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November 11, 2013

Rock Point Road farm lane, Lancaster County PA 11/10/13
Yesterday afternoon we passed this
long, inviting tree-lined farm lane on Rock Point Road in Lancaster County, PA

"The Blessing Of Spiritual Veterans"

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"Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?" (Job 12:12). "I then, as Paul--an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:9b).

Gene Weber service photo (about 1943) Today is Veteran's Day here in the United States, a day in which we properly remember military veterans and consider the price paid for our temporal freedoms. I realize many veterans read these messages including several we know, as well as many who are in active service. Brooklyn Sherrell service photo (about 1953)We thank you for your service. I specifically consider my dad (left) who trained as a pilot in the Army/Air Force during WW2 and Brooksyne's dad (right) who served during the Korean War.

But today we want to focus this devotional on spiritual veterans. Many have gone on before us and are now in what Hebrews 12 calls "a great cloud of witnesses". Others are still on this side and in the senior years of life. They have faithfully served God in their generation and await their call home.

Yesterday we held a service in a nursing home and consider today's first text, "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?"  We need to value these spiritual veterans and the wisdom and perspective they bring to life. Although many times they have a frail memory they also have insights which can be such a blessing.

Evelyn GoodSeveral weeks ago we wrote about seeing life similar to a football game and asked our readers to consider, "What quarter are you in?"  I shared this concept in the nursing home several weeks ago and 93 year old Evelyn, (in left photo) a rather spunky resident, spoke right out: "I guess I'm in the last quarter." In fact she was, because she passed away this last week and her service was held yesterday. In her obituary we read of her Christian service earlier in life and how she taught Sunday School in her church. Now she's in her first quarter in heaven where there is no "final" quarter.

Today let us remember and honor the contribution made by the countless old spiritual veterans who have gone before us. Let us look at an easily overlooked statement made by the apostle Paul, a true veteran of the Christian conflict.  He had fought the good fight of faith and was not at all hesitant in identifying himself in the text as an "old man".  (The KJV states "the aged".)

Paul is one of scores of men and women through the history of the church who have taken great risks to the point of laying down their lives. They faced hardship and otherwise bear the scars of battle for Christ and for our souls. Our spiritual freedom was supremely paid by Christ's death on the Cross. However many others have paid a price to bring that message to us and help keep our flame lit. Let's honor them and let us now take our place in the line of the faithful!

I'm sure you can think of some veterans today. Why don't you take a moment to thank God for them, and if you're able, give them a personal expression of thanks. You'll make their day.

Finally, we all will become spiritual veterans should the Lord keep us on this side. Brooksyne and I state our determination to stay faithful and invite our readers to join us.

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we honor our military veterans who gave their all that we might enjoy our freedoms. Some of them bear visible reminders of their service such as a missing limb, or a jagged scar. Others carry less visible signs such as a pin holding a bone together, shrapnel buried beneath their skin, tortuous physical and mental images that cannot be erased from their minds, causing many of them deep disturbance in their mental health. Many have been deployed to the Philippines following the indescribable loss of life and property from the recent typhoon. Help them to make a powerful difference to those who are left to sort out life in a way they could never have imagined. We pray that You will encourage the veteran's families, provide physical, financial and emotional services, and place godly people in their paths who will build relationships with them giving them an opportunity to share their faith. We pray for those serving today who are being denied their expression of faith due to the politically motivated changes within the military. We consider the chaplains who uphold the teachings of the Bible rather than the philosophies of our day that redefine what is right and what is wrong. Fortify them with courage, wisdom and the resolve to stay firm in the days ahead to hold to what is true no matter what they endure as a result. And, lastly, we pray for our spiritual veterans who have forged the straight and narrow path before us that leads to eternal life. We follow behind and don't look back to the broad path that leads to destruction and eternal doom. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Update on Ester:  We updated our readers on Friday about Ester's surgery being postponed due to a blood clot found during her pre-op testing last Thursday. I am now injecting her daily with lovenox, a blood-thinner that treats blood clots (Stephen sits to the side, holds her hands, closes his eyes and prays (you might guess that he's closing his eyes for a double reason.) It was a big step for me to inject my daughter in the belly, but I've been encouraged by friends via D.E., facebook, and those personally who've shared their stories or spurred me on by their words. Yesterday Ester asked to be anointed in prayer during the Morning Worship hour and we were so encouraged after doing so. The songs and Scriptures yesterday during church gave me strenth and helped to quiet my fears about the injections.

