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Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Barn
A happy face barn also makes my heart cheerful!
This barn is near Reinholds in northeastern Lancaster County, PA.

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"Love Never Fails"

"Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8). "Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4).

Dave and Millie Donner

Dave and Millie are friends of ours who celebrated their 63rd anniversary just prior to Dave's call home to heaven last August. They sure demonstrated lasting love and we dedicate today's message to Millie and her family!

We are having extremely high winds out here in the country where we live. Yesterday the powerful velocity of 60 mph winds swept into some regions of our country resulting in power outages for thousands.  We did not lose power but when we do, it includes our heat source (since our coal stove has an electric feeder), water supply (since we have a well requiring a pump), and all other electricity.

Several years ago we had a lengthy power outage due to a winter storm.  After nearly six chilling hours we decided to enjoy some warmth and working bathrooms so we went out and got something to eat.  My mom was living with us at the time so the four of us went to a Burger King and sat down at a table to eat our meal. 

Usually when we go to a fast food restaurant we do window service or quickly eat and leave (after all, it is "fast" food).  Not this time, however, since we were in no hurry to give up our warm location. We took plenty of time to eat and visit together and probably bordered on loitering.

As our meal dragged on and on we began to observe a frail aged couple who were sitting very close beside each other. Our view of them was obscured by the thick green plants in the privacy partition two rows over.  It seemed rather peculiar that they were sitting so close beside each other rather than across from one another. Aside from their aged appearance, they looked like a romantic teen couple on a date.

I suggested to Brooksyne, when she went to get more condiments, to go the long way around and view this couple from the front. She came back with a full report.  They were seated close together because they were sharing a single meal. The husband was pinching off bird sized portions of a hamburger and hand-feeding it to his wife.  He broke the french fries into ¼" pieces and gave her very small sips of the beverage through a straw.  Apparently she had a stroke and though they were very small bites it still took her a long time to chew each one and swallow it.  He lovingly and patiently waited for her to chew and digest each bite before giving her the next one. 

Hollywood weddingThoughts of Valentine's Day brings about mental images of young romance that Kaye's Jewelers, Hallmark, Russell Stover, and local florists want to depict.  Consider the media's portrayal of the gorgeous Hollywood couple with the lavish wedding surrounded by paparazzi. So often the same headline couple having the big posh wedding becomes headlines again when they're soon in the midst of an embroiled divorce battle.  The famous Hollywood couple to the left married in 2000 at a very expensive wedding. They divorced five years later.

However, the full picture of genuine, mature, and lasting love is seen in the couple at Burger King.  Love's passion will fizzle. Youth and vitality turns into a distant memory captured only in photos and deep in one's heart.  But true love will remain all the days of our lives when we take seriously the marital vows, "for richer or poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part."

Brooksyne has a verse she posted on her printer probably 14 years ago (though the copiers have been replaced several times over.)
The days of love are endless,
The time of love is now,
The words of love are beautiful,
The trust of love a vow.

"Love never fails" is the enduring message that Paul's conveys in what is known as "The Love Chapter":  Endurance is a word defined as "the act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress."  That's the depth of tested love the world needs to see and emulate. As God's children we are called to practice it and be living examples for those who look on. We should not only be attracted to each other, but we must remain committed to each other as well. Consider this when you express love this Valentine's Day and everyday! 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, You love us with an everlasting love.  Your enduring love stands as the supreme example for us to follow in our human relationships.  Even when we have forsaken You and broken our vows, You continue to forgive us and woo us back to Yourself.  You are not a god of retribution but a God of mercy.  Even when we listen to the world's counsel and experience dismal failure You pick up the shattered pieces and still call us Your own.  Only a God like You deserves our complete loyalty.  As we personally experience Your enduring love when we least deserve it, help us to apply the same kind of enduring love to those who least deserve it from us.  Only through Your strength can we do even the impossible.  Amen. 

Note: Due to several appointments we were unable to get a Daily Encouragement message off yesterday (Thursday, February 12).

Brooksyne's additional note: I learned the deepest meaning of marital love when Stephen dealt with diverticulitis beginning in late 2002, which resulted in four surgeries over a year's time.  Each time he was in the hospital recovering and not at his computer I realized how much I missed seeing him and talking with him.  The romance we first experienced as college students bloomed into companionship and we are still best friends as we will soon celebrate 33 years of marriage.  That love companionship had become something I just took for granted until I realized what it would be like to suddenly be without my lover and best friend.  I can assure you that I was at the hospital much more than I was home during his recoveries, for my heart there with my husband.  Material comforts never replace the longings of the heart. 

I do want to speak to those today whose "Valentine" has gone to be with Jesus and you're feeling a renewed loss.  May you find the communion of the Holy Spirit to be your solace and constant Companion.  I pray that Jesus, Your Bright Morning Star, will light your way today and into the unforeseeable future.  May Christ who is the Lily of the Valley and the Rose of Sharon be as a sweet fragrance to you this day.

I also want to address those whose Valentines have greatly disappointed them.  Theirs has not been an enduring love but rather a spouse who has left behind a trail of pain and disappointment.  Each time we write about marital love or other such subject matter we receive sensitive email describing partners who are alcoholics, abusive, adulterers, and the list goes on.  May the grace of Jesus be your sustaining strength and enduring hope.

Our Lord Jesus is all-sufficient to meet Your needs, no matter what they are.  He is not only there for you but for your children and all who have been broken by the ungodly circumstances that surround you.  Never give up and feel that you're out of the sight of God.  If He sees each time a sparrow falls, He's certain to see each tear drop that falls from your eyes.  His tender words for you are 'Let not your heart be troubled.'  Rest on His goodness and cast out your doubts and fears.  Trust unreservedly!"

And then I consider those whose Valentine has not yet appeared.  You're still waiting and wondering.  May you rest in God's timing and His unrevealed plan for your life at this time.  Rest in His goodness and trust His guidance for all that concerns you.

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.)

"Living By Vows"  A remarkable story of enduring love by Roberston McQuilkin.

Footwashing at a wedding
"When God Made You"  Video  Here's an interesting perspective on marital love. Several years ago I officiated at a wedding and the young couple used this song during their wedding ceremony!  Mike and Joanna and their  one-year old daughter Adoreé are in our small group and building their home on the solid foundation of Christ!

"Only God Could Love You More"  Video

"The Love Of My Life - A Wedding Song"  Video

Follow-up - In Wednesday's Daily Encouragement we shared about a friend who had over 100 nieces and nephews. We saw Chet Wednesday afternoon and told him we had shared his story.  He further elaborated. He had 105 nieces and nephews 3 years ago when his mother died. He now has lost track! His mother knew each of her grandchildren by name and up to the last couple of years of her life she knew each birthday as well!

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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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