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Friday, February 15, 2019
Lebanon County rural road in winter 2/13/19
"Never-failing Love"

Message summary: Enduring love is at the very heart of Paul's message in what is known as the Love Chapter: "Love never fails."

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"Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8).

In yesterday's message we told a story about Bill Fernan, a friend from over 25 years ago, who provided an example of abiding love suitable for a Valentine's Day message. We appreciate feedback and one friend wrote, "What a beautiful message for Valentine's Day. I praise God for the blessing of being married to a wonderful man for almost 30 years! I'm going to share this message with my newly engaged daughter and her fiance."

Examples of enduring love like we shared yesterday can be very heartening and we are pleased when we hear fresh stories. Yesterday, following our chaplain duties, we had our Valentine's Day lunch at Red Lobster. Then we headed toward home but made a stop at Great Clips for Brooksyne to get a haircut. I waited in the van and quite honestly took a short snooze!

Brooksyne had to wait for her appointment so she went into the Dollar Tree next door where she had an interesting encounter:

I walked into the food aisle and an older gentleman, who looked to be about 6'3" and perhaps 80 years of age, turned around and showed me a jar of coconut oil. He asked me, "Do you think this would help my hands? Probably because I'm so old my hands get real dry and they even have cracks in the skin". I'd never tried it for hand cream but I told him it was worth a try and if it didn't work he could use it in the kitchen as a substitute for butter or for frying his eggs. He decided to give it a try and then he launched into explaining to me why he had about 7 jello snack packs, each with four containers of jello w/ fruit, in his cart.

"My wife won't eat for the 'girls' at the nursing home but she will eat these for me, so I stock up. I also try to make a pot of potato soup and take it often because she'll eat that for me as well. She must remember it from the years we ate it at home." I inquired as to how long she'd been in the nursing home and he answered, "I'm 88 and I was caring for her at home until she fell and broke her leg last July. I couldn't lift her so I had to admit her to the home. After the surgery the dementia worsened; they think it was due to the anesthetic, but I visit her everyday and feed her at dinner time."

I expressed my admiration for his dedication as a faithful husband of 62 years. We talked on for a few minutes and then he said, "It sure is hard, visiting her everyday and she doesn't even know who I am."

My heart sure went out to him and I felt led to say, "I know it must be really hard, but you're doing the right thing. The people who work there everyday, the residents and their family members see your dedication. We have so many broken marriages and people who are not faithful to their family duties, you are showing them what it is to be a loving, faithful husband."

He seemed to appreciate our conversation and said, "It's not everyday you run into someone you've never met that you can just talk to." It was obvious that he was lonely and God had a divine appointment for him and for me. As I was leaving the store he was at the cash register so I felt the Lord prompting me to leave a parting word, "You are the perfect example of a valentine." He thanked me and appeared to be just a bit embarrassed, but he also appeared to be pleased with such an evaluation on Valentine's Day.

Consider the popular portrayal of love with a gorgeous Hollywood couple having a lavish wedding surrounded by paparazzi. Magazines and newspapers sell like hotcakes.  But way too often the same Hollywood couple become headlines again when they're soon embroiled in a divorce battle and once again the magazines sell like hotcakes so people can read about their ugly divorce, to see who cheated on who and how much money one party expects to receive from the fallout.

However, we believe the full picture of genuine, mature, and enduring servant type love is evident in demonstration we can all observe yet too often overlook. Love's passion will fizzle. Youth and vitality turns into a distant memory captured only in photos or deep in one's heart. But true love will remain all the days of our lives when we take seriously the marital vows, "for better, for worse; in sickness and in health, till death do us part." Maybe we should add "in our days of youth and our golden years". Though I've heard some seniors say, "I don't really see anything golden about getting old."

This enduring love is at the very heart of Paul's message in what is known as the Love Chapter: "Love never fails." Endurance is a word defined as "the act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress." That's the depth of tested love the world needs to see and emulate. As God's children we are called to practice it and be living examples for those who look on, most especially our children. We should not only be attracted to each other, but remain committed to each other as well.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for the wonderful gift of love that we experience in a romantic relationship that often grows into a marital bond between a man and woman. It is a holy union in which we, as devout believers, make You the Cornerstone of our marriage and family. May we be a support to each other as we provide a loving and protective shelter from the bitter disappointments of life. May the fruit of the Spirit be evident in our daily walk both at home and in public places. Keep us wholly faithful to one another, rejecting every lustful temptation the devil sends our way. May we prove our love to each other with mutual respect, understanding, forgiveness, kindness, forbearance, and unity. In the precious name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Val-Co visit with Don and Tabitha 2/14/19
Yesterday we took our new friends, Don and Tabitha, to another location we serve with Vietnamese employees who enjoyed talking to them. Two of these employees recognized Don as their former doctor before he and Tabitha left for Cambodia as missionaries about 12 years ago.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* Brooksyne looked it up and indeed coconut oil is a suitable hand cream.

The long code yesterday was the binary code for 2 Timothy 1:12: "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." For the record I can't read the code but used this nifty online converter!

Finally today:

Amish buggy parking in Mount Joy, PA 2/14/19
Yesterday afternoon on our stop for Brooksyne's haircut we observed this new Amish buggy parking hitch in Mount Joy, PA. Horse emissions are a little hard to hide and somebody didn't obey the sign!

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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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