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Monday, November 10, 2008

Photo of autumn trees
How fast the leaves are falling and we will soon lose autumn scenes like this photo we took as we drove home yesterday.

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Note: Brooksyne wrote the message today since it's based on a recent conversation she had with a new friend.

"Such Wondrous Love!"

"This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us" (I John 3:16). "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (I John 3:1).  "This is how God showed His love among us:  He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (I John 4: 9,10).

Mary Lou Long
Earlier this year I learned about a woman diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer who had need of light meals to be brought into her home. Except for getting radiation treatments and chemo therapy at the cancer clinic Mary Lou was homebound making the sofa in her living room her daily recuperation bed month after month.

I began visiting Mary Lou in February of this year. I took over light meals and spent time talking to her.  She was  in
obvious physical discomfort, but I also sensed that there was a pressing spiritual need.  I talked to her about Jesus and learned that she had become very angry with God 48 years earlier when she was just 12 years old.  A jolting loss in her life had caused her anger to turn to bitterness over the years and Mary Lou turned her back on God.

During my months of immobility due to my broken ankle I lost touch with Mary Lou, but I went to visit her a couple of weeks ago and saw an immediate change in her countenance.  Bibles were sitting on her coffee table and she had a bookmarked copy of a Christian book she was reading.  Our conversation flowed and she told me that she had asked God back into her life and asked Him to forgive her.  He had restored her joy and peace.  But the one thing she couldn't fully comprehend is how God could love her so much that He would give up His only Son to come to this world and die for her sins.

Our warm conversation refreshed my spirit and reminded me that I often take God's redemptive and inexhaustible love for granted.  I read the following message from an article by Regis Nicoll that especially deals with the subject of God's inexhaustible love:

"At the heart of love is other-centeredness. From small acts of kindness to the laying down of life for another, love is lived out and authenticated through personal sacrifice. It is thus, in the Incarnation, that we find the highest expression of divine love. For there we find a God who refused to exempt Himself from the stinging injustice of a world gone wrong. For a brief moment in history, God set aside His omnipotence to be the Son of Man—the Advocate who presents God to man and man to God.

Making Himself as one of us, God invaded the world, not as sovereign king but as a helpless infant. Associating with the downcast and outcast and ministering to the least and the last, He was shunned by His brothers, rejected by His countrymen, convicted on phony charges, tried by an illegitimate assembly, sentenced to an unjust death, spat upon, beaten, cursed, scourged, nailed to a tree, and, crying out in anguish, killed in infamy with common criminals as the hand of his Father was withheld. If anyone knows, from first-hand experience, about injustice it is He.

Because He walked in our shoes, He is the only deity who can understand our pain, sympathize with our suffering, and be patient with our questioning hearts. The Incarnation is the shocking and irrefutable display of inexhaustible Love."

Mary Lou and I sat together and discussed how impossible it is to fully understand this kind of inexhaustible love the Father has for His creation.  In fact it made her weep as she realized how gracious God is to forgive her 48 years of walking away from this incredible love she had once known as a young girl.  We can't fully understand it, but by faith we can accept it!  I hope you have done so today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we ask that out of Your glorious riches that You might strengthen your children with power through Your Spirit in their inner beings, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith.  We pray that they, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  In the precious name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne has written the full story about Mary Lou's heartbreaking childhood experience that embittered her and the physical struggle she faces today in Mary Lou's Story

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play)

"How Deep The Father's Love For Us"  Audio

"The Love Of God" 

"Amazing Love"  Video

Today's quote from Regis Nicoll is from an article titled "Is Heaven Worth It?"

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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 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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