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Monday, January 22, 2018

Susquehanna River 1/18/18  (Photo by Gary Frey)
An icy Susquehanna River
The snowy path along the river would be a great walk!
(Photo by Gary Frey)

"A Story Of Redeeming Grace"

Today's encouragement is a bit longer than usual, but we believe readers will be blessed and touched by this personal testimony of redemptive grace.

Message summary: Through the power of Christ we do not have to be victims but we can be victorious over the enemy's plot.  Satan has a plot, but God has a plan!

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"Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me.  Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge" (Psalm 31:3,4).

About fifteen years I walked into an office to greet a man who was the executive vice president of a large company (500+ employees). I had briefly talked with him several times but never really got to know him. He shook my hand and asked me to have a seat. "I don't know if I've ever shared my story with you" he began. Indeed he hadn't and I am always interested in the various testimonies people have, so I listened eagerly.

He told me about a young lady who in a period of rebellion left home and moved out to California in the sixties. While living there she lived the prodigal life and became pregnant. She moved back to Pennsylvania shamed, disgraced and broken. Her parents placed her in a distant home for unwed mothers as was the custom at that time. She gave birth to an infant son and gave him up for adoption. However the baby had a serious muscular disorder and it was feared he would never walk. He was placed in foster care where he spent the first year of his life before he was finally adopted. The man behind the desk told me he was that baby.

His adoptive parents were not Christians at that time, but when he was still young, first his mother and then his father accepted Christ. He himself accepted the Lord as His Savior at an early age.

When he was in college he did a report in a communications class on post-adoption syndrome versus post-abortion syndrome, which sparked an interest in locating his birth mother. He went to his adoptive parents and shared with them of this interest and they gave him their blessing to proceed.

He went to the adoption agency but it had been a closed adoption and thus the identity of his birth mother was sealed. Nevertheless he proceeded with a quest to find information regarding general, non-specific health issues and, in going through the records, they found out that a legal document was on file from his birth mother dismissing her right to privacy (which meant she was open to meeting him.) When he also provided a notarized, legal letter dismissing his right to privacy the door was open for a meeting.

However in pursuing the matter he was told that she had a terminal illness and was not expected to live much longer. There was a concern regarding the emotional impact of having a meeting under these circumstances. But he chose to go through with the meeting and a week later met her in the office of the agency. They immediately connected and the meeting lasted 6 hours! He found out that after his birth she also had committed her life to Christ, had married and gave birth to three sons, who of course were his half-brothers.

She lived for a number of years following this first meeting, and prior to her death, He developed a wonderful relationship with her that he describes as a "deep friendship".  His birth mother and adoptive mother also became friends!  She was present for his wedding, which was the last time she was able to get out before her death. Prior to her passing he specifically told her, "I am so thankful you gave up nine months of your life that I might have life."

He and his wife now have two children and he gave his permission and blessing to share his story. His earnest prayer is that all who read it will be deeply impacted by God's redeeming power.

Here in the United States today is the 45th annual observance of a Supreme Court decision in which it was determined that a "right to abortion" was in this country's constitution (according to the court). This is one of many significant events that indicate this country's long slide into moral and spiritual decadence. Last Friday thousands gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life to peacefully protest this decision (a protest I have participated in many times).

Today's testimony is an inspiration for all readers who recognize that, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, "life" is a gift from God.  His redemptive work of grace in each of our lives reminds us that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139). All of God's works are wonderful and His countless blessings include deliverance from the trap the enemy sets if we take refuge in Him. Through the power of Christ we do not have to be victims but we can be victorious over the enemy's plot.  Satan has a plot, but God has a plan!

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, though we, as humans, willfully sin and make poor choices You do all things well. Not one of us can testify that we live a perfect life, for only Jesus has that testimony. Yet it was He, who chose to clothe Himself in human flesh, and walk alongside us to identify with our human experience. Though Adam and Jesus were both tempted in like manner, Adam yielded, bringing upon us sin and death. But Jesus resisted bringing us justification and life. Since we are born with the sin nature inherited from Adam, our only hope for eternal life and overcoming in this life, is through salvation in Christ. Jesus is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Only He can help us gather up the broken pieces of our ruined lives, extend His forgiveness and healing toward us, and make us whole again. With man this is impossible, but with You all things are possible, if we only believe. Lord, I do believe. Amen.

Note: Although I know longer work with the company where I met the man in today's story I still stay in contact and have seen him occasionally. He went on to become the CEO of the company.

Susquehanna River ice 1/18/18  (Photo by Doug Maxwell)
Our neighbor, Doug, took a photo of this "mountain" of ice on the Susquehanna River.

Susquehanna River ice 1/18/18  (Photo by Doug Maxwell)
I, Brooksyne, went for a walk with my friend, Tho. We stopped by a neighbor's house to pay a visit and, as we walked past their barn, came upon their flock of sheep. They have 10 new lambs which I really wanted to feature, but I only caught four in this photo. Good-hearted Mervin, the farmer, came out and tried to gather them but due to my unwelcome presence, the sheep wouldn't cooperate. Mama and her triplets wouldn't come close enough for a photo. Two sets of twins, one set of triplets, and a single baby lamb almost doubled the number of sheep in his flock.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Video  Rend Collective

"In Heaven's Eyes"  Video 

"Something Beautiful"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

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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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