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Monday, March 6, 2017

Lancaster County Amish farm
Early Thursday morning last week we passed this spacious Amish farm in Lancaster County. We wonder how many generations were living on the property.

"The Key To Enduring Relationships"

Message summary: Among God's virtuous attributes are His patience and forbearance of which we are all recipients. Let us practice patience and forbearance in all our relationships, and thereby imitate Christ as we bring honor to God.

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"Be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).

We are regularly reminded of how much division and brokenness there is all around us. Of course merely listening to the news almost always reinforces this sad truth
. Even reading the daily obituaries can be revealing of the brokenness of families and individuals, especially as many obituaries these days tell a story, not just the hard facts of a person's life. We are seeing more and more evidence of drug and alcohol problems in our ministry. Today we read an obituary that contained a very chilling poem written by a 32 year old nearly four years before her death on February 25, published in our Lancaster Era paper today. * (Link below)

In the course of our daily walk and service for Christ we speak to a lot of people from all kinds of backgrounds
. I recall when I spent a lengthy time giving encouragement and counsel to two men separated from their wives. This is an issue in so many marital relationships and undoubtedly includes some of our devotional readers today. Restoration and health in relationships always requires mutual effort, desire, and commitment.

Enduring friendships are one of the greatest gifts that God gives to us right alongside enduring marriages. Any lasting marriage or friendship requires two characteristics mentioned in our daily text: These two Christian virtues complement each other: "Be patient, bearing with one another in love." They're needed in marriage and in the home. They're also needed in friendships, the workplace, and in the church body. Actually they're beneficial in every one of our associations. I believe enduring relationships of any type absolutely depend on patience and forbearance.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the community of believers in Ephesus about church relationships, but these two characteristics speak to every relationship:

First, Paul calls believers to "be patient". The King James Version uses the descriptive word "longsuffering". This translates a Greek word "Makrothumia" which one commentator explains is patience in face of injustice and unpleasant circumstances without complaint or irritation. "The short-tempered person speaks and acts impulsively and lacks self-control. When a person is longsuffering, he can put up with provoking people or circumstances without retaliating.... It is holding back, restraining yourself from becoming upset or speaking sharply or shrilly to somebody be they your mate, your child, or whoever...despite their conduct you find difficult and exasperating." (Precept Austin Online commentary)

The virtues of patience and longsuffering are greatly needed today aren't they?  I am so thankful for people who have been patient and longsuffering toward me.  Aren't you!

Secondly we are told to be "bearing with one another in love".  One of the definitions in my Greek dictionary for this word is "to hold oneself up against, i.e. put up with." There would have been no need to write this if "bearing with" was not needed, but it was essential then and continues to be true for us today, as we are clothed in our human nature, during our earthly sojourn.

Bible teacher David Guzik points out that we need these two characteristics so "that the inevitable wrongs that occur between people in God’s family will not work against God’s purpose of bringing all things together in Jesus".

And it's, at least to some degree, a mutual situation although we often don't see it that way. You may read this and think, "Yes, I know exactly what he's talking about and I sure am bearing with so and so", without realizing, from their perspective, they are also bearing with you!

Among God's virtuous attributes are His patience and forbearance of which we are all recipients. Let us practice patience and forbearance in all our relationships, and thereby imitate Christ as we bring honor to God.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I feel such deep gratitude when I consider how patient You are with my frequent shortcomings and outright defiance. You don't toss me aside and move on to a more deserving person, but You continue to come alongside me and Your Word continues to speak to my heart, refresh my spirit, and guide me in the paths of righteousness. When I'm tempted to think that my spouse, child, or friend doesn't deserve another chance I'm reminded of Your continual forbearance with me. May I be forgiving even as You continually forgive me. May Your divine grace bring the virtues of forgiveness, forbearance and love together in perfect unity so that they guide my thoughts and guard my heart against hatefulness and lack of forgiveness. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

JK Mechanical Food Drive pickup 3/3/17
We are pleased to work with companies that give back to the community. On Friday these employees from JK Mechanical, a local HVAC company we serve as chaplains, were loading a truck of nearly 1,600 pounds of food they donated to the needy.

Kleen-Rite puppy 3/3/17
We also have fun when we make our visits. This little pup greeted us upon our arrival at Kleen-Rite, a company that, due to their employee growth, spills over into a nearby house. He was the greeter who offered lots of hugs and kisses.

Facetime with Marvin 3/3/17
We had a special surprise Friday afternoon from Guatemala when Marvin Culajay used his technological expertise (akin to facetime) to talk with us on his 34th birthday. In this phone screen he was introducing us to his young daughter. Marvin, at 5 and 6 years of age, lived with us when he was in need of two life-saving surgeries which were performed in Erie, PA. See here for an encouragement message we wrote about him several years ago and for links to a newspaper article written about him.

Nursing home ministry 3/4/17
On Saturday I accompanied a church as a male trio led the hymns in the service at Evergreen Estates Retirement Community in Lancaster. I had the pleasure of meeting two gentlemen from the church who sang in earnest, "To God Be the Glory". I want to give a shout-out here to our Philippine and Jamaican readers since the guitarist, Lowen, is from the Philippines and Enoch is from Jamaica. It was the first time I ever met an Enoch, aside from reading about Enoch in the Bible who "walked with God and was not"! Praise God for diligent church folks who share in music, testimony, sermon and in friendship to the many shut-ins in nursing and retirement homes.

Ten Commandment recitation 3/5/17
Over the past quarter I (Brooksyne) taught the children from the Middler Sunday School class the Ten Commandments. Four of them shared the Ten Commandments for the Call to Worship yesterday. (Several others were planning to participate but got nervous last minute and hopefully quoted from their pews.) No greater joy comes from a teacher's heart than to see one's students learning, grasping and applying the teachings of Scripture. Afterward they sang "The Lord's Prayer" from memory as well.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The People In The Line"  Video   The Talleys
   This song tells a story reminding us of seeking to try to understand what others may be going through when we lack patience and forbearance.

* The moving obituary referred to in our message. Her family in sharing her words writes, "If Stephanie's words touch one person's life, her life will not have been in vain."

Our friend David Penley is sharing a teaching series on his blog relating the Ten Commandments to marriage and just today published "GUIDING YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – Part 6: Don’t Kill Each Other"

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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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