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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Photo of Maple tree

(Click here to listen to this message on your audio player)
Brooksyne shares a brief special song that you can sing along with!

"Where Are The Other Nine?"
"Where are the other nine?" (Luke 17:17).

Jesus often asked questions to get his hearers to think, although He obviously knew the answer. In today's text (Luke 17:11-19) He had healed ten lepers but only one returned to say, "Thank you". I've wondered what excuses the other nine might have had in failing to return to give Jesus thanks. I came up with nine possible excuses they might have used. Notice they are all pertinent to today!

1)  One was too busy. (Self-importance)
2)  One forgot. (Ingratitude)
3)  One was planning to do it later. (Procrastination)
4)  One thought somebody else would do it. God does not accept vicarious praise. "Let everything    that hath breath…"  (Lazy)
5)  One wanted to see if the healing would last. (Skeptical)
6)  One had a religious prejudice. (Superiority)
7)  One thought it really didn't matter. (Thoughtless)
8)  One thought "I still have a lot of other problems." Like many he saw the glass half empty. Indeed on this side whatever God may do for us we very likely have or will have other problems. (Negative)
9)  One thought "I don't want to bother Him." Scripture is abundant in calls to thank, praise and glorify God. We never bother Him in calls to be obedient! (Inferiority) 

(As we prepared this message we considered if it was anything like today an additional excuse could be:  One leper thought, "I had to get over to the blue light special at the Jerusalem Mall before the sale was over.")

Three great truths can be derived from this message:
1) Thankfulness matters to God. It brings glory to God.
2) Thankfulness is an act of the will. He chose to return.
3) Thankfulness is an excellent testimony. He goes down in history as the one who returned to give thanks.

Will we be like the one who returned to give "Thanks"?

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we want to bless You at all times allowing praises to spring from our hearts and express themselves in our words and actions.  We magnify Your name and exalt You, for You are our great Deliverer.  As we celebrate our thanks to You we tell of Your mighty power and miracles in our lives.  We teach these to our children so the next generation might know them, even the children not yet born, that they in turn might teach their children.  We want each generation to set their hopes anew on God, remembering His glorious and miraculous provisions, as they turn their hearts toward You.  Thank You, Father, for everything!  For apart from You we have nothing!  Amen.
(Prayer inspired by Psalm 78:5-8)

A Thanksgiving Idea for Family Gatherings

Several years ago we experienced the most memorable and spiritual Thanksgiving celebration our family has ever had. We want to share it with you and perhaps prompt a similar activity in your home.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United Sates, a wonderful holiday going back to our nation's founding.  Although I am aware that other countries may not have a similar "official" holiday we are all called to be thankful regardless of where we live and regardless of our circumstances.  "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Brooksyne set a beautiful table with the nice dinnerware, best dishes, and prepared the usual Thanksgiving foods.  But instead of a beautiful centerpiece, as in the past, she made a centerpiece of one dozen roses.  One major thing that was different about these roses is that the long thorny stems were the only things in the vase.  All the flowers were removed.  At each person's plate was also a 2" thorny stem.  There were strange expressions but the explanation of such an arrangement was saved for after the meal.

Following our meal we read a story called "Thankful for the Thorns" that is readily available on the internet (see below).

Each person was then asked to share some experience over the past year that was truly a thorn to them.  In other words they were asked to share about a serious trial they endured over the past year.  They were then to take the details of the thorn story and turn it into a beautiful rose story.  You see, without the thorns, there are no roses. 

It turned out to be a very intimate and revealing time as family members shared together.  We passed the tissue box around as people shared about God saving them from very close encounters with death and other such serious stories.  It took us beyond mere surface conversation and the usual excitement of a festive Thanksgiving meal.  We concluded our time with genuine prayer for our family members and a prayer of thanksgiving for the thorns in our lives that God uses to produce beautiful and fragrant "roses."

Note:  At this late a date you may not be able to come up with a dozen long stem roses.  You can simply get some thorny stems from the woods and set them at the plates to carry out this illustrated time of sharing!

