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August 24, 2010

Monarch butterfly
I like the lighting effect of this photo Brooksyne took in our front yard yesterday morning. Butterfly varieties of all types are teeming on her flowers as summer draws to a close.

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"Loving God's Word"

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold" (Proverbs 22:1). "Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them" (Romans 16:15). "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long" (Psalm 119:97).

Here in the USA our social security number is a nine number sequence that uniquely identifies us. Can you imagine how different it would be if that's how we were known! For example, I would extend my hand and say "Hello, I'm 672-58-2208." They'd smile and say "Hello, I'm 843-97-4382."* I have a hard enough time with names now, so I can’t imagine a system of memorizing numbers! In recent years memorizing phone numbers has become an extra challenge due to  internal phone contact lists and speed dials that come with our phones (besides my aging brain). However I still have my best friend's childhood phone # memorized! I guess that phone number I dialed repeatedly enough that it is forever burned in my memory.

Names are important to us. People like to be addressed by their name, they like to see it spelled correctly and hear it pronounced properly. In our pastoral and chaplaincy work we seek to learn names and address people by their proper name. It can be somewhat insulting to be addressed by pal, buddy, or the endearing term "Hon" such as a waitress addressed me several days ago (unless it is from your loving companion). Maybe one of the worst top ten ways to be addressed is, "Hey you!"

Our names identify us. Some names bring us good memories. The first daily text reinforces the value of having a good name. "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

I am named after the Bible character, Stephen. In my case it was not a family name up to that point but very purposefully the Bible character. Not surprisingly Stephen is one of my favorite Bible characters and his name means "crowned one."

Brooksyne's name is a total original originated by her Mom so there's not a special meaning behind it, except that it is a derivative of her father's name, Brooklyn. She assists people with the pronunciation by saying remember, "scene of a brook" but turn it around and say, "Brook scene" with the accent on the second syllable. One advantage (or for some a disadvantage) to such a name is how easy it is to find her using a google search! Very few people can be identified through google just by their first name.

The second daily text today is tucked among a long listing of Paul's friends and ministry associates in Romans 16. In fact this chapter has 35 proper names! One of them was Philologus, the only time he is mentioned in the Scriptures. Very little is known about him (I presume he was a male) but he has a neat name, a compound of two words; Philo meaning "love" and logos meaning "word." Perhaps he was known by the abbreviated name, Phil, such as those today who have the name Phillip.

We can't do more than conjecture but I wonder if this was a name with a meaning as was often the case in the Bible? If so Philologus means "lover of the word." Or in this case it might have been, like Barnabas, a descriptive nickname based upon what others had observed. Barnabas means "son of encouragement" due to his encouraging characteristics. After he had acquired the nickname he is not referred to by his birth name of Joseph (Acts 4:36). Perhaps in the case of Philologus others had observed that he was a diligent student of God's Word and gave him this nickname!

Philologus will be an interesting person to meet in heaven and then we'll find the story behind the name for sure. However, although I am quite sure very few, if any of us are named Philologus, we should all have a lifelong love for God's Word. The Psalmist declared, "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long" (Psalm 119:97).

An interesting glimpse into the Apostle Paul's life is seen in a request made to Timothy in his final letter as his time of departure was near. "When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:13). I still specifically recall one of my Bible School teachers pointing out that this was likely a request for the Scriptures which is also evidence of his love for the Word right up to his death.

May we be among those who love the Word of God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, clinging to Your Word is like holding tightly to a brightly lit lantern on a darkened path. I can't see what's ahead but the light shines bright enough for me to proceed step by step. I am strengthened, encouraged, convicted and challenged by the Holy Bible as I faithfully read and meditate upon the inspired words written by believers throughout the generations. I join with the Psalmist who proclaims, "Oh how I love Your Law. I meditate on it all day long. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word." Amen.

* These aren't real numbers that I know of. I just made them up. (But possibly they are somebody's!)

Brooksyne's Note: Before we left the St. Marys, PA area where we pastored almost 16 years I read in our local paper, "Congratulations on your second birthday, Brooksyne". That was a bit shocking to my eyes since I'd never read about another "Brooksyne" in print. Since it was spelled the same as mine I wondered if the child was named after me, but she lived in a town ten miles away and I didn't know how to find out. Only this past year did I come across this name again and followed up since this young lady is on facebook. I wrote her and asked about the origin of her name. She said her grandfather saw the name in a church bulletin over 23 years ago, liked it, and recommended it to his daughter so she named her new baby Brooksyne, but pronounces it, "Brook sin". She was quite pleased by my contact through facebook since she has wanted to find out more about her name over the years. Her grandfather died while she was a child which was her only lead up to that time.

Mike on ride at Knoebels Amusement Park
Yesterday my brother Mike and I, along with Ester and one of her friends, went to the Knoebels Amusement Park in northeastern PA. Mike rode several rides, including a roller coaster he later regretted riding!  Here he is on a ride made by a German company with our name. Knoebels is a delightful old-fashioned park in the mountains set in a grove of trees which has been run by the same family for 80 years!

Monarch butterfly
Here's another photo Brooksyne took yesterday morning. In the background is the Sedum which are like magnets for butterflies and all sorts of flying critters.

Peach dahlia
Peach colored Dahlia (though the photo makes it look pink)

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.)

"Jesus Name Above All Names"  Video  

"Jesus, What A Beautiful Name"  Video

Knoebels Amusement Resort 

Bob Grant in jet engine fan casingYesterday we shared this photo of our friend Bob standing inside a machined part his company makes. We had some interesting guesses such as a cattle water trough but actually it's the forward fan case for the GE90-115 engine--the largest jet engine in the world.  It goes on the Boeing 777.

Finally today:
Sign in Georgia
Jeff, a reader from Georgia, sent this photo and caption: "I’ve heard you mention how hot it has been this past summer, but you have had it mighty easy. Here is a picture I took, several days ago, at a high school I routinely go by on my way to work. Obviously, the temperature sensor is missing or not properly installed, they didn’t program the sign correctly, or whatever, but it’s been like that for at least three weeks!"

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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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