“I’m Forever Grateful!”

June 15, 2015

Amish church traffic 6/14/15 (Ester)
“I’m Forever Grateful!”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”  (1 Timothy 1:15).

Yesterday Ester (pronounced E-stair’, or as she likes to say, “Call me Fred for Fred Astaire), celebrated her 26th “American” birthday. That is the day she first arrived in America from Guatemala in 1989. She still loves to celebrate even at twenty-six years of age. Perhaps it’s because she’s crossed so many arduous milestones during her young life, much more than Brooksyne’s and mine combined. Arriving from Guatemala as a 5 1/2# sickly baby girl at 3 months of age, she was rapidly dying of a congenital heart problem. Within three days of her arrival we admitted her to Geisinger Medical Center, a major hospital 3 1/2 hours from our home in St. Marys, PA, where she underwent two open heart surgeries followed by numerous complications which contributed to her remaining in the hospital for three very long months.

In addition to her March 9th birthday and “American” birthday she likes to celebrate her adoption day and her American citizenship day. I don’t know if it’s because she’s an only child but she feels we need to make a fuss over her on all these days. For many years Brooksyne made a panda bear cake on this historic anniversary date but stopped doing so as Ester reached adulthood. But yesterday she was bound and determined to have cake and so she purchased her own from which she offered us a piece and we willingly partook.

We recall a somewhat humorous teaching moment that happened on her “American” birthday when she was ten. I asked her to pray at the dinner table and she prayed, “Thank you, God, that I’m alive and that I came to this earth”. Well I was also thankful that Ester was alive, (five heart operations later) and that she came to this earth. I’m just not sure she understood at the time that both Guatemala and America are on the same earth! I chuckled after her prayer and commented, “I’m sure glad you didn’t go to Jupiter”.

On a far more serious note we consider the One who descended to earth, over 2000 years ago. Clothed in flesh He would now reveal the loving heart and holy character of His Father who is not willing that any should perish so He provided a way to be saved. The apostle Paul, likely repeating a creedal phrase of the early church, states in our daily text, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance.” That remains true today and every day. This is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance:

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. In the incarnation Christ Jesus came to this earth. He said of Himself, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” and “I came from the Father and entered the world”. He clearly knew His mission, “for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth”.

I’m forever grateful and desire to express my gratitude today by living for the One who came to earth to save me! Can you say “Amen” if that’s your heartfelt response to Christ descending to earth on your behalf as well!

You did not wait for me to draw near to You
But You clothed Yourself with frail humanity.
You did not wait for me to cry out to You
But You let me hear Your voice calling me.

And I’m forever grateful, to You
I’m forever grateful, for the cross
I’m forever grateful, to You
That You came to seek and save the lost.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we will be eternally grateful that You sent Jesus to earth to seek and to save those lost in their transgressions and sins. You received people like Nicodemus, a man of authority, who secretly came to Jesus in the night where he sought answers to life’s most important questions. You sought out people, like the Samaritan woman, despised by the Jews and an outcast among her own as she lived a promiscuous life. Their stories represent various ethnic, economic, and lifestyle choices but the one common thing they shared is true of all humankind. They both had a sin problem that could be cured only by Jesus, the One who wants to heal our soul’s diseases. Thank You for Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, who came down from heaven, into the world, bearing witness unto the truth that we are indeed sinners in need of forgiveness. Thank You for not only bearing witness but also for providing the answer. Amen.

*Ester’s weekend: Perhaps Ester’s wanting to be indulged with a cake in her honor was in part due to the rough night she had in the E.R. late Friday. After a very warm, humid day it was about 8 PM and the sun had settled down so Ester felt like taking a bike ride with me (Brooksyne). We were riding our bikes in our neighborhood and she even rode some hills with me when she suddenly felt her heart race into a very fast rhythm. All she had to say was, Mom…, and I knew she had slipped into atrial flutter. I placed my hand on her throat and felt the very fast palpitations. Within the hour we were in the E.R. where Ester’s heart was pacing at 190 BPM. After an unsuccessful attempt with medication the medical team used electrical shock (cardioversion) and it successfully converted her rhythm back to normal. This is probably the 20th time or so since Ester was 10 years old that she’s had to be cardioverted, but it was the first time I witnessed it. Always in the past the medical staff ushered us into the waiting room during this scary procedure but this time they assumed I would be staying with Ester and so I did. It was a difficult experience to say the least and she had some recovery issues, but we thank God that she was released a couple hours later. Though she is somewhat tired and her back aches from the shock, she is recovering nicely. So, we’ll indulge her one more year…..and thank God that she continues to overcome her heart difficulties, by the grace of God.


Today we will share a collection of Amish and rural photos taken over the last several days:

Amish youth gathering 6/7/15 (Click to enlarge)
On Sunday afternoons the Amish youth gather and, after playing all afternoon, they gather in the barn for a singing service. I had the opportunity to attend one of these meetings where the youth sing not only the formal German songs used in their church services but also hymns and even modern choruses familiar to the English. The above photo will enlarge if you click on it.

Amish girls on way to youth gathering 6/7/15
These girls are having one very fun afternoon. When they saw us pulling up behind them with Brooksyne holding a camera phone they hammed it up for the photo (perhaps the sunglasses emboldened them). The girl in the back left is holding her own camera phone.  (Sorry for the smudge on our windshield).

Amish youth on way to youth gathering 6/7/15
This horse, with the tilt of his head, appears to be expressing, “Just what are you looking at?” This young Amish man is taking a group of girls to a youth gathering.

Amish couple courting 6/7/15
This young couple is likely in courtship.

FarmAll mailbox
A colorful mailbox along Rt 1 in Delaware that will surely bring a smile to FarmAll tractor owners. I wonder if our mail would arrive in a timely manner if the mail trucks were mail tractors instead!

Amish implements 6/10/15
Brand new farm implements for sale near Nickel Mines in Lancaster County.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Forever Grateful”  Video  Hosanna! Music

“Oh, What A Savior”  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

Here’s an article from our local paper that will touch your heart regarding lasting kindness. Amish Nickel Mines community mourns death of trooper who was hero during and after schoolhouse shootings


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