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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Colebrook Road horses 6/5/16
Colebrook Road
Sunday afternoon my friend, Tho, and I stood under a shade tree adjacent to this spacious horse pasture and observed the lush green surroundings on display from the east, west, north and south. Our hearts were filled with gratitude for God's beautiful creation as we stood there which led us to give thanks in prayer to God for His bountiful blessings (though I, Brooksyne, admit that I kept my eyes wide open as I soaked in all we were thanking God for).

"The Splendor Of The Old"

Message Summary:
Today we encourage you to consider the daily text.  If you're a youth or young adult rejoice in and enjoy your season of strength. But realize it will pass. Let us all, young and old, recognize the "splendor of the old" and honor them, gaining wisdom from their life's experience.  If you are old and gray realize that God has a planned purpose in your remaining years on this earth as you share your splendor with those around you. Hopefully many will recognize and appreciate it.

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“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:32). "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old" (Proverbs 20:29). "A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31).

John and Faithe Keefer 46th anniversary
Yesterday our pastor, John Keefer, and his wife Faithe celebrated their 46th anniversary. Their steadfastness in life, ministry and marriage is a blessing to many. Brooksyne and I both appreciate their faithfulness to the Scriptures, to sound doctrine and holding firm against the moral anarchy of our time.

Last week we mentioned attending a 50th anniversary party for Mervin and Lois Buckwalter, friends from our church. At one point in our younger years it seemed anyone celebrating 50 years in marriage were just ancient and it probably still seems that way to our younger readers. But after celebrating our 40th anniversary last month "old" doesn't seem so old anymore! According to the US Census Bureau only 6% of marriages make it to fifty years.

I spoke to Mervin in church this last Lord's Day and he shared an interesting blessing he and his wife shared. Both his and Lois's parents celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary! Now that's an accomplishment for anyone but to have both sets of parents makes it is outstanding and surely very unusual. I did a search to determine the odds of that happening but was unable to find any info. However according to one source the percentage of any single marriage lasting seventy years is only .06 percent so I suppose the odds of both sets of parents in a marriage making it to 70 years is infinitesimally small.

Menno Brubaker at 100 (click to enlarge)
This brings to mind Menno, a man who attended our church when we first moved to Lancaster County, who lived to be 102.  He attended until he was no longer ambulatory, only months before his homegoing, having lived in the same house all his 102 years. He was a widower at the time we met him and thus we never met his wife. He got around well using a cane. When greeting me he would look up (he stood maybe 5' tall and I at 6'2") and said, "We've sure got a lot to be thankful for don't we?" Now I've heard that rhetorical question quite a lot through the years, but when Menno would say it, it always made me pause and really consider the depth of such a declaration.

Menno didn't have much hair left on top but he had a prominent gray/white beard bringing to mind the verse and title for today's message:

"The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old" (Proverbs 20:29).

Stephen running track relay in high school
"The glory of young men is their strength." The truth of this phrase is very evident. When you are young you may take your strength for granted but now in our sixties we both sense a diminishment of strength. I (Stephen) enjoy lawn work and DYI home improvement projects. But after doing some work yesterday I can see (and feel) that I don't have the strength and stamina I had in my twenties and thirties. The other day Nick, a friend of Ester's was over for a visit. When a frisbee got caught up in our large front lawn oak Nick darted across the yard and shinnied up the tree to retrieve the frisbee. Usually Brooksyne and I take a long pole to retrieve the "stuck" frisbees from the branches.

I recall the strength of my youth.
When I was Nick's age I could jump over the width of a car. I did it often to impress Brooksyne before we married. Please don't ask me to try that now! I was athletic and a pretty decent long-distance runner. For many years we both played tennis together. Brooksyne was full of physical strength and energy. Being raised on a farm she was accustomed to hard work as her family farmed, gardened, and preserved food for their "brood" of seven.

Just for men photo "Gray hair the splendor of the old." I wonder how many of the elderly consider their gray or white hair a source of "splendor"?  How many of the rest in our culture do? (I wonder how many millions of dollars are spent annually to cover it?) The splendor should be a recognition of the experience, perspective, and wisdom the aged have.

One of the great underlying causes of social dysfunction in our land is the intergenerational breakdown and the segregation of age groups. God has ordained the progression of life from young to old and places His blessing in various ways upon each as the daily text testifies. And I believe each are needed for a healthy society. What a blessing when the older show love and interest in the younger and when the younger show love and esteem to the elderly.

