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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tufted tiftmouse
Brooksyne placed some old cornbread in the planter outside our office window for her bird friends. This tufted titmouse has really been enjoying the special treat!

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"Lessons From A Leaping Baby"

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:41).

For a number of years I marched in Washington D.C. on this date with people from many different faith backgrounds as we took a visible stand for the "Right to Life."  Brooksyne and I unapologetically take a strong stand for the Sanctity of Life; for the protection of the unborn, the infirmed, and the elderly. For those whom the world regards as being unworthy of life.

Today's Scripture is straightforward.  Being a familiar narrative section read often during the Christmas season we may fail to see the doctrinal significance in it.  Check out the context.  The angel assured Mary of God's special plan for her life (Luke 1:35) and she submitted to this plan (1:38).  She was told that her relative Elizabeth was also with child and in her sixth month of pregnancy (1:36).

After hearing the message she "hurried" to see Elizabeth and Mary's greeting prompted the baby to leap in Elizabeth's womb.  The Greek uses the word "brephos" here.  This word is used nine times in the New Testament for both preborn and infant children.  No distinction is made between the two in New Testament Greek.  This joyful baby was John who had another three months of prenatal development and intimate bonding inside his mother's womb at the time of Mary's visit.  Today babies are routinely slaughtered at this age and even older.

However, it's Elizabeth's response to Mary that is most interesting and instructive: "In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:42-43).

Notice Elizabeth's recognition of Mary as "the mother of my Lord".  How long had Mary been a mother?  Of course we don't know exactly.  It is not revealed to us; days, weeks, a month?  Yet Elizabeth calls her "the mother of my Lord".  Most all abortions are now performed after the point of Elizabeth's declaration!

Today, friends, whatever Biblical issue is being assaulted in your corner of the world, keep standing up for the truth.  A lie: no matter how it is packaged, no matter who repeats it or how often, whether or not a majority holds to it, it is still a lie!  Let us commit to being people of truth in the midst of a world that redefines or "modernizes" truth to promote its own biased agenda.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, when You took the dust of the ground to form man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life You had a purpose for his existence on earth.  And You have a purpose for all human life.  Forgive us for assuming that we know more than You, the Creator of life, in willfully choosing whether one is allowed to live and another is destined to die before one breathes his or her first independent breath.  We thank You for the millions who take a visible stand for life, based not on a popular theme but on truths established in Your Holy Word. Help us to be vigilant in doing what is right and good in Your sight, even when it is inconvenient and costly to our personal lives.  In our disposable society help us never to dispose of human life that You created or to dispose of truths that You teach us to live by in favor of a political, intellectual, or financial agenda.

We pray for those in the abortion industry who are motivated by financial gain in destroying innocent life much like Judas who took the 30 pieces of silver as He handed Jesus over to those who would crucify Him.  Like Joseph's brothers who took the 20 pieces of silver in exchange for selling their innocent brother. Father, we look to You in faith asking that You speak to the indifferent and bigoted hearts that cause innocent lives to be slaughtered every minute of every day.  We pray this impassioned prayer in the name of Jesus who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life" and the only way we can have presence with You or understand truth is through Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

PS: The church I pastored in Massachusetts was located on US 44, a very busy highway that was the main east/west route through the city of Taunton.  We had a lighted message sign along the highway that was changed virtually every week by Bill and Veda, a very dedicated couple in the church.  Scores of people were regularly exposed to spiritual truth in a very spiritually desolate region of the country. Through the years we got a number of positive remarks from passersby concerning these messages. 

However a message we placed up in January one year got some very interesting feedback.  We posted this simple, unambiguous, irrefutable message: "Abortion Stops A Beating Heart."  A lady who'd seen the sign called my office extremely upset.  She thought there should be a law against posting such a message and threatened that she was going to check into it.  She said her children were so upset they cried.  Truth really hurts and in this case illustrates the awful blindness that sin causes.

Photo of Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
For many years I traveled down to Washington to participate in the March For Life, held on this day each January. This photo was taken about twenty years ago. I am the tall man in the red jacket holding the sign! I note that there are two friends from our church standing behind me, Chris and Kandy. Jim, a pastor friend from the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, is standing in front of me. Today there will be thousands in Washington bravely participating in this peaceful demonstration.  Join with Brooksyne and me in praying for them.

Several life stories related to today's message:

Yvette  A lady who attended our church in New England who has a wonderful testimony of God's transforming love.

Matt  A local friend who is a living example of the value of life.

Kelsie & Kristie  The story of little twins who were almost aborted.

Thank You: We are very pleased and grateful to God that total 2008 contributions to the Daily Encouragement Net ministry were
$21,791.00. Brooksyne and I want to express thanks to all who support this aspect of our ministry for Christ. Offerings came from over 80 separate sources from all over the world. Here's information about supporting our ministry and here's a current ministry update revised to 1/20/09We have always been very open with disclosing our monetary resources in our pastoral ministry with the finances of our churches. We also practice this in our online ministry. Current 2009 YTD total offerings are placed in the footers in each of these posts.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"This Little Child"
 Video  This song is over 20 years old and in my view is prophetic. It still touches my heart each time I hear it.

"Give me A Chance"  (Audio) A thoughful song written by Karl Kohlhase

"Stunning videos with musical background"  (Video1)  (Video2)

"The Silent Scream"  (Video)  This is a classic expression and if this film were remade with the imaging technology available today it would be even more remarkable.  In the 80's I read Dr. Nathanson's book "Aborting America" chronicling his conversion from being an avid proponent of abortion and founder of one of the abortion organizations to being an articulate pro-life advocate as seen in this film. (Warning: the film is very graphic.)

Her Choice to Heal, Revised and UpdatedHer Choice to Heal, Revised and Updated  By Sydna Masse / David C. Cook
The author tells her story of how she became pregnant in college, and lacking the support of the father, chose to have an abortion. Did you know that 33 percent of American women have had an abortion? And at some point, most will experience post-abortion syndrome. Revised and updated guide identifies PAS characteristics; shares personal stories of strength and change; provides spiritual and practical resources for healing; and offers hope that forgiveness, redemption, and peace are possible in Christ. 144 pages, softcover from Cook.

Here's a website for those who find themselves pregnant in difficult circumstances.  Also a website for those seeking healing from their choice to have an abortion.

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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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