The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, November 18, 2016
As the trees lose their leaves and we will face the relative starkness of the winter season. But this crimson tree really stands out on this Amish farm near Intercourse, PA
Click on photo to enlarge.
"What Love Covers"
Note: We were unable to post a message yesterday (11/17/16) due to some unexpected problems that came up, including the illustration in today's message. Although we may get started on a message several days beforehand we purposefully do the final work on the morning we post most of the time. Or if we're out early for the day we prepare the evening before. We thus have a problem when we have busyness the evening before and an early morning out on the road.
Next week we will be visiting Brooksyne's sister during the Thanksgiving season and may not be able to post each day due to travel.
Message Summary: May God help each of us to live in the power of God's love and generously communicate that love to those nearby!
Due to a very busy schedule a podcast was not prepared for today's message
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).
We've had several busy days with some of those minor challenges that are just a part of daily living. Wednesday evening I stepped into our kitchen only to find the floor covered with water. It turned out to be the trap under our kitchen sink which had somehow been jarred enough to create a leak. Well, I am thankful that my dad was a plumber who demonstrated and taught me many basic home maintenance skills. I managed to make the repair myself with some new washers and we are good to go until the next problem comes around. It's never a good thing when water from a plumbing leak covers your kitchen floor but today we focus on that which we want to cover - a multitude of sins. And what is that covering? Love!
Many years ago I heard a remarkable testimony at a chaplain's conference in Texas from a veteran pastor who had served in World War 2. He went to Nagasaki Japan shortly after the A-bomb was dropped. Interestingly, his mission took place shortly after the Japanese surrendered when he provided care to the Japanese by going from house to house, checking on them and getting them out for medical care. That's a lesser known story about how that kindness was displayed by Americans, even after the horrible events of war unfolded.
He was not serving the Lord at the time and was consumed with hateful feelings, especially toward the Japanese. His godly mother had been diligently praying that he would turn to Christ before it was eternally too late. She had given him a Bible before he left, which he never read. But the Lord was working on his heart and one Sunday, prompted by the Spirit, he decided to attend a small Japanese church.
He entered the back of the church with a sneering countenance and begrudging attitude. Can you imagine the mutual hatred held by both sides in that church? Being a Japanese believer and seeing an American serviceman shortly after the A-bomb was dropped on your city or being an American who had seen your own service buddies die before your very eyes at the hands of the Japanese.
Yet through the joint realization of the power of the blood of Christ, an overcoming aspect of love was demonstrated in that small church in 1945. When Communion was being served the Japanese believers did not pass up the American soldier, but they served him as well, and the process of healing and reconciliation in his life began.
Let us consider today's verse. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." The Apostle Peter's call was initially issued to persecuted believers whom he had called "God's elect, strangers in the world" in the very first verse of the epistle. Now through the Holy Scriptures we believers of all time read:
"Above all, love each other deeply." Oh, how this command is greatly neglected but wholly needed in every sphere of life; in marriages, families, churches, communities, nations and of course all over the world.
"Because love covers a multitude of sins." Love still covers and overpowers sin. No matter the generation nor the depth of sin, foundationally the love of God expressed in Christ's death on the cross, covers our sin.
And in some remarkable way the power of God's love was at work in that Japanese church, covering sin right after the horrors of World War 2. Thirty years later the once bitter soldier, who became a redeemed minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was invited back to Nagasaki to share his testimony and the power of God's love that transformed his life.
That same power is not diminished one bit and is being expressed all over the world today. May God help each of us to live in the power of God's love and generously communicate that love to those nearby!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we bow in prayer before You today, and ask that You, in Your great glory give us the power to be strong inwardly through Your Spirit. We pray that Christ will live in our hearts by faith and that our lives will be strong in love and be built on love. And we pray that we will have the power to accpet the greatness of Christ's love – how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is; it is measureless, and boundless, covering a multitude of sins. Christ's love is greater than anyone can ever fully know, but we pray that those, who are struggling in their faith, would be able to experience that love, that they might be filled with Your fullness, Father. Amen.
Rachel is a friend from our church who wrote the following prayer in regard to the divisions in our country, especially following the election:
Prayer for our post-election nation: Dear Lord, help each of us as we navigate the sea of varied responses to the results of the election. Please guard and guide our hearts, and move graciously in the church to help us to listen to one another, seek to understand each other, and talk with each other. Keep us from faulty generalizations, and from speaking in an un-Christlike manner. May we be humble and teachable. Let us earnestly seek Your face for wisdom and grace. May we pray passionately for the church to be filled with the Holy Spirit's presence, to be filled with wisdom from you, and to express the truth, mercy, and grace of God to all. Teach us to learn from one another and to help each other as we journey on in our troubled world. Let us continually seek Your will and ways. Give us courage, strength, and peace to live as faithful disciples of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. May we do the work of Jesus in our homes, our churches, and our society. And may He be exalted and praised as we live our lives day by day. Amen.
Yesterday we had a pleasant journey through Lncaster County in the course of our chaplaincy visits and enjoy sharing some of the scenes we saw.
Yesterday we passed several schools having recess that sure brought back some good memories for both of us. Playing outside during recess, when we were in grade school, was the highlight of our school day. A healthy sound in a school setting is hearing children vigorously play at recess! The photo above is taken at an old order Amish schoolhouse. Looks like a group is playing volleyball and a group of younger boys are playing tag or perhaps hide and seek.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Here's recess at an old order Mennonite schoolhouse. Two groups, younger and older, were playing baseball. The Amish and Mennonite have distinct clothing that separates them in appearance. In each photo you can also see the teacher, who may be in her late teens playing right among the children.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Early yesterday morning we noticed a lot more Amish buggy traffic than usual and passed several farms with lots of buggies parked out in the field.
Any reader want to speculate what this was all about? (Respond here)
New Holland Farm Equipment has a healthy display at their headquarters in New Holland.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Power Of Your Love" Video
"The Love Of God" Video MercyMe
I enjoy visiting with the people who serve food samples at Costco as I gladly partake of the snacks. In this photo Phyllis is still preparing samples at 91 years of age and told me yesterday that she enjoys her work!
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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