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Monday, April 28, 2014

Gruene Texas gingerbread house 4/27/14
Gingerbread House in Gruene Texas with cactus ornamentals framing the bay window. Cactuses are a very common sight decoratively planted as well as those growing amidst the weeds in the large fields that surround us.

"He Who Will Not Forget Us!

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"The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him" (Genesis 40:23). "O Israel, I will not forget you" (Isaiah 44:21b).

Have you ever been forgotten by someone else? Of course you have. Have you ever forgotten an important detail that might bring about different results than originally planned.

I, Brooksyne, had such an experience this past Saturday only a few minutes before we drove to Baltimore for our trip to Texas.

Since January 20th I've participated with 17 other employees in The Biggest Loser at one of the companies we serve as chaplains. They weigh in on Monday mornings but I send mine in through email to Sue and Dylan since I don't visit the plant until later in the week. It's been a good humbling experience, but a much needed discipline for me. Diabetes is always looming since all six of my family members have dealt with it, plus my extended family on both sides. My parents and oldest sister are now deceased but the remaining three are dealing with diabetes now. I want to beat the odds so I'm trying to get the weight off.

Our last weigh in is today for the three month contest but I sent mine in on Saturday due to our planned trip. I weighed in and then wrote a note to the contest leaders stating my weight loss for the week and my total 3 month weight loss which would reveal my original weight. This is very personal, something I would never share with others except the leaders. The contest has been an excellent incentive for me. I've exercised rigorously, resisted the baked goods which I love to prepare, and I've taken off 29# in the three month period. (I can't believe Stephen talked me into writing this, but since our inspirational and personal writings give you a window into our everyday lives I guess this fits into such an introduction to our more important Biblical message. Surely some of you can relate either to sending a message to the wrong recipient or the weight loss battle.)

I sent the email off quickly since I was in a hurry only to get a reply right away from Sue. She responded, "Brooksyne, I have no idea what this email is about!!! lol Susan". At first glance I scratched my head a little confused, but then I looked more carefully at the recipient address and to my horror realized I'd sent the message to the wrong Sue. Sue, who got my email, is a dailyencouragement reader that I've never met personally, but have corresponded with her over the years. I laid out one of my most protected secrets to someone I'd never met. After gasping for air, taking a huge dose of humiliation, and finally laughing at my absent mindedness I sent her another email explaining the story I've shared with readers today. She responded with kindness, understanding and surely a silent chuckle as well.

We all deal with forgetfulness or some refer to it as absent-mindedness from time to time. Many will testify that it tends to increase as you age! There's a nuisance type forgetfulness that we experience daily, common to all who live busy lives. But there's also a critical type forgetfulness that can alter one's entire future. Today we look at two verses that show a remarkable contrast between the absent-mindedness of man and mindfulness of God.

The first one concerns Joseph, who had been in prison when it seemed the perfect opportunity for his release had finally come. He had interpreted a dream for Pharaoh's cupbearer, which had a favorable outcome, saving the cupbearer from death. Joseph appealed to him to mention his unjust imprisonment to Pharaoh: "Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house" (
Genesis 40:14). But the cupbearer, in spite of the remarkable turnabout in his life, forgot. "The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him" (Genesis 40:23). Perhaps the cupbearer simply erased his prison experience along with those whom he knew in prison! Or perhaps he was up in years and we know how sketchy the memory becomes as we get older!

Isn't it reassuring that God never forgets us? God remembered Joseph and He will always remember us. It may not be the timing we expect but we can claim the promise in Isaiah 44. Although it speaks specifically of Israel, it surely also speaks to us today due to God's immutable (unchanging) character; "I will not forget you."

This is especially important to remember during the mysterious delays of life. During times like this we may misunderstand God's "apparent" silence. Believing friend, He has not forgotten you any more than He forgot Joseph. Two full years later Pharaoh himself had a dream, and you know the rest of the story (if not, please read Genesis 41.)

