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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Neizmik barn
Tom and Marsha Neizmik are long-time friends who live on a farm in the Allegheny mountains in northern Pennsylvania.  
They enjoy this beautiful view from their kitchen window.
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"Lessons From Barns"

"The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to" (Deuteronomy 28:8).

There's something that intrigues me about barns.  They vary in size, design, color and even their intended usage.  There are cattle barns, feed barns, equipment barns and many other kinds of barns.  As a little boy I would play in my Uncle Gentry's barn on his farm outside of Harwood Missouri. When the cousins would come together during family gatherings we'd play vigorously for hours in the hay loft.

Leaning siloMany of the barns in that area are now dilapidated much like the one barn that we'd pass as we made the trip to my grandparents' house. It seemed that with each passing year the timbers were more rotted and the entire barn was leaning more and more toward the earth, similar to the silo in the photo.  On each trip I'd eagerly watch for the spot to see if the weathered barn had finally collapsed but it never did.  I wonder to this day if it's still standing!

Brooksyne grew up on a farm where they had a couple of smaller barns.  She doesn't have such fond memories since their farm chores included cleaning up the cow and horse stalls.  Fortunately that job fell more often to her brother as he got older rather than the girls. Though she does remember a few times doing the nasty chore for her brother, Jody, in exchange for his promise not to tattle on her if there was something she didn't want her parents to know.  I wonder if siblings still use blackmail to get out of doing their chores.

Red barns in snow
After we got married we lived for many years in areas where we rarely saw barns but since we moved to Lancaster County nine years ago we see the landscape dotted with barns and silos.  We often use these photos on this site from our travels.

Today's verse is a wonderful promise from Scripture, "The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to." Barns, also called storehouses, could be a source of pride to farmers if they were not careful to acknowledge their abundance was from God.

"The Lord will send..."  It's so vital to recognize where the blessings come from.  We regularly sing the doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."  God continues to send forth his physical and spiritual blessings.  Sadly, many rely on other sources to provide for their needs and even have entitlement attitudes.  God owes us nothing and yet provides for all that we have need of.

"A blessing on your barns" indicates the agricultural way of life so common in the Bible period. In principle it surely also means your work or business, whatever that may be, that relates to the way we make a living today.

Note carefully that this Scripture expresses a cooperative relationship. God is faithful to bless. But notice the phrase, "on everything you put your hand to." Farmers don't lay around just waiting for God's blessing. They work hard using the skills God has taught them over the years, often through the trials and errors of farming. Although most of us don't work on farms the principle is surely the same.

Working hands
Many tend to see work as a mere necessity to be avoided as much as possible.  But God has called us all to "use our hands."  Consider these verses. "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need" (Ephesians 4:28). "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you" (I Thessalonians 4:11). "We work hard with our own hands" (1 Corinthians 4:12).

Let us claim this promise and let us faithfully do our part in obedience to God's commands!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, we are confident that You will provide for all our needs as we obey Your commands.  You have instituted work from the very beginning so that we can provide for ourselves that which we have need of. Your blessings fall upon those who obey You and who are not idle or wasteful.  We thank You for our jobs and the skills needed to perform our duties.  We lift up our brothers and sisters who are diligently looking for employment but are awaiting doors to open.  Father, we pray that You would open the right door and provide for their needs in supernatural and unconventional ways as You always care for Your own, no matter the circumstances.  May it be a time of trusting and growing as they look to You for their provisions and for the open door.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

You will recall the farmer in Luke 12:13-21 who wanted to replace his smaller barns with bigger ones when he saw that he had a great crop.  I wonder how the parable would have ended if the farmer had given proper thanks and recognition to God for His blessings.  What if he had prayed, "God, reveal to me a family(ies) whose crop did not have a good yield so that I can share from my abundance."  Surely, by storing up all the harvest for just his family the food would have been rancid by the end of the season.

Neizmik barn, Elk County PA
Another view of the Neizmik barn

Barn in northwest Missouri
Last fall I traveled throughout northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa and southeast Nebraska. I passed old abandoned, often dilapidated barns such as the scene above. Although the area is still farmed, methods have changed and many of the old barns are apparently no longer needed.

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"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"  Video  

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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 I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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