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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Well-watered garden in Perry County PA
A well-watered garden in Perry County, PA.
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"Draw Me Close To You"
"Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.  He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.  For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David" (2 Chronicles 34:3).
Pastor Bob Verno with David LeeYesterday I shared about our friends, Ken and Nila, and their new baby son, David Lee. When we went to the hospital to visit them Saturday evening we also saw our pastor, Bob Verno, who was visiting as well.  Bob had an opportunity to hold the newborn baby and before leaving we joined him as he prayed for the joy-filled family. Those pleasurable opportunities are among the greatest memories pastors store up while serving a church.

Becky and JasonI shared with Bob a recollection I had from over 25 years earlier when, in my pastoral role, I also held a newborn within hours of her birth. Months later I dedicated Becky and she reminded me last night, in a phone conversation, that I also baptized her. Although we moved on from that area nearly 15 years ago we've stayed in contact through the years. Becky went on to a Christian College and is now a school teacher. This Saturday I will take part in her wedding in Virginia, serving communion to them. That will be another one of the most fulfilling times to be a pastor!  Jason and Becky both  serve the Lord together and plan to build a family based on God's Word.
The work of Christ's Kingdom has gone forth from generation to generation.  It will most certainly continue to do so until the Lord returns, for we can be confident in the truth expressed by our Lord, "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
As adults we certainly recognize that the teen years were especially tumultuous to our Christian faith.  We've been there and we had the same questions that teens ask today.  Some of us rebelled while others stayed relatively steady through those years.  Still others came to know the Lord in the midst of those impressionable years.
Currently teenagers are barraged with temptation in ways my generation was not. (And surely there was plenty of temptation 35 years ago!)  But consider the cultural slide into immorality over the last 35 years.  I recall
"Happy Days", the popular TV show from the seventies seeming a bit risqué at the time.  Now the mere previews of current TV programming and big screen movies require a quick click on the remote.
Josiah also lived in a time of tremendous decadence about 2,600 years ago.  His reforms stalled the inevitable judgment of God but he was the last notable king to provide godly leadership. Shortly after his death the people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon.
Please note the portion of the daily text, "While he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David."  That's great isn't it! There's something extra special when we see spiritual interest in our children and youth.  To see them reap the blessings of God and avoid the long-term consequences that comes from living a life of sin is especially rewarding. 

Brooksyne and I are most heartened when we get emails from Daily Encouragement readers who are teenagers and young adults. In fact our daily writing ministry gives us the opportunity to stay in contact with many of the "kids" who grew up in our ministry. It reminds us of God's promise that when parents train their children in the ways of the Lord they will see a fruitful harvest. On Sunday night it was a joy to see our daughter, Ester, join other youth as they led the congregation in singing praise to the Lord, though we know there is a battle raging in her soul.  Oh, how we want her to seek God daily in her life!

Young or old, let us seek the Lord today. He ever remains a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!  May our prayer always be, "Draw me close to you."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we want to be diligent seekers and doers of Your Holy Word.  We pray that, like Josiah, we will do right in Your sight and follow in the ways of godly training. Help us not to veer off course, but to stay on the straight and narrow way that leads to blessings in this life and untold blessings in the life to come.  Amen.

As I studied for today's message I considered some youth in Josiah's generation who were taken captive, yet remained faithful to God.  Do you recall the story?

Brooksyne holding BeckyBrooksyne found this photo of her holding Becky as an infant. I am holding Jessica, a foster child we had at the time.  This was taken in 1981.

Ester shucking corn
Yesterday Ester began the process of preparing 13 dozen ears of corn for freezing. Ester enjoys shucking so she came up with her own method of covering the table as Brooksyne was preparing pans for the  blanching process. Following blanching she tediously cuts off the corn from the cobs and we enjoy delicious corn all winter!  I think Ester volunteers for the shucking job because she's continually sneaking around eating the corn silk (yek!)

Today's suggested music:
As we prepare these messages we so enjoy playing Christian music in the background and often listen to WDAC, a local radio station. This song came on this morning and I was so touched as it seemed to relate to the message and express my heart.
"Draw me Close" (click to hear audio file)
For all parents here is a great song by Steven Curtis Chapman titled, "Parent's Prayer"
Anywhere you are you can
listen to WDAC "Music for the Heart" on the internet (Streaming HD radio)   Requires Windows Media Player

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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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