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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Corn harvest near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
The view from inside a combine during corn harvest.

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"A Harvest Of
Righteousness And Peace"

"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:10,11).

My neighbor Leon called and told me they were harvesting corn and then asked, "Would like to ride along on the combine?"  Leon knows how much I enjoy observing the harvest. I walked down to a field where the action was taking place. He had been at work all day and was weary but still had several hours before he would finish.  It's a blessing to witness a harvest and be reminded of the various Scripture portions that draw a parallel between this and the spiritual harvest.

Among the clearest of Biblical mandates for a father is the discipline of his children. In fact the daily text presumes that readers had a knowledge and experience of a father's discipline. What a sign of our decadent times that so many children have never experienced this; way too many have never even met their father!

Our heavenly Father also disciplines His children and we know at times His discipline (not to be confused with punishment) may certainly be unpleasant and may even be painful. The daily verse expresses a simple truth common to all of us.  Even a young child can attest to it: "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful." The context draws a parallel between the discipline of a loving earthly father and that of our loving heavenly Father.

The previous verse has a tremendous truth that we do well to settle deep in our hearts: "God disciplines us for our good."  There is an intentional purpose in God's design to bring about good results from His discipline.  This purposeful good result is "that
we may share in His holiness."  But during the discipline it can sure be hard!

"Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  Especially note the two words "later on". "Later on" is unspecific as to the timing and this is what makes it so very hard. Many are waiting for that "later on" to come to pass but they don't know when.  In the Book of Galatians Paul shares this truth as well, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).

But God's Word is sure and His promises are steadfast. "God disciplines us for our good." 

Some of you are in the very midst of a discipline that is by no means pleasant. In fact you may be sensing the pain even as you read this message.  Perhaps you feel let down and are experiencing great disappointment.  You just can't figure out what God is up to in your life. You may even feel forsaken.  At this time you don't have any idea how your situation will ever work out.  (I've experienced all the above).

Consider those words "later on" and the wonderful promise of God that follows.  Let it minister to your heart. Let it renew your hope and let it further encourage you to diligently wait for the "later on" to come to pass.  The promise is this: Our heavenly Father's discipline "produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we live in a world where "waiting" seems almost inconceivable for everyday needs. Because of marvelous technological breakthroughs we get instant mail, same day deliveries, immediate test results, meals in two minutes, and the list goes on and on.  But, Lord, You work in our lives day after day, year after year and season upon season.  We are promised eternal life if we place our trust in You, but the process of walking in obedience day after day doesn't always yield instant gratification.  Lord, You are developing fruit in our lives as we are in the waiting process.  We've seen faithfulness, self-control, endurance, patience and other fruit develop and mature in our spiritual walk as we're being disciplined.  We find ourselves anticipating Scripture reading and prayer time with You.  And we find ourselves thinking more and more about future events when we will be home with You in heaven.  When we hear You say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant", the disciplines of this life will bring unsurpassed righteousness and peace." Amen.

Today's text

Harvest Time

Last week I shared some photos of the harvest by our Amish neighbors here in Lancaster County. Today I will share some photos from my neighborhood Combine ride with Leon.

Brooksyne's Note:  As I reviewed Stephen's photos and captions I got to thinking that some readers may think the harvest taking place below is for corn that is consumed by humans.  When you see Stephen standing in it that sure would take away from any desire to eat the corn!  But, in fact, this is field corn used for animal feed.

Corn harvest near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
This Combine has a 6 row head meaning it could harvest six rows at a time. I understand they make them a lot larger. The head splits between the rows, cuts off the corn stalk at the ground, then removes and shucks the ear before sending it inside the combine.  Then a process removes the grain from the cob. The grain is loaded into the hopper while the cobs are discarded out the back. A guage in the cab measured the yield which was 180 bushels to the acre at the time, not a bumper crop according to Leon, but a good one!
Here we see the combine offloading the corn into a truck.

Corn harvest near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
When they harvest corn for the grain the farmer desires a certain degree of dryness, 15% moisture content as I recall. This corn was at 18% and would require a bit more drying after the harvest but Leon felt it was best to get it in lest a storm come along and blow the stalks over making it much harder to harvest.

Corn harvest near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
I don't suppose very many of our readers have had the privilege of standing knee deep in a pile of freshly harvested corn without shoes! Harvest is an exciting time for the children and in this case a number of cousins had gathered to watch as the corn is offloaded from the Combine to the truck. Then they had a fun time playing in it, sort of like a sandbox I suppose. Leon's young son took my photo.

Corn harvest near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
This International truck was put into service in 1972, a year before I graduated from high school, and has been loaded down with lots of harvests!

Corn harvest near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
An old-fashioned truck interior.  A lot of our readers will remember when trucks interiors were made of the bare essentials such as this cab.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Field Of Souls"  Video   Actually it seems to me that today's text is primarily referring to the "the harvest of righteousness and peace" in regard to our personal spiritual life.  But of course the harvest is also used in Scripture to describe the ingathering of souls into God's Kngdom (Luke 10:2).  This song is based on that usage.

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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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