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Monday, May 26, 2008

Amish teams at farmer's market
Teams at Lancaster County farmer's market

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"Making Known His Faithfulness"

"I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations" (Psalm 89:1). "One generation will commend Your works to another" (Psalm 145:4).

In the USA today we celebrate Memorial Day.  Its origin dates back to the period following our Civil War in the 1860's and was primarily a remembrance of those who died in that war and other previous wars. But it has expanded to be a day when many tend to remember all who have gone before us. Later today I'll push Brooksyne in the wheelchair up the road to Kraybill Cemetery where fresh flowers will decorate the graves as loved ones remember and honor their deceased family and friends.

Certainly today we will be remembering those in our own family, as Brooksyne and I have each seen our parents pass on to their eternal reward over the last ten years.  Last year Brooksyne's sister died reminding us of the quick progression of life and how that our own transition is growing closer as the years quickly pass.

Today we will also be remembering those who have impacted us on our journey of faith but are now with the Lord.  Allow me to honor them with a partial list using their first names only: Joe, Tracy, Beulah, Karin Joy, Ines, John, Gene, Bill, Earl, Al & Thata, my very first pastor as a Christian, Bro. Howard and many, many others.   Why don't you take a moment to personally reflect by making a similar list and remembering those people who've touched your life?

Four generations proclaiming God's love
Yesterday we had a special time in our church service where four generations of the Martin family helped lead us in a couple of older children's choruses.  Four generations faithfully serving Christ is a very inspirational sight, but the additional blessing of each of these families attending the same church brought spiritual refreshing as well.  It's rare these days that the grandparent(s) in their 80's would have grown up singing the same songs that are taught to our children today such as "Deep & Wide" and "He's Got the Whole world in His Hand."

Moses, in his final message prior to his death, hearkens the people to "Consider the generations long past."  A powerful oral history had been maintained about the creation and origin of their national identity (children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) That was about 3,500 years ago and I believe his words are still very appropriate for the people of God.  We need to remember those who have gone to be with the Lord before and during our lifetime.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of these men and women as "a great cloud of witnesses."  They indeed witness and testify to the power of faith and of the faithfulness of God.  This great cloud is surely comprised of all the Biblical greats that are mentioned in Hebrews 11 and others in the Bible period.

But I believe it also includes all those throughout the ages of the church who have died in faith; people such as great men and women of church history like Evangelist D.L Moody and Songwriter Fannie Crosby.  Today, I am thankful for the impact in my generation of nationally (and perhaps internationally) known people like D. James Kennedy, Bill Bright and Larry Burkett, who have in recent years gone on to their reward.

It surely also includes the many, many throughout the ages who have lived their lives for Christ in relative obscurity, serving Him faithfully in their work settings, homes, churches, and communities.  They loved their family, sought to raise their children right, worked hard, served as Sunday School teachers, janitors, prayer leaders, nursery workers and in other ways.  These are the people whom I have personally known and observed over time. I believe God has ordained that we are to live in close community with those whom He has placed in our lives, giving and receiving.  Our friend, Doris High, has a thought-provoking saying on her blog: "There is no way of belonging to Jesus Christ except by belonging gladly and irrevocably to the glorious ragbag of saints who make up the Church!"

I'm certain that You have a number of people to remember today who are with the Lord.  If they're now in the great cloud of heavenly witnesses thank God for them!  And let us all continue to sing of the mercies of the LORD forever. With our mouths and with our lives let us make known His faithfulness to all generations!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, we give thanks for the men and women of great valor who have given their lives for our freedoms over the centuries.  We also give thanks for those who have impacted our spiritual lives as we seek to live faithfully for You; the Biblical saints, the early church fathers, the martyrs of the faith, the evangelists, preachers, and teachers of Your Holy Word, our family members who showed us the way and we thank You for those extraordinary believers who not only lived for You but lived as an example of faith to those of us who were watching and learning along the way.  Above all, we thank You for the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life to our eternal Home in heaven.  Amen.

Ester at 2008 prom
Friday night Ester attended her class prom with classmate, Matt Stahlnecker. He was a last minute fill-in for Ester's boyfriend who couldn't get off work.  We were glad it worked out for Matt to be Ester's escort and from all we heard, "A good time was had by all!"

To save on gas, while Ester was at the prom, I went to the Green Dragon farmer's market near Ephrata, Pennsylvania and walked around for a couple of hours. Farmer's Markets are an interesting part of our rural area and the Green Dragon is considered the grand-daddy of them all.  A lot of Amish and old-order Mennonites attend the market and the first photo shows one of their special parking areas. I tried to get a photo of one of the livestock auctions but it was too dark.
Conestoga wagon style buggy
I found this Conestoga wagon style buggy interesting!

More info about the Green Dragon Farmer's market

Oren and Naomi Hostetter

Yesterday we were blessed by a visit from our friend, Oren and Naomi Hostetter, who brought over a meal to share with us.  Oren and Naomi are faithful servants for Christ who for many years served on a Navajo Indian reservation in mission work. They both have tremendous servant's hearts and continue to impact many lives for the Lord.

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  This video was prepared by a pastor for his parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  His mother was in the hospital with leukemia at the time and she passed away five days before the anniversary. Fortunately she was able to view the video before her death.  The song is the (now classic) Steve Green version.

"When The Tears Fall"
 Video  This song has a wonderful message of faith and assurance.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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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