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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Wedding photo 1944 Gene and Georgia Mae Weber
My Mom and Dad's wedding photo October 17, 1944

Click here to listen to this message on your audio player.
Background music is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness".

"When We Look Back"

"Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12).

Yesterday I received an encouraging note from a very close friend of my folks in Missouri. She had considered my Mom's passing late in 2005 and how holiday periods are especially a time of remembrance, and they certainly have been for our family.  She made this observation concerning my Mom, "We're assured she's continuing her ministry of loving and serving her many friends, and they're blessed with that adorable smile and her twinkling eyes. Freedom from pain and earthly cares are now hers to enjoy."

She included a link to a powerful slide show titled "A Parent's Wish" that brought tears to our eyes as Brooksyne, Ester and I watched it.  (The link to this presentation is in the footer but I urge you to please read this message before viewing it.)

Mom lived with us for several years and we took care of her physically up to the end. We really identify with some of the thoughts presented in the slide show. In some areas I have personal regrets since I know I fell short in my patience and understanding of Mom's needy condition as she aged.  I've had to deal with this and it has certainly not been easy.

What will matter the most when we are old and look back over life? Of course our faith in Christ and our steady walk with Him will be most important.  After that I'm confident that the way we honored our family will be foremost in our minds. How did we treat our folks, spouse, siblings, our own children?  Life's accomplishments and earthly accumulations will pale in comparison to this vital question.

Many of you are at work as you read this.  Some of you are a "boomer" like me and some are younger.  You're busy and you have your own family to take care of.  You also have worthy goals and aspirations in regard to your career and  some are intent on climbing the corporate ladder.

"Honor thy father and mother", is the first commandment dealing with human relations and yet it is continually broken or virtually ignored in America and in other parts of our world. Many of the elderly sit in nursing homes who have not heard from their busy children in weeks, months, or years.  I hear these sad stories when I make visits with Brooksyne.  She regularly goes to three nursing homes and leads the residents in hymn sings.

Have you told your mom and dad that you love them lately?  If not, will you please do so and let them know of their powerful input in your life?  I believe God's command that we honor our parents is in effect all our lives.  Don't procrastinate!  As life progresses and we look back this will never be something we regret.  It's not saying it often enough that will bring regret.

Some of you have strained relations and communication is difficult at best.  Maybe you've not felt appreciation or love toward your parent(s) for more years than you can remember.  It's not something you can easily stir up due to deep hurts or your personal feelings of rejection from them.  May God give you grace to be obedient to His command in spite of your experience.  God blesses our obedience and it serves as an example to our own children and others whom we influence.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, Your perfect design for creating a family started with Adam and Eve.  You gave them tremendous responsibility as parents to raise their children to be responsible individuals who would in turn raise their children in the same way.  And so your order continues to our own generation.  At the heart of our family relations the fifth commandment indicates that we're to honor our father and mother which includes a promise that we'll live long full lives. When we honor our parents, Lord, we also honor You and show appreciation for Your marvelous workmanship in our lives.  We acknowledge that You ordained the family of our origin and we give thanks to You for our mother and father, brothers and sisters.  Make us a blessing to them as the fruit of the spirit continues to grow in our lives and is played out in our relations to them.  Amen.

The presentation mentioned in today's encouragement, although very powerful in message, is a bit poor in both audio and photo quality, at least it is on my screen. But I believe you will be blessed and challenged if you take a few moments as you thoughtfully and prayerfully watch this. It's presented as "A Parent's Wish" to their children in regard to their care, patience and understanding.

Personal note from Brooksyne:  I did not come from a Norman Rockwell sort of family, and judging from some of our reader email there are those of you who identify with my background.  I am forever grateful that though my home life had ongoing conflict, I found Jesus at an early age.  My relationship with Jesus was a continual source of comfort and relief during the struggles our family endured.  Because of these difficulties over the young years it was not always easy to show honor and respect as the 5th Commandment tells us to do. I often found it easier to write than to verbally speak these intimate thoughts.   Nonetheless I practiced this because of my desire to obey God and I'm so glad I did.  Because of obedience my relationship with my parents grew stronger and my respect became genuine.  I miss the opportunities since their parting to reinforce my appreciation to them for blessing  my life over the years.

As I have done so for many years, let me again take this opportunity to challenge readers to prepare a written, personalized tribute to their parents. The Wrtten Tribute

Personal note from Stephen: Yesterday I mentioned that our present interim role will end in February. A few readers took that to mean that we would be relocating. Since I am a minister we're aware that this may eventually be the case if led by the Lord to do so, but at this time we plan to stay in this area. For the past 18 months we've  driven to the churches for services where we serve as Interim Pastor.  All four churches have been less than 35 miles from our home.

The interim role is not the same as a long-term pastoral role and generally you don't relocate for such a short indefinite period of time.  We are open to another interim role as we enjoy this form of ministry. We feel it is a real blessing to the church to have the stability of one pastor while they seek a long-term pastor and we certainly receive this same feedback from the board and congregation.  Depending on the number of services per week we feel we could effectively serve a church in this capacity in an area within 60 miles of where we live.

We continue to expand our Daily Encouragement Net ministry and are hopeful that additional chaplaincy roles will open in this area. Brooksyne and I serve together as chaplains at several local companies.

Note: Today I tried to scan a photo of my Brooksyne's parents taken at our wedding 30 years ago but could not get the scanner to work.

Sheep in spandex
Here's another photo I took at the Pennsylvania Farm Show
Some of the sheep on display were dressed in Spandex!

WDAC, our area Christian radio station, now offers High Definition streaming "Music for the Heart" over the web. This is really a neat feature and wherever you are you can listen!

DIAL UP 20k (click here)
BROADBAND 64k (click here)

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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. Used by permission; 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 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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