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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Backyard view 2/17/15
We had a light snow last night (several inches) and awoke this morning to a beautiful sunny day although it's still very cold! Above is the view outside our bedroom window.
(Click on photo for larger view)

"He Was A Faithful Man"

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"Now when the wall was rebuilt and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed, then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many" (Nehemiah 7:1,2). "A faithful man shall abound with blessings" (Proverbs 28:20a).

He was the kind of man that good men talk about
The way he showed his faith was how he lived it out
His hands were rough and calloused
and his shoes were old and torn
And the lines that framed his smile
were lines so well and deep and worn
So what will be remembered of what he left behind?
What will stand the test of time?

EC Weber in 1966Today my dad, Eugene Clark Weber, is celebrating his birthday in heaven (if they have such celebrations there). Born in 1919 he turns 96 today so that's on my heart this morning as I share the following message using my Dad as an example.

My Mom was outgoing and gregarious. My Dad was quiet and I suppose not really much of a people person. My Mom carried that distinction for both of them! Daddy had a deep but quiet love for his wife and children and we all knew it. His love was shown especially in certain memorable moments.

He also loved his grandkids and they all have such great memories of him. Due to her young age and the distance that separated us (essentially Boston, MA to Kansas City, MO area), Ester has less memories, though she fondly recalls falling asleep on his rather substantial belly as he lovingly cradled her in his oversized easy chair. It could be that the photos we have of this grandpa/granddaughter "time together" prompts and reinforces her distant memories as well.

Daddy taught me faithfulness not so much by his words but by his example. He and Mom were married for 53 years. He was faithful to his marriage vows, provided for his family, and was a hardworking man who practiced integrity in his business dealings.

65 Chevy pickup truckAfter I learned to drive he bought a '65 Chevrolet pickup truck and had a magnetic sign made, "E.C. Weber and Sons", which he attached to the driver's door. Two of his sons, my older brothers, no longer lived at home so it was really just his and mine. I recall how much he enjoyed driving that truck.

One of my first business ventures was selling firewood when we lived in Independence, Missouri. I would get an order, really having no idea what to charge for the wood, my labor, or my expenses. It was
about twenty-five miles to the wooded lot near Belton, Missouri where I had permission to remove some trees. After cutting the firewood, I loaded (actually overloaded) the truck, and drove back to Independence to unload the wood for my customer. He paid me in cash and it sure seemed like a lot at the time and felt real good in my hands! I think it also made me feel very grown up.

Pickup truck with firewood I'm pretty sure my dad understood there was a serious flaw to my business plan since I wasn't really figuring in expenses. But he never stopped me. I think he was pleased to see me working hard and learning responsibility. It didn't take me long to understand I really wasn't making much money! (In fact I might have been losing money!) Sharing this story from my youthful years once again reminds me of my dad and his positive influence on my life, faithful in his duties as a loving father.

In previous generations it was common to place portions of Scripture as an epitaph on tombstones and is still practiced by some today. A phrase from today's verse has been used on many tombstones, "He was a faithful man and feared God more than many". The pictured epitaph is on a tombstone in Greenwich, Connecticut of Deacon Samuel Peck who died in 1793. It would be interesting to hear his story.

Faithful man tombstone

The verse initially described a man named
Hananiah who was the commander of the fortress at the time Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem. Today let us focus on just the words, "He was a faithful man". That brief descriptive phrase is packed with meaning!

Faithfulness is often most evident in the later years of life. I know quite a number of believers who are just coming out of a life of sin and are still dealing with the consequences of their past. That includes a number of you reading this message, as you've shared your conversion story with us.

The road to being faithful is a long steady slog, the accumulation of many small decisions made throughout life. You decide each day that you will live faithfully but the characteristic of being faithful takes time. Good intentions and reality too often do not present the same outcome.

Senator Dan Coates defines character like this, "Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization...the only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life...is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battleground of character."

