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"God's Reliable Love"
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us" (1 John 4:16).
Today we will head back toward Pennsylvania after our trip to our family reunion here in Wisconsin. We have had a great time but are always ready to be back home. We will drive through Chicago to spend a couple of nights in Shipshewana, Indiana.
Last night we had a farewell family gathering. We are now the aging grandchildren of our common family connection, George and Nellie Mae Steincross, who passed away in the early seventies (photo on right). Our connections began as little kids playing on a farm in southern Missouri over a half century ago. All of our parents have passed on and yet we cousins continue to gather each year to share our common heritage. New generations have come with one of us grandchildren now being a great grandmother!
Yesterday we took a mail boat ride on Geneva Lake and I visited with my cousin's very gregarious six year old grandson twins. Somehow Brooksyne and I managed to get front row seats so they took turns sitting on our laps for a better view. Last night I saw them again and greeted them by name. One of them looked up at me like he had never seen me before. I reminded him about the morning boat ride and he responded, "You look different!" (I had changed clothes.) With wide eyed curiosity he eyed my suspenders and asked, "What are those?" I suppose to a child they may have looked like a medical device. I told him and then asked "What do you suppose they're for?" At first he didn't know but then ventured, "To hold your pants up?"
Indeed I use suspenders as reinforcement to my belt. With my present configuration a belt alone may not do the job, but used with suspenders both are sufficient to the task! People use accessories such as belts, suspenders and other more personal attire not for ornamental reasons but for functional purposes. In fact we depend on them. If you stop and think about it, there are lots of things we rely on day in and day out.
The dictionary defines reliability as "dependability or trustworthiness". The reliable object consistently functions as designed. The reliable person can be depended upon because he is trustworthy.
Being a reliable person includes dependability, consistency and faithfulness. When something or someone is reliable we generally take that quality for granted but when dealing with unreliability that faulty trait quickly rises to the surface. In our interface with both people and machines reliability is necessary and is a genuine blessing.
Today's Scripture text is a wonderful verse to memorize and hide deep in our hearts: "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us." The Amplified Bible elaborates, "And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us."
What a tremendous blessing that we can know and rely on God's love. Sometimes it is very evident to me. At other times it is an invisible expression. I must also confess that there have been times when I've actually questioned His love for me. Sometimes I would like to see Him do things differently and there are times I even give Him ideas on how to do it. But there is a deep abiding assurance as we come to regularly rely upon His steadfast, unconditional love.
Perhaps you have seen the photo (or computer designed graphic) of a huge iceberg. Only the tip is showing above the water. That's a good illustration of the love of God. Those of us in Christ know God's love and realize it is so immense that it is beyond measure. As our faith grows we draw even closer to Him and we have an even greater sense of God's love. However I suspect we still just see the "tip" of His love! Even though there is so much about God's love I see and may even think I understand, there is a whole, whole lot I fail to see or comprehend.
Do you know God's love today? Are you relying (trusting, believing) on that love? A.W. Tozer wrote: "God's love is measureless. It is more: it is boundless. It has no bounds because it is not a thing but a facet of the essential nature of God. His love is something He is, and because He is infinite, that love can enfold the whole created world in itself and have room for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds beside."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know Your love because You first loved us. You gave Your one and only Son to die for our sins so that we would not perish but spend eternity in heaven with You. As our roots grow down into Your love we gain strength, understanding, and maturity. Though we cannot grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, we can respond in love to You. Just as we rely on the love You have for us, may You find our love consistent and reliable. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Some photos from our time here in Wisconsin
We took a tour on the mailboat on Geneva Lake which delivers mail to homes along the lake, many of them quite pretentious, as you might imagine.
Three of my cousins ready for the mailboat ride. The three children of our Uncle Gentry Steincross; Mazie, Dub and Anna Lee. (Jeannine, the oldest sibling, passed away in Dec. 2011.) Anna Lee is now our oldest cousin as well as a great grandmother. It was on Uncle Gentry and Aunt Dora's farm that we often gathered and have lifetime memories as grandchildren playing in the barn, riding the tractor, enjoying fresh food right from the garden. Aunt Dora's delicious Blackberry Cobbler is still talked about at every family gathering .
The mail lady, a 2014 high school graduate, preparing for a delivery as well as a pick up of sweat shirts for the ship's gift shop, from the three standing on the dock. Captain Neal has worked on the lake for 52 years.
She jumps off the boat, runs across the dock to place the mail in the mailbox, and then jumps back on - all while the boat moves along the dock! (photo by Ester) Video
We enjoyed the beautiful Geneva Lake Shorepath Walk. Here's Brooksyne walking with my brother Mike.
The Shorepath walk had many exquisite flowers.
A mansion along Geneva Lake. We sized it up, thinking perhaps our home will look something like this in heaven. See here for more info about the Geneva Lake mansions.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Love Of God" Video Gaither Vocal Band
Geneva Lake is here. (Google map)
Here's a web page with lots of photos about a visit we made last year to Harwood Missouri, which now has a population of less than 50. Harwood is located here.
Finally today: One more photo from over fifty years ago we have shared before:
Uncle Gentry showing us all a good time on the farm one winter day. My older cousin Steve is driving the tractor. My sister and I and other cousins are on the makeshift sled.
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
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