Friday was such a turnabout for us regarding Ester's health that all three of us clustered downstairs in the family room and didn't say a lot. I went to bed with a heavy heart and awoke early Saturday morning with matters still unsettled. I asked the Lord to assure me that He was going to meet me and give me a peace about the matter before the morning was over. I turned on WDAC, our local Christian radio station and the first song was "Somebody's Praying for Me" followed by the old hymn, "Leave It There, take your burdens to the Lord and leave it there." That was the first blessing and sign from God. I knew He had more for me when I opened up the computer, and sure enough, the compassionate messages and prayers begin to scroll down the page. The first being from one of our long-time readers from Scotland who wrote (in part): "I feel that it's good for you all to know that as you slept last night others in other parts of the world were lifting you up to the Lord in prayer." Isn't it amazingly wonderful to experience the prayers and support of other believers as we undergo trial. Thank you for your messages, both written and those quietly prayed to the Father on our behalf. (Link to song "Somebody's Praying for Me" is below.)

Rock Point Road farm lane, Lancaster County PA 11/10/13
Here's another view of the farm lane in our lead photo with the old brick farmhouse shown at the end of the lane.

Senior ministry couples
Our church is blessed to have three retired minister couples who attend, representing spiritual ministry veterans who are now in their seventies, eighties and nineties!
Left to right: Gerald and Fran Book, Jim and Eva Ketner, Jesse and Wilma Dourte, along with our current pastor and his wife, John and Faithe Keefer.

Steve Sensenig 11/9/13 concert
On Saturday evening we attended a concert with Steve Sensenig, an accomplished pianist and gifted son of DE readers, Charles & Hazel Sensenig. Their daughter also accompanied Steve with her flute during three songs. We took our Amish friends and gave them a taste of inspirational culture. They had a great time. I remember their first visit to our home when they asked Brooksyne, "What is that?" referring to our piano. Since then they've gathered around it many times as we've sung hymns together. So a new question we got at the concert was "What was Steve's sister playing?" Of course, we informed them that it was a flute. The five children all sat on the front row with Ester and were amazed by Steve's powerful mastery of the keyboard.

A touching Veteran's Day story:

Dub and Joy
My cousin George Steincross (shown to the left with his wife Joy) is a retired Baptist pastor as well as a retired National Guard chaplain. He has an interesting veteran opportunity today:

"I am evermore excited about Veterans Day, November 11, 2013.  Months ago I had signed up to be a "Guardian" on an Honor Flight from Kansas City to Washington DC.  A few weeks ago I got THE CALL asking if I could serve on November 11. The answer, of course, was YES.

So tomorrow morning at 4:00 AM I will be at the airport to board a plane with "my Vet"--Earl Hammer, age 93, Marine, from St. Joseph, MO.

As you may know Honor Flights from all over the USA are trying to transport as many WW II vets as possible to DC to see the WW II Memorial--actually all the memorials, Arlington Cemetery and drive-bys of the Capitol, White House, etc. This will be the 16th flight from Kansas City. The Veterans have everything provided for them and Guardians pay their own way.  It is a wonderful program.

We had a Meet and Greet luncheon with Veterans and Guardians on Saturday.  Earl seems to be in good shape after 9+ decades.  Some macular degeneration and loss of hearing but that seems to be all after all these years/experiences. The main thing for me as a Guardian is to always be within arm's length of Earl in case he needs anything or some assistance.

You will probably be reading this on Monday/Veterans Day. Let this note remind you to say a prayer of thanks for any deceased Veteran you have known and/or thank some Veteran, in some way, today."

Carpe diem,  Dub (Dub is the longtime nickname we use for our cousin in the family)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Somebody's Praying"  Video  Ricky Skaggs  A powerful video for one who needs the reassurance that others are praying. It's an excellent video for military, especially those in active service.

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  Let There Be Praise singers

"We Will Not Forget"  Video  Mark Harris

"When Love Comes Home"  Video  Matthew West

"The Mission"   Video  Steve Green

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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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