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Monday, May 14, 2007

Mom and Brooksyne
My Mom and Dad's wedding photo in 1944

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"Keep Honoring"
"Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12).
Yesterday Pastor Bob got everyone's attention by introducing his sermon with this simple but unusual question, "Will everyone who is the son or daughter of a mother, please raise your hand?"  I could ask the same question today of each reader, although I can't see your hands. No matter how much our childhood backgrounds differ this is one truth we all have in common. 
A fundamental law God established early on is that we honor our parents.  In the Ten Commandments the first commandment dealing with human relationships simply states, "Honor your father and your mother."  The Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul both repeat this commandment in the New Testament.
For growing children honor is primarily expressed in love and obedience to their parents. Among the first verses many of us teach our children are, "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Ephesians 6:2).
For grown children honor is primarily expressed in our love, esteem and respect toward our parents.  Joseph demonstrates this when, after their long separation, he saw Jacob and "threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time" (Genesis 46:29).  Our honor is also expressed by the responsible way in which we raise our own children.  The way we conduct our lives is a very important means by which we reflect honor toward the parents who raised us.
Even when our parents pass on we should still seek to appropriately honor them.   In several weeks my niece is getting married and all my siblings will be together for the first time since my mother's death in late 2005.  I've been going through my mom's remaining sentimental papers and photos to distribute among her four children.  As I carefully go through her valuables I have cause for honor.
What about you today?  Are your parents living?  Do they need a call, a visit, some expression of love or appreciation?  Have you presented to them a written tribute concerning your love and esteem? I know I bring this subject up periodically and regular readers may note this.  I've heard from a number of readers who've done this exercise and found it to be a rewarding experience not only for a parent(s) but also for themselves as they poured out stored up treasures from their childhood memories.

Take the time and make the contact especially if you've not done so for awhile, Of course, many of you did so yesterday! "Mother's Day" and "Father's Day" are special days on our calendar but in God's Word no specific day or time is assigned for the honoring of our parents.  It is God's will that we live our lives in a manner that brings ongoing honor to our father and mother.
If your parents, like mine are deceased honor their memory and thank God for them.  And I earnestly hope your children honor you, for that is a priceless blessing.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we count our family as the most sacred relationship given us on earth.  You placed us in family units so we can be nurtured in love, increase in stature and wisdom, and learn responsibility in small and big ways.  We give thanks to You for Your expressed love shown to us through our parents.  For those whose parents were absent physically or emotionally we're so blessed and reassured to know that You are a Father to the fatherless.  Your love is all-sufficient to meet our heart's longings and to nurse our deepest wounds.  Amen.

In today's message I refer to a written tribute I wrote to my parents, something I have encouraged others to do for many years.
Here's more information:
Tips for writing a tribute.
The tribute I wrote for my parents.

Ester's ciizenship

Ester's Citizenship Report

"Thank you" to our readers for your many kind words and congratulations to Ester on her big day last Friday.  After she signed her name at about 1:30 she was given her Certificate of Citizenship and we left the USCIS building feeling a great relief after our nearly ten year wait for this day to arrive.

Quite a number have asked about our experience.  We have seen photos in newspapers where a judge is warmly welcoming new citizens and that's what we were expecting.  It was nothing like that. 

The United States Citizens & Immigration Services (USCIS) is a government service that is the most unhospitable institution we've ever dealt with.  We had this same experience when we were there for Ester's permanent residency (green) card 18 months earlier. 

The security guards shout orders even before you enter the building.  They're necessarily attired in body armor so when they bark orders it sure gets your attention.  We were eventually seated in a large room where over 100 others gathered and awaited further orders but there was no one to tell us anything.  It was this kind of setting for several hours that we waited.  The one exception in this unfriendly environment was the pleasant employee who awarded Ester her certificate.  It was not a warm, fuzzy feeling that we brought home from our experience but we're still very grateful for the certificate of citizenship that is now in our fire proof safe box.

One light & humorous moment:  We were being searched upon entering the building and had to do the usual emptying of pockets, removing watches, and laying items on the conveyer belt for inspection.  When Stephen went through the security magnetic machine it beeped so he was sent through again, this time with his suspenders removed.  (Stephen has taken off about fifteen pounds recently so his suspenders are pretty important for keeping him put together as he walks about.)  He walked through again and passed the inspection.  He quickly picked up his suspenders and tried to put them on again. Due to the orders being incessantly shouted by the guards, "Stay to the right, Keep the line moving, Sir, move over here, don't hold up the line"  he got quite flustered as he was being pushed through the crowded line and was unable to get them back on.  In the maddening process his pants were starting to fall down.  One hand on his suspenders and the other holding up his britches (Oklahoma term)  he was having big troubles.  I caught sight of him and I burst into uncontrollable laughter.  His face was beet red as he was trying to work through his dilemma.  I explained to the guard and he said with a dry smile, "I sure hope he doesn't make me have to do my job" (referring to arresting him for "indecent exposure.")  Well, he eventually was able to get out of the line and get himself put back together.  I had an awful time getting control of myself as I kept replaying that scene in my mind while we sat in the large room with about 100 others.  No one said a word as we all faced the empty desk in the front of the room.

All in all, the experiences of the day made us think of what it must have been like to be tossed about in a concentration camp setting.

Here in Lancaster County the benefit auction is a means by which many organizations raise funds. This weekend we had an auction at a neighboring Christian school just around the corner from our house. It's always enjoyable time to walk the grounds and catch up with long time friends, as well as eating some good food. Here are a couple of photos:

Lawn tractor train rideHow about a ride in a train with a lawn mower for a locomotive and cars made of barrels!  Clay Henry, a friend of mine, is the engineer. He's also an engineer in real life but not this kind of engineer!

Ice cream makerThey had four of these gasoline powered ice cream makers running and it is quite a sight and sound! The ice cream also tasted great.

Today's suggested music:
I wonder how many can identify a hymn we sang yesterday in church with this single phrase that is a part of the hymn, "His faithful follower I would be..."  After you've attempted listen to the audio by the Drummond Family to see if you got it right.
A contemporary song, inspired by Job's attitude, has a similar theme. audio

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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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