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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Railroad bridge in Pennsylvania
Our friend, Peter DeHart, took this photo of the Tioga Central Railroad Bridge
near the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon in Tioga County.
It's the coldest day of the season with temps down to nearly 10 degrees last night!

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"What A Friend!"

"I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

Friend me
Through technology we have the opportunity to be connected with far more people than previous generations which is a positive thing. But in the last several years in my view technology has cheapened the meaning of friendship. These associations, however minimal, are referred to as "friends", whereas in the past they would have been at best "acquaintances", which the online dictionary defines as "Knowledge of a person acquired by a relationship less intimate than friendship."

The term "friendship" is especially cheapened when the word is used for political purposes. I heard an interview with a politician speaking of how a political rival was such a good friend. The interviewer then played a tape of him calling this very rival a pig! Genuine friends don't call me a pig (Editor's note: not in front of others, at least)! This is a longtime problem illustrated by the expedient pseudo friendship between Herod and Pilate at the trial of Jesus; "And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other" (Luke 23:12).

Dave Simpson
I am blessed with many friends, collected over 50 years of living. I am appreciative of technology that connects us more easily and doesn't break the piggy bank in doing so (as in the past when long distance calls cost a small fortune). Dave Simpson, a businessman in Springfield, Missouri, is my longest term friend whom I have been associated with since first grade. Yesterday I got a call from an Amish friend who called just to check up on me and see how I was doing. A peculiar religious restriction meant he had to go to an outbuilding to make the call so I'm glad he made the extra effort! I am pleased to call many of our readers friends and of course since Brooksyne and I have been married for nearly 36 years most of our friends are mutual.

But today let us consider One whom we reckon as our best friend. Many see Proverbs 18:24 as an allusion to this Friend, "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

"What a Friend we have in Jesus"
Many years ago I recall a prayer gathering with a group of ministers. The service was themed with various segments of prayer for specific needs. In between the prayer times the worship leader led us in a selection of music which was also themed. I was especially touched when he led in a hymn and several choruses dealing with our endearing, enduring friendship with Jesus Christ. We sang, "What a Friend we have in Jesus", "What a Friend I've Found", and "He Knows My Name". As we gathered around the altar singing these songs I was filled with the peace and assurance that is my rightful inheritance and wept as God reminded me of His steadfast love and care.

In the daily Scripture text Jesus is speaking to His disciples. "I have called you friends."  It's during his final hours and His final teaching. He does not use the designation "friends" often in the Gospels. It seems He wants to use this endearing term at this time to describe His relationship with the disciples as each of them faced such a dark time ahead.

There are many songs that describe our friendship with Jesus. Some of you will recall songs like "Friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine…", "I've found a friend in Jesus, he's everything to me" or "I've found a Friend, Who is all to me". And still one more, "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus…"

What a joy today to have a friend in Jesus. This is a friendship we can all mutually share. Wherever you live, whatever conditions you are dealing with, this friendship is steady and enduring. Indeed, what a Friend I've found!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we thank You that in Jesus we've found an enduring Friend for all eternity; One who laid down His life that we might be raised to newness of life. There's no friend on earth that can provide the constant companionship we experience with Christ through prayer, the Scriptures, and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit that resides in our hearts; in the good times and the bad, during the testings and temptations common to all. There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not even one. Thank You for this wondrous gift we celebrate of Jesus coming to earth in the flesh to dwell among us and to show us the more excellent way. Amen.

Today's pig story prompted a memory from several years ago when we served a church in Spring Grove, PA in an interim role. Bob was an older member of the church who had a very colorful personality and a weight issue common to older folks. He told us about going to a donut shop where he'd heard they give away day-old donuts. He inquired about the donuts and the lady at the counter informed him, "We give them to a pig farmer who feeds them to his pigs." Not to be outdone, Bob followed up, "Well, I'm a pig!"

Mollie's Birthday: Yesterday, Ester excitedly celebrated Mollie's first birthday.  In February 2011 she picked her out of a litter of four short haired border collie pups at the Humane League.  She was 2 months old when she came to live with us. Definitely a busy, lively dog but a very affectionate one as well and an excellent retriever. We hope that in Year Two she gets through the destructive chewing stage which has been an ongoing challenge.

Mollie Christmas 2011

Mollie's brother Sawyer
Yesterday Ester connected with another Border Collie owner through the Humane League who put two and two together and made the discovery that she adopted Mollie's brother. The owner, who lives in Leola (Lancaster County), sent us the photo to the right which looks identical to Mollie; same markings and height.  What fun to make the connection on their one year birthday.  From the sounds of things Sawyer loves to chew, just like Mollie.  Hopefully they'll narrow their chewing desires to just bones and dogfood in their 2nd year!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What A Friend We Have In Jesus"  Video  Paul Baloche

"Friendship With Jesus"  Video  The O'Neil Twins (1971)

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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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