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The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Purple finches 2/14/13
Today we observed Mr. & Mrs. Purple Finch enjoying sunflower seeds from this colorful birdfeeder
we recently received from friends. It took the birds nearly two weeks to catch on but now they're thoroughly enjoying it.

Marriage series: We celebrate Valentine's Day today and this week we are sharing a series of messages with the main points based on Gary Chapman's book, "The Five Love Languages". In doing so we are using the outline of the five languages, featuring a different one each day. We want to provide messages that will strengthen marriages. However most of these points apply to all relationships.

Note: We have shared the illustration in the following message in the past but we have many new readers and also suppose regular readers may very well benefit in reading it again. It's one of the best examples of enduring love we ever personally witnessed.

"Cooperative Service & Enduring Love"

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives" (1 Peter 3:7). "Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8).

I will always love you
I will be faithful
I will be there through each and every storm
As sure as there's a heaven up above
I will always love you
My love

A video link to this song is provided below.
We highly recommend it.

Rose arrangement (photo by Doris High)The fourth love language is "cooperative service". In a healthy marriage partners are committed to serving one another in love. How this cooperative service works out in marriage will vary depending on our stage of life but newlyweds do well to establish a pattern of serving one another early in their marriage.

We live out in the country and periodically we lose electrical power. Since just about everything in our home relies on electric we find ourselves quite inconvenienced to say the least; no water since we have a well and pump, no heat, and no Internet. (Even our coal stove requires electricity to run the self-feeder.)

This brings to mind an event that took place near
Valentine's Day in 2005.

Burger King logoOur power had gone out due to a storm outage and after nearly six chilling hours with no electricity Brooksyne, Ester and I, along with my mom, who was living with us at the time, decided we needed to go somewhere for some warmth and working bathrooms. So I drove the four of us over to a Burger King about four miles away where we ordered our meals and sat down at a table.

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.

Burger King interiorAs our meal dragged on and on we began to observe a frail elderly couple who were sitting right 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 side by side rather than sitting across from one another. I thought it rather sweet, kind of like a teenage couple on a date.

Being curious, I suggested to Brooksyne that she get more condiments, and go the long way around to get a view of 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 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 bite and swallow the food. 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 Jared's, Hallmark, Russell Stover, and local florists market heavily especially at Christmas and Valentine's Day.

Consider the media's portrayal of love with a gorgeous Hollywood couple having a lavish wedding surrounded by paparazzi. So often the same headline couple becomes headlines again when they're soon embroiled in a divorce battle.

However, we believe the full picture of genuine, mature, and enduring servant type love is evident in the old couple at the Burger King. Love's passion will fizzle. Youth and vitality turns into a distant memory captured only in photos or 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

Praying manDaily 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 tears and pain. Often when 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. Rely on God's goodness and trust His guidance for all that concerns you, including your future.

Here are "The Five Love Languages" we are dealing with this week:

1) Affirming Words  Monday's message
2) Quality Time  Tuesday's message
3) Thoughtful Gifts  Wednesday's message
4) Cooperative Service  Today's message
5) Physical Intimacy  Friday's message

Pat and Lois Simpson 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, was my best man in our wedding, and we remain close friends to this day.

I called David last night and inquired about his Mom and Dad. His dad has had Alzheimer's for several years and is no longer able to live at home. But Lois faithfully visits him five days a week. Dave's mother wonders aloud why the Lord allows her husband to go through this and he told her, "Mom, perhaps it's so that your children and grandchildren can witness what genuine and enduring love really is."

We stopped by to see Pat and Lois about seven years ago when I was out that way and took the photo above in their home in Belton Missouri. Here's a photo of David and his wife Sandy we took when we visited them in Springfield, MO several years ago.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Love"  Video   River  A powerful song of enduring love right up to the end. This song ballad tells a story worth hearing!

He's up and ready to go by 8 a.m.
On his way to see his best friend
For two years, he hasn't missed a stride
To the nursing home to see his lovely bride

For sixty years, they've held each other close
And now the time has come to let go
He still recalls the promises they made
So long ago, on their wedding day

I will always love you
I will be faithful
I will be there through each and every storm
As sure as there's a heaven up above
I will always love you
My love

Some days she can't remember his name
But she holds onto his hand just the same
They've learned to speak with more than just words
And she knows just what he's saying as he wipes away her tears

He watched her as she slowly slipped away
And said "I'll see you again in heaven some day"
He got down on his knees and gave her to the Lord
He kissed her one last time as he whispered the words

I will always love you
I will be faithful
I will be there through each and every storm
As sure as there's a heaven up above
I will always love you
My love

"Living By Vows" Video  Article  A testimony of enduring love by Robertson McQuilken as he cared for his wife with Alzheimer's disease.

"The Five Love Languages" can be ordered at Amazon or many other sources.

Early this week a short news article was written about us titled: "Married Couple Serve As Internet Chaplains"

Amish funeral near New Holland PA 2/13/13
Yesterday we passed an Amish funeral gathering near New Holland PA.

Browser logosThese are articles we come across in the course of studying for these messages or just poking around the vast Internet. In most cases they are not necessarily related to the daily message but may be of interest to our readers. These articles will only be posted once and there will be new ones each post, assuming we come across material that we feel may be of interest. (To see previous links use the archive version.)

This song is not related to our message but we came across it and want to share it, dedicating it to our pastor peers in general and specifically to our pastor, John Keefer. "The Pastor"  Video  Crystal River

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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