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Friday, April 17, 2020

Gold Finch and female cardinal (photo by Ester)
Mrs. Cardinal peeking around the birdfeeder to see that Mr. Goldfinch is not coming to steal her birdseed.

"The Ultimate Game Changer"
"Alive Forevermore!"

Message summary: Jesus is alive forevermore!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:17,18).

The Bible records ten resurrections*. Probably the most famous (apart from Jesus) is Lazarus' recorded in John 11. However all but one person eventually died the second time. Can you imagine what must have been going through Lazarus' mind when his second death loomed on the horizon?

But after Jesus was resurrected He ascended back to heaven and is "alive forevermore".

Let us consider John when he wrote Revelation. Tradition asserts that all the other original  disciples were martyred for their faith, the first recorded being James, who was beheaded in Acts 12. John is the only one of the original twelve disciples to have died a natural death. Although we are unaware of the extent of communication at that time I wonder what John felt like being the last living disciple of the original twelve. Surely his eyewitness memory of Christ’s resurrection was a bulwark to his faith.

Yet in our daily text Jesus appears to him again and reminds him that He is alive forevermore!

A simple chorus comes to mind that some of our readers may recall:

Alive, alive, alive forevermore.
My Jesus is alive, alive forevermore.
Alive, alive, alive forevermore.
My Jesus is alive.

All this week we have been examining the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in each major section of the New Testament. Today we consider the centrality of the resurrection as expressed in the final book of the Bible, the book of Revelation.

We may not associate resurrection teaching with the Book of Revelation, a prophetical book that reveals the future. But since the resurrection is foundational to the Gospel we shouldn’t be surprised to see John, who also wrote the Gospel of John and three letters in the New Testament (1,2,3 John), revealing this truth early in the book. Actually the two verses used today are direct quotes from the Lord Jesus Christ, whom John describes as “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Revelation 1:5).

Theologian Henry M. Morris writes concerning the importance of the resurrection: "The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the apostles is secondary in importance to the resurrection. If the resurrection did not take place then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth."

Today let us especially consider the phrase, "Behold I am alive forevermore". Christ says, "behold", emphasizing that His demonstration of life beyond the grave is of paramount importance, for Christ’s resurrection bears witness that those who trust in Him will likewise rise from the dead (John 14:19; Romans 6:8-9). If not for the fact of the resurrection—without the "Living One"—Christianity would be meaningless (1 Corinthians 15:12-17).

He is alive forevermore! Other versions state; “alive forever and ever” (NIV) “alive for timeless ages!” (Phillips), “I am alive now and for all the ages—even ages to come” (Voice). The literal Greek expression is aionion to aionion (ages to ages or eons to eons). That sounds like a long time to me – without end!

Due to our finite being here on earth it's hard to imagine living forever, and how that would change our day to day living, or should I say millennium to millennium living. After all, from the time of the Bible history all through the ages it has been appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment, a beginning to life and an ending. Let us rejoice that Jesus is alive forevermore and that we will join those in the air who also live forevermore.

Sing alleluia, sing alleluia,
My Jesus is alive forevermore.
Sing alleluia, sing alleluia
My Jesus is alive.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus who conquered death and is alive forevermore. And because He lives we live also. What hope and assurance this brings to all who repent and believe, to all who receive Your Son, Jesus, as their personal Savior. We worship “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. For He is alive now and for all the ages – even the ages to come.” So we give praise, honor and glory to Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Alive, Alive, Alive Forevermore"  Video  VBFA Choir We recall this chorus from back in the eighties.

Phillips, Craig and Dean
"Revelation Song"  Video  Phillips, Craig & Dean

"Vrednic Esti Tu"  Video  BBSO ("Revelation Song" in Romanian)

"Jesus' Funeral" Video made to "Big Mo's" recitation This is very thought-provoking and what a voice!

Activity at our birdfeeder photos by Ester

Gold Finch (photo by Ester)
Mr. Goldfinch

Gold Finch (photo by Ester)
Mr. Goldfinch has excellent posture.

Gold Finch and male cardinal (photo by Ester)
Mr. Cardinal and Mr. Cardinal having their fill!

Female cardinal (photo by Ester)
Mrs. Cardinal looking kind of like a chicken here.

Female cardinal (photo by Ester)
No question in this photo - she got the seed!

Robin eggs under gazebo 4/17/20
yesterday we shared a photo of a robin's nest under our gazebo canopy.
At that time I checked and no eggs. This morning we have eggs!

Finally today:

Covid Perspective Around the World: This morning we received an interesting perspective regarding the world-wide aspect of the pandemic from missionaries in Africa:

It is far easier for us (in Malawi) to follow U.S. news than it is for you (in the U.S.) to follow Malawian news. So we want to give an update—what has happened in Malawi over the last few weeks?

As we’ve watched the news of COVID-19 circle the globe, I’ve brought home more food, found more places to store supplies. As things progressed elsewhere, still not touching Malawi, I stocked up some more, wondering how long exports would be shut out and what would leave the shelves for a long time. On an ordinary day, no shopping trip brings home everything on the list, there’s always something missing from the shops. Sometimes it’s oregano, missing for 6-9 months, then it reappears. This we get used to - but I think there will be more missing items in the coming year. This is a privileged viewpoint of the pandemic that is beginning to touch Malawi. We have the leeway to purchase those luxury items of toilet paper and soap, and even buy ahead to feed our family and stay home for an extended time.

But most Malawians can’t.

They live on the wages they earn each day. Day by day, they live. Sometimes more, sometimes less.  But when the country-wide lock down begins this Sunday, everyone must only buy and sell close to home. Vendors won’t be able to get to the wealthier parts of town to sell their wares or wander the streets to widen their audience. So the question isn’t only how many lives Covid-19 will claim, but how many lives will hunger claim?

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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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