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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Amish church service on Sunnyside Road, Lancaster County
The Amish meet in homes for church services purposefully rotating among the homes of church members. This farm is along Sunnyside Road near Mount Joy, PA.

"The Power Of Expressive Love"

Message summary: Let us again remember God's call to marital love.

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"So she became his wife, and he loved her" (Genesis 24:67b). "One day Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, looked down from a window. He saw Isaac hugging and kissing his wife Rebekah" (Genesis 26:8). "Husbands love your wives" (Ephesians 5:25).

We viewed a testimonial video of a restored marriage that touched our hearts, "What Happened When My Daughter Saw Me Kiss My Wife" by Joshua Rogers
(link below). Essentially it reminds us how children feel loved when their parents express love to each other.

I (Stephen) remember that. My parents were not that expressive in their love, perhaps like many in their generation. Dad always kissed Mom when he went to work but otherwise they were rather guarded regarding physical affection. But I still recall one time when we were in a cabin on a vacation and they didn't share the same bed. (They slept in the same full-size bed for all 53 years of their marriage -
not a queen or king, which would surely have been more comfortable since my Dad was a big man). Instead in the cabin they were in two twin beds about a foot apart. I woke up in the night and saw them reaching across the space holding hands as they slept. That did make me feel loved!

Today's daily text is the first occasion in the Bible where we are specifically told of a husband's love for his wife Rebekah, "So she became his wife, and he loved her". Genesis 24 is a lengthy account of Isaac's arranged marriage, facilitated by Abraham's chief servant. Theirs was love at first sight and is demonstrated when he prays for her on the occasion of her barrenness (Genesis 25:21). Later, after their twins (Esau and Jacob) were born we find the two caught in a passionate embrace (Genesis 26:8). Still later we find the old couple agonizing over decisions their children had made (Genesis 26:35, 27:46). Sound like your marriage? Or your family? Yet their love endured.

Josh McDowell Some twenty years ago we heard Josh McDowell speak at a marriage conference in Boston. He encouraged us to authenticate our faith by modeling lasting relationships, particularly in our marriages. A great witness for Christ is marriages and families that function well and endure. We encourage you to again commit yourselves to this goal. The apostle Paul said, "Husbands, love your wives". The world is watching for demonstrations of this love in the public square and in the home.

We still marvel at marital love and I hope we always will. Of course the institution of marriage is under severe attack in our time on many fronts. How vital to again consider a simple command of Scripture, "Husbands, love your wives." The underlying Greek word for love is that wonderful word "AGAPE", which is in the present active, calling for continual, habitual action.

Let us again remember God's call to marital love. Gary Chapman shares these five essential characteristics of a healthy marriage in his book, "The Five Love Languages."  Please apply!

1) Affirming Words            
2) Quality Time                 
3) Thoughtful Gifts
4) Cooperative Service
5) Physical Intimacy

Now with forty-one years of marital experience Brooksyne and I will add several more. Tease each other, have fun, and practice forgiveness daily. If you ever find yourself driving through a covered bridge, brake the car so you can share a kiss!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, You teach us that we are to love one another unreservedly. The love You give us for others goes beyond our own natural inclinations. It is a love that motivates us to give without expecting anything in return. More often than not we fall short of extending this kind of love to our spouse and other loved ones. Only with Your continued help can we set aside our own expectations and learn to love the way You intend by always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, and always persevering with those You've brought into our lives. Amen.

Part of our calling is to see marriages strengthened, regardless of whatever state of health they are in. Of course some are in trouble and in that case we desire restoration and healing.

Last week I was talking to a man about an issue in his marriage concerning the challenges he was dealing with in
his blended family and he told me something that would probably be the case for many. He put his head down and told me he wished he could share a message in front of his church. "It was out of the frying pan and into the fire" he said referring to his first marriage and then entering into his second marriage. The events he has experienced in his second marriage has made him realize that, apart from the stubbornness of his heart at the time, he could have made his first marriage work and saved himself a lot of grief.

Amish father and son
We often refer to our Amish friends Jesse and Anna Ruth. Long-time readers know that Jesse and Anna Ruth were our neighbors here in Mount Joy for several years before moving back to the home farm in Strasbug, PA.

Some readers who know of my interest in photography may wonder why they never see photos of Jesse and Anna. The Amish (most anyway) are opposed to having their photos taken in a way that might be recognized and of course I honor that.

I came across the above photo today that I'd taken of Jesse and their oldest son, Moses, during a break time when Jesse ran a masonry business. The photo was taken on a foggy morning on Maryland's eastern shore where Jesse had a masonry job. At this time Moses was beginning to talk prolifically and asking a lot of questions. His dad patiently answered him as he began early on to pass on the heritage. Moses is now 14 years old, I believe.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What Happened When My Daughter Saw Me Kiss My Wife" Video by Joshua Rogers. I, Brooksyne, saw this news feature on Oct. 21st, 2017. I was so moved by Joshua's experience that I wanted to share it with others, but could not find it online. Just by happenstance I came across it yesterday and appreciated it all over again. If you know a couple who might be struggling in their marriage, who have young children, this would be a good video to share with them. It will touch your heart.

"Love Will Be Our Home"  Video  Susan Ashton

"The Marriage Prayer"
 Video  John Waller

"When God Made You"  Video  Newsong and Natalie Grant  Dedicated to a couple who played this song at their wedding that I officiated.

We want to remind our readers of David and Sabra Penley's wonderful marriage blog
, "Simply One In Marriage". David and Sabra not only write excellent articles, but they have a tremendous and enduring marriage that has been tested in recent years during David's health crisis. They've become good friends via dailyencouragement.

Finally today:
Brooksyne with Josh McDowell 10/21/12
The photo of Josh McDowell used in our message was cropped from a photo I took 6 years ago when we went down to Baltimore to view "Undaunted", the story of Josh McDowell's troubled childhood. Before the movie played, Josh walked up to Brooksyne, called her by name (with the correct pronunciation) and wished her Happy Birthday. This floored Brooksyne as she had not even spoken to Josh prior to this greeting. Later, we found out that Ester had sneaked out to let him know and he kindly responded in such a friendly manner.

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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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