Are you facing a delay in life? Is there silence in regard to direction from the Lord? Perhaps it seems that God has forgotten you. No, no, no! Hold on to your faith. In His time He will make a way. Be assured He has not forgotten you nor will He ever forsake you.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, when we examine the emotional pain of our lives we often start out with the question of "Why?"  But in hindsight we realize that those struggles taught us practical truths that we would not have otherwise learned, and that there truly is purpose in our pain. We often look to Joseph, not because he was a great ruler over Egypt, but because we identify with much of his life's experiences: betrayal, fear, rejection, his being lied about, separation, unjust treatment, delays, among other struggles. You accomplished Your purpose in His life, not in spite of his trials, but through his pain-filled ordeals. His story has been a source of encouragement to us time and again as he modeled integrity in the midst of the severe struggles and sweeping storms of life. Your eternal purpose is greater than our emotional pain. Remind us that it may not just be for our own instruction but others looking on may learn from our difficult experiences. Amen.

Personal note: Today we are in New Braunfels, Texas staying with Brooksyne's sister, Elaine. This afternoon we are heading to San Antonio to spend several days on the Riverwalk area. We hope to post our next message on Wednesday.

Amish neighbor plowing on Kraybill Church Road 4/25/14 (click to enlarge)
A nice scene of our Amish neighbor on Kraybill Church Road plowing before we left Lancaster County. (Click on photo for larger view)

Jim and De Scanlon 4/27/14
We have been in contact with Jim and De Scanlon for many years through daily encouragement. Yesterday we joined them for a service in their church and finally met them personally. It was a wonderful service. We were spiritually blessed and challenged! It was a joy to finally meet folks we've often corresponded with. Jim is a retired pastor who is a strong contender of the faith.

Brooksyne with Elaine 4/27/14
We're visiting Elaine Morgan who's only 13 months older than me. Growing up we looked a lot alike so many people initially thought the Sherrell girls were twins. Mom played along with such an idea sewing all our wardrobe with matching outfits, though Elaine's fabrics were usually blue and mine were pink. It was a beautiful afternoon so Elaine and I served lunch out on the big porch that spreads across her house. With temps nearly 90 degrees the big ceiling fan kept us comfortable. Elaine's yard is filled with live oaks and junipers as seen in the background. She and her husband, Steve, moved to New Braunfels in 1998. Steve was diagnosed with cancer about six years ago and last July went home to be with the Lord. They have one daughter, Courtney, who lives in Nashville, TN.

Gruene Texas General Store 4/27/14
We visited the little town of Gruene yesterday afternoon. It's a town that was essentially abandoned as a ghost town in the nineteen-twenties when rediscovered and redeveloped into a vibrant tourist town. We all enjoyed milling about the General Store.

Gruene dance hall 4/27/14
Here we are in the 1878 Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas. The saloon was set up like the days of Bonanza though we went right past the bar and headed to the stage for this photo. It's fun to go back to these old buildings. One of the familiar sounds from childhood was once again hearing screen doors slam and the squeaking rough-hewn hardwood floors as we walked across the planks.

Gruene Texas Water Tower 4/27/14
The water tower is an iconic landmark for Gruene

From the official website: In 1974, Chip Kaufman, an architecture student at UT Austin working with the Texas Historical Commission and an avid kayaker floated down a little further on the Guadalupe River than usual, to the southern most public takeout known as The Gruene Crossing. After catching a glimpse of an old water tower up the hill peeking above the treetops, he decided to investigate. Astonished by his discovery of numerous late 1800’s and early 1900’s buildings, some with architectural layering, he immediately realized their significance and requested permission from the Texas Historical Commission to inventory the buildings for their records, which they approved. While doing this he learned that a group of real estate developers had purchased the last 200+ acres of the Gruene Estate, including all the historic buildings, and planned a housing development which included razing the old structures to build condominiums on the river bluff. Kaufman convinced the developers of the significance of the buildings in Texas history and with their blessing Kaufman worked to place Gruene on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as an entire district. The developers further agreed to let Kaufman find new owners interested in the old buildings for new commercial ventures which would provide a core for their new housing development. Here's more info.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"In His Time"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"Four Days Late"  Video  Karen Peck and New River  An interesting perspective on God being "late".

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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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