Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Daily Encouragement (04/02/13) "Many Convincing Proofs"

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lancaster County stone farmhouse
Lancaster County Stone Farmhouse on Bowman Road near Rockvale Outlets. It is now a Bed & Breakfast.

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"Many Convincing Proofs"

"After His suffering, He presented Himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). "He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6).

I believe in Jesus
I believe He is the Son of God
I believe He died and rose again
I believe He paid for us all

A proud, ungodly professor tried to "reason" with a young child who believed in the Lord Jesus; "My dear little girl, you don't know whom you believe in. There have been many christs, in which of them do you believe?" The child confidently replied, "I know which one I believe in. I believe in the Christ who rose from the dead!"

I, along with people of past and present generations, agree with this confident child. The physician/historian/theologian Luke begins his historical account as "The Acts of the Apostles", with this thoughtful introduction: "After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). Today we want to consider one of the many convincing proofs that Christ is alive.

The faith of the Christian believer has a sound, objective, verifiable historical basis.  Luke calls them convincing proofs. There were also many appearances of the resurrected Christ over the 40-day period from the day of His resurrection to the day of His ascension that are not recorded in the historical portions of the Gospels or Acts and our second daily text is one of them.

In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul lists the names of some whom Christ appeared to following His resurrection, including one remarkable occasion when more than five hundred had gathered with the Lord which is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. This particular appearance to over 500 in one setting must have been a part of the record transmitted through the apostolic preaching and early history of the church. I yearn for more details of this encounter but will have to wait till heaven to speak personally to these unnamed eyewitnesses. However, it must have been quite a meeting!

Who were these five hundred plus brothers? (I am speculating that there were women and children present on this occasion as well.) I believe these were some of the many unnamed followers who believed in Christ during His earthly ministry. They would not have had the same depth of teaching the disciples had and likely the trial, sufferings and death of Christ was a huge faith crisis for them.

Had they been misled? Was it all for naught? Then the reports began to circulate that Jesus had risen from the dead and had appeared to some of the women and His disciples. Could it really be?

At some point they gathered for the meeting referred to in our daily text. I somehow see it at the side of a mountain or beside the Lake of Galilee, although we are not told. It must have been something. I smile as I think of the joy and relief and vindication of faith that swept through that crowd. If I were to picture them singing it would be a spirited and joyful song written by Don Francisco many centuries later.

He's alive yes He's alive
Hallelujah He's alive
He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive He's alive He's alive

Can you imagine the stir as people sought to get a glimpse of what others were describing as the person of Jesus. Voices could be heard as people nudged one another, "Jesus!  Look, it's Jesus!  He's alive!  Can you believe it!"  Still others pointed to the moving figure in the distance, "There He is!" Surely many excited parents hoisted children on their shoulders to get a view of Jesus as they tried to explain, "It is He, the Crucified Christ!"

Others would have squeezed through small openings in the crowd, likely annoying those whom they bumped along the way, anything so they could get a closer look at the resurrected Christ. There were no big screens or cameras for close-ups of Jesus so there's little doubt that some were frantic in their attempt to get a good view of this walking Miracle. Most of them were still alive as Paul wrote, but since this was written some 25 years after the event, some had also "fallen asleep" (a phrase the early church used for "death.")

One day we who believe will have a similar experience. We will also see Jesus (1 John 3:2) and I believe we will smile (and some will jump, dance, and shout) as our faith is rewarded.  Keep believing today, my friend, and "do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded" (Hebrews 10:35).

As people of faith, all of us are among those who rely on these eyewitness testimonies. After one post-resurrection experience Jesus said to an eyewitness, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). Many years later Peter, an eyewitness himself, wrote to all subsequent generations of believers, including ours: "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8). Today, I believe! My family believes. And this day we again choose to follow and obey the resurrected Lord Jesus. Will you join us?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy when we proclaim, "The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed!" Though we were not personal eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Your Son we have personally experienced and witnessed in others the transformational change that the ever- living Christ brings about in the lives of those who believe. The completion of Christ's incarnation took place at the tomb when death was swallowed up in victory as He overcame the power and terror of death's penalty. Satan's plot failed as God's plan flourished making us more than victors through Christ who loves us and atoned for our sins! Thank You for all You went through so that we might have abundant life here and eternal life on the other side.  Amen.

Last Tuesday we shared a series of photos of our visit to the Yancey's Sugarbush near Croghan New York. When we visited it was too cold to be collecting and boiling the sap into maple syrup. Our friend Jeff sent us several more photos that may be of interest to our readers who found this interesting.

Yancey's Sugarbush sap collection
Collecting the sap using the horse team. The sap in each bucket on the trees is poured into the red tank behind the horse team and then taken to the sugar shanty.

Yancey's sugarbush shanty boiling sap
The horse team uses the ramp to the left in the photo to drop off the sap. They were boiling the sap the day Jeff took the photo which creates a lot of steam (not smoke). (More than once firemen have been called to sugar shanties due to the mistaken phone call from an observer who thought the shanty was on fire.)

Yancey's sap boiler
Here is the inside of the sugar shanty. The large red containers on the left hold the sap prior to processing. The sap boiler is at the right in the photo.

Yancey's sugarbush sleigh ride 3/24/13
Jeff took a photo of me standing beside the man driving the team on our sleigh ride. I had lots of questions (as I usually do) and he was happy to converse.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Believe In Jesus"  Video
 Vineyard Music

"He's Alive"  Video  Don Francisco  A ballad type song telling the story of the resurrection.

"Rise Again"  Video  Dallas Holm

"I Believe In The Resurrection"  Short faith statement  Jack W. Hayford

Honda mower departure 3/29/13Last Friday Ester and I drove up to the Lehigh Valley to visit my brother Pat and deliver a Honda riding lawnmower I have given to him. (We didn't have room for Brooksyne to ride along.) This mower has an interesting history. Five years ago I found it for sale along the road for $100.00 but it wouldn't run. I am thankful for wise friends and upon describing it was told it could probably be fixed. I offered the owner $50.00 and he accepted. We somehow managed to load it in the back of our van and get it home. Three friends came over, Fred, Al, and Jay, and in no time they had it running and it has serviced me well for five years. I told the story of that repair along with a photo here. This winter my neighbor moved and I purchased his larger lawn tractor, which is more suitable for my lawn size and offered the old mower to my brother. Sure enough I managed to load it in our older van and Ester suggested I take a photo before driving up.

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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 03/24/13

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"

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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 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."

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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.
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