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Monday, January 9, 2023

McConnells Mill, Portersrville, PA (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
McConnell's Mill
(Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
The gristmill in western Pennsylvania was one of the first rolling mills in the country, processing corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat for local customers.

"The Steadfast Love Of The Lord"

Message summary: No matter the troubles before us today, we can declare the praises of Him who is rich and steadfast in love toward those whom He created, and that includes you!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“O give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26). “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” (Jeremiah 33:11). “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases” (Lamentations 3:22). “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16).

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

This week we begin a series of "Five Assurances For the New Year" that I had intended to begin last week. Well, as you might have noticed with our absence, my plans were interrupted! (See note below.)

Today let us consider our first assurance, God’s rich and steadfast love. Our second daily text makes a statement that I believe is often taken for granted even by devout believers. “The Lord is ... rich in love”.  It's likely that Matt Redman had this verse in mind when he wrote his popular song, “Ten Thousand Reasons” since the first stanza begins with these words, “You’re rich in love”. Consider the multitude of ways that God’s attribute of rich or abundant love is extended to this world, waiting to be received.

Last Ten Thousand ReasonsSunday I, Brooksyne, checked out from our church library Matt Redman's book which is based on stories of faith from those who have been inspired by the powerful song, "Ten Thousand Reasons". I began reading it aloud to Stephen early Tuesday morning while we awaited the team to come and get him for surgery. We learned that another patient required emergency surgery which bumped his appointment giving us a much longer wait. Initially we were a bit frustrated since his 9:30 appointment was getting later and later, but as I continued to read the amazing stories  people shared with Matt about how God worked in their lives during the most difficult times our faith began to soar. In fact we began to worship the Lord right in the hospital room, even began to sing the lyrics in worship and praise.

Ester called around 2:00 PM thinking her dad was in the O.R. I told her he had been delayed but we were OK with the wait as we worshiping with the song, "10,000 Reasons". In no time she texted a link of the Gaither Vocal Band singing the song and we sang along, growing less interested in the clock and more enthralled with the many reasons that our hearts could sing to our God who is rich in love and slow to anger.

Other versions state:

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended.”
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!”
“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue.”
“The Lord’s love never ends.”
“How enduring is God’s loyal love.”

God’s love is rich and steadfast. “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” Another version states “abounding in steadfast love.”

Today we know there are many reading this encouragement who have been deeply wounded by faltering human love. You may be an abandoned spouse or a child who never knew the love of a responsible, caring parent. Sadly we have observed parents essentially abandoned by their adult children who are too busy to give them the attention they need in life’s twilight years. You may be experiencing the rejection of those whom you considered friends or even your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Hear the words of Holy Scripture today and rest in God’s rich, steadfast love. It is steady, sure and unfailing. He continues to express His love to us without ceasing, without vacillation, and without condition. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). No matter the troubles before us today, we can declare the praises of Him who is rich and steadfast in love toward those whom He created, and that includes you!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning,
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord. Great is Thy faithfulness.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are a blessed people because You choose to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” toward Your creation. These complimentary characteristics of mercy, grace, longsuffering and steadfast love are evident in Your choice to forgive those who repent and believe Your promises in Christ Jesus. If You had merely sent Jesus to teach us about Himself and serve as our example, that would have been far more than we deserve. But You sent Him to die for our sins. He was rich in love toward us, not after we cleaned up the mess of our lives, but even while we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Such love is supreme, steadfast and supplied in abundance. Thank You for meeting our greatest need and still caring about our smallest one. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Steadfast Love Of The Lord"  Video  A great way to memorize this verse!

"Ten Thousand Reasons"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band We enjoy the bass lead By Todd Suttles in this version

We are encouraged by so many Psalms on this topic of God's steadfast love!

The Psalmist asks “Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time?” (Psalm 77:8).

“Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

“Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103:4).

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”
(Psalm 103:8).

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11).

“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:17).

Update on Stephen's Health from Brooksyne:  Last Sunday on New Year's Day following our church service and Sunday School class (which Stephen taught) we went to an emergency room due to major pain in his abdomen area over the past ten days. A cat scan revealed that he had an abscess in his abdomen related to a hernia repair of 2009 (second attempt). The infected mesh had separated from the repair and adhered to the abdominal wall and other organs. He was admitted due to the seriousness of the health matter and was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Dr. Pauli, Stephen's surgeon, called me after the 4½ hour surgery on Tuesday evening and said that he and his team spent four hours scraping Stephen’s abdominal wall trying to remove all the mesh that had entwined itself to fibers in the abdominal wall and other organs. With great relief he shared there were no perforations. They also cut into the thickened scar tissue from four previous abdominal surgeries Stephen underwent in 2002-2003. Needless to say the surgery was a major undertaking but a successful one for which we give thanks. One week later I brought Stephen home just before 7 pm last night and set up a mini “hospital” for his recovery to continue at home. The first night was pretty rough, but each night will improve here as it did in the hospital through the week.

To say we are grateful for the outpouring of concern and prayers is such an understatement, for we were and still are so deeply touched by the response of people aware of the situation. Most all of our readers (unless you’re local and know us personally) are just getting updated because I don’t know how to send dailyencouragement out to the email list or update the website (I am not that technical). We did not intend to leave a “cliffhanger” about Stephen’s health ordeal for a week but we want to let you know why we were not updating our daily messages.

Ester was of great blessing to us as well since she managed the home fire (literally) as she kept the coal stove going, laundry, housekeeping, and the five pets that require quite a bit of attention. They were so very excited upon Stephen’s return last night that is took a great deal of ingenuity and forcefulness to keep the dogs jumping on his lap. Needless to say they were quite confused, disappointed and Falcon his sidekick was just downright mad. We appreciate your prayers for Stephen's continued recovery from his surgery and for his strength to return.

HMC therapy dog
Rocky, a red merle Australian Shepherd, visited us Sunday afternoon along with other patients who enjoy dogs. His owner is Megan, a friendly vet tech, from the Harrisburg Humane Society.

HMC tribute
Next to the Rotunda Cafe at Hershey Medical Center is a hallway that features large photographs of several workers in the hospital along with their names and what they do. For instance Jeffrey Kohr, a painter, is dressed in a suit, holding a paint brush in one hand and a roller on a long stick in the other hand. This photo I snapped is of Dr. Gascho's message which tells it all and I really like the value he places on everyday workers doing the things others would rather not. When I think of those who dispose of the massive waste in a hospital or clean the O.R. after an operation I am so thankful for these hard workers and applaud their "put your hand to the plow" attitude no matter what kind of soil they are digging through, so to speak.

ABF flowers
These flowers arrived from the Crossroads ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship) class. The message said it all: "His mercies are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness!" from Lamentations 3:22. Stephen and I both smiled knowing the message was reflecting the verse and theme that he shared as he taught the ABF last Sunday just before his trip to the ER (though we did not share his plan to do so with the class). Upon our arrival home last night our kitchen counter was covered with get well greetings, groceries, and even some home canned goods sent home with Ester from church yesterday morning (she rode with our friends, Bob and Eileen, since Ester does not drive). Their kindness to pick up Ester and the kindness of class members along with so many, many others who have reached out to us is reflective of the beautiful passage in Galatians that says, "As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). We are humbled and grateful.

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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