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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lancaster County windmill (photo by Nick Nichols)
Our friend Nick Nichols took this photo of a Lancaster County windmill.

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"Staying In God's Love"

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us" (1 John 3:1). "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14). "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life" (Jude 20,21).

A number of years ago following the Sunday Morning Worship service Brooksyne and I greeted Mary as she and her husband came through the receiving line. 
I shook her hand as she commented on the very colorful tie I wore that day. An older lady with a pleasant smile, I never recalled her saying much. On the way home, immediately following the service, she and her husband were involved in a traffic accident and Mary died.

She had been part of our church for 70 years and had heard many sermons and teachings. She herself had taught Sunday School years earlier. The morning of Mary's death the Sunday School teacher had referred to the second daily text,
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes". None in our class had any idea that a member of our own congregation would that very day "vanish" like a mist from our presence.

WindmillIn my sermon earlier that morning I shared from 1 John 3 and highlighted the love of the Father, "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us." In an illustration I shared of a farmer who had a windmill with the inscription, "God is Love". He was questioned whether this meant that God's love is constantly changing. The farmer wisely replied, "No, it means whichever way the wind blows, God is still love."

Mary's husband, Irvin, continued to attend the church for many years before his health declined and he now resides in a nursing home. Surely he never expected to lose his wife in such a tragic way but we don't pick or schedule our trials.

Each of us entertain thoughts of "What if?" leading us to mentally rewrite our narrative which leads to an outcome more to our liking. But when finality sets in and we commit our disappointments and griefs to God, we learn to rejoice in the Scripture that reminds us, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness."

Today we encourage each of you to reaffirm your commitment to the Lord and recognize His faithfulness especially in the inevitable struggles of life. We simply don't know what this day or this year will bring but we are in very good care as God's children.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there are so many things about our future that we can't foresee, but we can entrust our future to You for safekeeping. It will keep us from troublesome worries that worsen our present circumstances by causing us to falter or doubt. It will keep us from making improper choices and will help us maintain a healthy outlook from day to day. But as we build ourselves up on our most holy faith, and pray in the Holy Spirit, we will keep ourselves in Your love, Father, as we anxiously await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Bill and Joyce Tilney 2/20/13
Yesterday we joined Bill and Joyce Tilney for lunch in Ephrata, PA. They have a ministry called The Voice Of Grace and Truth which is a bi-monthly newspaper filled with inspirational stories distributed throughout our region of Pennsylvania. For many years they served in missions in Scotland. They have a vibrant zeal in their service for the Lord.

Sarris Chocolate Castle
Yesterday afternoon I visited with Dave, who works in sales in one of our companies. He shared a photo he had taken of a chocolate castle made by the Sarris Candy Company in Canonsburg PA (near Pittsburgh). People drive from all over just to get a glimpse of this amazing showcase.

Sarris Chocolate Castle
I wonder how many of these they sell!!!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Behold What Manner Of Love"  Video  Maranatha Singers  This is a wonderful Scripture chorus we enjoy singing in rounds.

"I Don't Know Who Holds Tomorrow"  Video  Jerry Grant
A great old song!

"Love Lifted Me"  Video  Traditional version

"Love Lifted Me"  Video  Ashmont Hill  An interesting group from an inner city church in Boston. The video is recorded on top of a building with the Boston skyline in the background.

"Love Lifted Me"  Video  Women of Faith

"It's Just Like His Great Love"  Video  This old song, rarely heard anymore and absent from most hymnbooks, came to mind. In this version an "old-fashioned" songleader leads the music service in a local church. For younger readers this is how music was done in many churches for many years before praise teams and bands came along. I appreciate praise teams which gives many an opportunity to serve, but I also enjoy the old style especially since congregational singing could be heard more easily.

Oh, I could sing forever of Jesus’ love divine,
Of all His care and tenderness for this poor life of mine;
His love is in and over all, and wind and waves obey,
When Jesus whispers, “Peace, be still!”
and rolls the clouds away.

The windmill photo was taken by our friend Nick Nichols. A larger-sized photo is here. I am intrigued as to how Nick took this photo unless it was out of a barn loft with a telephoto lens. My windmill photos are from the ground looking up and even if I took a closeup it would not be at this straight-on angle.

Nick is actively involved in recovery ministries. He responded to our message on Tuesday about "Who Is This Higher Power?"    

"Today's message is certainly timely given that I voluntarily head the Job Club at Water Street Ministries and at The Gate House in Lititz and Mountville. I've been on the board at the Gate House for 29 years and while I'm not recovering, this has been a most wonderful experience for me. It has become 'richer' given that I've started a Job Club which focuses on getting residents back into the main stream of society once again becoming tax payers. While people do continue to recover and get better, the first step of the 12-step never made any sense to me. You get to call your higher power by whatever name you pick and there's no personal relationship - just a thought or an idea."

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.)

How China Plans to Wipe Out House Churches

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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