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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Colorful shrub "Acer palmatum dissectum viridis"
We passed this beautiful tree in Elizabethtown the other day.
Best I can determine from a plant catalog and online research is that it is an
"Acer palmatum dissectum viridis"

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"A Book Of Remembrance"

"Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. 'They will be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts, 'on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him'" (Malachi 3:16-18).

Photo of Georgia Mae Weber

Today is a special day of remembrance for my family. My Mom passed away on this very date five years ago (November 16, 2005). She made an impact upon many lives and today I want to honor her in this message. Just recently I received a note from a woman in Missouri informing me that she and Dad were a great blessing to her, and that in turn blessed me as well!

When Mom died I placed up a web page of sympathy expressions I had compiled that were written by family and friends, as well as readers in this series who may not have known her personally. I have kept that page up and periodically read it and am encouraged at the expressions of love. In a sense it serves as a "Book of Remembrance".

"Precious Moments" figurine
"Precious Moments" are small porcelain figurines of children which were especially popular about 25 years ago. Near Carthage Missouri they have a "Precious Moments" Visitor's Center that sells the figurines but also has some inspirational features. We visited many times when we were younger since it's about halfway between Brooksyne's childhood home in Tulsa, Oklahoma and mine in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  A must see when visiting is a walk back to the "Precious Moments" chapel which was developed by Samuel Butcher, also the designer of the figurines. He is a Christian and there is a strong testimony for Christ through the whole center and especially in the chapel area. His paintings are remarkable.

"Precious Moments" chapel interior, Carthage Missouri

"Precious Moments" Book Of Remembrance, Carthage Missouri
In the back of the Chapel there are several rooms with large books of remembrance in which people are encouraged to record a brief memory concerning a deceased loved one.  Many of these memorial tributes are very moving.  They express the love and appreciation for those who have gone on before us. Many of them write of the impact the loved one has made on their lives.  Kleenex boxes are sensitively placed around the room for good reason!  It really is a very moving experience.  Brooksyne and Ester wrote a remembrance in these books when we visited the chapel several years ago.

In our daily text Malachi refers to a "book of remembrance".  Although we don't know all the details about this I have wondered if it’s similar to the Book of Life mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.
It does not specify in the text who wrote in this "book of remembrance"Perhaps it was angels or even God Himself.  But actually I wonder to what extent our heartfelt tributes to the living or memorials to the dead are a means of doing this. 

I wonder in what way we can honor and remember "those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name"? The text begins with a reflection of how the Lord observes our relationships with others on this side. "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it."

Certainly our lives have been immeasurably enriched by those whom God has placed in our paths. And yet, one by one, they go on before us and eventually it will be our turn.

Today pause for a moment and consider those who have made an eternal impact on your life.  Raise a prayer of thanksgiving in remembrance of this person.  If they are still living perhaps the Lord will lead you to visit or call them.  Send them a note or a card.

Keep these questions before you: What am I doing that is making an eternal impact for Jesus Christ? Who will write about me in a "book of remembrance"?  What will they write?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, I want to thank You for Your goodness in supplying for all my needs.  Certainly You've blessed me with physical blessings such as food, clothing, shelter.  You also shower me with spiritual blessings as You place godly men and women in my path who revere Your holy name and honor You with their lives. They live above reproach and serve as examples of those who have overcome the world! Jesus, just as You brought these dear brothers and sisters into my life for a season, I pray that I, too, will make a positive difference for those who are presently watching my life.  I want my testimony to be an example of Your life-changing, all-sufficient, and all-sustaining grace.  Amen.

Study note: The focus on today's verse was the phrase "Book of Remembrance".  However a good source of study and reflection would be the latter phrase,
"So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him."  We sure need greater discernment today when distiguishing between the righteous and the wicked and between the one who serves God and the one who does not!

Expressions of Remembrances and Sympathy for Georgia Mae Weber: Here is the webpage I prepared with the compiled expressions of sympathy and tributes I received following my Mom's death in November 2005. In the days that followed her death we heard from so many in our family and from her friends.  But we also received notes from people who did not know her but had read about her physical ups and downs in this series. An interesting aspect regarding Mom's ongoing impact is how many pageviews this page gets, apparently by people seeking ideas on writing sympathy expressions who apparently come across this page through a search engine.

Tribute page for my Mom.

Here is information about the Precious Moments Chapel including photos.

JuanitaIn the course of preparing today's message I was prompted to call Juanita Grahum, who along with her late husband Warren, were friends of my folks all the way back to the forties. Juanita recently had her 90th birthday and is doing well. She has a vibrant faith in the Lord and we have had fellowship in her home many times. This photo was taken in April 2006 when I visited with her at Saint Johns Hospital in Springfield Missouri while her husband had knee replacement surgery.

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.)

"Remember Me"  Video  Mark Schultz  This song is written as though the Lord is calling on us to remember Him, but for some it might also bring to mind people in your life.

Special Thanksgiving Resources
We want to offer these ideas to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.
(We'll be posting these resources through Thanksgiving.)

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table (printable webpage) The Thanksgiving celebration includes family coming together along with the turkey and trimmings. Often there's a lot of food with little meaningful conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns" or the questionnaire we've provided in the link below.

A Thanksgiving prayer: (written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago.)  Webpage  For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading: A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

The Pilgrims Come to the New World:   Webpage  

A Day of Rest in Plimouth Colony: This is a summary of a chapter in the lives of the pilgrims that Brooksyne uses to teach about their Sunday worship.  (pdf)

CD label for "Stories of Great Hymns""Hymns of Hope" Brooksyne has compiled eleven hymns that deal with the recurring theme of loss and ongoing trial and titled it "Hymns of Hope" based on Romans 12:12,  "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." Amber Martin plays the hymns on the keyboard and Lauren Gingrich accompanies her on six of the hymns with the viola. Tracks 12-22 play each hymn softly in the background while Brooksyne shares a personal devotional thought, the biographical setting of the hymn text, and an intercessory prayer. We recorded this in the very modest and limited computerized recording studio of Daily Encouragement so that we could make this ministry project available to all who are in need of such encouragement.  Thus we realize the audio quality is not what most are accustomed to. You can go to this site to listen to the songs. You can download one song at a time if you find this to be of special blessing or know someone whose spirit might be lifted by listening to these meditative hymns.

A Thanksgiving family exercise - We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.  (pdf)

"ThanksLiving" Bob Southard, a friend of ours shares a weekly online sermon. Here's a pdf version of his thanksgiving sermon.

Resources used in Brooksyne's research on the Pilgrims:
Saints & Strangers  By Vision Video
Three Young Pilgrims  By Cheryl Harness / Simon & Schuster

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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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