The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, February 14, 2011
A Valentine's Day tradition in our home is Brooksyne making frosted sugar cookies.
Ester and I also played a role as testers and they passed the taste test!
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"Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8). "Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4).
We are finally getting a break today after many weeks of very cold weather accompanied by several snow storms. It's already bright and clear early this morning and the temperature has already risen to 50 degrees. Brooksyne and I look forward to our country walks again!
Last week our electric power was out for several hours. Since just about everything in our home relies on electric we find ourselves quite inconvenienced to say the least; no water, no heat, and no power.
We had a similar experience with a power outage around Valentine's Day several years ago and it brings to mind a story we've shared before, but since we have many new subscribers it bears repeating:
After nearly six chilling hours of no electricity Brooksyne, Ester and I along with my mom, who was living with us at the time, decided we needed some warmth and working bathrooms so we went out and got something to eat. The four of us went to a Burger King about four miles away 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 to return to our cold home. 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 elderly 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 somewhat peculiar that they were nestled close together rather than sitting across from one another. I thought it rather sweet, kind of like a teenage couple on a date.
Being a bit nosy, I suggested to Brooksyne that she get more condiments, and go the long way around and view this couple from the front. She came back with a full report.
She explained that 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 tiny pieces and gave her very small sips of the beverage through a straw. Apparently she had suffered 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 feeding her the next one.
We were both deeply touched by such a loving scene. Thoughts of Valentine's Day bring 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 planning the big posh wedding becomes headlines again when they're soon in the midst of an embroiled divorce battle.
However, the full picture of genuine, mature, and enduring romantic 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 better, for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part."
This enduring love is at the very heart of Paul's message in what is known as the Love Chapter: "love never fails." 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, we thank You for the wonderful gift of love that we experience in a romantic relationship that often grows into a marital bond between a man and woman. It is a holy union in which devout believers make You the Cornerstone of their marriage and family. May they be a support to each other as they provide a loving and protective shelter from the bitter disappointments of life. May the fruit of the Spirit be evident in their daily walk both at home and in public places. Keep them wholly faithful to one another, rejecting every lustful temptation the devil sends their way. May they prove their love to each other with mutual respect, understanding, forgiveness, kindness, forbearance, and unity. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's additional note: Some of you have "Valentines" who have gone to be with Jesus and memories fill your heart today. 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. The Psalmist in Psalm 147:3 writes, "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds." The healing process may take awhile but I pray that you will rest on His goodness; cast out your doubts and fears and trust God 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 plan yet to be revealed in the future. Rely on His goodness and trust His guidance for all that concerns you.
Tomorrow we will continue our phrase by phrase exposition of 2 Timothy 1:12 considering the wonderful blessing of being able to declare with a settled assurance, "I Am Persuaded".
I dedicate today's message to my childhood neighbors Pat and Lois Simpson. They lived right across the street from us on Lacy Lane in Belton Missouri from when I was in first grade till we moved from that area following my Freshman year in high school. Their son David was my best friend growing up and we remain close friends to this day. I spoke to David last week and inquired about his Mom and Dad. His dad has had Alzheimer's Disease for several years and no longer is able to live at home. But Lois faithfully visits him.
We stopped by to see Pat and Lois about five years ago when I was out that way and took this photo in their home in Belton Missouri. They raised six children and their three daughters were also there to see us.
Friday I stopped by to visit with my friend Chuck Shupp at the S. Clyde Weaver Market. I met Chuck about nine years ago through a mutual association with CBMC, a Christian businessman's group. I like old farm machinery and equipment and thought this old metal wagon that Chuck is standing next to would be a good prop in the photo!
While at the S. Clyde Weaver Market I managed to pick up a rather interesting Valentine's Day gift for Brooksyne. When I gave it to her this morning she was quite pleased!
(Brooksyne's Edit: I did tell Stephen this was not just "my" gift, but "our" Valentine gift since there's no doubt that he'll be digging into the goodies with me.)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental ResourcesClick on the link to open and play.
"Living By Vows" Video Article A testimony of enduring love by Robertson McQuilken regarding caring for his wife with Alzheimer's disease.
"When God Made You" Video Here's an interesting perspective on marital love. Nearly six years ago I officiated at the wedding of Mike and JoAnna Gardner and they used this song during their wedding ceremony! They also expressed their love to one another in a very interesting way using a footwashing ceremony. Mike and JoAnna continue to build their still young marriage and home on the solid foundation of Christ, along with two children who have joined them! Here is the wedding service I used for them.
"Only God Could Love You More" Video
"The Love Of My Life - A Wedding Song" Video
We will leave the following musical resources up throughout our series on 2 Timothy 1:12
"I Know Whom I Have Believed" Video This is set to a newer tune but maintains the same wonderful words. It is beautifully sung by a worship team in a local church.
Here's a beautiful piano version of the same song using the tune we are familiar with. Audio All through our series of messages on 2 Timothy 1:12 we will be using this song as a background to our daily podcast.
If God Is Good . . . Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil
By Randy Alcorn / Random House, Inc
Difficult times beg questions about God's goodness and power. Offering compelling true stories, fresh answers, and biblical insights, Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief and reveals the big picture of who God is and what he's doing in the world---equipping you to share your faith clearly with those experiencing pain and fear. 432 pages, hardcover from Multnomah.
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
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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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