Today we encourage you to consider the daily text.  If you're a youth or young adult rejoice in and enjoy your season of strength. But realize it will pass. Let us all, young and old, recognize the "splendor of the old" and honor them, gaining wisdom from their life's experience.  If you are old and gray realize that God has a planned purpose in your remaining years on this earth as you share your splendor with those around you. Hopefully many will recognize and appreciate it.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we're grateful for the teaching and example of those who are older. So much wise advice can be gleaned from the elderly who have experienced the ups and downs of life, the putting into practice of your Scriptural truths, the overcomings and even the failings that teach us what we should avoid and what we need to put into practice. We need each other; the young need to observe the senior's life's experiences and endurance. The older need the help of the youth's strength and vitality. It's all a part of life's cycle here on earth.  Help us to appreciate, respect and observe each season of life. In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Children singing 6/5/16
Sunday morning Brooksyne led a group of children in singing "The B-I-B-L-E" song as well as reciting memory verses they had learned. They added a second verse, "The B-L-O-O-D that Jesus shed for me. His life He gave, my soul to save, the BLOOD"

Note: I didn't take this photo in black and white. Digital photos are color. But with photo software you can make it black and white. It reminds me of my early days in photography when we used Kodak Tri-X black and white film and developed it in a dark room.

Neville, first job 6/6/16
Yesterday afternoon Neville came down for his first job and first time to use a lawn mower. In teaching him to use a lawn mower I figured I would use the grass catcher on our large front lawn. Due to the abundant rains the grass is very thick and Neville had to empty the catcher many, many times. He is interested in making some extra money for his trip later this summer back to his home of Zimbabwe. Perhaps some neighborhood opportunities for mowing, much like I had some 50 years ago, will come about! Our border collie Mollie is in the background for the moment. Even with the loud mower she couldn't resist interrupting Neville to throw her a frisbee.

However Mollie was quite frightened later when we had some very loud booms in our neighborhood. It seemed too loud for even a high-powered rifle and regular fireworks. It reminded me of the sonic booms we had as a child living near an air base. We found out later what it was. Any guesses? (See below)

JK service team 6/7/16
This morning we had our air conditioning system serviced by two service techs from JK Mechanical. We sure appreciate young people who are learning trades that bless others. Shawn (right) is a senior tech and is teaching Austin, a student at Thaddeus Stevens Tech College, who is working as an apprentice.

Neighborly blessings 6/7/16
Neighborly Blessings
While we were writing the message this morning our  neighbor, Jane, brought down some home-grown goodies; rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus. Brooksyne has several neighbors whom she walks with and Jane is one of them, a plain Mennonite, and a very close friend! She let us show off the goodies but refrained from a facial photo lest it appear that her "giving of alms" would appear a bit boastful. It's been such an interesting time living in Lancaster County over the past 15 years learning about and coming to respect so many of the customs of the plain folks.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"On The Other Side Of Jordan"  Video  Rabbit Easter Band  A powerful presentation which we highly recommend viewing!  I like this quote, "How we treat the elderly is a reflection of the kind of person we are."

"On the Other Side"  Video  Dailey & Vincent

"IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE OTHERS' HEARTS": (LIFE, in 4 minutes) Video  In the course of searching for music related to today's message I came across this very touching video.

"Respect For The Elderly"  A brief video teaching by Dr. James Dobson

"God's Been Good"  Video  Legacy Five.

Verse 1
Lately I've been looking back, along this winding road
To the old familiar markers of the mercies I have known
I know it may sound simple but it's more than a cliche
There's no better way to tell you, than to say

God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams
when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times,
I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good

Verse 2
Times replay and I can see that I've cried some bitter tears
But I felt His arms around me, as I faced my greatest fears
You see I've had more gains than losses
and I've known more joy than hurt
As His grace rolled down upon me undeserved


For God has been my Father, my Savior and my Friend
His love was my beginning, and His love will be my end
I could spend forever trying to tell you everything He is
But the best that I can say it is this. (back to chorus)

We shared a message similar to today's in this daily encouragement titled, "The Wisdom Of The Aged"

Our mystery booms late yesterday afternoon turned out to be a neighbor farmer trying to eradicate the groundhogs destroying his fields!!!

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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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