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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Turkey Hill travelling cow in Lancaster County, PA
Ester beside one of the Turkey Hill traveling cows.

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"Craving Pure Spiritual Milk"

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good" (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Turkey Hill ice creamTurkey Hill is the name of a large dairy in our area. About ten years ago we both served as chaplains there when we worked for a company that provides chaplain services to them.

Our pastor, John Keefer, was raised in a rural area in upstate Pennsylvania. His wife, Faithe, grew up on a dairy farm in central Pennsylvania so they really wanted to see the operation. John is also distantly related to the Frey family, the founders of Turkey Hill Dairy.

Yesterday afternoon we arranged a tour, which turned out to be a very full three hours. Ernie, a man with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things dairy, walked us through and gave a little extra time for us to connect with some familiar folks we recall from our chaplaincy. When I got home I fell asleep in the recliner, to the steady mental image of thousands and thousands of ice cream containers and gallons of iced tea rolling along on conveyor belts I had seen on the tour.

Imported from Lancaster County
We really like Turkey Hill products. Their logo states, "Imported from Lancaster County". We first came across their product as we recall while living in New England where it would be imported. But since we live in Lancaster County for us it's really not "imported"! However Turkey Hill products are sold in 49 states and in these cases the logo connotes freshness and wholesomeness, since we live in a notoriously rich farm region. They have great tasting ice cream and tea and some of the best TV commercials I've ever seen.

One part of the tour will illustrate today's message. Brooksyne and I had taken the tour when we started as chaplains many years ago and I remembered the best part was when we would have an opportunity to taste the freshly made ice cream, which is just outstanding. I suppose to be honest I was craving for that moment. We were not disappointed. As we walked through the part of the plant that makes ice cream Ernie made makeshift spoons out of 48 oz. container lids and placed a generous portion of ice cream on each lid for us to sample. Since they were making five flavors we got five big samples!

Being prone to gluttony as well as my mom's instillation of her depression era's thriftiness I just had to finish each sample. Suffice it to say I had more than my fill of ice cream as did the others as well!

There are many uses for milk products and we see milk used as an analogy in Scripture as well.

Cow with newborn calf on Amish farmPeter says we are to "Crave pure spiritual milk". The Greek word for "crave" means an "intense longing." God has provided in His Word pure spiritual milk.  It's interesting to me that in several other Scripture portions milk is conveyed as something that is the beginning point from which we are to advance. (See I Corinthians 3:2 and Hebrews 5:12-13.) But Peter reminds his readers that they are to always have a desire for the spiritual milk. His appeal is to all believers, not just new ones.

I hope I always desire the milk of God's Word, even the simple, familiar truths I have heard since I was a child.  Peter uses this figurative language to give readers the mental picture of infants craving nourishment. Anyone who has been a parent or even been around babies knows how newborn babies vocally and vigorously express their desire to be fed when they are hungry.

Baby with bottleIn fact, newborn babies act as if their life depends on the next feeding, an attitude that should be true of believers, for Jesus Himself stated that... "Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). For a newborn baby physical hunger is a sign of physical health and throughout our lifetime having a healthy appetite is a sign of well-being.

Likewise for all believers spiritual hunger is a vital sign of spiritual health. This is a primary means of spiritual growth. Whether we're new in our faith or have walked with the Lord for many years, like newborn babies, we are to crave pure spiritual milk. I recall a line in the old hymn, "I love to tell the story" which states, "for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest."

We do this "so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."  May our maturity in Christ be evident to others and bring lasting fulfillment to our lives! As the Beatitude states, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we lift our cup to You for a fresh filling of Your Holy Spirit that refreshes, invigorates, encourages, convicts and guides us into all truths. We want to be vigilant in our spiritual walk, never sighing at old truths but making them the unchanging foundation on which we build newly understood truths and personal experiences in which You reveal Yourself to us. We will continue to grow up in our salvation as we partake of all that You have provided to meet our spiritual needs. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Note: We are aware that today is the fortieth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision regarding abortion. We will have some articles about this later in the week and on Friday plan to attend the annual pro-life march in Washington. Here's a good blog article on the topic. "Forty Years After Roe, Human Dignity Hangs in the Balance" or this Roundup from the Eternity Matters blog

Turkey Hill bluff in Lancaster County, PA
The Turkey Hill Dairy complex sits on a high bluff overlooking the Susquehanna River thus the name "Turkey Hill"

Turkey Hill windmill in Lancaster County, PA
Two huge wind turbines provide a significant amount of power to run the plant. However we like the small windmill in the foreground that I suppose is now decorative only. (It looks larger due to the camera angle but believe me
or see the link to the wind turbine photos below, the modern wind turbines dwarf it!)

Dinner with John and Faithe Keefer 1/21/13
Following the tour we joined John and Faithe for dinner and a time of fellowship and we did not "fall into temptation" by ordering dessert! We already had our fill at Turkey Hill Dairy!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Tell Me The Story Of Jesus, I Love To Tell The Story" Video  Gaither Homecoming series

"Fill My Cup Lord"  Video  The Nashville String Machine

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  Dallas Holm

Turkey Hill Dairy  This company seeks to maintain the Christian values of its founders.

Turkey Hill Experience
A visitor's center called the "Turkey Hill Experience" is in an old silk factory that had been abandoned for years and was an eyesore upon entry in Columbia. When taking a tour I learned a lot about cows and milk that I didn't know proving you never stop learning and that there's always something new to learn. Turkey Hill Dairy is not set up to give tours to the general public at the dairy but would instead refer you to the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia.

Here are some interesting photos of the Turkey Hill wind turbines (as they are officially called)

Here's a photo of Ernie, our tour guide, along with an interesting story.

Examples of Turkey Hill commercials as well as some of the processes we saw on the tour such as making ice cream  Official Turkey Hill videos on YouTube

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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