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Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Valentine's Day

1 Corinthians 13 coffee mugs
1 Corinthians 13 Mugs
(with hot coffee and a little chocolate fudge to warm the heart!)

"Marital Love"

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

Message summary: May God give each of us persevering love!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

"So she (Rebekah) became his (Isaac's) wife, and he loved her" (Genesis 24:67b). "It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:7,8).

Over the years we have met many people and everyone has a story, although some are more interesting and colorful than others. We met Bob and Joan in a church I served as an interim pastor in York County over ten years ago. At that time they had been married over 50 years. It's very inspiring these days to know people who have an enduring marriage but this couple went on to tell us something that we had never heard before. They both share the same birthday, but that's not all!

Bob and Joan were born on the very same day of the very same year in the very same hospital. Since their birth records do not specify the precise time of birth they don't even know who is older! They've known each other since they were little and both recall having an "interest" in the other as youngsters. Now that's about as close as you can get to life-long love with one who is not your blood relation!

An enduring marriage requires persevering love. In over fifty years you can imagine the bumps and hard times Bob and Joan have been through. Brooksyne and I know this as we approach our forty-second anniversary in three months. In my premarital discussions with young couples who are preparing for marriage I candidly share this reality; "you don't pick your problems and you don't schedule them".

In marriage especially we need a commitment to persevering love. This is expressed in loyalty, a great Scriptural virtue that's sure on the decline. Loyalty is faithfulness expressed in our relationships. It's keeping the promises we make which ultimately reveals our faithfulness to the Lord. In the daily Scripture from the "Love Chapter" we read these characteristics of love: "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

One writer describes perseverance during troubled situations like this: "Facing life’s troubles is like doing pull-ups…unless you have built up your core strength, you won’t have the strength to hang on. Defeat is inevitable. We need to continually work on our core strength to be prepared for the tests ahead." (Inspire online)

This persevering love foundationally needs to be expressed to the Lord but is also expressed toward other people; our marriage partners, our children, our extended families, co-workers and friendships.

What about you today? Is loyalty and persevering love a character trait in your life? Loyalty has been defined as "using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those He has called me to serve." If this is true, it's difficult times that will not defeat us but will mold and shape us into who we are.

May we persevere in love as we continue to walk in God's grace!

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, hear our earnest prayer this day. May You, the supreme example of persevering love, help us to daily nurture our love and loyalty in human relationships. May we be loyal to our partners, looking after their interests above our own. May Your grace help us to live above the fall-out that comes from inevitable trials. Enable us to overcome daily temptations as we rely on You. As we genuinely seek You we are confident that You will grant understanding, forbearance, and a persevering love that will last a lifetime until You call us to our eternal home where we will be richly and eternally rewarded. Amen.

Note: We are aware that some of our readers have experienced or are even now experiencing the terrible pain of disloyalty and broken promises, particularly in marriage, but also in work relationships, church matters, and on and on it goes. May God bring His healing touch and quiet peace to your hearts. Others of you have yourself been grievously disloyal at some point in your past. Thank God for His forgiveness and I urge you to see this message as a challenge to demonstrate loyalty, seek forgiveness and persevere in love from this point forward.

Here is an outline of our projected messages this week:

A plump male cardinal in leafless tree (Photo by Randy Martens)
When you spot a small red color in a dull leafless tree far in the distance do you watch carefully to see if it's a cardinal? What is it about cardinals that grab and hold our attention. Brooksyne would say it's the bright red that stands out amidst the dull winter colors and you would probably agree. This plump male cardinal certainly stands out on this leafless tree.
Photo taken by our friend Randy Martens

This prompts another memory of Bob and Joan, who we mentioned in today's message. Bob was especially colorful and I think at times embarrassed his wife a bit! He was a little on the heavyset side and told a story about walking into donut shop and seeing a big box of donuts set aside marked "Free". He picked them up preparing to leave the store and the clerk said, "Excuse me sir, those are for the pigs" (the box was set aside for a pig farmer to pick up). Bob replied, That's OK, I'm a pig!"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Love Never Fails"  Video  Brandon Heath

"When I Say I Do"  Video  Matthew West

"I Will Be Here"  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

"Love Will Be Enough For Us"  Video  Brandon Heath

"A Page Is Turned"  Video   Bebo Norman  Many years ago I conducted the wedding service for a couple who used this song in their ceremony. It has a line, "And all this time, they're sharing with the One that holds them up when they come undone". If you know of a couple(s) whose marriage has come "undone" pray for a miraculous restoration and loving reconciliation, even as we are praying for several couples regarding this matter.

"Together"  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

"Broken Together"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Restored"  Video  Matthew West

"My Only Love"  Video  Dailey & Vincent 

"Beyond Romance"  Video  Jimmy Fortune  A very thoughtful song!

Finally today:
Loveless Cafe biscuits 2/14/18
This morning Brooksyne lovingly made me biscuits with a mix from the Loveless Cafe near Nashville Tennessee! We ate there several years ago with Brooksyne's sister and she sent us a gift assortment from the Cafe for a Christmas present. She knows I like to read about little known facts about stuff and that's exactly the title of the book she got me.

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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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