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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Donegal Creek
Donegal Creek
This creek is along our favorite country walk, about 1/2 mile from our home.

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"Patience and Forbearance"

"Be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).

1952 Chrysler Town&Country
Do you have memories of funny experiences in your life that took place years earlier? The kind, that when they replay in your mind, you automatically smile or even laugh out loud.  Well, of course, we all have those kind of memories don't we! We'd like to share one  with you today.

We were out on a ride with some friends several years ago in our Chrysler Town and Country van. I was driving with my friend sitting in the front passenger seat, our wives sitting behind us, and the children in the back seat.

Turkey Hill Chocolate milk I purchased a 16 oz. plastic container of chocolate milk at a previous stop and put in in a bag in the seat beside Brooksyne. As I was driving along I asked her to pass it forward so I could drink it.  (Whenever I have a flavored milk drink I always shake it prior to taking the cap off.)  She passed it up to me as I  continued to focus on the road. Feeling the container was solidly in my hand, I began to shake it vigorously.

Well, bless Brooksyne's thoughtful heart, unbeknownst to me she had already shaken the milk and even taken off the cap to assist me.  My passenger friend, Jesse, got soaked repeatedly as I tossed cold chocolate milk in his direction each time I shook the drink. We sure had a great laugh, especially the wives who sat behind us rather stunned as they watched me continuously splatter my friend. I had about half the bottle left before I realized what was happening.  Jesse said afterward, "I may have wanted a sip, but I sure didn’t expect to get it that way."

Old couple holding hands
Enduring friendships are one of the greatest gifts that God gives to us right alongside enduring marriages. Any marriage or friendship that endures requires two characteristics mentioned in our daily text. These two Christian virtues complement each other. "Be patient, bearing with one another in love." They're needed in marriage and the home.  They're also needed in friendships, the workplace, and in the church body. Actually they would work in everyone of our associations.  I believe enduring relationships of any type absolutely depend on patience and forbearance. 

The Apostle Paul wrote to the community of believers in Ephesus about church relationships, but the two characteristics speak to every relationship.

First he calls believers to "be patient".  I happen to like the descriptive word "longsuffering" which the King James Version uses.  This sure is needed today isn't it?  I am so thankful for people who have been patient toward me.  Aren't you?

Secondly we are told to be "bearing with one another in love."  One of the definitions in my Greek dictionary for this word is "to hold oneself up against, i.e. put up with."  There would have been no need to write this if "bearing with" was not needed, but it was essential then and continues to be today.  That's just the nature of humanity. 

And it's inevitably at least to some degree a mutual situation, although we may not see it that way.  You may read this and think, "Yes, I know exactly what he's talking about and I sure am bearing with so and so", without realizing, from their perspective, they are also bearing with you!

Among God's blessed attributes are His patience and forbearance.  We are all recipients of them.  Let us follow the Lord's example today in practicing patience and forbearance in all our relationships.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I feel such deep gratitude when I consider how patient You are with my frequent shortcomings. You don't toss me aside and move on to a more deserving person, but You continue to come alongside me and Your Word continues to renew my hope day by day.   When I'm tempted to think that my spouse, my child, or my friend doesn't deserve another chance I'm reminded of Your continual forbearance with me.  May I be forgiving even as You continually forgive me. May Your divine grace bring the virtues of forgiveness, forbearance and love together in perfect unity so that Your peace dwells in my heart daily.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note: Anna and I looked on in disbelief as Stephen repeatedly tossed chocolate milk in Jesse's direction.  It was so unexpectant that we were both stunned wondering why he would intentionally soak his friend not just once but over and over.  Finally, when Stephen became aware of what he was doing and we understood his serious error we erupted into a laughter that followed us for many miles, as someone would inevitably bring it up.  Prior to the milk toss Jesse had fed little Sadie Ruth being very careful so as not to make a mess in the van, or on either of them.

Well, Stephen sure blew that careful plan to pieces. When we visit this couple inevitably this story resurfaces now and then, and they or we will say, "We need to take another trip together.  It's been too long since we had any milk throwing in the van." Wouldn't it be wonderful if the "big" misunderstandings in life with friends and loved ones would be so easy to patch up and we could laugh about it later. I believe God wants us, in as much as it is possible on our part, to be forgiving and to be quick to ask forgiveness.  So many relationships are destroyed due to misunderstandings where one party assumes incorrectly about a matter and forms negative attitudes based upon assumption rather than fact.

Note: The Chrysler Town and Country pictured in our message today is a 1952 model. We have a slightly later model!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"An Evening Prayer"  Video  Carroll Roberson  In considering supplemental music today Brooksyne said "There's an old hymn your Mom enjoyed that begins with,
'If I have wounded any soul today', but you'll never find that on the web."  Well I did find it and a very good version at that!  It's a song in prayer that would do us well to recite every evening.  

If I have wounded any soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have uttered idle words or vain,
If I have turned aside from want or pain,
Lest I myself shall suffer through the strain,
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have been perverse or hard, or cold,
If I have longed for shelter in Thy fold,
When Thou hast given me some fort to hold,
Dear Lord, forgive!

Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee;
Forgive the secret sins I do not see;
O guide me, watch over me and my keeper be,
Dear Lord, Amen.

"Holding Hands
"  Video  Steve Green

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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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