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Monday, May 11, 2015

Creative flower display
We saw this creative flower display at an Amish nursery.
I inadvertently took a selfie!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Honoring Mothers"

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"Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12). "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life"
(Ephesians 6:1-3).

Yesterday was "Mother's Day" here in the USA, a day which acknowledges the sacrificial contributions mothers make in the lives of their children. Our new Zimbabwean friends told us they also honor mothers on this same day in Zimbabwe. We are heartened by the many ways we see honor expressed to mothers and motherhood, on any day of the year.  I hope each mother reading this is honored by the expression of the daily verses as her children rise up and call her "blessed."

For those with living mothers we sure hope you were able to express your love in some form whether it was a call, card, gift and most meaningful, of course, is paying them a visit.

Dave at Mac-ItBut as we age it's more and more likely we will not have living parents, which is the case for both of us. In our case we honor them with our memories.

Last week I stopped by to greet Dave, a man my age who works as a machine operator. He usually greets me with a big smile but he seemed unusually somber that morning. I asked him how he was doing and he offered, "It's my mom's birthday today." He further explained that she has been deceased for twenty years but the memory of her birthday was still on his heart. I commended him for his expression of honor in warmly remembering his mother on her special day.

Others are dealing with a hard season as their parents' age. Yesterday Galen, a friend in our church, shared concerning his 93 year old mother with Alzheimer's Disease. He candidly shared about the special challenges of trying to have a meaningful conversation with one who no longer converses. Bringing up names, events, and other things from the past seem to bring about no recognition or common ground from which they can talk about important remembrances. His reminder to us was, "Visit your mom while you can."

Finally today we consider readers who do not or did not have a good experience with their mother. Some of you have lasting pain from your upbringing and your relationship is far less than God's ideal even now. The concept of giving honor may be very hard. We periodically deal with people who have faced the searing pain of abandonment, neglect or abuse. Perhaps you were given up for adoption, and have never made peace with the circumstances surrounding that life-changing event.

The general theme of honoring our mothers resonated in pulpits yesterday as many ministers preached on the topic of the family, highlighting the theme of honoring mothers. Our pastor did so yesterday with a creative sermon on an unusual request by the mother of James and John recorded in Matthew 20:20-28.

My mom was gloriously promoted to heaven in November 2005 and Brooksyne's in October 2002, so we both write from that perspective. Today in this message we rise up and call our mothers "blessed".

The command to honor our father and mother goes back to the Fifth Commandment: "Honor your father and your mother." It is certainly applicable all through childhood. A favorite memory verse many of us taught our children during their childhood years is Ephesians 6:1, "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." But the honor is also applicable after we reach adulthood as well and the attitude of this command still pertains though both our parents are now with the Lord.

Today we urge each reader to rise up and call your mother blessed. Express honor toward her in your words and in your actions. For most of our readers this comes very naturally out of gratitude for a loving and caring mother.

God's command to honor our father and mother, like the command in Hebrews 13:4to honor marriage has no exclusionary clause. May God give you the necessary grace to convey that honor, starting with the very fact that God breathed life into you as your mother brought you into this world.

If your parents are living be sure to express your love and appreciation to them. That is something we both really miss doing but are so glad we did it regularly while they were alive. The honor of our parents serves as a foundational base for all human honor.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, each spring as we observe tiny featherless fledglings pressed against their mothers in their nest, we're reminded of the human love children experience from their parents' safekeeping. We thank You for the loving care You extend to us through the preordained parents who've provided for us from birth to independence. Thank You for their model of love, sacrifice, duty, protection, and other virtuous qualities needed to properly raise a family. It has greatly influenced the way we raise our own children.

We also pray for those whose relationship with their parent is a role reversal where they must act as the parent when their own parent behaves as a needy or even defiant child. May Your multiplied mercies sustain these caregivers in their ongoing challenging role so that, above all, You are honored and they find deep peace in the midst of the turmoil. Thank You, Father, for our human family, our spiritual family, and for our heavenly family that awaits our arrival on Your appointed day. In the name of Christ Jesus Your Son we pray, amen.

Adam and Eve's baby picturesAdditional reflection: The foundation verse for marriage and the family in the Bible as established at Creation: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). This is the very first reference to father and mother in the Bible as well as marriage. We tend to read it with our knowledge and experience in mind. But consider Adam and Eve, who had no personal experience or knowledge of being raised by a father and mother, and at this point no knowledge of children either. In addition the notion of marriage and sexual union was not an experience they personally knew up to this time in history; that is, being united and becoming one flesh.

This is a powerful lesson regarding the establishment of God’s pattern for the basic social unit in humanity. Of course this is consistently affirmed in the remainder of the Bible and has been understood by the human race right up to the current time. However in our own time and in recent days we have seen a blasphemous attempt to, as one commentator puts it, radically redefine marriage, subverting society’s most central institution.

