A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Message summary: John Newton, best known for writing "Amazing Grace", wrote, "I once was blind, but now I see". I hope your spiritual eyes have been opened and you are rejoicing today in the gospel of the glory of Christ!
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Tom, a reader from Arizona, sent me this carved block of wood years ago which we picture above. Many of you have seen these graphics. Upon first sight it appears to be just strange, illegible characters. It makes no sense until you look very carefully at the letters, perhaps squinting, and then it’s very clear that the letters spell, "Jesus". In fact, after you see it it's hard to un-see it!
Steve, a friend from the church we served in New England, observed a couple of men coming upon this graphic on a sticker on the back window of a van in Boston. One said to the other "I know that says something, I just don’t know what!" They both looked on for a few minutes until in exasperation they walked away and Steve heard one of them say in an expletive tone, "Jesus Christ, I know that says something." But of course they never saw it. Although the individual was capable of using the Lord's Name in vain they were blinded to seeing His Name spelled out on the graphic, and far more importantly at least one of the individuals did not give honor or respect to Jesus' Name, the Name above all names!
Today’s Scripture text speaks of a spiritual blindness which blinds the minds of unbelievers.
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers". "The god of this age" is Satan. Such a statement brings a scoffing sneer from the unbeliever. But this false god is very actively at work as demonstrated in the evil we see all around us, including false, idolatrous religious systems that “deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 1:4). This text says he has "has blinded the minds of unbelievers". We normally associate blindness with the eyes and a physical impairment but in this case the mind is blinded in spiritual darkness.
There are basically two outlooks in life. Yesterday I shared what I call my personal mission statement that I include in the footers with each daily encouragement. Although this simple statement does not encompass all that’s true it simply asserts my foundational outlook and basic mission, “I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God’s Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life’s goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity.”
The other outlook denies this and so many feel they have been "enlightened" to reject what they see as a very simple and primitive religious expression. To them we are simply a product of evolution and "god" is merely a figment of imagination to those they might see as weak, simple, uneducated and unenlightened.
However, in reality they have not been enlightened, but rather blinded. Indeed, "they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God".
Following his salvation conversion Paul received his call to ministry directly from the Lord; “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17,18).
John Newton, best known for writing “Amazing Grace”, expressed it this way, "I once was blind, but now I see". I hope your spiritual eyes have been opened and you are rejoicing today in the gospel of the glory of Christ!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, though You do not walk visibly among us You do reveal Yourself through Scripture, and also through the minds, the hearts, and the actions of Your followers. May Your light shine forth from us so that the unbeliever can sift through the confusing ungodly messages of this world and the counterfeits of this age. May they see “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” We especially lift up to You our loved ones who have chosen the wrong path, viewed the wrong messengers and listened to the wrong voices. We pray that You would open their eyes to the true messengers that uphold biblical teaching and eternal truths in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" Video Chris Tomlin (This version includes scenes from John Newton movie)
Early yesterday morning on our way to our first chaplain visit we passed the attractive Spring House Farm on Sunnyburn Road in Lancaster County.
After our first chaplain visit we ate breakfast at the Railroad Diner in Richland, PA which sits right beside a busy freight rail line. The best seat was already taken when we got there, at the window right beside the railroad line. Sure enough, shortly after we sat down this train came rolling through! Interestingly, in Richland the main roads intersect right in the center of the railroad grade! See here on Google map.
After breakfast we headed over to Middle Creek Wildlife Refuge to see the Snow Geese again but it was very, very crowded as the Geese Count is peaking before they migrate further north. Here's a live cam. We saw lots of geese but were too far away for another close photo like we shared last week. But we saw plenty of pretty country scenery along the way such as this old stone farmhouse set way back off the road.
Brooksyne went into the Good's store in Schaefferstown and as I waited in the van I took this photo. I have no idea what the skeleton passenger is all about but it looks like the dog is rather intrigued, perhaps wondering if the passenger was human, assessing as to whether it would make for a friendly companion or a bony treat!
On behalf of Ester, we appreciate the kind and affirming comments that came through regarding Ester's testimony reflecting her 32nd birthday. We chose to highlight one message that came from one of our faithful African readers in Uganda since it includes an excellent sermon reflecting our theme yesterday, regarding "Finding Our Purpose":
Dear Stephen & Brooksyne,
It is always a big blessing for me and Moses to read from you. What a great testimony of Ester's life. We always derive deep insights from your daily encouragement messages.
I believe you discovered early enough that you are here to encourage others in this salvation journey. It isn't always an easy one...it is thus no surprise that many fall off the wagon of salvation. In our view, abandoning salvation is largely due to failure to discover purpose...hence salvation becomes a boring heavy yoke.
But for those who discover the purpose thereof; they find joy unspeakable! Because salvation is sweeter than honey, better than a credit card in one's pocket or better still more precious than silver or gold. There is indeed joy as a result of discovering the purpose for which we were tailor made.
A spoon cannot be used in place of a spade, for it would sooner or later prove futile! We were made to worship, honor and reverence God with all that we are and all that we have! There is no happiness outside these.
I am currently in Uganda, this morning I saw a shrub growing in the wall of a dilapidated 'permanent house'. Quickly my mind wondered about the vanity in investments, some of us think we are here to make money, invest in this and that but all that is vanity!!
The joy of purpose immensely strengthens and blesses us to carry on with serving Christ.
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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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