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Monday, June 21, 2010
We pass through the beautiful Lancaster County countryside to reach our church. Early yesterday morning it was evident that the Amish also were heading to their church service (they meet in homes). Following the message today we post several more photos of our Sunday morning travels.
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"A Father Named Jairus"
"Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with Him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying" (Luke 8:41,42a).
What a blessing it is to know a father's love. Yesterday was "Father's Day", a day set aside here in America (along with Mother's Day in May) to honor our parents. My father died in 1998 but recollections of his love abound in my memories. Many reading this have an assurance of their earthly father's love but certainly not all do. Yet we can all have a deep assurance of our Heavenly Father's love!
Jairus is one of my favorite dads mentioned in the Bible. Although he had a leadership position in the synagogue his role as a father took prominence in the brief story written about him. Jairus demonstrates three qualities needed today by all godly fathers:
1) Love. We aren't told if Jairus had any sons, but Scripture indicates that he had only one daughter. She was twelve years old, and tragically, she was dying. We've seen the anguish of loving parents whose child is critically ill or whose debilitating disease is beyond the skill of the medical profession to help. We had our own share of agonizing distress when Ester, as an infant and child, experienced complications during her heart surgeries or endured long, grueling recoveries.
I recall a heartbreaking situation in the waiting room of the heart clinic at Boston Children's Hospital when Ester was in for treatment several years ago. Boston Children's is ranked number one in heart and heart surgery so people come from many different countries to seek out help for their young. A young couple had traveled from overseas and brought their tiny baby in for treatment who was obviously very sick. A doctor came out and spoke to them in hushed tones. Though we did not hear all the details it was quite obvious that the news was not good. We respectfully observed, prayed, and empathized as we saw the distressful twinge of pain spread over their faces.
My mother was one of seven children who lived into adulthood; in fact, they all lived well into their senior years. But her parents lost an infant son and young daughter. I recall how to his dying day the loss of these two children was a painful memory for my grandpa, especially Evelyn, the daughter who died around 1930 when she was twelve years old. Recalling this memory nearly forty years after my grandpa's death indicates that it had a profound effect on his life and on those whom he loved.
2) Desperation. Help was desperately needed and Jairus, likely overcoming pride, prejudice, and panic, (especially as a synagogue ruler) very publicly approached Jesus for help. He went to the right Person. He came to the Master and "fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with Him to come to his house."
The same desperation observed in Jairus pleading with Jesus, on behalf of his daughter, needs to be demonstrated by caring fathers today. His daughter was dying physically and Jairus needed Christ to intervene. Today our children face a spiritual onslaught from the one whom Jesus warns, "comes only to steal and kill and destroy." We desperately need Christ to intercede for the hearts of our children. Our world is sick and dying. Sin and wickedness seems to know no bounds. Our children are at the edge of a slippery precipice. They're flooded with appeals to "Jump!"
3) Faith. It took faith to approach Jesus and faith to hold on. They were delayed when the woman who had bled for twelve years touched the hem of the Master's garment. It was at this point that Jairus received word that his daughter had died and was told, "Don't bother the teacher anymore" (v.49). But Jesus said, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed" (v. 50).
They indeed went to Jairus's home, a great miracle was performed, and the account ends with her parents being astonished. I've often wondered whatever happened concerning Bible characters like Jairus, his wife and daughter. Were they a part of the early church?
Dads, Moms, and Grandparents, let us follow the example of Jairus. Critical problems demand a serious response. Let's boldly stand up, persevere, and fight the good fight of faith for our children and grandchildren as they battle the evil one in this present evil age. We can make a difference as we faithfully pray, lead by example, and faithfully instruct our young in the ways of the Lord!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are given a tremendous trust when we bring a child into our home. What begins as a privilege and blessing can also turn into a challenge or desperate situation. No circumstance is too difficult for You. Your arm is not too weak to save, nor Your ear too deaf to hear our heart's cry. We pray for our children as they seek to overcome life's difficulties and battle the enemy's schemes. Help us to properly provide for their physical and spiritual needs as they journey into adulthood. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Harriet Beecher Stowe, famous for her novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", was the daughter of a famous pastor, Lyman Beecher, in the 1800's. She dedicated her life wholly to Christ at the tender age of 14, after listening to her father preach one Sunday morning. "As soon as my father came home and was seated in his study," she recalled, "I went up to him and fell in his arms, saying, "Father, I have given myself to Jesus, and He has taken me." I never shall forget the expression of his face as he looked down into my earnest childish eyes…"Is that so?" he said, holding me silent to his heart as I felt his hot tears fall on my head.
Godly fathers care deeply for their child's physical health but most especially for their spiritual health. The Sunday afternoon that Harriet wrapped her arms around her father and told of her surrender to Christ, his response as her loving, concerned dad surpassed that of his role as her pastor. There is no doubt that Harriet's father had prayed for this day to be a reality in the life of his precious daughter.
The outside photos were taken from inside the van, thus the less than optimum clarity.
We came up upon the Amish church traffic along Meadow View Road as they rounded a curve to cross a one way bridge.
Two weeks ago we believe these same two young boys had some problems with the horse and were out in the field to the right in the photo trying to get control. We watched as their Dad took over and quickly regained control. (See here.) Yesterday the boys appeared to have a younger horse (or pony) and were doing just fine. Mom and dad were in the buggie in front as the younger children peered out the back window.
A bit further up the road we came upon another set of buggie traffic.
As we passed the buggie we had a better view of the open cart as it turned right on Elizabethtown Road. Looks like some young men dressed up for church in their Sunday best! (Something you just don't see much anymore in the "English" culture I am familiar with.)
I still enjoy getting a tie for Father's Day and was not disappointed as I was able to add to my collection of ties that express my faith in Jesus Christ!
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.)
I was unable to find any music related specifically to Jairus but found these songs related to the strengthening of the family and commitment by fathers desiring to be men of God.
"Family Prayer Song" Video
"Strong Tower" Video
"Let It Be Said of Us" Video
"How Deep The Father's Love For Us" Video The best model for human fathers is our heavenly Father!
Our Amish church traffic scenes were taken in this area of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (Google map)
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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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