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Friday, July 24, 2015
During a hike with family members in the Poconos early this week, we spotted this Swallowtail Butterfly zipping in and out of the lavender bee balm flowers.
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"One generation passes away, and another generation comes" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). "A time to be born and a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:2).
Today's message will be illustrated a bit personally but it may connect with many as we seek to fulfill the Scriptural command to "consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (see Hebrews 10:24).
The final night of our family reunion we typically have a meal where the entire family gathers. We share memories, photos of the past, and reconnect with those who live a great distance. We had about 55 this year ranging in age from infancy to the eighties. Our connection is being the grandchildren of George Washington and Nellie May Steincross, who lived in the tiny village of Harwood, Missouri. They passed away in the early seventies but their children (my mother's generation) were determined to stay connected and thus began the family reunion in 1975, which Brooksyne attended even before we were engaged. She was included in a nice write-up in the small town newspaper, (however the article referred to her as Brookine).
Now all in my mom's generation have passed on and most of the grandchildren who played together as children on the family farm are now in the senior age bracket. Carrying on the tradition we meet each year usually in the Midwest.
Over the years our number dwindles a bit although we had 11 of the 16 first cousins in attendance early this week. One has passed away and now several are no longer able to make it.
A touching event happened four years ago when our oldest cousin celebrated her 80th birthday. Her children honored her and her oldest son gave a moving tribute. None of us considered that Jeannine, a vibrant, healthy senior, would pass away within months. Her children did well in honoring her when they did. That's why honor should be constant since we never know what tomorrow holds.
We illustrate by sharing the following message from a longtime friend and reader of daily encouragement who knew of our family reunion. Shortly before we had our final gathering with family on Tuesday evening she emailed us this note:
"Love on your family this week so you leave with memories that are very sweet. I have to bury another brother on Thursday who drowned in the Delaware River on Saturday. He was 41 and leaves a wife and 4 children-ages 17, 16, 12, and 8.... So every visit with family is a precious time." (Interesting the drowning took place at the point where Brooksyne and I began our kayak trip.)
We shared her words of wisdom at our gathering making our brief time all the more sweet and well worth the investment of our time and resources to make it happen.
Based upon the forty-year generation cycle there have been some 75 generations that have come and gone since King Solomon wrote the words of our daily texts. That is quite obvious and indisputable. In your youth you think you'll never get old. When you're middle-aged your foolish youthful theory has been disproved as the clock ticks away. And when you're in your golden years you especially realize just how fleeting life is.
Reunions are a reminder of how temporary life really is, how fast it passes, and the need to focus on that which really matters. Brooksyne's and my parents have both gone to be with the Lord so our generation is next. At the death of a parent(s) you stare your own physical mortality head on.
Today I encourage you to examine your roots and your destination. Generations come and generations go. You have come and you are most certainly going. According to James 4:14 we are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. The vital question for each of us is, "Where am I going and have I properly prepared for my eternal future?"
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Your mercy endures to all generations. Your truths are timeless and Your provisions are abundant to those who call upon your name. Help us to gratefully declare Your faithfulness to our generation so that generations to follow will also call on the name of the Lord and be saved just as we see in the Scriptures. Generation by generation we proclaim the salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
One of the activities for some of the "older folks" was a 4 mile hike on a beautiful hilly trail along the Delaware River.
Brooksyne had a participation award for all who finished the hike and we had some very happy campers! For the curious they're holding up a Stonewave dish used in microwaves which we use all the time.
A number of the younger folks took a float trip on the Delware River. Ester and her friend Nick shared a double kayak. Brooksyne and I also took a kayak trip and the views were stunning, especially through the water gap. (However I didn't take my camera on the water!)
A group went to visit Bushkill Falls which required a lot of walking. We saw many beautiful sights that day adding up to the grand total of 20,000 steps (over nine miles of walking). After Richard, Stephen's cousin several years older than us, said he bikes 71 miles in one stretch we realized we have a long way to go to catch up with his physical fitness!
A group at the base of Bushkill Falls.
Family members enjoyed fellowship on the veranda in front of the Shawnee Inn.
Brooksyne with Georgia: cousins-in-law, kindred-in-spirit.
We got to talking about baseball and my second cousin, Dub, got a little excited and broke into a dramatic presentation of "Casey at the Bat" baseball poem to the enthralled crowd, including a 20 year old baseball enthusiast who was a greeter at the inn. As Dub began to recite the suspenseful story he said to a family member, "Give me that umbrella" which was sitting on the table. The umbrella became a bat and Dub was off to Strike One. I wish we'd recorded it, as it was an exciting ball game we watched until Casey eventually strike out.
Enjoying a moment at Bushkill Falls
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"The Steincross Farm"
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The old Steincross farmhouse was built in the 1800's and my grandpa was born there in 1882. It was in the Steincross family for over 100 years. My aunt and uncle lived there all through my childhood and early adult years. Before my uncle passed away it received the designation, "Centennial Farm". I have many childhood memories of this farm as well as my grandparent's small, white frame house in town about a mile away.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Here's the newspaper article about our first reunion in 1975 referencing Miss Brookine! I sometime wonder after being announced in a big-time paper that she was a "soon to be" family member she felt obligated to marry me!
"What Children Believe" Video Gold City A thought-provoking song.
"The Son Shines Down On Me" Video Canton Junction Just a song reminding us of our blessings!
"Casey at the Bat" Video poem read by James Earl Jones
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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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