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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Birds 2/7/18  (Photo by Doug Maxwell)
Our neighbor Doug has quite an eye for photography and calls his photo collection God's Eyes Photography! Perhaps these blue birds will visit us in the near future.
(Photo by Doug Maxwell)

"Family Love"

Note: Valentine's Day is on Wednesday so this week we are preparing a series of messages on love.

Message summary: Today we consider the blessings of family love.

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"But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept" (Genesis 33:4).

The other day I was giving some "loving" to our dog Mollie which means briskly rubbing the back side of her ears and stroking her which prompts her to suddenly drop to the floor for a belly rub. Many of you pet owners know just what I'm talking about since most pets are very receptive to human love. We enjoy each of our dogs and cat but Mollie is the most affectionate. It occurred to me that many pets receive more attention and love
than humans. That's why we need to let our lights shine which includes demonstrating love. Sadly so many come from homes where little love is demonstrated, and some are living in that kind of home even now.

There's a song that's been playing on a southern gospel station we often listen to (enLighten). It's called "The Little Girl" that tells the sad story of a little girl in a home with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother. She would hide behind the couch while her parents fought. The song gets even sadder but does have a happy ending. (Link below)

Last week we found an assortment of old-fashioned soda drinks in nostalgic bottles at a discount store. We like the taste of these non-brand name sodas and bought several to enjoy. Growing up during a time when people were careful with their money, buying a soda pop was a real treat. We rarely had soft drinks in either of our homes. If we were going to drink anything but milk or water and occasionally juice (from concentrate) it was Kool-Aid. Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and Coke were commonly purchased by those who had plenty of money or that's the way we looked at it.

Cream soda and peanuts
The other night we opened a bottle of orange cream soda to share and poured some peanuts in. This prompted a memory from Brooksyne which she shares:

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when we visited my grandparents in Arkansas we would travel 180 miles which was a long, long way for us children. With a family of seven we couldn't afford to stop and eat but Mom would always bring along a jar of cheez whiz and box of Ritz crackers. She couldn't spread the cheese quickly enough before another set of little hands popped up reaching for the next cheese covered cracker Mom would pass to the back seat.

If we'd keep our fussing to a minimum which meant we could still make ugly faces, quietly elbow or pinch each other in the back seat,
Daddy would pull into a gas station in Sallisaw Oklahoma which was about halfway. He'd pull the change out of his pockets and hold out his big truck driving hands so each of us could pick out a dime to buy a bottle of pop and a nickel to buy salted peanuts. We always tore open the package of peanuts and dumped them into our pop. The mixture of the sweet soda and the salty taste of the peanuts tasted so good together.

Since moving to the Northeast over 40 years ago I've never seen anyone mix soda and peanuts, but every time I see a grape or orange soda pop my memories go back to our trips when we'd stop for pop and peanuts. Once in a great while I still mix the drink and nuts and when I do so it makes me remember how much I felt loved when he considered us and how much the stop along the way with treats helped shorten the long trip ahead. Daddy's been in heaven for 18 years now, but if he were still living, I sure would enjoy taking him an orange or grape soda pop with a bag of peanuts poured in the bottle.

What a blessing to have memories like this and an assurance of love within our families. In this category of love we consider:
  • The love of parents for their children
  • The love of children for their parents.
  • Love among siblings.
  • Love among extended family such as grandparents, aunts and uncles,  cousins.
Jacob and Esau's reconciliation
Today's text chronicles a warm reunion between two warring brothers who had been estranged for many years; Jacob and Esau. Jacob had deceived his brother Esau many years earlier and had left home after Esau threatened to kill him. The narrative focuses on Jacob after this event but it is clear that God had also worked on Esau's heart over the years of estrangement from his brother.

Their reunion is one of the great examples of love and reconciliation in the Bible.
"But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept" (Genesis 33:4).

Is there a family member that needs your love and a warm embrace today? Be sure to reach out, extend yourself, forgive that matter which may be separating you, and thank God for your family. Do your part to see that love characterizes you and your family.

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the Psalms tell us that You set the lonely in families. We're thankful for a setting where we are loved, protected and provided for by those you ordained to be our blood family. All too often we take them for granted, grumble about our differences in habits and opinions, and speak hurtful words that wound their spirit. Remind us through the example of Esau and Jacob that we lose a great deal when we bicker and go our separate ways from those we should love the most. We pray for our readers today, if there is a need for reconciliation, that they will make the call, send the card, or pay a visit and lovingly embrace their loved one. We never know how much time we have on this side or our loved one for that matter, so we must make the most of every opportunity to be there for those who matter most. Amen.

  • Can you consider Biblical examples of family love?
  • What memories do you have from your childhood that made you feel loved?
  • What now makes you feel loved by your family?
  • What ways do others see your love demonstrated?
Here is an outline of our projected messages this week:
  • Brotherly love
  • Family love
  • Marital love
  • Our love to God
  • God's love for us

Speaking of family:
Last night I (Brooksyne) joined with a group of prayer warriors via conference call on behalf of a husband/father who has been missing for one year. He is in Christian ministry serving in a dangerous place overseas. He, along with others, was kidnapped and there has been no information about him. His wife joined us in the prayer time as well as those who have been upholding his family in prayer. We are praying that God is using his life and witness in spite of the intended plan that the gospel be restrained or eliminated. We prayed that God would uphold him physically and spiritually through this most difficult time. We also prayed for his release. His wife and three children miss him terribly. When we think of family remember to pray for those who are separated due to persecution.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Little Girl"  Video  John Micheal Montgomery

"Family Tree"  Video  Matthew West

"Lead Me"  Video 
Sanctus Real

"Family Chain"  Video  The Nelons

"Save My Family, Save My Friends"  Video  Tribute Quartet

"What Children Believe"  Video   Gold City

Yesterday two new calves were born on the Old Windmill Farm and Farmer Jesse sent over a video with the sights and sounds of the barnyard!

Finally today:
Pets 2/12/18  (Photo by Ester Weber)
Yesterday Ester practiced her photography with our pets!

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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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