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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wild Kittens
Several years ago these wild kittens adopted us and hung around for awhile.  I took this photo one night with a flash when I walked out on our deck and found them laying in one of Brooksyne's flower pots!

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Today's message was written by Brooksyne and she does so with Chris and Amy Brown's blessing.

"A Vanishing Mist"

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

Over the past month I led our congregation in a worship song several times that has ministered deeply to my heart, not just during church but also through the week.  Some of our readers will be familiar with the lyrics from the song, "Be Unto Your Name."  The first verse of this praise song is based upon today's Scripture text:

"We are a moment, You are forever. 
Lord of the ages, God before time.
We are a vapor, You are eternal. 
Love everlasting, reigning on high."

MistWhen I first introduced this song to the church I illustrated the daily verse from James, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." I sprayed a fragrant mist that disappeared within seconds, reminding us of how quickly we pass through life on this side of eternity.  I appreciate the lyricist's contrast of the temporal and eternal as she was inspired to write this beautiful praise song.

On Feb. 11, Stephen and I made a chaplain call to see a couple where the husband, Chris, works in one of our companies.  His wife Amy had given birth prematurely early that morning to Colton Matthew Brown and was in the Reading Hospital. She was only 24 weeks into her pregnancy and was preparing to endure 11 weeks of complete bed rest at the hospital awaiting her due date.

Colton Matthew BrownBut little Colton was more impatient than Amy and less than a week into her required bed rest he arrived at 3:24 A.M. weighing only 1 pound, 8 ounces and 12½ inches in length.

By the time we arrived he had coded twice and the likelihood of his survival was diminishing by the minute.  We had prayer with Chris and Amy and then went into the neonatal intensive care unit and prayed over their tiny, tiny infant, committing him to the Lord.  At 8:16 P.M. Colton left his parents to be with Jesus in heaven. His physical presence here on earth was merely 17 hours and 8 minutes.

When I attended the funeral service the following Monday the first song we sang was "Be Unto Your Name."  What a fitting song that took on even greater meaning to me as I considered that little Colton arrived too soon and left way too soon, much like the mist that appeared for a moment and then so quickly vanished. 

Autumn mistBible commentator Matthew Henry writes, "The frailty, shortness, and uncertainty of life, ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all projects we have in mind for the future. We can fix the hour and minute of the sun's rising and setting to-morrow, but we cannot fix the certain time of a vapor being scattered. So short, unreal, and fading is human life, and all the prosperity or enjoyment that attends it; though bliss or woe for ever must be according to our conduct during this fleeting moment. We are always to depend on the will of God. Our times are not in our own hands, but at the disposal of God. Our heads may be filled with cares and contrivances for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Providence often throws our plans into confusion. All we design, and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God."

Colton was a long awaited answered prayer for Chris and Amy and yet they placed his young life and future in God's hands when their plans turned into confusion.  Although an anquishing time, they nevertheless cherished every minute of the short time they had with him and they celebrated his 17 hour life as family, friends, co-workers, and church family attended his funeral. It was a powerful testament to the value of life, no matter the brevity of it.

They had plans for his future but they also had the attitude James writes about in his epistle, "If it is the Lord's will, [Colton] will live and do this or that" (4:15).  They were truly in "submissive dependence on God" as Matthew Henry writes.

Below we have a link to the beautiful and touching tribute to Colton's life that Amy and her friend prepared, set to the song, "With Hope" by Steven Curtis Champman.  Chris and Amy's story will touch your heart as Chapman's song brings the eternal perspective into their heartbreaking circumstance.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, our lives are in Your hands.  We make our plans and dream our dreams, but we desire to have the same attitude as that of Your Son, Jesus, who expressed His own heart's desire and then submitted His will to You when He prayed, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done."  Help us to submit our will to Yours and trust You with our future, for You never forsake the righteous and You are a refuge for those in trouble.  Amen.

Stephen's note: When we went into the neonatal ICU to see Colton Amy's Mom and Dad were standing near the incubator lovingly hovering over the tiny baby, affirming the value of his life and their love.  It was a tender and heartwarming scene I'll always remember.

Health Update:  Brooksyne talked to Amy last night on the phone. She continues to recover from the emergency ceserean operation from Feb. 11th.  She's had several medical complications which has led to some recovery setbacks. I'm sure she would appreciate your prayers, not only for their emotional healing but also for her physical healing. Chris and Amy have a very lively and delightful four year old son named Hunter and Chris has an older daughter, Christine, seen in the multi-media presentation.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"In Memory Of Colton Matthew Brown" The video prepared by Amy and her close friend that was shared at his funeral service.  It also tells her story and features "With Hope", a powerful song written by Steven Curtis Chapman.

"Be Unto Your Name"  Video  This is the song Brooksyne refers to in today's message.

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made, DVDFearfully & Wonderfully Made, DVD  By Dr. David Menton / Answers In Genesis
Anatomist Dr. David Menton allows us to take a fascinating look at the development of human life. He follows an unborn child at each step in its growth, relishing the chance to show the birth process' intricate design. He illustrates how miracles are required every step of the way, giving as examples twins having the same DNA, and the ability of the uterus to accept the 'foreign' child. Psalm 139:13-16 tells us how God knit us together in the womb, and Dr. Menton demonstrates that we were indeed created by a series of "irreducible complexities" that couldn't just have happened at random. Rather, we were deliberately designed by a caring God who gave us not only our first natural birth, but our second spiritual birth as well. Approximately 63 minutes

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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