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Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I took this photo last winter on Trout Run Road about a mile from our home. The weather reports indicate we may soon be in for the first major snow storm of the season, a noreaster! Click here to see this photo in a larger desktop-sized format, along with today's Scripture.
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"One Generation To Another"
"One generation will commend Your works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of Your awesome works, and I will proclaim Your great deeds" (Psalm 145:4-6).
We attend a rural church that has a number of multi-generational families who have been members for several generations. We initially visited this church when we moved down to Lancaster County from New England in 2001 because Earl Martin, a friendly neighbor, invited us even as we were still unpacking from our long trip. He brought over a freshly baked shoofly pie from his wife and a hand-written prayer of blessing based upon several Scriptures.
Two days later we attended the Sunday Worship Service and met Earl's son and his wife who invited us over to their farmhouse for a wholesome country meal. We've become very good friends over the years with this family who now has four generations attending the church, though Earl was promoted to glory several years ago. On occasion all the Martin family sits together and it's a warm Norman Rockwell sort of picture to see members of the four generations crowd into a pew. Following the service, as we visit in the foyer, Grandpa Galen is often proudly holding his first grand-daughter, Tirza, and helping her to interact with other friendly church members.
Today's verse presents a foundational principle. "One generation will commend Your works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts." We may tend to read this verse and see it primarily as the older generation commending God's works to the younger but the text itself does not specify this. I believe this is best viewed as a two way exchange and we all benefit by being on both the telling and the receiving end. What a joy so see a respectful youth listening intently to the testimony of an elder or an elder listening with genuine interest as a young person shares how the Lord is working through his or her life. This is an illustration of the wonderful God-ordained pattern for the transmission of truth.
This is in such a contrast to the continuing breakdown of the divinely ordained order in the home and local church as evidenced all around us. It counteracts the philosophy of "It takes a village" that proposes big and intrusive government is essential for the betterment of society. This I believe greatly erodes God's design.* You see, the "village" does a very poor job in transmitting godly values from one generation to the next. This is a role ordained of God for the family and church. For the last forty years in our country we've seen the carnage the village model has wreaked upon our culture.
The verse continues, "They will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of Your awesome works, and I will proclaim Your great deeds." As I study and meditate on the text I notice this focus is on God; "Your works, Your mighty acts, Your majesty, Your wonderful works, Your awesome works, Your great deeds."
Today let us who seek to faithfully serve God in our generation make this declaration based on the daily text, "My generation will commend Your works to another; I will tell of Your mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. I will tell of the power of Your awesome works, and I will proclaim Your great deeds."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as You do wondrous works in my life I can't help but tell of the splendor of Your majesty or proclaim Your great deeds. Because it is abundant in my life it overflows through my conversation, my deeds, and in my praise toward You. May my children and my children's children rise up and call You blessed. I never want to limit the transmission of the gospel to my own blood relations for I want it to spill over to all who are in my sphere of influence. As You give me opportunity to share my testimony, use my gifts, and apply my skills may the work of Your Holy Spirit be seen through me and draw others into a relationship with You. Amen.
Stephen's note: The concept "It takes a village to raise a child" has some merit if understood correctly. We are indeed thankful for the blessings that many others have been in the spiritual development of our daughter such as Sunday School teachers, Bible Club workers, youth workers, Bible quiz coaches, etc. She has also had some very fine public school teachers. But the fundamental Biblical responsibility in raising children rests with family. The church supplements and supports the Biblical instruction given by godly parents. Sadly "It takes a village" message often runs contrary to this. The "village" is the professional educators, social workers, childcare providers and others who claim to know what is best for our children. And this becomes a serious issue if their perception of "best" is contrary to that of the parents (and increasingly this is the case, if parents are seeking to raise their children with godly values and standards.)
Brooksyne's Note: Several years back I remember working with a young woman whose parents had died and she was turned over to social workers because she had some mental challenges. The women in our church reached out to her and provided great support physically, materially and spiritually. She gave her heart to Jesus and it brought about wonderful changes in her life. Some time later the philosophies her case worker espoused began to counter Biblical teaching in several areas and it really became a source of conflict. Eventually the young woman embraced the counsel of her case worker. It brought about such conflict that she made a choice to turn her back on God and Biblical instruction. Sadly, for the past twelve years or so she has lived a promiscuous lifestyle. So we must be on guard when we tap into the "helpful" sources that are set in place when needs arise for our children or other family members.
Our daughter, Ester, has not only physical challenges related to her heart disease but she is also challenged mentally requiring additional helps as she is reaching adulthood. As we look into the community services needed for her to survive, apart from our care, we are always looking into the philosophy of that service before we tap her into the source available. We're grateful for the many choices that are Christian-based in Lancaster County. Through our school district Ester is presently attending "Work to School" which is a class that matches her skill level to job situations that she can master. We're very thankful that she has a Christian teacher this year because there are many times when teachings in the public school certainly run contrary to Scripture.
Our multi-generational choir singing a Christmas musical last Christmas
Although we sure enjoy the modern praise and worship songs it is our deep conviction that the church must not forsake the great multi-generational hymns.
Here's a site with resources having that very goal in mind. In fact as I was looking over this site I noted their theme verse, which prompted the main verse for today's message. Today's sample music is from that site as well.
As I listen to these songs my mind goes back to the little white church in Harwood, Missouri I visited as a child when we would stay with my grandparents (although the singing really didn't sound at all like these recordings!) The photo of this very church was taken in the spring of 2006 when we gathered to bury my mom. Here's a photo with my two brothers and cousins gathered in the church. All of my cousins on this side still stay in regular contact and we meet annually for a family reunion although we are scattered all over the country.
"Holy, Holy, Holy" (Audio)
"Praise To The Lord The Almighty" (Audio)
"Take My Life And Let It Be" (Audio)
"When I Survey The Wondrous Cross" (Audio)
Last month I shared a post on my humor/satire blog about this matter. If you didn't have an opportunity to read it is here.
This weekend Brooksyne will be directing our church choir in three separate performances of the Christmas musical, "The Love of God at Christmas." Here's one of the songs they will sing, "More Than Wonderful" (although this particular version is a couple in a local church in western Pennsylvania.)
Personal note: Both Brooksyne and I are from the Midwest which is being barraged with ice storms and many are without power. Yesterday she called her brother Jody and I called my cousin Jeannine who both live in the Tulsa area. They describe quite a scene with traffic lights out all through the area. Drivers are instructed to treat all traffic light intersections as four way stops.
A Final Story: My sister sent this to me. I don't know whether it actually happened or is just an illustrative story but it makes a great point!
In Florida, an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.
The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, 'Case dismissed!'
The lawyer immediately stood and objected to th e ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah...yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!'
The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, 'Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists' holiday!'
The lawyer pompously said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?'
The judge said, 'Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as 'April Fools Day,' consider that Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!
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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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