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Friday, March 16, 2007

Covered bridge and Amish buggy
Amish buggy entering into White Rock covered bridge in southern Lancaster County.
There's just nothing like the distinct sound of clackety-clack of horse shoes on the wood bridge deck!

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"Our Father's Love"
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1).
Brooksyne tells me that I can't go 30 minutes without teasing in one way or another. She recently challenged me to go 24 hours without teasing, but I must admit I don't believe I could do it. I suppose I am a born teaser and any readers who know me personally will agree.
My neighbor Jesse is a stonemason and I often drive him to prospective jobs. He uses a leased truck for his business which is considered legitimate by his faith, but since he can't drive it he hires me or others to assist him in this way. (This is among the means by which I supplement my income.)
"Dat"We were out the other day and he took his three year old son Moses along. While Jesse was out speaking to a customer and we had waited awhile I looked back and asked Moses, "Are you ready to go home?"  Moses vigorously shook his head and said, "No."  "Why not?" I asked him. He looked out the car window, pointed toward Jesse, and answered, "Datt!" ("Datt" is the Pennsylvania Dutch word for "daddy.") I said "Moses, you really love your daddy don't you?" and he instantly nodded his head in agreement. I then said "Moses, your Daddy really loves you doesn't he?" and again I received a hearty sign of agreement. That little boy is blessed! *
One of the great joys in life is having assurance of our father's love. My dad went home to be with the Lord about nine years ago. What a blessing to know that he loved me. Many of you know a father's love but I realize as I write this message that an increasing number do not know the love of an earthly father. This message is especially for you.
The daily verses should cause us to stand back in awe of the love our heavenly Father has for each of us. In all the events of life that concern us today, from our distinct personal problems to international situations, let us, above all, see with spiritual eyes the supreme demonstration of our Father's own love for us.
The underlying Greek word that is translated "demonstrate" in the first daily text is "sunistasin" which is in the present, indicative active. This connotes a sense that God's demonstration of love is an ever present event, although Christ's literal death on the cross was a "once for all" atoning sacrifice, "Christ died for us".  Thus the demonstration of the Father's love is ever present and continual, but the sacrificial death of Christ His Son is final and complete. We now look to "Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever" (Revelation 4:9).
Today I implore you to rest in the Father's love. Some readers struggle with self-condemnation and have no assurance of the Father's love, which the enemy of our soul uses to bring defeat. Instead let us stand in the truths of Christ's words and cast out despairing thoughts that seek to enslave rather than set us free.

Below are two hymns that really bless me and I hope they will bless you as well as we rejoice together in our Father's love!
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, how marvelous is Your love.  So many things in life are unobtainable, just beyond our grasp, but You make Your love available to everyone. Your love and tender care mends the broken heart; it cleanses the sin-filled heart, and it encompasses the empty heart. How utterly amazing that You would pour out Your sinless, extravagant love on the vilest of sinners who truly believe.  Incredible to comprehend, but nothing in all creation can separate us from Your gracious and compassionate love.  Thank You, Father, that Yours is not just a general love for mankind, but You love me.  Amen.

Recommended music:

"My Saviour's Love" is one of those old hymns that never ceases to bless me when I hear it. These links are to the Willingdon Church in Burnaby BC Canada  Audio   Video

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene.
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous, how wonderful
Is my Savior's love for me!
He took my sins and my sorrows;
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone. *
When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see
Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.
* My Saviour's Love Gabriel, Charles H. © Public Domain

Note from Brooksyne: An additional song that comes to my mind after preparing the devotional this morning is the stirring song, "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" by Stuart Townend.  The third verse speaks of the attitude that we not boast in anything except for boasting in Jesus Christ:  His death and resurrection.  If you are unfamiliar with this song, take a listen, for it will bless you!  If you sing this in your congregation you already know that this song has tremendous depth in all three verses as it helps us to consider the vast, immeasurable love of our Father in giving His only sinless, holy, Son to make us His treasure.  These links are also to the Willingdon Church in Burnaby BC Canada.  Audio   Video

For further study:
Here's a wonderful exposition concerning the love of God by A.W. Pink, one of my favorite Bible commentators.
Here's an interesting article on Amish children.

White Rock Covered Bridge
The White Rock Covered Bridge in southern Lancaster County is a sturdy structure built in 1849.

* Please note: The Amish have a belief regarding adult facial photos but I have been permitted to take photos of their children. I have the father's permission to place the photo above and in fact he seemed pleased to hear that I would be sharing this story as an illustration.

We just may be getting our last snow storm of the season today. Here's the current view from our neck of the woods this morning!
Snowy morning 3/16/07

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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. Used by permission; 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 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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