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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creekside farm stand near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Creekside Farm stand near Mount Joy, PA

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"He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching" (Genesis 24:63). "Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation" (Psalm 5:1).

Flying snow geeseEarly this morning I walked outside and heard some distant honking from the sky. I looked up and saw a beautiful sign of autumn; a flock of geese flying south. I hollered for Brooksyne to look outside for a fresh evidence of the fall season. We both looked up to the sky to watch the geese as they flew directly over our house. Today let us examine a Scripture portion where Isaac also "looked up" but rather than geese he saw camels!

The book of Genesis chronicles the lives of the great patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Among these three Isaac is certainly written about the least as far as his life experiences.  But today's verse gives us a glimpse into his character.  The occasion was the return of his father Abraham's servant who had gone to secure Isaac a wife, as was the custom in their culture. 

Isaac went out to the field one evening to meditate. Interestingly this is the very first specific Biblc reference to the spiritual discipline of meditation.

Now certainly we don't have enough information to really know what was on Isaac's heart at this time as he meditated.  When he was younger he had a remarkable experience with his dad at the altar of sacrifice. I am sure there was a lot to meditate on concerning that experience. Perhaps he was considering the star-filled sky and the work of the Almighty Creator God or what theologians call "natural revelation". Or he could have been meditating on that which God planned for his future, especially considering the servant's mission to get him a wife! 

CamelsAs he was meditating he looked up and saw camels approaching. It was the servant returning with Rebekah who was to become his wife.

We know from other Scriptures the importance of meditation. One of my favorites is Psalm 1:2, speaking of the godly man. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and on His law he meditates day and night."

We began this message with looking up at geese but now let's shift our focus and look down at pigeons. They walk in a peculiar fashion so they can see where they're going. Because the pigeon can't adjust its focus as it moves, it actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus.

In our spiritual walk with the Lord we have the same problem as the pigeon. We may have a hard time seeing while we're on the go. We also need to stop between steps -- to refocus on the direction we're headed and the directing of God's will in our lives. That's not to say we have to stop and pray and meditate about every little decision in life. But certainly our walk with the Lord needs to establish a pattern of "stops," which enables us to see more clearly before moving on.  That, put simply, describes the nature of meditation.

There remains great power in meditation.  We, like Isaac may meditate upon our past experiences with God, natural revelation such as the wonder of the Creator's star-filled sky, or what may be awaiting us in the future.

But. unlike Isaac, each of us also has the all sufficient Word of God to meditate upon. Consider the incredible promises spread throughout Scripture; contemplate the majesty of God's power as described in the Psalms; comfort yourself as you recall the words of compassion by our Lord.  

Let us be careful that we don't forget the importance of meditation so that we not only taste the goodness of God but linger in His presence savoring all that He has for us, today and each day!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, even the world recognizes the need to get apart from the busyness of one's day and find time for meditation.  But sadly the ungodly have hijacked the biblical understanding of meditation and replaced it with meditation toward inanimate objects that can neither hear or respond to the cries of the heart.  I'm so thankful that Your ear is attentive to my cry and that Your eyes are on the righteous.  Though I may have many troubles You deliver me from them all as I wait upon You.  For You tell me to wait on You, be of good courage, and You will strengthen my heart.  I stand upon that promise today in Your name.  Amen.

John R. W. Stott once admitted the truth that many of us have felt but failed to confess: "The thing I know will give me the deepest joy -- namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him -- is often the thing I least want to do."

Tomato Harvest

This morning our neighbor Lester is harvesting the tomatoes from his fields on Donegal Springs Road just around the corner from our house.
Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Here are the tomatoes ready for harvest. This variety grows as low vines, since it would be pretty hard to manage pole tomatoes over 12 acres!  Looks like Roma tomatoes.

Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
The process involved this machine and is very labor intensive. In this case our Mennonite neighbors are working on the machine but we have also seen migrant workers in our area do this work.

Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Note how many tomatoes are "wasted" in the process.

Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Sorting the tomatoes, with the good ones going up the conveyer into the hopper.

Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Loading tomatoes from the hopper into the trailer on the left.  The truck on the right is ready to depart to take the tomatoes for processing at the Furmano's plant
in Northumberland, PA about 75 miles north of us. Lester is hoping to send off 24 trailers this size but his workers are racing as they try to finish before a big storm that is forecast for our area tonight. He told me they would be working till midnight.

Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
The tomatoes loaded on the truck are muddy and not very appetizing at this stage of the process!

Rachel's fall decorations
Last night we had dinner with Rick & Rachel, friends who live in York County. Rachel is without a doubt the most proific home decorator we have ever met. She enjoys decorating both outside and inside of their home, and indicated that fall is her favorite season. Rachel is also an avid collector of Yankee Candles but when I looked at the various scents she collected I noticed she didn't have the candle pictured below.  Since this scent is common in Lancaster and surrounding counties at the present time perhaps it could be bottled up for those who would want it. Just put the Yankee Candle name on it and it must just sell for a good profit.  (Couldn't resist this light tease as a follow-up to our visit last night.)

Unique "stink bug" scent for Yankee Candle

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.)

"Psalm 5:1-3"  Video  This begins with a reading from Psalm 5:1-3 followed by singing set to music.  We both learned this Psalm portion from the song arrangement many years ago.

"Psalm 1"  Video  Kim Hill

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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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