"Thankful for the Thorns"
Basic text (This should print out well if desired.)
With music background
While searching I also found a sermon on this topic (pdf) (Excellent exposition of Scripture!)

Today's song of praise is titled "How Great Is Our God"
Audio mp3
This music is from worship services at the Willington church in British Columbia, Canada and is posted on their website.

Pilgrim History Presentation We received a number of requests for either a recording or manuscript of Brooksyne's Pilgrim presentation that we wrote about Monday.  Here's a link to those notes.

The following resources are recommended by Brooksyne for further study on this subject and can be ordered by clicking on the link or image.

438957: Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647
By William Bradford / Random House, Inc
A new edition. The complete text with notes and an introduction by Samuel Eliot Morison. The definitive edition of one of the great American classics. Bradford's history is a story of a simple people inspired by an ardent faith to a dauntless courage in danger, a resourcefulness in dealing with new problems, an impregnable fortitude in adversity that exalts and heartens one in an age of uncertainty, when courage falters and faith grows dim. It is this story, told by a great human being, that has made the Pilgrim Fathers in a sense the spiritual ancestors of all Americans, all pioneers. Thus Samuel Eliot Morison, the preeminent American historian in this field, in his Preface to this great American classic. For the first time the printed text of Bradford's history has been compared word for word with the original manuscript; for the first time the difficult abbreviations and contractions used by Bradford have been filled out and his archaic and variant spellings made uniform. This edition has a double value: it presents Governor Bradford's text in readable form and it provides contemporary readers with a history of that text and its enduring significance by the historian clearly elect to interpret it.

647273: Saints & StrangersSaints & Strangers (DVD) By Vision Video
What role did faith and religion play in the founding of our country? From the landing of the Mayflower to the Great Awakening, from the fervent patriotism of the pre-Revolutionary era to the War of Independence, this survey examines groups of the faithful who wielded important spiritual influence during the colonial period, including the Anglicans, Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, and others.

25726: Stories of the PilgrimsStories of the Pilgrims  By Margaret B. Pumphrey / Christian Liberty Press
Faith, bravery, perilous journeys, hardships---the stories of the Pilgrims make for exciting reading! This illustrated text follows the Pilgrims from England to Holland to the New World. Your students will meet William Brewster, Miles Standish, John Alden, Massasoit, and others, and learn how our nation was founded on Christian principles. Includes comprehension questions throughout. Grade 4. 244 pages, softcover

51618: If You Sailed on the MayflowerIf You Sailed on the Mayflower  By Ann McGovern / Scholastic Trade
Imagine being a Pilgrim on the Mayflower, anxiously awaiting arrival in a new land. This popular book in the If You series answers a variety of questions about Pilgrim life--both on the ship and on shore--helping readers understand what it was like to have lived at that time. Four-color illustrations. Grades 2-5

02080: Three Young PilgrimsThree Young Pilgrims By Cheryl Harness / Simon & Schuster Trade Sales  
When Bartholemew, Remember, and Mary Allerton and their parents first step down from the Mayflower after sixty days at sea, they never dream that life in the New World will be so hard. Many in their Plymouth colony won't make it through the winter, and the colony's first harvest is possible only with the help of two friends, Samoset and Squanto. Richly detailed paintings show how the pilgrims lived after landing at Plymouth, through the dark winter and into the busy days of spring, summer, and fall. Culminating with the excitement of the original Thanksgiving feast, Three Young Pilgrims makes history come alive. Recommended for ages 5 to 10.

6785X: Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of Thanksgiving SymbolsTurkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of Thanksgiving Symbol By Barth / Houghton-Mifflin  
Why did some of the Pilgrims call Miles Standish "Captain Shrimp" behind his back? Who are the Three Sisters of Iroquois lore, and what do they have to do with our Thanksgiving celebrations today? The amazing stories behind our familiar Thanksgiving symbols and the history of the ancient festivals that led up to the first American Thanksgiving all remind us how much we have to be thankful for...and are revealed in the pages of this entertaining book.

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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