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Thursday, November 22, 2018
Star Barn at dusk (photo shared by Nelson Longenecker) (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday we shared some photos from a visit to the Star Barn for a meeting on Tuesday. Our friend, Nelson Longenecker, attended a meeting recently at the barn and shared this photo taken at the event. Nelson, who is several years younger than us, shared with me how he lived near the original Star Barn location growing up. He shares, "When I showed these pictures and others to my mom, she told me that she used to take us there in our strollers. No wonder it feels that I go way back with the Star Barn!"
(Click to enlarge)

"A Thanks That Magnifies"
(Thanksgiving Day Message)

Message summary: The Westminster Catechism declares, "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." The daily Scripture verse declares we can glorify God today and every day with thanksgiving. That is what we will do!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Psalm 69:30).

Yesterday I overheard an expression of thanks that was heartening when an employee said to the company owner, "Thanks for the job!" What if our lives were filled every day with thanks to God and others?

My mom, who made her departure 13 years ago this month, was very persistent in teaching her children basic manners. Even as she aged she continued to reinforce what she had taught her four children many years earlier to her grandchildren. She used a short poem, "Hearts, like doors, swing wide with ease to very, very tiny keys, and don't forget, that two of these are 'Thank you, Sir' and 'If you please'".

Today, here in the USA we celebrate Thanksgiving; a wonderful holiday reminding us to be faithful in giving thanks to God for our blessings. We will be attending a Thanksgiving service this morning and then of course probably have something to eat!

Many years ago our pastor (Jim Gambini at the time) asked, "What do they call Thanksgiving Day in the rest of the world?" I suppose we were wondering what term was used to describe the holiday elsewhere and we were stumped.

Then he answered: "Thursday!" Only the US and Canada have a national day specifically set aside for Thanksgiving. (International readers, by all means correct us we are mistaken on this point.) For many reading our messages in other countries this is just another week and Thursday will simply be another day with no special emphasis on thankfulness.

Yet even as so many have denigrated the true meaning of Christmas, it seems the same is being done to Thanksgiving. It began by changing the object of our thanksgiving toward God to others (such as the Pilgrims simply being thankful to the Indians). Many also just express a generic thankfulness without a focus on God but rather in the sense of having good fortune.

And then there are those who greet others with "Happy Turkey Day" (since we customarily have turkey), though you won't hear Brooksyne or me wishing people Happy Turkey Day, not when we have opportunity to honor the true meaning of this holiday by blessing others with a reminder, "Happy Thanksgiving Day!" which is what we did as we greeted many people yesterday in our chaplain visits and even in our Costco visit.

Whether or not we have a special day set aside for giving thanks we have so much to be thankful for don't we? (I can still hear Menno Brubaker, who lived past 100, saying that when we first moved to Lancaster County). We are blessed in regard to many things. The size of our homes and the amount of our accumulations may vary. Some have a loving and supportive family, while others have not enjoyed this blessing. Some have had far more heartache in life than others.

But above all the variances of our haves and have nots, we urge you to focus on this great truth – all we who have trusted in Christ equally share in the greatest blessing, specifically our great salvation through Christ! Hallelujah, What A Savior!

In the daily Scripture portion the Psalmist makes a strong declaration, "I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving." The Hebrew word for "magnify" is translated throughout the Old Testament with words like advance, lift up, promote, increase, and boast.

We like the word "magnify" and here we are told to "magnify Him with thanksgiving". Let us indeed magnify the Lord by our thankfulness each day and in all circumstances.

The Westminster Catechism declares, "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." The daily Scripture verse declares we can glorify God today and every day with thanksgiving. That is what we will do!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we praise You in song; we testify of You in our words and deeds, and we magnify You when we express words of thanksgiving and live in a way that honors and exalts Your name. All we have needed Your hand has provided. So we join with Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:22 who declared, right in the midst of a very difficult time of famine and desperation, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness, Lord, unto me!" Thank You for Your faithfulness in every season of our life. Amen.

Star Barn antique axe collection 11/20/18 (Click to enlarge)
Another tool collection from the Star Barn, antique axes and hatchets. Could an astute Bible student suggest a good verse that might go with this collection?
(Click to enlarge)

Star Barn lower level (photo shared by Nelson Longenecker) (Click to enlarge)
Nelson Longenecker shared this photo of the lower level of the Star Barn.
(Click to enlarge)

Star Barn bride's prep room 11/20/18 (Click to enlarge)
Another view of the room where the bride and her attendants prepare and dress which used to be the milkhouse. I photographed Brooksyne as she was photographing the very fancy bathroom.
(Click to enlarge)

Lancaster Costco parking lot 11/22/18 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday, following some chaplain visits, we stopped by our local Lancaster Costco which was very, very busy. Some folks are pretty revealing about their purchases on the buggy truck bed that is also supporting a new table (likely for the grandchildren) at the big Thanksgiving meal. Looks like they could use a ratchet strap tie down or at least a bungee cord to secure the table up high!
(Click to enlarge)

Special Thanksgiving Resources

We offer these resources to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will post these resources through Thanksgiving Day here in the US (November 22).

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. (Note: You will need a good reader who should be given the story ahead of time to review so that it's read with expression and clarity.) For many of us the Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Here's an idea for sharing together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns"
(printable webpage).

"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service many years ago. (blog post) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

A Suggestion for a Family Tradition from our long-time friend Bob Southard: After the turkey, the cranberries, the pie, we all get out our Bibles to read our favorite thanksgiving verse. From the youngest to the oldest we share God’s Word and tell why it is so special to us!

We appreciate listening to and singing the Thanksgiving hymns and songs.

"In Everything Give Thanks"  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

"Now Thank We All Our God"  Video  Best Loved Hymns

"Come Ye Thankful People Come"  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

"Thanksgiving Medley" (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

"Give Thanks"  Video  Don Moen

"Thank You Lord"  Video  Community Choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

 Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

"I Want To Thank You"
 Video  Karen Peck and New River This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives in big and small ways. It also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me"  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

"I'm Forever Grateful"  Video  Willow Creek

"Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him, Crown Him With Many Crowns"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Thank You, Lord"  Video  Dennis Jernigan

"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"  Video  Matt Redman

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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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