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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Harrisburg, PA 8/18/19 (Click to enlarge)
On Sunday as we crossed I-83 Ester took this photo of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Bridge with the Harrisburg skyline in the background. The bridge has fifty-one concrete arches.
Click to enlarge and see our state capitol.

"A Consideration Of Marital Vows"
(Part 2)
"When Trials Come, Love Endures"

Message summary: When trials come, love endures.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7).

In yesterday's message we made a challenge concerning keeping our marriage vows, which are the most important vows we make in life with another human. In the marriage ceremony I have developed through my 40+ years of ministry I offer this final prayer for the couple before pronouncing them husband and wife.

"Our loving Father, thank you for this newly married couple, Joe and Taylor. Thank you for their commitment to one another witnessed here in this marriage ceremony. Protect the solemn vows they have promised. Help them to be good to one another. Help them to be patient, strong and faithful when the inevitable hard times come. May their marriage be a true reflection of Your love toward the Body of Christ. May Your Spirit inhabit their marriage and fill it with abundant joy. Amen."

I look at the couple and especially emphasize that line, "when the inevitable hard times come". Indeed hard times in one way or another will inevitably come to any marriage in a variety of ways and we can't avoid, pick or predict them. As I have often said following a difficult health matter over 15 years ago, "You don't get to pick your problems and you don't schedule them". If I could pick and schedule only problem in life I would choose to have a fender bender when I'm 95. Which means I would still be driving!

Ministry has many contrasts. There are those who specialize in working with children, youth, singles, newly married, etc. I have several friends who are hospice chaplains, a valuable ministry to those at the end of life. But I am a generalist, meaning I don't have a specific focus on any one age group or life event.

On Saturday I experienced the joy of conducting a wedding service and then Sunday Brooksyne, Ester and I went over to Gettysburg, PA to visit our longtime friends, Rick and Rachel, who are encountering a life-jarring event. They have been married 30 years and are blessed with grandchildren. We have had many fun times together including a trip up to Yankee Candle in Deerfield, MA.

Nearly two months ago Rachel was hospitalized and has been in recovery since that time, with many milestones in her recovery and numerous setbacks. Rick has stayed by her side the entire time and is very active in her care and recovery. It's been very tough for him but he is maintaining and growing in his faith. When they got married they sure didn't see this coming.

Along with many others we have sought to be a support to them including their family and pastors from their church and business associates. Rachel's aging parents have sat with her day after day as they pray for her complete recovery.

I didn't conduct Rick and Rachel's wedding but if I had prayed over them 30 years ago, "Lord, help them to be patient, strong and faithful when the inevitable hard times come", I don't suppose they would ever have imagined going through that which they are now experiencing. But now, this many years later, they are in the midst of the inevitably hard times. When trials come and a couple's love endures the test, the genuineness of their marital vows are most visible to onlookers, most especially their own family.

When couples are young the last thing most envision is the failing health of their spouse, though the scenario is included in the traditional wedding vows, "in sickness and in health". The real test of love is not so much in the romantic attraction one has for his or her mate but in following the Scriptural command to leave father and mother, and cleave unto one's spouse, becoming one flesh. Becoming one is representative of the union not only of husband and wife, but also symbolizes the union of the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we consider the words of Solomon who wisely wrote that, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." We're so thankful that You are the third strand in the cord of husband and wife who commit themselves to following You. You fortify and lead them along life's highway, through the smooth and bumpy roads from their youth into their old age. For this we are thankful. Amen.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Rick and Rachel at Bridge Of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA
Rick and Rachel enjoying a walk
over the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls Massachusetts when we went to Yankee Candle in 2011.  This bridge was formerly a Trolley Bridge converted to a bridge of flowers in 1929. A lovely, even romantic walk, as pedestrians are surrounded by flowers on both sides. It's easy to forget that you are actually walking on a bridge over a river! The entire trip was one of the wettest trips we ever made, since it rained "cats and dogs" the entire time except for the few minutes we were at the Bridge of Flowers. As you can see Rachel is holding an umbrella in her left hand.

Gettysburg battlefield fence 8/18/19
The facility where Rachel is in rehab is right across from the Gettysburg Battlefield with the distinctive split rail fencing.

Reagan quote
We think this quote is altogether too true.
The Babylon Bee satire site just published a thought-provoking article.

Flag in Gettsyburg, PA 8/18/19
They had some type of function at the Gettysburg High School on Sunday afternoon with this large flag being hoisted between two fire trucks.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"When Trials Come"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty  This song has touched our hearts. It is our prayer for any of you going through a prolonged trial that you will find "hidden treasures in the dark" as Kristyn Getty sings about in this song.

When Trials Come

When trials come no longer fear
For in the pain our God draws near
To fire a faith worth more than gold
And there His faithfulness is told
And there His faithfulness is told

Within the night I know Your peace
The breath of God brings strength to me
And new each morning mercy flows
As treasures of the darkness grow
As treasures of the darkness grow

When I am weary with the cost
I see the triumph of the cross
So in its shadow I shall run
Till You complete the work begun
Till You complete the work begun

"Broken Together"  Video  Casting Crowns

"The God Who Stays"  Video  Matthew West

"I'm Just A Nobody"  Video  Casting Crowns/Matthew West  This song will make you smile!

Finally today:

For local readers: We invite you to a special concert this coming Sunday for a special hymn sing.
Revival Hour poster
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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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