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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Old water pump
Old water pump

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"Remembering the Days of Old"

"Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you" (Deuteronomy 32:7).

My grandparents lived about 100 miles south of our home in the Kansas City area in a small white frame house in the tiny town of Harwood Missouri.  However as a child 100 miles sure seemed a lot farther than it does today. My sister Genelle and I both
distinctly remember that, upon arrival at our grandparents we jumped out of the car and dashed over to the water pump which was right beside the house, and vigorously pumped the handle till water came gushing out. What a great memory!

I hope you all have some distinct childhood memories like this. Now, everytime I see an old water pump such as the one in today's photo it brings back this warm memory. Memories are also stirred when I see outhouses. Brooksyne and I both have some "nostalgic" memories of outhouses from our childhood.  (Although they certainly don't stir the same kind of heart memories as an old water pump, but you get the idea!)

Of course I know this isn't what Moses had in mind some 3,400 years ago when he prepared to pass the mantle of leadership on to his successor Joshua.  In his final sermon he called the people to "remember the days of old; consider the generations long past." I believe this a command for all people of all generations not just the initial listeners.

It's interesting to me how many times the Bible reminds us to consider our roots.  History was very important in the life of the people.  Great New Testament sermons like Peter's (Acts 2) and Stephen's (Acts 7) are rooted in history, the record of God's providential work in space and time.

Today I believe one of the great strategies of Satan is a blurring and de-emphasis of history, whether it be the deceptions of the historical revisionists or the extremely poor grasp of history evident among so many.  If Satan can get us to lose perspective of the past a trap is set for the lie of living only for the "Now."  Forget the past and we place little value on the future, supremely our eternal future.

Today, let us indeed remember the days of old and consider the value of generations long past!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Ancient of Days, You have given us Your Holy Word as a spiritually historical foundation to build our lives upon.  Through the centuries Your greatness is demonstrated through ordinary people just like us and through Your awesome acts that reveal Your incomparable power and divine attributes.  History in the past and history in the making is subordinate to Your sovereign work in the lives of Your people.  We lovingly submit ourselves into Your merciful hands.  Amen.

God of past ages,
Lord of this morning,
Lord of the future,
Help us, we pray:
Teach us to trust You,
Love and obey You,
Crown You each moment
Lord of today.
(Margaret Clarkson)

Additional study on today's topic
Here are some online resources from Probe Ministries for any who might want more information about historical revisionism and post-modern influence.
Why care about history?
In defense of history
The Emerging Church
Historical Revisionism

The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of DeceptionThe Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception  By John MacArthur / Thomas Nelson
Right now, Truth is under attack, and much is at stake. In a postmodern culture, Christians are caught in the crossfire of alternative Christian histories, emerging faulty texts, and a cultural push to eliminate absolute Truth altogether. As a result, many churches and Christians have been deceived. Worse still, they propagate the deception that poses itself as Truth! In The Truth War, John MacArthur reclaims the unwavering certainty of God's Truth and anchors Christians in the eternal, immovable promises found in His Word.

Stephen and Ester on boat ride
Lee, a friend of ours from the church we served in New Cumberland, PA, took Ester and me out on his boat this last weekend. Can anyone tell our location based on the background buildings?

Here's a neat close-up Brooksyne took yesterday on an early morning walk. Normally ducks won't let you get nearly this close but these are too young to fly.  They're getting their distinctive green neck colors, which they are not born with.  Three days ago their necks were solid brown.  

Another Experience in a Citizenship Ceremony

Yesterday we shared an account concerning our rather disappointing experience when we went to get Ester's citizenship certificate Friday in Philadelphia. Here's an accounting of an experience similar to what we were actually expecting.

Our friends, Phil and Edith Cochrane, whom we mentioned in Friday's message, had actually been summoned to Philadelphia at the same time we were but, due to the distance from their home in central Pennsylvania, they made a request to attend the ceremony in their local county courthouse and their request was granted. Here's Phil's story:

WOW! Your description of the Oath Ceremony that Ester and you all went through in Philadelphia was a shocker to me. The ceremony held in Bellefonte PA was totally different. Being in the big city of Philly, I thought that it would have been the ultimate in patriotism and a warm welcome to all the "Class of 2007".  I had expected a glowing report from your experience. Incredibly unbelievable!  I am so sorry that Ester could not have been with us for her citizenship welcome!
There were a total of 21 new citizens taking the oath from 16 different countries.  I learned afterward in church yesterday that 4 of us were from the State College A/G church. We were told to report to the courthouse promptly at 12 Noon, which we did.  Court was in session and we were told that the program would start at 1:00pm.  We went through the metal detector. It beeped for me and Edith, so we were then both wanded and it was discovered my belt buckle had triggered it, but that was OK. I did not have to empty my pockets or take my belt or shoes off, like I have had to do at Philly airport. Edith has had both hips replaced so she always makes every machine or wand go crazy. There was no hurry, no shouting, so after reading your report our entry was easy and peaceful. No stress at all. I had remembered to leave my pocket knife at home!
We were given directions on where to go to enter the courtroom where the ceremony was to take place. We seated ourselves with our family and friends that came to see us become citizens.
Instructions were given as to what we were going to do, and all of us were given copies of the program for the ceremony and also a pamphlet was handed to us with Frequently Asked Questions for New Citizens and the Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Upon opening the program and reading what was going to happen caused me to choke up, so I knew that when it would take place there were going to be some parts that would cause me not only to choke up again but also tears would well in my eyes and overflow, which it did.
The proceedings started with the opening of the court and a warm welcome to us all by the presiding Judge Thomas King Kistler. Then the Centre Heritage Singers sang, "America the Beautiful." They also sang, "This Land is Your Land" and "No Man is an Island."
As our names were called for us to go up and sign our Certificates of Naturalization, a lady from the Daughters of the Revolution escorted each of us up past the bar to the signing table and then we shook hands with Andrew Garcia the INS Agent from Philly, who by the way had given Edith her oral exam when we went to the INS office in January this year.  He actually remembered her. Then we shook hands with the Judge, who paused the proceedings for each of us so that family and friends could take pictures of us. It was all very relaxed, cordial and friendly. The girl scouts (I think they were brownies) presented us all with the American flag done in beads so you could pin it on your lapel. Then when we all received our certificates we went back to our places and the National Anthem was sung a-cappella by MaryAnn Haagen. The court was adjourned. We were invited for cookies, punch, etc. and an open invitation to get photos with the officials, judge etc.  Everyone who went with us were impressed by the ceremony and said they were glad they came not only for our sakes but for what they felt and learned at the ceremony.

Stephen's note:  Wow, wow, wow; what a difference between the big city and a small town!

Today's suggested music:

"Great Is The Lord Almighty"  This is a song the church we served in New England sure enjoyed singing!  This sounds like a choir version from the Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The song that I was unsuccessful in finding goes so well with today's theme.  It's a hymn titled, "God Of The Ages" by Margaret Clarkson.  It starts with this line, "God of the ages, History's Maker." See below Brooksyne's prayer for one stanza of this beautiful hymn.

Yesterday I asked how many could identify a hymn with this single phrase which is a part of the hymn, "His faithful follower I would be..."

The correct answer is...  "He Leadeth Me"

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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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