has material that is not always uplifting but is a scorning assessment of the human race and the dreadful consequences of sin. The first chapter concludes with this stunning indictment on the human race: "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:29-32).

The amazing thing about the Bible is that it's always contemporary. Each of these behaviors or attitudes are easily observed in our world today. Not only can we see it around us but it is also possible to see it within ourselves. The framework was laid in this passage for an oft quoted text written later in Paul's letter to the Romans, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). These verses overwhelmingly establish that we desperately need a Savior. Paul stated in regard to our desperate need for a Savior, "What a wretched man I am!"

Paul, in what many see as a description regarding his state without Christ, declares, "What a wretched man I am!" (Surely he'd be required to attend a class for having a positive, self-image today.) But immediately following this he asks and answers his own question, "Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24b,25).

Perhaps the most famous hymn sung in church, state funerals, national and international events, recognized by believers and unbelievers alike is "Amazing Grace". The writer presents a most unflattering description of himself in this phrase, "that saved a wretch like me". The vast majority of people sing this stanza without pondering its deeper meaning since the familiarity of the song can easily override its disturbing message. And it sure doesn't set well in our time when schools, libraries, and bookstores overflow with books promoting a positive self-image. We too must acknowledge our great need like John Newton who realized the depth of his sin and rejoiced in the height of Christ's salvation.

As a believer Newton pastored a church in London, where he persuaded a young William Wilberforce, to fight to put an end to the slave trade, which passed in Parliament in March 1807. Nine months later, on December 21, 1807, the 82-year old Newton lay on his bed "packed and sealed, and waiting for the post," as he put it. Barely able to speak, Newton’s attendant leaned over the bed to hear his last words, "My memory is nearly gone. But I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!" The former slave trader best known for writing "Amazing Grace" spoke these words shortly before he breathed his last.

Like Newton we want our life to have a positive and lasting influence on others.  Only when we acknowledge our sinful state, as presented by these Romans passages, can we also recognize our need for a Saviour who can save us from our own wretchedness.

We are wretched people in our sinful state. Apart from the redemptive power of Christ and the outflow of spiritual fruit from His indwelling Spirit we have nothing of lasting, redemptive value to offer to others. But with Christ as our Saviour we have a life-changing, redemptive message that can save even a wretch like me. Hallelujah, what A Saviour!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for the redeeming blood of Jesus that imparts mercy and pardon for my sins. Wretched as I may be, Your mercy is greater! Only a God like You chooses to delight in expressing mercy to the undeserving masses that defy Your Holy Name. Thank You for reaching me in the depth of my sin and raising me to the height of Your Holiness – it's only through Your blood and it's only through Your mercy that I come and You joyfully welcome me! Words cannot express my eternal gratitude for such indescribable love.

Horses in Lancaster County, PA 5/27/19 (Click to enlarge)
We're always attracted to country views where horses are out in the pasture amidst the spacious blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds.
(Click to enlarge)

Flower-lined driveway in Lebanon County, PA 5/28/19
The sheer range of multi-colored flowers charmingly bespeckle this long driveway in Northern Lebanon County.

Audrey's display in Lebanon County, PA 5/28/19
We can always count on a colorful display of flowers and plants each spring at the entrance to Audrey's, a company we serve in northern Lebanon County.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Even Me"  Video  Triumphant Quartet

"Victory In Jesus"  Video  Gaither Family

"God So Loved the World"  Video  Charles Billingsley

"His Life For Mine"  Video  Talley Trio

His life for mine, His life for mine
How could it ever be?
That He would die, God's son would die
To save a wretch like me
What love divine, He gave His life for mine

"How Deep The Father's Love For Me"  Video  Phillips, Craig, and Dean

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

"Oh, What A Savior!"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

Finally today:

Charlotte Gaunt 5/27/19
Brooksyne's Personal Note:  It's good to be home again after an eleven day whirlwind of travel visiting family in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. It seemed most days were filled with either tornadoes or flooding all around us. Our motel in Tulsa was filled with either evacuees whose homes were flooded from the Arkansas River or victims whose homes were destroyed by tornadoes. So many tornadoes and floods are happening throughout the U.S. that we need to be in prayer for those affected.

A highlight of my trip was personally meeting a Daily Encouragement reader, Charlotte Gaunt, whom I have communicated with via email or telephone over the past years. She lives in Cushing, OK, and met me for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Charlotte was delightful to visit with and I was blessed as she told me of her ministry involvement with Celebrate Recovery and Prison Ministries. She also showed me a couple photos of her furry feline family that she and her husband thoroughly enjoy. Likewise, I was delighted to return to my home last night not only to see Stephen but also our furry canine "girls". At the sight of me they came running and jumping, as they happily greeted me, although Mollie went to the door and kept looking for Ester's return only to find that she did not come back with me. Ester is with my sister, Elaine, in Texas for a couple more weeks.

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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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