Winter scene in Lancaster County, PA
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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Brubaker spring house on Musser Road in Lancaster County, PA
This quaint spring house is on a portion of Donegal Creek on the Brubaker Farm on Musser Road, about 1/2 mile east of our home, a relatively straight walk through our now dormant farm fields.

"A Perspective On Rebellious Children"

Message summary:
Let us heed Joshua's timeless call, to choose whom we will serve. Let us maintain his resolve and proclaim, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

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"Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord" (1 Samuel 2:12). "But his (Samuel's) sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice" (1 Samuel 8:3).

Mr. Winters was my Scoutmaster when I was in the Boy Scouts in the mid-sixties. He had several assistant scoutmasters helping him lead Troop 210 in Belton Missouri. I enjoyed my Boy Scout years and reflect upon the sacrifice my leaders made with weekly scout meetings, monthly weekend campouts, and other activities such as five mile hikes which sounded like a marathon to a ten year old. As adults we think little of taking five mile walks during the warm weather.

Mr. Winters seemed old to a ten year old but he was probably only in his late forties or early fifties at the time he was my scout leader. Of course that doesn't seem too old to me now! He was very dedicated to his mission of leading the local troop and I recall him being very caring.

But my most poignant memory of Mr. Winters happened during a scout meeting when he received news that his son was in some type of trouble. I sensed that his son was rebellious, even with my youthful understanding. I remember him burying his head in his hands and weeping as the other leaders took over and excused him as he left the meeting. What a heartbreak and humiliating experience that must have been to a man who was devoting himself to the moral development of young boys. Mr. Winters took a leave of absence
as our Scoutmaster and I don't recall whether he ever returned. Now over 50 years later it would be nice to know the rest of the story.

I thought of this memory this last Sunday when our pastor was preaching through some passages in 1 Samuel and referred to the daily verses.

Eli is a name we don't hear much in our "English" (non-Amish) culture but is very common among the Amish and we know several named Eli. I
n our daily text Eli was the priest who spoke to Hannah, Samuel's mother, when she was praying for a child. The Lord answered her prayer. After she gave birth to Samuel she dedicated him to the Lord's service at a very young age and it was Eli who taught him the things of God.

Eli seemed to be a man of good character who walked with the Lord. However, "Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord" (1 Samuel 2:12). A description such as this would break any father's heart, especially one dedicated to fulltime ministry.

Eli sought to correct his errant sons,
Hophni and Phinehas, "his sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke" (1 Samuel 2:25). However Samuel was receptive to his guidance and in 3:16 Eli calls out to him, “Samuel, my son.”

Often a person's spiritual descendants are more receptive than their own children.

Samuel was raised to follow the Lord from his early childhood years and grew up to be an extreme contrast to Eli's own sons. But then we read in chapter 8 of Samuel's sons, "But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice."

These biblical details sadden our hearts and raise questions in our minds. Our calling attention to them may grieve some of our readers who presently have prodigals in their family. Yet these passages describe the real world since our sons and daughters must choose for themselves whom they will serve. At times when children rebel evidence points to poor parenting, but other times the parents are living and modeling godliness day in and day out. And truth is, there are no perfect parents.

Sunday evening as we watched the hour special of Billy Graham's life and ministry his daughter, Gigi, spoke out, "My daddy certainly wasn't perfect. He'd be very upset to think that people thought that he was." Of course, most of us know of Billy and Ruth's son, Franklin, who departed from the faith for several years. Franklin has said more than once, his father's love and affection never waned for him during his rebellious period though he was not upholding the highly respected and famous Graham name. Billy Graham's life was marked by a humble spirit and he didn't let pride get in the way of his relationship with his son, and truth be told many godly parents struggle with having a prodigal as they fear others will see it as a poor reflection of their parenting skills.

Everyone including children has a free-will. Let us heed Joshua's timeless call, to choose whom we will serve. Let us maintain his resolve and proclaim, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, when we read that Eli’s sons became wicked men and had no regard for the Lord, and that Samuel's sons did not follow in his ways but chose to turn aside after dishonest gain, accepting bribes and perverted justice, it grieves our hearts. These were spiritual leaders who did great things for Your kingdom yet were ignored by their own offspring. We too have prodigals in our families, whether it's our own child, a sibling, a nephew or niece, or grandchild. Some of us bear the burden for families in our congregation who have prodigal(s). Jesus describes the father who was watching for his prodigal from a great distance. We too will continue to look and pray until our prodigal returns to his or her spiritual roots. May our genuine love and tender compassion help to draw them to the heart of Christ who wants to restore and make them whole again. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Prodigals"  Video  The Steeles

"Save My Family, Save My Friends"
Tribute Quartet

"As For Me And My House"  Video  Collingsworth Family

"The Nation's Leadership Crisis" Video of the message we heard Sunday

Yesterday's photo of a mystery lawn tool was a nut broom which is rolled across the lawn to collect various nuts. The first correct response came from Stephen, a young agricultural engineer we see each week in the course of our chaplaincy work.

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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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