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Monday, January 21, 2019

Iowa River dam (Photo by Steve Ephraim)
Icy Iowa River Dam
(Photo by Steve Ephraim)
Today we have the most frigid temps of the season with a current 8° and wind chill of -16°. It sounds like we have factory fans blowing outside our doors and windows!
"Fearfully And Wonderfully Made"

Message summary: Let us pray for a return to Biblical obedience in regard to God's gift of sexuality, marriage and children. Let us respectfully recognize and celebrate that motherhood begins at the point of conception when God places a new life that he forms within the mother's womb.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:13,14). "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:41).
"In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:42-43). 

Baby bottlesYesterday many churches here in America acknowledged "Sanctity Of Human Life" Sunday including the church we attend. As we walked into the foyer a couple of cribs were loaded with baby bottles. Those attending were encouraged to pick up one or more bottles and fill them with change over the next several weeks to help support Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services, a tremendous local organization that stands for the values of life providing pregnancy tests, prenatal & parenting education, sexual integrity education and post-abortion counseling.

Last Friday the annual "March For Life" was held in Washington, a march I have attended many times going back to the eighties. This event has people from many different faith backgrounds taking a visible stand for the individual's "Right to Life". This year's theme was "Unique from Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science". Brooksyne and I unapologetically take a strong stand for the Sanctity of Life; for the protection of the unborn, the infirmed, and the elderly; for those the world regards as being unworthy of life.

Today's first Scripture is straightforward. The Psalmist David acknowledges that he was formed by God while in his mother's womb and gives thanks. Even with his rudimentary knowledge of prenatal development at that time he knew he was "
fearfully and wonderfully made".

The second text is from a familiar narrative section read often during the Christmas season though some may fail to see the doctrinal significance in it. Check out the context. The angel assured Mary of God's special plan for her (Luke 1:35) and she submitted to this plan (1:38). She was told that her relative Elizabeth was also with child in her sixth month of pregnancy (1:36).

After the message Mary "hurried" to see Elizabeth and her greeting prompted the baby to leap in Elizabeth's womb. The Greek uses the word "brephos" here. This word is used nine times in the New Testament for both pre-born and infant children. No distinction is made between the two in New Testament Greek. This joyful baby was John who had another three months of prenatal development and security inside his mother's womb at the time of Mary's visit. Today many babies are routinely slaughtered at this age and even older.

However, it's Elizabeth's response to Mary that is most interesting and instructive. "In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:42-43).

Notice Elizabeth's recognition of Mary as "mother of my Lord". How long had Mary been a mother? Of course we don't know exactly. This is not revealed to us; days, weeks, a month. Yet Elizabeth calls her "the mother of my Lord". Most all abortions are now performed after the point of Elizabeth's declaration!

Let us pray for a return to Biblical obedience in regard to God's gift of sexuality, marriage and children. Let us respectfully recognize and celebrate that motherhood begins at the point of conception when God places a new life that He forms within the mother's womb.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when You took the dust of the ground to form Adam and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life You had a purpose for his existence on earth. And You have a purpose for all human life. Forgive us for assuming that we know more than You, the Creator of life, in willfully choosing whether one is allowed to live and another is destined to die before one breathes his or her first independent breath. We thank You for the millions who take a visible stand for life, based not on a popular theme but on truths established in Your Holy Word. Help us to be vigilant in doing what is right and good in Your sight, even when it is inconvenient and costly to our personal lives. In our disposable society help us never to dispose of human life that You created or to dispose of truths that You intended for us to live by in favor of a political, intellectual, or financial agenda.

We pray for those in the abortion industry who are motivated by financial gain by the taking of innocent life much like Judas who took the 30 pieces of silver as He handed Jesus over to those who would crucify Him. Like Joseph's brothers who took the 20 pieces of silver in exchange for selling their innocent brother. Father, we look to You in faith asking that You speak to the indifferent and bigoted hearts that cause innocent lives to be slaughtered every minute of every day. We pray this impassioned prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Mollie eyeing squirrel from front window 1/18/18 (Ester)
Last week we shared a photo of Mollie eyeing a squirrel nestled in a tree and asked if readers could see the squirrel. Some could and others not at all, but today viewers can easily see the squirrel Mollie has her eye on in this photo Ester took from our front window!

We enjoy our bird feeders and with the variety of birds that come in for feed, usually black oil sunflower seeds. But birds are also attracted to peanut butter. Our cat Dottie had been a good mouser for the past 17 years and kept our utility barn relatively mouse-free. Since she died last week I have had to set traps and already have caught three. However we also caught something we would rather not. (photo)

Bear trying to get to bird feeder in northern PA
Larry, a friend from White Oak Display, shared this photo with us that he took from his cabin in northern Pennsylvania. Apparently squirrels aren't the only unauthorized critter attempting to get the bird seed!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Untold"  Video  Matthew West

"From My Mother's Womb"  Video  Jannie L. Guzmán

There are so many thought-provoking, touching songs on this topic! See here.

Note: Today's photo of an icy dam on the Iowa River was taken by Iowan Steve Ephraim, who sent an encouraging reply to Friday's message, "Nice job on your engineering analogy from the perspective of a lifelong mechanical engineer!" When posting the photo I teasingly asked Brooksyne "is that spelled dam or damn?" prompting a memory from some 25 years ago when a lady was proudly showing Brooksyne her scrapbook with photos including several dams. However in her scrapbook she consistently misspelled the photo captions and used the expletive spelling. Not wanting to embarrass her Brooksyne just quietly smiled to herself as she flipped through the scrapbook.

Finally today:
A common site in our area are vans used to "haul" the Amish and other plain groups who use these vehicles for longer trips when the horse and buggy mode of transport is not feasible. Most of the time they are black vans with little identification. We saw this van last week while filling with gas at Costco. I engaged in a brief conversation with the driver, a New York City first responder who was disabled in the 9/11 attacks, and as you would probably expect from anyone driving a van like this, he is quite a colorful man!

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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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