The true church of Jesus Christ has been consistent on this matter. For instance The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) states “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman”. This had been consistently held in all confessions, doctrinal statements and position papers of all churches and denominations up to just the last twenty years. Churches and denominations have had many issues they differed on but on this matter there was unity in understanding.

That is...right up to the last ten or fifteen years when some have abandoned the clear teaching of the Bible on this issue (as well as many others!!!).
Sadly now some are bowing to the idol of political correctness and forsaking this clear teaching of Scripture. We are seeing a prophetic statement by Peter come true before our very eyes: "Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute" (2 Peter 2:2). The ESV translates this, “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.”

We again call on our readers, in the midst of the approaching apostasy, to stay faithful to God and the Holy Scriptures. Contend for the Faith once for all entrusted.

Mom with Joey
Mom loved people of all ages.
Here she is with Joey, a young man from our church in New England who went through a long season of deep rebellion. We still hear from "kids" in our churches (now young to middle-aged adults) who remember Mom's love and colorful personality.

Joe Cullen 5/6/15
I visited with Joe featured above (Joey) last week at an ordination service in Reading PA. He is now an ordained minister of the gospel and faithfully serving the Lord in ministry as an associate pastor at Philadelphia Christian Center, a church pastored by college friend Phil Menditto. He also married Phil's daughter!

Joe Cullen 5/6/15
Joe and his wife Lori visiting with Brooksyne and Ester following the ordination service.

We'll share some more photos from the ordination service tomorrow.

This photo was taken as Mom waited for the Senior Center van in October 2005. She passed away the following month.

Saturday evening my brother Mike and I were reminiscing about our mother and he recalled this memory: Our mother, Georgia Mae, would often say, "Strangers are just friends that I haven't met yet". In 1996 she and brother Stephen came out to visit San Francisco where I lived to attend my daughter Greta and Scott's wedding. Dad's age and physical condition prohibited him from coming. Mom came in from Kansas City and Stephen from Boston planning to arrive about the same time at San Francisco International Airport where I was to pick them up. Stephen arrived first only to find out that Mom's flight would be late. We waited and then learned that her flight was diverted to Oakland across the bay. As the airline was deciding how to get the passengers to San Francisco we decided to just drive over and pick her up. We drove the hour over the Bay bridge down the other side of the bay to Oakland International Airport, feeling so sorry for our aging mom wondering how she would manage. We finally arrived at the Oakland airport, walked into the large waiting area and tried to find her. Looking around we spotted a cluster of people sitting around something going on, and it was our mom, right in the center 'holding court' with smiling people. Mom, 77 years old at the time, was dressed in a beautiful black dress, large exquisite black hat, and entertaining all these strangers. She looked  like, to me, an elegant aging Italian movie star! My brother Stephen and I just laughed unbelievably and finally picked up our inexplicable mother, such a character!  A happy Mother's Day for our Mom... Michael Weber

Brooksyne with family February 1960
1960 - Here's my favorite childhood photo of 4 year old Brooksyne, sitting on her dad's lap. Her mother is holding her little brother, Jody. Elaine, 13 months older, is on the left. Two older siblings are not included in this photo.

As you can see from the photo my mother, Ruth, took a lot of time to dress her children nicely. Mom was a wonderful seamstress often making her own patterns and always added those "extras" as you can see in Elaine's dress. She enjoyed dressing us like twins. By default much of my clothing was pink and Elaine's blue, but the very same pattern. My hair was very straight so Mom had me in sponge rollers every Saturday night resulting in long curls on Sunday mornings at church. We had very little money but with Mom's resourcefulness we were well-dressed. With her gardening, preserving and canning skills we were well-fed. She had only a 7th grade education but became an avid reader which provided her with further knowledge to help her raise a healthy, hard-working family alongside my dad. Daddy was a truckdriver but we lived on a small farm in Oklahoma and raised our own beef, chickens (eggs), and pork to fill our plates year round, as well as a milking cow.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Today we have a nice selection of songs honoring mothers

"Everything to Me"  Video  by Mark Schultz

"A Mother's Love"  Video  Jim Brickman & Mark Masri

"A Mother's Day Love Song ... "Time Has Gone"  Video  Musicians not identified

"Call Her Blessed"  Video  
Stacey Noll

"Find Your Wings"  Video  Mark Harris    

"When You Come Home"  Video   Billy Gilman

"A Mother's Day Song: Indescribable Mom"  Video  Laura Story

"She Still Remembers Jesus' Name"  Video  Booth Brothers Dedicated to our friends Galen and Mike and all our readers who have a loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. This song will surely touch your heart!

"Little Is Much When God Is In It"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

Finally today:

Like most churches these days our church sings most of the songs from a screen but on our last hymn yesterday we used the hymnbook. Little Caleb, one row ahead of me grabbed a hymnal and joiuned right in singing "Blessed Assurance".

Caleb singing hymn 5/10/15

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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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