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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Donegal Creek flowers 5/29/17
Flowers along Donegal Creek

"We Will Remember"

Message summary: Let us personally remember what God has done for us, offer thanks to Him and renew our covenant to serve and obey Him always!

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"The people said to Joshua, 'We will serve the Lord our God and we will obey His voice.' So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. Joshua said to all the people, 'Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God'" (Joshua 24:24-27).

We will remember, we will remember, 
We will remember the works of Your hands.
We will stop and give You praise
For great is Thy faithfulness.

Yesterday, here in the U.S. was "Memorial Day" and we remembered those who gave their lives for our freedoms, especially service in the military, which was the original intent for Memorial Day. For many years I participated in the community Memorial Day parade and the solemn memorial service that followed in Saint Marys, PA. Every local service member's name who had died in war was read aloud. It's a practice that continues to this day over 20 years later and likely in many small communities.

But many of us also extend remembrance on this day to include all who have enriched our lives, whether they be family, friends or fellow believers. Although we don't know if other countries have a day similar to this, wherever we live we can consider our heritage and remember those who have gone on before us.

But today let us consider the theme of "remembering our covenant". In a covenant, the root concept is commitment. Marital vows are a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. In dedicating our children to God we make a covenant and church membership should properly be reckoned as a covenant. But the most important covenant is made between God and us!

God's Word often calls us to remember this covenant. In fact it is at the heart of the Lord's Supper observance, "Do this in remembrance of Me." We often see this inscribed on Communion Tables.

When we walk through life's darkest valley
We will look back at all You have done
And we will shout our God is good
And He is the faithful one

As Joshua's life was coming to an end he called the people to Shechem and made a powerful appeal to serve God which includes a proclamation memorized by many Christians, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." We, as a family, have concluded our prayers by reciting this verse together. Ester used to add the word "forever" at the end. It's not in the original text but I certainly believe it is an appropriate expression!

After Joshua made the personal proclamation and challenged the people to do the same he then took a large stone and set it up in a place clearly identifiable to the people. He said the stone had "heard all the words of the LORD" and would be a "witness against us".  The sense seems to be that of a memorial that would remind the people of their solemn commitment to follow the Lord. The root Hebrew word for witness carries the meaning "to duplicate or repeat."

The oak tree at Shechem* is first referenced in Scripture in Genesis 12:6 where Abraham received assurance from God that He would keep His promises. Later, as Abraham's grandson Jacob grew in his faith, this oak tree was the place where Jacob's family made a firm stand for God in burying their false gods under it (Genesis 35:4). And many years later the oak tree at Shechem was a place where Joshua made a tangible memorial to the people concerning their covenant renewal to faithfully serve God. The large stone under the oak tree, next to the sanctuary, served as a reminder to the people of the commitment that they had made that day.

Today, let us personally remember what God has done for us, offer thanks to Him and renew our covenant to serve and obey Him always!

I still remember the day You saved me
The day I hear You call out my name
You said You loved, would never leave me
And I've never been the same

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we read where Joshua placed a stone under the oak tree to serve as a witness against anyone who heard Your words spoken through godly leaders and yet chose to deny You. The stone under the oak tree in Schechem was witness to those who remained true and those who denied the faith. The stone was unchanging from day to day, year to year just as our promises should be. It was an inanimate witness unable to speak, but today we have living witnesses within our family, community, and church that can either speak up that we are people of truth or deny our claims. Our words will be demonstrated in our attitudes and actions and we will impact these eye witnesses in regard to their eternal future. No matter the consequence in this life, we never want to deny You in what we say or do. Amen.

* I realize that it cannot be stated with certainty that this was the very same oak tree in each instance.  However, given the lifespan of an oak tree and the clear landmark status of this oak tree in Shechem, it very well could have been. Here are the verses referenced above:
  • Genesis 12:6 "Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem."
  • Genesis 35:4 "So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem."

Badminton game 5/29/17
Yesterday we had our Zimbabwean friends over for a cookout followed by an afternoon of badminton.

Badminton game 5/29/17
First badminton game for the Zimbabweans and they were quite good!

Donegal Trail walk 5/29/17
Then the older adults took a long walk along the Donegal Trail.

Rutt farmhouse 5/29/17
Old stone farmhouse

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"We Will Remember"  Video   Triumphant Quartet

Finally today:
Old truck 5/28/17
Ester has a good eye for classic and antique vehicles! She spotted this one at the grocery store where she works.

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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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