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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Two Eaglets in Snapshot from Eagle Cam in York County, PA

"God's Pattern"
Father, Mother, Children

Note 1: In Monday's message I shared how the Bible speaks of "little members" in regard to our body parts, "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things" (James 3:5). On Saturday I was working in my backyard and got a big splinter in my left hand near my index finger. My entire hand remained red, swollen and numb through yesterday so I went to the doctor and found I had an infection which is now being treated with antibiotics. When it's hard to use a hand or even just one finger, especially your index finger, you realize how important that "little member" is!

Message summary: This week's series on "God's Patterns" may be offensive to some because so many have rejected God's revealed patterns and accepted new worldly philosophies and a notion that marriage is simply a human social construct. That is now how many see the makeup of the family so let us go back to the pattern God established.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother ..." (Genesis 2:24a). "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12). "The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him" (Proverbs 31:1). "Her children arise and call her blessed" (Proverbs 31:28). "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land" (Ephesians 6:1-3).

As we go about our chaplain visits we observe the different interests that people have. Some we identify with, others not so much. But we nevertheless try to express personal interest in that which interests others as a mean of establishing a relationship. It has also led to our broadening interests of subject matters or activities that once never crossed our minds.

For 12 years we have visited with Brenda, an office manager in a company we serve, who is very interested in eagles. She has photos on her screen and shows me the live cam of a local nesting pair who recently had two chicks or eaglets. She joins others who regularly take screen shots from the hi-def live cam and last week showed us a recent photo of the growing 5 week old eaglets. They weren't very active early this morning when I took the screenshot from the cam used in our lead photo. At this point in life their mother and father are very busy providing, protecting and nurturing them!

I shared with Brenda that they do better at marriage and child-rearing responsibilities than many humans do now! This prompted a study where I read this interesting observation concerning eagles:

"Bald eagles are the national emblem of the United States, and when it comes to maintaining relationships, bald eagles soar much higher than the country they symbolize. Bald eagles typically mate for life, except in the event of their partner's death or impotency — a number far lower than America's divorce rate, which now exceeds 50 percent."

"Bald eagles stay hitched until death do they part, often returning year after year to the same nest," Carolyn Shea wrote in Audubon. "While there, the pair continuously adds to the structure, so that after many seasons it assumes gargantuan proportions and stands as a symbol of their fidelity."

Mother's Day is a day which acknowledges the sacrificial contributions mothers make in the lives of their children. The theme of honoring our mothers was likely a topic in many churches this last Sunday. However, wherever you live, today's message is always pertinent. I hope each mother reading this was will be honored by the expression of the daily verses as her children rise up and call her "blessed."

My mom was gloriously promoted to heaven in November 2005 and Brooksyne's in October 2002, so we both write from that perspective. We received a note from a friend last week who shared, "As my 90 year old mom is being placed in hospice care today, in this week’s lesson of His love I find my strength and comfort. While watching Mom slip away from us that love her dearly, I know she's on her way home to the greatest reward!" What a wonderful expression of rising up and calling his mother "blessed".

The establishment of a "father and mother" as a family's foundation goes all the way back to Creation. Right after God created Eve as a "helpmeet" for Adam we read, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). This verse was used yesterday to establish the foundation and pattern for marriage but it also establishes the foundation and pattern for the family in the phrase, "A man shall leave his father and mother".

The command to honor our father and mother goes back to the Fifth Commandment: "Honor your father and your mother". This honor, along with obedience is certainly applicable all through childhood. A favorite memory verse many parents understandably teach their children is Ephesians 6:1, "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right". This is a foundational way children honor their parents.

Upon leaving as an adult we set off to make our own decisions in life. We leave our father and mother" and no longer obey them in the sense we did as children when we were under their authority. But the honor to our father and mother is still applicable after we reach adulthood as well and the attitude of this command still pertains even though both our parents are now with the Lord. We still seek to live in such a way as to honor them.

Proverbs 31 begins with a mother's lesson, an oracle by King Lemuel his mother taught him. Today we urge each reader to rise up and call your mother blessed. Express honor toward her in your words and in your actions. For most of our readers this comes very naturally out of your gratitude for a loving and caring mother.

But some of you have ongoing painful memories from your upbringing leaving your relationship far less than God's ideal pattern. Perhaps even now there is an underlying heartache in your present relationship with your mother.

