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Monday, September 28, 2015

Arrangement at Henry Leaman's Memorial Service
Flower arrangement at Henry Leaman's Homegoing service

"A Life Remembered"

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"A righteous man will be remembered forever" (Psalm 112:6).

Henry Leaman
Throughout life we have attended many services that encourage us and build up our faith. Apart from regular church services consider the variety of special services and functions; baby dedications, baptisms, graduations, weddings, etc.

But we often find the service that most touches us is the memorial or homegoing celebration for one who lived faithfully for Christ. In Friday's message Brooksyne shared about a brief conversation she had with Henry Leaman as he was nearing death's door. On Saturday morning we attended his homegoing service which was held in his home church established in 1710. After being seated in the recently built sanctuary our eyes were drawn to the large windows on the side overseeing the church cemetery, a powerful, visual reminder of how fleeting life is and the vital importance of living it right.

The service began with a series of musical preludes by Henry and Marian's very talented grandchildren and great grandchildren. His son-in-law, Dave Witmer, shared an interesting reflection by beginning with how a tiny heart first started beating in early 1924 and went on to describe several of Henry's prenatal developments during that brief nine month stage of life before his birth on December 7, 1924.

The Apostle James writes, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14). Nearly 2,000 years have passed since Jesus lived upon this earth. Our life will only comprise a small fraction of that period of time. Although Henry Leaman lived to be 90 that still is only about 4% of that 2000 year time frame. That's pretty humbling isn't it? And if you go all the way back to creation our life span is of course even a much smaller percentage.

But Psalm 112 gives a broader and more lasting perspective of this fleeting life. It extols the blessings of the man who "fears the Lord and finds great delight in His commands" (verse 1). Oh, that our hearts would yearn for the lasting value that comes from implementing God's commands more than seeking after the temporal value of worldly goods, the glitz of fame, the allurement to power or wealth. The Psalmist also wrote, "I love Your commands more than gold, more than pure gold…Your statutes are wonderful, therefore I will obey them" (Psalm 119:127,129).

Our text today is, "A righteous man will be remembered forever." Read that again slowly. How do we become righteous? Certainly it is not attainable within ourselves, for we know all too well our natural inclination to sin. Getting back to Henry's life, Dave shared that as a young man Henry decided to follow Christ. He waited awhile to get saved since he was under the mistaken notion that you had to wait for the scheduled annual revival to do that! Of course as he grew older he realized that one can get saved at any time. Have you committed your life to Christ? Have you placed your faith in Him and accepted His pardon for your sins? Today is the day of salvation.

A mark of genuine redemption is that, as we choose to follow God's commands, we see the effectiveness and fruitful outflow of His principles and guidance in our lives while developing a righteous heart within us. It is Jesus' righteousness imputed in us that makes the difference. We no longer feel that we "have to" follow His commands but we "want to". Our heart's desires align our will with His making us more like Jesus.

Yesterday, as I preached at a nursing home I asked the residents, "Can you remember your great, great, great grandfather?" Of course they couldn't.

The vast majority of human beings who lived in previous generations are long forgotten on this side. In fact only a tiny fraction are remembered. But there are various reasons a few people are remembered long after their death such as:
  • National leadership
  • Significant inventions
  • Literary works
  • Sadly some for their evil acts
  • A few who have faithfully lived for God are remembered for that but even this is a tiny percentage.
But the highest form of remembrance that we can have is that of our devotion to God and our service for Him. Though only a small portion of Christ's followers are remembered for this on this side, generations will follow their example, even unknowingly and leave similar legacies of righteous living.

Today we challenge you to be remembered for:
• The spiritual, Christ focused impact you are making presently.
• The godly, eternal legacy you will leave behind.

I want to be remembered today for what matters most. I want to follow Jesus Christ and seek to live as one who is righteous according to His plan. "A righteous man will be remembered forever." This is a promise I want to live by!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, help me to store this vital Scripture today; "a righteous man will be remembered forever." When I'm tempted to compromise my integrity in exchange for ungodly choices may this Scripture ring alarm bells in my heart and mind. Let its truth persuade me to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions so that I can live a self-controlled, upright and godly life in this present age, for Your way is the best and lasting way.

Some additional reflections from the Memorial service we attended Saturday morning.

1) Dave Witmer, the son in law who also "chaired" the service, looks very similar to my older brother Pat who is also a preacher so that made his presence especially interesting! His point about Henry's prenatal development was very touching in light of so much news now about the hellish murder machine known as "Planned Parenthood" and the slaughter of infants in their prenatal stage of life.

2) Several pointed out the character of Henry that they never heard him raise his voice or speak ill of someone else.

3) Henry and his wife Marian had 7 children, 18 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren and he prayed for each of them by name daily!!! They celebrated nearly 69 years of marriage and at a tribute time during the meal following the service Marian was able to share for a few minutes.

4) Another speaker at the service was Bob Breneman who was a childhood friend of Henry and had been his pastor for 24 years. There's something very powerful about lifelong associations.

5) The current pastor of the church who shared the main message is Joe Sherer is a friend I met shortly after moving to Lancaster County. Heis a faithful contender for the faith who is leading the church in faithfulness to the Bible. That's a real blessing for a church in existence since 1710!

Mount Joy, PA autumn storefront 9/28/15
This morning I had an errand in Mount Joy and walked down Main Street, where many of the businesses are dressed for fall!

Mount Joy, PA autumn porch 9/28/15
A very welcoming porch

St Marks UMC, Mount Joy church sign
This church sign along Main Street in Mount Joy presents a thought-provoking message. I was raised in the United Methodist Church and am thankful there are still churches in this denomination standing for truth including this one.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Psalm 112

"When It's All Been Said And Done"  Video   Robin Mark, singer and writer.  I consider this in light of Henry Leaman's service. The words continue to repeat in my mind as it says so much about living one's life to the glory of God, staying above the fray of this world.

"Find Us Faithful"  Video   Steve Green   This song is an expression of aspiration in leaving a godly legacy.

"Jesus, Lover Of My Soul"  Video  A beautiful song reminding us that our life's journey here below is all about Jesus, not ourselves. "It's for Your glory and Your fame. It's not about me as if You should do things my way.  You alone are God and I surrender to Your ways."

"Ancient Words"  Video  Great song with lyrics posted, prepared by our friend Mike Martin.

"My Tribute"  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir  This song was sung at our wedding over 39 years ago.

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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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