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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shady lane carriage Lancaster County PA
This interesting carriage sits in front of the Shady Maple Farm Market and advertises Shady Lane Wagons, a local buggy dealership.

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"Lessons From A Broken Axe"

"But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, 'Alas, my master! For it was borrowed'" (2 Kings 6:5).

Yesterday I bought a small hatchet to clear some brush and remove some enduring roots from cut down bushes shooting up through the ground. Now anyone realizes a hatchet can be a dangerous tool, especially if the head falls off or if we lose control of the handle or miss our aim, but surprisingly this is the single warning on the packaging: "This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."

A hatchet is essentially a handheld hammer-like axe which brings to mind a story in the Bible concerning an axe head.  Elisha's school of prophets had gone down near the Jordan and were building a place to live. It was a cooperative effort with each cutting down a tree for the project (sort of like a barn-raising).

Axe headOne of them had an accident which most all of us who've worked with tools can easily imagine. As he was cutting down a tree the axe head flew off!  Now his reaction is informative and instructive. Surely initially he was relieved that it didn't fly off and hit him or another worker!  But he looked on with angst as the axe head fell into the water and sunk.  Very distressed he cried out to Elisha, "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed." Elisha, sensitive to the worker's dilemma, recovered the axe head by throwing in a stick in the spot where the axehead sunk which caused the axe head to float in the water. (Something iron just doesn't do naturally!)

Today I want to consider the unnamed prophet's sense of personal responsibility and stewardship; "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed." He was distressed that he had lost something belonging to another.

Thumb driveOn Memorial Day weekend our neighbor's barn blew down. It was right alongside one of our favorite spring trails and I had taken photos several months earlier.  The neighbors asked if they might have copies of the photos. After all, who would have expected a brick barn built in 1815 to blow over!

I placed several of the photos on a thumb drive so they could select the ones they wanted and then print them at whatever size they chose. Last night their young son, Jandon, rode his bike over to our place and returned the thumb drive to me. A few minutes later his mother came by and verified that I had indeed received the drive and they both individually apologized for keeping it beyond the time originally planned (though we had given no thought to the time span and had even forgotten about the drive). How good it is to have parents who model and teach responsibility to their young children which is so important for the next generation.

That in itself is a commendable lesson for today and so needed in our careless society. But I want to consider a deeper level of responsibility and stewardship; our stewardship to God. Essentially stewardship means using something belonging to another. Our very lives are essentially on loan from God.  Job shared this perspective that all believers should express when dealing with the variables of life, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away" (Job 1:21).

Paul had this outlook concerning ministry: "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy" (1 Corinthians 4:1,2).

The prophet's distress over losing a part of the borrowed axe is commendable but let us consider today, in a far more extensive sense, that which God has entrusted into our care!  Are we using it properly, sharing it generously, and dedicating it to God's service?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, may we be found trustworthy in our relationship to you and others.  Help us as we seek to understand and communicate the teachings of Scripture so that we are faithful stewards of all that is entrusted to us.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Today's Scripture account is from 2 Kings 6:1-7

Goldfinch on sunflower 8/3/10
We enjoyed watching this persistent goldfinch cling to the sunflower upside down for a very long period of time this morning.  Brooksyne hasn't been feeding the birds lately so they have to work a little harder to get their seeds.  In fact, as they do every summer, they plant their own sunflower plants from droppings from their bird feeder - it's a good thing this finch might be thinking!!

Pickup truck carrying hay Lancaster County PA
We followed this pickup truck over-loaded with hay the other day on Donegal Springs Road. Now I suppose there's nothing especially interesting to most about this but for me it brings back some memories. When we first got married in May 1976 I worked that summer on a large hay crew that custom harvested on farms north of Springfield, MO.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Lord, I Offer My Life To You"
 Video  Don Moen

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  
Video  Chris Tomlin
Video  A more traditional version by "Christ For The Nations" choir

"In Christ Alone"  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

Yesterday Brooksyne incorrectly stated that Greensleaves was the tune for "He Looked Beyond My Fault" and the Getty song. Later she realized (thanks to me) that Greensleaves is the tune to "What Child is This", not the other songs mentioned. We had a chuckle but wanted to set the record straight.

Danny Boy  Londonderry Air  Audio sample

Rutt farm 4/4/10
Photo of 1815 barn referred to in today's message.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Photos of the barn after it blew over.
Photos of the new barn being built in a new barnbuilding.

Shady Lane Wagons
  A dealership I suppose very few of you have in your area!

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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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