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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Snowy day birds 2/20/19
"A Brand New Ending"

Message summary:  Although we can't go back and make a brand new start, through the grace of God we can start right now and have a brand new ending!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We have a friend who has an inspiring story. Suzanne attends the same church we do and we enjoy seeing her vibrant smile and hearing about her faith-filled outlook.

Suzanne had a hard start in life as a Vietnamese orphan born at the end of the Vietnam War. She came to the US in April 1975 to be adopted by an American family as part of a huge humanitarian airlift known as "Operation Babylift".

Operation babylift

I recall seeing the above photo years ago and thinking, "What in the world is this all about?" Well, now I know. The babies were placed in cardboard boxes and airlifted out of Saigon. Suzanne, at 5 months, was included among the babies and she might be in this above photo posted online.

Suzanne Hauber 2/17/19Suzanne was adopted, raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ at an early age. Her parents very possibly died during the uprising in Vietnam. She will soon turn 44 and we often see her glowing smile among the church people. She was among the first who introduced herself to us over a year and a half ago by saying, "My name is Suzanne. I was brought here as a baby and I've been here ever since. I love going to church!" Sunday morning we engaged in a conversation with her where I took the photo of Suzanne and Brooksyne as they visited following the service.

We all have different starts in life. There are those who had a good start and even some born with the proverbial "silver spoon". Brooksyne and I were both wanted and born into loving families. That's an easily taken for granted blessing.

But we know it's not the story for many. Millions of babies are murdered while still in the womb, which many now celebrate in our increasingly decadent age. Some are born in poverty and/or face abuse.

Being in people work we observe and hear so many sad stories of heartbreaking childhoods. I recently spoke to a man who boasted that he had ten kids by five different women as if this were some type of noble accomplishment. All I could think of was the kind of upbringing these children will endure. Increasingly we observe these dysfunctional types of people as a result of generational decadence with so many not even being aware of God's standards for marriage and sexuality.

Brooksyne wrote this in our radio message this morning, "Ungodly temporal pleasure can also bring lasting regrets with grave consequences, not just for the primary actors but the innocent lives who are changed as a result. Romans 14:7 says, 'No one lives unto himself alone'".

Doug is a friend of ours from one of our companies who has an interesting quote in each of his emails. "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

That is an expression of 2 Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"

Working in the brokenness of our world we have stories like the man with ten children mentioned above (who didn't express interest in spiritual things or indicate that he was looking for a new start). But we rejoice to see others such as a single father overcoming drug addiction who is now attending church with his children and seeking to get back on the right track in life.

Today, like Suzanne, many of you reading this had a really hard start in life and have overcome many obstacles and will spend the rest of your life overcoming. Jesus is the supreme example of One who overcame the world even to the very end of His life on earth.

Tragically, the majority live in defiance and disobedience to God's commands and are experiencing the consequences. We are pleased at the good news of the redemption story of One who came to seek and save the lost. Indeed although we can't go back and make a brand new start, through the grace of God we can start right now and have a brand new ending!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, though we might have an upbringing much different than that of our neighbor, spouse, or co-worker, we all have the same opportunity to be a new creation in Christ. Not one of us, no matter how happy or sad our past, how difficult or carefree our upbringing we all have the need to come to Christ and be forgiven our sins. Though our sins are as scarlet they become white as snow when we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. We can't go back and change the past but we can entrust You with our present and eternal future. Thank You for Jesus who became the supreme example to us of an Overcomer, who taught us to overcome the sin of this world and its destructive effects in our life! Amen.

Our Neighborhood Birds On A Snowy Day

After Doug, our next door neighbor, posted a great photo of a bluebird he had taken in his yard I (Brooksyne) teasingly wrote, "Doug, it's not fair that you have blue birds all the time and they never ever visit us. Could you send a few our way?"  He responded, "I'll send some over."

Sure enough! The next day blue birds came to visit us and have been visiting for three days - two and three couples at a time! Cardinals, Blue birds, Juncos, Goldfinches, Purplefinches, Mourning Doves, and a few other birds have stuck it out with us during the snowy day. Thanks to Stephen who put out lots of suet and filled our birdfeeders. A little peanut butter sure made a few of them happy, especially the blue birds.

Red, White and Blue
(Red Cardinal, White Snow, and Blue Birds make for a very patriotic scene)

Snowy day birds 2/20/19
Two favorite sightings are the cardinals and bluebirds. As you can see we had snow blowing from all directions.
(Ester's photo)

Snowy day birds 2/20/19
Purple finch enjoying sunflower seed
(Ester's photo)

Snowy day birds 2/20/19
Bluebird enjoying suet.
(Ester's photo)

Snowy day birds 2/20/19
Our very popular front yard feeders
It's hard to capture the colors of the birds with the glistening snow in the background.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Little Girl"  Video  John Michael Montgomery  Sad story, good ending

"Chain Breaker"  Video  Zach Williams Powerful song, we all need the chainbreaker!

"Something Beautiful"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

The Children of an Lac  full movie as YouTube video (note: this was made in 1980 and is rather poor quality)

Savior of Saigon  Video  (A nice summary) 3 minutes

Yesterday we had requests for the ultimate accounting calendar we showed yesterday. However it was just an graphic I made to illustrate the point! If you want you can just create a task called "Remember the ultimate accounting!" on your calendar and repeat it every day. However, if you are like me you would have a tendency to disregard it due to familiarity.

Finally today:

Squirrel taken by Ester 2/20/19
Mr. Squirrel is content with the seeds that fall to the ground which is where we like him to stay, rather than on the birdfeeders.

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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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