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Monday, May 25, 2015

Note: Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and we want to share a message regarding this special day tomorrow. Today we share a Memorial Day message.

Lawn view 5/23/15
We had a beautiful weekend with everything a vibrant green after some rain last week. Here is a view of our front lawn with a special feature in the distance, an Amish farmer with a team of two horses pulling a hay baler!
(Click on photo for larger view)

"Let Us Remember"

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"Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you" (Deuteronomy 32:7). "Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

Today is Memorial Day here in America, a day primarily set aside to remember the fallen from America's Civil War but which has also grown into a time when we remember all who have fallen in war. This is commendable and we must not forget the sacrifices made to protect and maintain our freedom. My father was a WW2 veteran and Brooksyne's dad served during the Korean War.

It is also a time when many especially remember their loved ones who have died. I consider a country cemetery near Schell City MO where my parents are buried. The Scripture on their tombstone expresses the faith they had in Jesus Christ with these words from the Apostle Paul, "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."

Yesterday I preached a message to a group of residents and made a point concerning my first conscious exposure to death when my first grandparent died. Prior to that I gave little thought to the finality of death. However since then as both a person and a pastor I have had a lot of exposure to death and as we age we have more and more.

In his final sermon (the entire Book of Deuteronomy) Moses prepared to pass the mantle of leadership on to his successor Joshua. He called the people to "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past." I believe this to be a command for all people of all generations, not just the initial listeners. Of course "the days of old and generations long past" have been growing since Moses gave this command some 3,400 years ago!

It's interesting to observe how many times the Bible reminds us to consider our history. History was very important in the life of the people. Great New Testament sermons like Peter's on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and Stephen's (Acts 7) are rooted in history, the record of God's providential work in space and time. Hebrews 12, known as the faith chapter, commends "the ancients" for their faith, name by name. It is an excellent overview of God's working in history in the lives of prominent Bible characters.

Today one of the great strategies of Satan is a blurring and de-emphasis of history, whether it be
the extremely poor grasp of history evident among so many in this "living only in the now" age or the deceptions of the historical revisionists who essentially rewrite history to suit their own worldview. If Satan can get us to lose perspective of the past a trap is set for the lie of living only for the "Now." Forget the past and we place little value on the future, supremely our eternal future.

"Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you." Many like us can no longer ask our father (Stephen's passed away in 1998 and Brooksyne's in 2000). Increasingly many have not known the love of an earthly father, but we do well to inquire of our spiritual fathers and elders. Above all we learn from the elders in the Holy Scriptures.

The writer of Hebrews reminded his readers and all of us, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you." Consider those who have shared God's Word with you throughout your life. For many it will be a godly parent or close relative. It may be a pastor, Sunday School teacher or other godly influence, perhaps a camp counselor or other individual you met along life's journey who has impacted your life for Christ.

I once asked a congregation if they would like to verbally pay tribute to someone who had made an impact on their life. Peter, a few years older than I, recalled an earnest teacher in his Junior High class who often stressed "the fundamental fundamentals and basical basics." Peter shared how the students snickered at the teacher's improper English and oft repeated phrase but in retrospect over the years he realizes how her earnest emphasis on truth made a difference in his life, by her words and her conduct.

We are also called to "consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." I am so thankful for those whose lives I have personally observed as I witnessed the transforming change Christ makes. The leaders whom our text refers to were real people who were known personally by those they served. The word for imitate is a Greek word from which we get "mimic".

Today, let us indeed remember the days of old and consider the value of generations long past!  Let us remember our leaders, who spoke the Word of God to us and consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Ancient of Days, You have given us Your Holy Word as a spiritually historical foundation to build our lives upon. Through the centuries Your greatness is demonstrated through ordinary people just like us and through Your awesome acts that reveal Your incomparable power and divine attributes. History in the past and history in the making is subordinate to Your sovereign work in the lives of Your people. We choose to remember our leaders, who spoke the Word of God to us and consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith as we lovingly submit ourselves into Your merciful hands. Amen.

Lawn view 5/23/15
Several times our Amish neighbor passed our house on Saturday. It was a noisy rig and caught our attention and that of our dogs every time.

2015 Watchmen On The Wall conference
Last Wednesday through Friday I attended the "Watchmen On The Wall" conference in Washington DC, which begins and ends with a Messianic Jewish Rabbi blowing the shofar.

2015 Watchmen On The Wall conference
This year I went to the conference with my brother Pat, who is a pastor in the Lehigh Valley, along with Pastor Alan Walters (left) from Lebanon PA and Ken Mull, a businessman from his church (right).

Mount Pleasant impromptu ensemble 5/24/15 (Photo by Ester)
Yesterday we had quite a lot of folks away from the Memorial Day weekend, including members of both praise teams at our church. So Brooksyne called out several people from the congregation to come up on the platform and form an impromptu ensemble, which they willingly complied. It sounded as though they'd practiced earlier in the week with their harmonies, because it turned out very nice.

More photos of our baby robins taken by Ester

Baby robins 5/23/15 (photo by Ester)
"I wonder when Mom's coming back?"

Baby robins 5/23/15 (photo by Ester)
"Hurry back Mom, we're famished!
Or perhaps they are singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

Baby robins 5/23/15 (photo by Ester)
After a tasty worm it's nap time. I guess the bird's prickly straw is as comfy as human's feathery pillow (although I'd prefer the latter).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Always"  Video  Kristian Stanfill

"Jesus, Only Jesus" (Billingsley, Penrod, Cottrell, O'Brien)

"Ancient of Days"  Video  Ron Kenoly

"Nothing Less (Great is Thy Faithfulness)"   Video  Charles Billingsley

"In a Moment"  Video   Charles Billingsley

For those who may be interested, especially pastors, the entire 2015 "Watchman On The Wall" conference is available for viewing here. (Each session is a separate video). Ester watched some of the conference live stream and reported she could see me in some of the crowd photos! 
The conference encourages and equips Bible believing pastors from all denominations to stand faithful against the surge of evil our country is facing.

Finally today:
Amish photobomb at National Day of Prayer 5/7/15 (Photo by Mike Martin)
A couple of weeks ago I shared a photo from our local National Day of Prayer event taken by our friend Mike Martin at the county wide rally with Ravi Zacharias speaking. It included an Amish man who had turned around just as Mike snapped the photo. Saturday I got a call from the Amish man in the photo who happens to be a longtime reader of our messages. He told me had just turned around to speak to someone when Mike took the photo. He requested a copy for himself and happens to to be a man who years ago requested I record suggested music from Daily Encouragement on his answering machine!

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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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