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Friday, January 6, 2017

Windmill sunset (Photo by Ester)
Windmill Sunset
Photo taken by Ester from our front yard.

"God's Enduring Love And Purpose"

Message summary: A story of God's love and forgiveness.

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"The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever" (Psalm 138:8).

Terri Roberts
Yesterday morning, at the invitation of our friends, Jim & Dorothy Schmidt, we attended the Christian Women's Club meeting in Mount Joy. It is quite rare that a man attends such a meeting unless he's the speaker, but the Schmidts have connections since Dorothy served Stonecroft Ministries, which heads up Christian Women's Clubs, for 44 years as Chairman of the Ocean City, NJ club and served in other capacities in South Jersey reaching women for Christ and developing leadership.

She and Jim have traveled to many different CWC 's and given their testimony as well. They now live here in Lancaster County and are acquainted with Terri Roberts, (pictured right) the speaker at yesterday's meeting, and felt that we would appreciate her message and besides, Jim needed another male in attendance amidst some 200 women! Brooksyne had recently read Terri's book, "Forgiven", that she wrote in 2015. In fact she read and shared much of it with me as we drove to our various companies making our chaplaincy rounds.

Terri is the mother of Charlie Roberts, shooter of the Amish girls at Nickel Mines, in October of 2006. The Amish actually refer to the event as "The Happening". Terri tells of the unimaginable heartbreaking experience that she and her husband Chuck suffered at the news of their 33 year old son's murderous rampage in the little Amish one-room schoolhouse. Terri wondered if they would ever find joy again and her husband wondered if he'd ever be able to face an Amish person again.

Their neighbors are Amish and Chuck was as an Amish taxi driver (very common in Lancaster County). Of course Terri weaves Scripture into her story and tells how they finally found peace and rest in God through the horrible ordeal, which began with the Amish neighbor paying a tender and loving visit the very evening of the tragedy. We provide some links so you can read more about Chuck and Terri's story and how they rebuilt their lives as they were drawn by God's loving-kindness manifested through various people and in multiple acts of love and forgiveness demonstrated toward them.

Psalm 138:8
Terri forthrightly shared of the deep hurt and the impossibility of understanding why something like this would happen. We may not understand but can still seek to find God's purpose for our life. His promise is to work all things out for ultimate good for those who love Him. They work out according to His purpose and in His time. From sacred Scripture we all can have the assurance of David, who confidently wrote some three thousand years ago, "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me."

"Your love, O LORD, endures forever." God's nature has not changed. His enduring love is just as valid this day as when David first expressed it. And it's valid for each one of us regardless of what situation we are dealt in life. Let's believe and stand upon this truth in 2017!

As we turn to God in faith and repentance we can have confidence in God's everlasting love and experience hope even though shifting sand is all around us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the tragic story of the Nickel Mines shooting,  other school shootings, or anytime there is the taking of innocent lives we would despair were it not for Your redemptive power to turn the worst of circumstances into opportunity for people to see and experience Your love, grace and forgiveness. The supreme example of this is seen in the crucifixion of Your innocent Son where it seemed that evil prevailed, Satan won and all hope was lost. Yet the resurrection took place just as You planned giving not only Jesus power over death, but it also provided salvation and eternal life for all who choose to believe on You. There is nothing the enemy can do to us that over-powers the good You bring about in Your redemptive plan. We see this in Joseph who chose to forgive the evil plotted against him declaring to his brothers, "What you intended for evil, God intended for good." Enable us to hold steady in trust that You will fulfill Your purpose in us; Your love, O Lord, endures forever, for You do not abandon the works of Your hands. Amen.

Terri Roberts with Dot Schmidt 1/5/16

Terri Roberts (left) with Dorothy Schmidt
When I, Brooksyne, took this photo at the Christian Women's Club yesterday I couldn't figure out why the coloring had a reddish tint. I took several shots and still couldn't get good coloring. After I sat down and examined my phone camera I realized the transparent red phone cover was on upside down which was covering up the lens.

Brooksyne's note: Last year I read "Forgiven", as our church library had acquired a copy of it and I had heard very good reviews. Terri doesn't write so much about "The Happening" as you might imagine and that can be found in other books and documents. But she writes about her family's experience of trying to grasp the horror of their's son's choice to plot and carry out such an evil act, in addition to his taking his own life. And, then, the overall theme of how they found forgiveness through the love and acceptance extended to them from the Amish community. It is an excellent read and would be a great book if you or someone you know is having difficulty with forgiveness, either giving or receiving it. Roberts also gives a perspective of one who must deal with the terrible fall-out from her son's actions that neither she nor her husband was responsible for, but still must deal with those consequences.  Available here.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Joy Through Adversity"

"Mother of Amish school shooter granted unexpected forgiveness" A report on CBS news

"Forgiven" by Terri Roberts and Jeanette Windle - Chapter 1 audio

"There's Always a Place At the Table"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

Finally today:
Lancaster County farm 1/6/16
Lancaster County farm 1/6/17
Overnight we received our first real snowfall of the season which made some nice views while we were out this morning.

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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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