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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ulicny photo 9/17 (Click to enlarge)
Today we share some photos our friend Joe took
during a business trip.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Loving Our Children"

Message summary: Take your children in your arms, hug them often, and teach them the ways of the Lord.

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"Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: 'Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live'" (Exodus 1:22). "When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi" (Matthew 2:16).

Brooksyne holding StephenIt was a blessing on Sunday afternoon visiting with our friends on the Old Windmill Farm. It was fun to watch the children play outside along with Inquisitive Daisy, the baby goat, who got into anything within reach and ate everything in sight including our clothing. The children proudly showed us their hide-away camps they had constructed in a small wooded area. Their childhood reminds us of our childhood way before modern electronics and the materialism of our society has taken away children from natural settings where exercise, play, and pretend are the order of the day.

Brooksyne had an opportunity to hold Stephen, the newest member of the family who is healthy and growing well. He has providentially been placed in a family where his Mom and Dad and his six older brothers and sisters love him. He doesn't know this yet and may tend to take it for granted when he does but this is one of the greatest blessings in life.

Today's Scripture texts are certainly not the normal "encouraging" variety that we typically use. But these texts are part of God's Word and reveal a common theme throughout human history; the pervasive presence of evil. Pharaoh and Herod had no regard for human life and were determined to stamp out and kill anything that got in their way or upset their agenda.

One of most frightening forms of persecution that is closer than many think is over the control of our children. I cringe at the thought that children of Godly parents may be required by the state to attend what is increasingly an indoctrination center where Biblical values taught in the home and church are repressed, undermined, and mocked. Not all public education falls in that category but far too much of it does, both primary and secondary education and certainly the moral wasteland of much post-secondary education.

As we read both the accounts described in our two daily texts we are disgusted at the inhumanity and, very well, we should be.  Tragically, similar types of atrocities are happening in our own time, such as the forceful removal of young Sudanese girls (many from Christian families) in southern Sudan for sex trade. Or the Christian girls taken captive by an Islamic terrorist group in Nigeria that made the news several years ago. Can you imagine the horrific pain the parents of these children must endure? And, of course, we have human trafficking and other such horrendous crimes within our own country.

Prior to the Exodus Moses was delivered, but how many Hebrew boys were cast into the Nile? Jesus was preserved, but how many little boys were slaughtered in Bethlehem by wicked Herod? The Scripture graphically describes the "weeping and great mourning" that took place at that time (Matthew 2:16). Consider the love you have for your children and the fundamental desire you have that they are protected and raised to serve the Lord.

But there's a different type of "persecution" that I sense is on the horizon here in America. I believe the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child" has some merit if understood correctly.  We are indeed thankful for the blessings that others have been in the spiritual development of our children such as Sunday School teachers, Bible Club workers, youth leaders, etc.  Ester also had some very fine public school teachers in her first several years and we know there are good and caring public school teachers all across America.

But the fundamental Biblical responsibility in raising children rests with parents and sadly, "it takes a village" includes messaging that is often contrary to Biblical teaching and example. The "village" is the professional educators, social workers, childcare providers and others who claim to know what is best for our children. And this becomes a serious issue if their perception of best is contrary to that of the parents, which it increasingly it is. Thus far the school choice issue involves mostly financing, but I earnestly believe that there are those in authority who want to limit even the fundamental choices parents now have as to who will educate their children (essentially public, private, or homeschool).  As one conservative commentator has expressed, "You will be made to believe."

So, here's our word of encouragement today. Take your children in your arms, hug them often, and teach them the ways of the Lord. It is one of our most precious freedoms and certainly one of our gravest responsibilities that we shouldn't neglect or take for granted. May our freedoms prompt us to remember those who lack freedom, to pray for parents in Sudan, Nigeria and other places where children are being persecuted.  And finally, let this issue in part inform you as to those whom you choose to lead in the various levels of government.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have blessed us in various ways, and for most couples You have blessed them with children whom they will raise from birth to adulthood. As believers they not only oversee their children's welfare, nutrition, schooling, and discipline, but they also have responsibility to spiritually nurture them in the ways of the Lord. We are increasingly dealing with opposition from public institutions that undermine the Biblical worldview and seek to force their outlook and behavior on believers. Fortify our young parents who model Christianity and teach Biblical truths in the home. Protect them from the evil one who goes about like a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us; through Christ who enables us to take a stand against popular culture that is not aligned with Scripture. Amen.

Today's photos are not from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania!
Joe is a friend of ours who took a business trip last month to _____________. We thought we would share 4 of his photos (including our lead photo today) and ask our readers if they could identify where they were taken. The answer will be provided Thursday, but if any well-travelled readers would like to inform us where they think these photos were taken answer here. We don't have any prizes to offer but you will have the satisfaction of demonstrating your vast geographical knowledge or experience.
(Each of these photos will enlarge if you click on them)

Ulicny photo 9/17 (Click to enlarge)

Ulicny photo 9/17 (Click to enlarge)
Joe points out that the narrowest house in the city is in the center of this photo.

Ulicny photo 9/17 (Click to enlarge)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Take the Daily Encouragement reader surveyDaily Encouragement Net Reader Survey Please take a few minutes to help us improve this ministry by taking an online survey. Your response is completely anonymous and the survey only takes about five minutes. To take the survey click here. (Thanks to all of you who already took a few minutes to fill this survey out the last several days. I will leave this survey request up through the week and compile the results and share them next week.)

"Waiting For You To Get Home"  Video  The Browders A great song about father/son relationships.

"Slow Down
"  Video  Nichole Nordeman  A reminder of how quick they grow up!

A very moving Father/son story  Video 

David and Sabra Penley
David and Sabra Penley are Texan friends who write a blog titled Simply One In Marriage. Yesterday's article asks, "What Kind of Legacy Will Your Marriage Leave Behind?"  It begins with this story: Two people who died in the fires in California were Charles and Sara Rippey. They met in Wisconsin in grade school and had been together ever since. After attending the University of Wisconsin together, they married in 1942, just before Charles left to serve in the US Army during World War II.

Charles and Sara celebrated their seventy-fifth wedding anniversary this year. He was one hundred years old and Sara, who had suffered a stroke, was ninety-eight. They died together last week in their home in Napa, California.

Mike Rippey, one of the couple’s sons, said that his dad appeared to be heading to his mother’s room when he was overcome by smoke and flames and died. “My father certainly wouldn’t have left her,” Mike Rippey said.

What an example of true, sacrificial love the elder Rippeys left for their children, and for us. It is an example of the love Jesus describes in John 15:12-13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It is the kind of love Jesus has for us as described in 1 John 3:16a: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” Read more

Tommy CarpenterTommy Carpenter is an Arkansas friend who dealt with great heartache six years ago only a few days after he and his wife had visited our home: Several days ago he shared on a Facebook post:

"Six years ago tragedy struck our family when Nelma and Buck (grandson) were fatally injured in a wreck. Isabella, Chase and Cami (other grandchildren) were in the car with them. Chase had surgery for his injuries.

Nelma and I had celebrated 50 years of marriage on August 5th and the whole family had been together for that joyful occasion. Now the family was plunged into deep grief and sorrow when it seemed hard to comprehend that our loved ones were taken away so suddenly!

I learned that GOD'S GRACE IS GREATER THAN OUR DEEPEST GRIEF! His sustaining grace has helped us individually as we have walked through the valley of the shadow. We have survived the terrible tragedy, and God still has a plan for our lives! We will continue to serve Him until we meet again in heaven!!

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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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