But God's command to honor our father and mother, like the command in Hebrews 13:4 to honor marriage, has no exclusionary clause. He will give you the necessary grace to convey that honor, starting with the very fact that God breathed life into you as your mother brought you into this world. Some who have had an undesirable childhood and even adulthood experiences with their mother or father have learned to rise above the resentment and emotional pain, so that they can maintain a lasting relationship with them. Sometimes the failings of our parents make us stronger in resisting similar failings, since we personally know the lasting damage it can bring. And we pray the same for our children who may witness weaknesses in our parenting skills.

If your parents are living be sure to express your love and appreciation to them. Dad's turn is next month. We both really miss doing this but are so glad we did it regularly while they were alive. The honor of our parents serves as a foundational base for all human honor.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, each spring as we observe tiny featherless fledglings pressed against their mothers in the hollow of their parents' nest, we're reminded of the human love children experience from their parents' safekeeping. We thank You for the loving care You extend to us through the preordained parents who've provided for us from birth to independence. Thank You for their model of love, sacrifice, duty, protection, and other virtuous qualities needed to properly raise a family. It has greatly influenced the way we raise our own children.

We also pray for those whose relationship with their parent is a role reversal where they must act as the authority figure when their own parent behaves as a needy or defiant child or when their aging factors disrupt our schedules and way of life. May Your multiplied mercies sustain these caregivers in their ongoing, stress-filled roles so that, above all, You are honored and they find strength and solace even in the midst of the turmoil. Thank You, Father, for our human family, our spiritual family, and for our heavenly family that awaits our arrival on Your appointed day. In the name of Christ Jesus we pray. Amen.

Important further note and observation: Most of you know us due to reading or listening to these Daily Encouragement messages. We have also personally met several hundred of you at some point in life, from family, friends, present and former church associates, present and former chaplaincy associates.

We each spend 3-4 hours each weekday writing, preparing and doing the technical work on the Daily Encouragement aspect of our ministry.

But since 2001 we have also been chaplains to various companies here in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties PA. This gives us the opportunity to visit these companies and get to know the employees. Over time most of them will share with us about their lives and what they are going through; some positive, some not so positive.

We see a wide range of people in the most normal part of life; the working years Young to old, all types of vocations and professions. 
We see many races and ethnic backgrounds since Lancaster has many immigrants. Some follow Christ, others make no such profession. Nevertheless most are receptive to us. We hope to let our light shine, share a bright spot in their day with expressions of encouragement, affirming their value, bearing their burdens and when a door opens share a witness for Christ.

We observe a cross section and sampling of typical people. Our area is more conservative than many parts of the country so our observations if anything are skewed that way.

Many have sought to understand and explain the breakdown in our society, especially the family unit; academics, special interest groups and so forth. Often their analysis will be predetermined based on their biases, something we should all be aware of. (I am especially wary of "academic studies" since they may have an aura of objectivity but are so often politically correct nonsense). Some have experienced the fallout of what happens when you go against the politically correct grain!

Our observations are based on what we see in our work and when reading on these matters. Admittedly these observations can also be biased since we clearly believe God has established a pattern. But at least we admit this is the prism of which we view life.

After many years of increasing secularism and animosity toward God's design we observe these two aspects in regard to the abandonment of God's patterns concerning gender, marriage and family.

1) It is astounding, the number of people in the current generation, who are so far removed from what most have considered the "normal" pattern they don't even know what the normal pattern is. It wasn't modeled in their home, or taught in education, media, entertainment and so forth.
Many today do not even have two grandparents that are together in marriage, let alone their own parents. So many have no church connections, and even in a growing number of our churches, their desire to go along with the world's values has led the leadership to align with modern philosophies, and ignore or explain away truths that contradict the widely promoted "norms" of our day.

2) But far more pernicious is the denial that there
even is a pattern established by God for gender, marriage and the family and the assertion that believing there is such a pattern is narrow-minded and hateful (an increasing strategy used to silence Bible-believing people). I was reading about a new sex education bill in California that promotes the most heinous forms of teaching sexual immorality to even young children. An organization promoting it asserts there is "no normal".

Final note: Of course all through the Bible and human history there have been situations where the ideal pattern was broken. Deaths due to disease, accidents, war and violence that took one parent, or infertility (one that we know personally). Due to infidelity a marriage is broken leaving single mothers or fathers to raise their children. Ideally extended family and church can step in and help to fill this void. Men and women in the church can model godliness and come alongside others, acting as spiritual mothers and spiritual fathers.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What Children BelieveVideo  Gold City

York County Eagle Cam I enjoyed having this on this morning in the background for the live nature sounds!

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Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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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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