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Thursday, May 8, 2014

38th anniversary photo 5/4/14 (Photo by Sabra Penley)
Thirty-eight years later!
Sabra Penley took our photo at Red Robin Restaurant in San Antonio on Sunday.

"Thirty-Eight Years"

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"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:10-12).

Today is a special day in our home. Thirty-eight years ago Brooksyne Sherrell walked down the aisle of a church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma to join me in holy matrimony and we began our journey together as the Weber family. For this we are very thankful. We had both committed our lives to Jesus Christ years before our marriage and have sought to serve the Lord together through the years.

God established the marriage of a man and woman as the most fundamental human relationship at the very beginning of Creation. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Jesus Christ powerfully and unambiguously affirmed the institution of marriage when He said, "Haven't you read, that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?" (Matthew 19:4,5). The apostle Paul affirmed the sanctity and nature of marriage in several of his writings, "Each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband" (1 Corinthians 7:2).

Yet marriage is under terrific attack today by the evil one whose intent is to steal, kill, destroy, and distort all that is sacred. The downward progression has gone from broken marriages (divorce), to ignoring marriage (immorality), to redefining what marriage foundationally constitutes (a covenant union between a man and woman).

The last attack is unique to our age, actually in just the last ten years. Surely when God's fundamental human institution is so greatly violated judgment will soon follow. We already see evidence of this as lifestyles and perversions, unimaginable to us at one time, are becoming more and more commonplace. One can only wonder, what's next?

So, although our anniversary prompts today's message, we want to honor the institution of marriage as established in the Holy Scripture.

In our marriage we've had our victories and we've had our disappointments just like everyone else.
God has blessed us with a very fulfilling marriage and partnership in ministry. We have been blessed with good health, harmony in our marriage and many fruitful years of service for the Lord. We've also had our disappointments, most especially our inability to have our own biological children. We've also had several of the inevitable heartaches associated with ministry (sheep bites).

Raising Ester, who entered our lives and captured our hearts 25 years ago, has been rewarding and at times quite challenging. It's been a tremendous blessing to see the way God has brought her through life and death situations related to her congenital heart disease. We've learned so much about faith and endurance through her persistence and overcoming spirit. She's also taught us what it's like for parents to hang on and trust God during the years of teen rebellion.

Like any issue of life we have a choice whether to focus on the positive or negative and together we have chosen to focus on the positive. In doing so we find that our blessings far outnumber our trials.
As we look back we can testify that it's during the challenges that we've grown spiritually, learned to identify with others undergoing trial. We've also been less judgmental, more prayerful and understanding as we reach out to others during their time of need.

Today's text is how the description of an "excellent wife" begins in Proverbs 31. What a blessing that is! I am especially thankful for that phrase,
"She does him good, and not harm" which has been my experience.

All the days of our marriage, in the early spring time of young affection and in the waning years of declining age and health our love is based on high principles which knows no change or diminishment over time. Such a marriage is based upon God's selfless love, the kind that loves in spite of rather than because of. But in reality our love is based on both; in spite of and because of. We hope and pray that those of you who are married know and experience this same kind of love.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, one of the most wonderful gifts we can receive in this life is finding a loving and faithful companion who will walk beside us through life. One who will encourage us, be fully honest with us, forgive us when we fail, love us even in our unlovely state, one who will be strong when we are weak, lift us up when we fall down, lovingly tend to our needs when we're sick and unable to care for ourselves, believe in us when we don't believe in ourselves, one who will lead by example and help kindle spiritual growth in our lives. For all this and so much more we thank You, Father, for the loving companionship of our mate. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

We would like to share several photos from our wedding that took place May 8, 1976 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, Brooksyne's home church.

Our wedding photo
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne wedding photo
My bride of 38 years

Church where we had our wedding
The stately church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma where our wedding was held.

Our wedding 5/8/76
Skip Redmond, a friend from college, was our photographer and took this photo from the balcony.

David Simpson, best man 5/8/76
Shaking hands before the wedding with Dave, a friend from 1st grade, who was my best man. Dave and I remain friends to this day and I will see him and his wife Sandy next month when I have a chaplain conference in Springfield, MO. In the background is my brother Pat who conducted the service.

Joe and Pauline Harding at our wedding 5/8/76
I am introducing Brooksyne to Joe and Pauline Harding, now with the Lord. We have previously written about the Hardings and their influence on my life.

Our wedding 5/8/76
Looks like Brooksyne is already telling me secrets. My sister Genelle looks on as we stood in the receiving line greeting our guests.

Wedding reception 5/8/76
We had wedding rehearsal on Friday evening and must have been making decisions about the ceremony. Brooksyne is part Indian (Cherokee) and looks like it here.
I am wearing a real cool "leisure suit" (anyone else remember those) and some of the first glasses that were supposed to change but always stayed dark. Brooksyne asked me not to wear them during the wedding. I'm sure glad I didn't.

Wedding reception 5/8/76
We didn't run around with those who might have used limousines at that time so we didn't need to factor in that extra cost. The custom then was to decorate the car of the newly married couple but somehow they got the wrong car, decorating my best man's car who followed us by himself to a restaurant where we had a meal together. He got lots of horn honking as he drove along, a bachelor at the time.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Gift
"  Video  Jim Brickman

"Household Of Faith"  Video  Steve Green

"After All These Years"  Video  

"The Day Before You"  Video  Matthew West

"Love of My Life"  Video  Jim Brickman

We mentioned our friends David and Sabra Penley in our message Monday and expect to write a message about a severe trial they endured last year in a coming message. Both have written articles on Proverbs 31, one from her perspective and another from his.
An Excellent Wife – A Woman’s Perspective
An Excellent Wife – A Man’s Perspective

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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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