Faithfulness has its rewards, both in this life and the one to come. Even though you are actually abounding in blessings now, salvation being the greatest one, you can easily become discouraged with ongoing trials. God's Word is ever true. Perhaps you need to consider someone who has served God faithfully for many years and observe how they abound with blessings.

I suppose you all know some people like my Dad don't you? I've met several in my life but not as many as I would like. Almost always they're not famous.

And they're getting harder and harder to come by. Character qualities like faithfulness, steadfastness, and consistency sound boring to many people today, but they still matter to God and to other observers. "A faithful man shall abound with blessings", and he does, both in this life and the life to come. And I am confident that my Dad has heard those wonderful words from the supremely Faithful One, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, may our lives be marked by faithfulness and integrity. These character traits are not developed over a short period of time, but rather over one's lifetime. Help us not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  For some of us that harvest will not come until we reach the other side. So help us not to give up, if we don't see it here, for the great and eternal harvest is yet to come. Remembering that truth helps us to be more committed to remaining faithful to the very end. May it be said of us; He is a faithful man or she is a faithful woman. All glory be to God. Amen.

Brooklyn SherrellNote from Brooksyne: Interestingly, this day on our calendar is marked by two major events with our fathers. Stephen's family celebrated his dad's birthday on this day and my father, Brooklyn Sherrell, went to be with the Lord on Feb. 17, 2000, 15 years ago. So, it holds great sentiment for both of us. God did a supernatural work in Daddy's life the last six weeks he lived. He was a believer but certainly had a rough exterior, much like you'd expect from a truck driver. Though he experienced a great deal of pain and discomfort the Holy Spirit filled him with a kind, gentle and extremely loving nature the last six weeks of his cancer ordeal. In some ways Daddy's Christian testimony was much greater and effective as he was dying than the years when he was living cancer free. God taught me a great deal through his suffering and his response to suffering. This photo was taken in 1999, three months before his death at 66 years of age.

Yesterday I asked this question: "Can anyone name a single Muslim-dominated country where people of faith are invited to practice their Christian convictions safely and unhindered?" A reader suggested Malaysia as such a country. I do know we have readers in Malaysia and there are churches operating there.

I found this report online and thought this line interesting: "The law strictly forbids proselytizing of Muslims by non-Muslims, but allows and supports Muslims proselytizing others." Although it may be comparatively more peaceful than many Muslim countries, forbidding Christians from proclaiming the gospel to all (Matthew 28:19,20), it hardly seems conducive to one being able to "practice their Christian convictions safely and unhindered."

Quiz for the day: What is this photo? If you know what this is answer here and we will post the correct answer tomorrow.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Faithful Men"  Video  Twila Paris  "For the Lord is calling faithful men"

"Legacy Of Love"  Video  David Phelps

"A Man You Would Write About"  Video 

"A Few Good Men"  Video  Woody Wright, Terry Blackwood, Sherman Andrus, Reggie Smith, Wesley Pritchard, Guy Penrod  A tribute to NYC Firefighters following 9/11

What this dying world could use is a willing Man of God
Who dares to go against the grain & works without applause;
A man who'll raise the shield of Faith, protecting what is pure;
Whose love is tough & gentle; a man whose word is sure.

God doesn't need an Orator who knows what just to say;
He doesn't need authorities to reason Him away;
He doesn't need an army to guarantee a win;
He just needs a Few Good Men.

Men full of Compassion, who Laugh & Love & Cry-
Men who'll face Eternity & aren't afraid to die-
Men who'll fight for Freedom & Honor once again-
He just needs a Few Good Men.

He calls the broken derelict whose life has been renewed;
He calls the one who has the strength to stand up for the Truth.
Enlistment lines are open & He wants you to come in-
He just needs a Few Good Men.

Men full of Compassion, who Laugh & Love & Cry-
Men who'll face Eternity & aren't afraid to die-
Men who'll fight for Freedom & Honor once again-
He just needs a Few Good Men.

Men full of Compassion, who Laugh & Love & Cry-
Men who'll face Eternity & aren't afraid to die-
Men who'll fight for Freedom & Honor once again-
He just needs a Few Good Men.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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