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Monday, March 25, 2013

Rudd's sugar shanty 3/22/13
Rudd's Maple Syrup Sugar Shanty
Over the weekend we were up in northern New York to see friends and visit the area. We were especially interested in seeing how maple syrup was made and toured several maple syrup producing operations. As the photo shows they have lots of snow up that way. And now we have it here as well, with several inches overnight and continuing to fall as we write our message today.

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"The Triumphal Entry"

"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51). "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).

Palm Sunday
Yesterday we observed Palm Sunday when we recall how Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy mentioned in Zechariah 9:9. He was lauded with glory, honor and praise from the crowd of onlookers. Palm branches were spread before Him. The crowds cried out, "Hosanna!", a cry for salvation and declaration of praise. This was, of course, the beginning of the final days that led up to Jesus' crucifixion.  

Luke's narrative gives us a glimpse of the Lord's deep resolve to fulfill His Father's mission, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." Of course before Jesus was taken up into heaven He, once for all, made the final blood sacrifice by the shedding of His own blood. That sacrifice would take place through Jerusalem. We will see this resolution most powerfully demonstrated through the events that unfold this Passion Week.

Triumphal entryJust prior to the Triumphal Entry we read in Luke 19:28, "He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem." The phrase "going up" is very purposeful, translating the Greek "anabaino", the same word used when Zacchaeus "climbed" the sycamore tree. The King James Version translates it "ascending". Luke reveals the spiritual heartbreak of Jesus in the following statement, "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it" (19:41). His heart was broken for the lost!

"Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?" *

Today our word of encouragement is "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).

Why is Christ's entry into Jerusalem referred to as the Triumphal Entry when Scripture reveals that over the next few days anguish, sorrow, and death would overshadow any potential cause for victory?  Because, in the midst of the evil and cruelty that is about to unfold, God's plan to provide salvation for humankind was not thwarted, but divinely fulfilled. Christ's triumphal entry was truly triumphant because He came into Jerusalem:
•    As a victor not a victim. 
•    To fulfill the ultimate plan of God.
•    To demonstrate the full extent of His love.

Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world. He had fulfilled His Father's purpose and was Victor over sin. He loved His own, and in His act of great sacrifice, He showed us the full extent of His love. Today, let us live for Him who died for us!

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our hearts are stirred as we consider the extent of Your love in sending Jesus to die for our sins.  As He wept over Jerusalem we see His tender humanity in relation to our sin problem.  How grateful we are that Jesus yielded Himself fully to be used as a sin sacrifice, once for all, not just for Jerusalem but for peoples of every tribe and language; for all generations prior to His sacrificial death and for all who follow. Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Amen.

Over the next several days we will share a series of photos from our trip focusing
today and tomorrow on the maple syrup production and our experience visiting the Sugar Bush which is a maple forest stand where the sap used for making maple syrup is harvested and the Sugar Shanty, where the processing from sap to maple syrup takes place.

Jack Provard 3/21/13
On the way north on Thursday afternoon we stopped by Pine Grove, Pennsylvania and visited with Jack and Millie Provard, longtime ministry friends. When we pastored in northern PA Jack pastored a church in Punxsutawney about sixty miles away from where we lived at that time. Jack and Millie will soon celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary and have remained very active in ministry during their retirement, recently completing an interim pastoral assignment. Their friendship and personal interest in our ministry has been of great blessing to us.

Pocono waterfall 3/21/13
On the way north we passed through the Pocono region and spotted this small waterfall right off the highway. It's not everyday that you sit at a stop light and view a lovely waterfall just outside your car window.

Lawrence Rudd in Rudd's sugar shanty 3/22/13
On Friday afternoon we met Lawrence Rudd, who showed us his maple syrup making operation although he didn't have it running due to the cold weather. He was clearly a seasoned and knowledgeable maple syrup producer and spent time explaining the process to us. Sap runs when the days are warmer and the nights are below freezing. That day the sap wasn't running due to the cold weather (it was snowing heavily).

Rudd's sugar shanty wall 3/22/13
Lawrence Rudd has a colorful assortment of items on the wall of the old Sugar Shanty.

Massey ranch sugar shanty 3/23/13
It was Maple Weekend in New York when maple syrup producers all throughout the state had their syrup-making operations open for visitors (though the extra cold weather prevented some from opening).
On Saturday morning we toured the Massey Ranch north of Watertown and they were making syrup. We had great admiration for these syrup producers who put a whole lot of time, energy and money into making maple syrup. We might find it expensive to buy, but the producers labor far more than they receive in return from customer purchases. Most all of them have full-time work in another industry. Notice the steam coming out of the vented top to the right.

Massey ranch sugar shanty syrup processing 3/23/13
The sap is boiled down to remove the water and make the syrup. It takes about 40-50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup depending on the sugar content in the sap. The steam is from the evaporation of the boiling sap and an open vent at the top allows the steam to escape from the shanty. After the sap is boiled down to the proper level the syrup comes out into the can at the front right in the photo.

Massey ranch sugar shanty syrup processing 3/23/13
Feeding the hot wood fire to boil down the sap to make syrup. The blazing fire was inviting and warmed us up on this very cold morning!

Massey ranch hay ride 3/23/13
We took a tractor ride back to the sugar bush where the trees are tapped. It was very cold but sunny. We got acquainted with two military wives who were there with their young children from nearby Fort Drum while their husbands are deployed to Afghanistan. To visit with these dedicated wives and mothers was a special blessing and reminded us of the great sacrifice the men and women in the military make on our behalf. One family was from Texas and the other from Albany, NY.

More maple photos tomorrow.

March snow 3/25/13
We drove back home last night seeing warnings as we drove down I-81 concerning a major storm coming in and we awoke today to the biggest snowfall of the season. One of our Amish neighbors must have a need to be out as Brooksyne saw the horse and buggy pass in front of our house. You can barely see the back of the buggy through the snowy trees up the road.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"  Video  Kathryn Scott (This is the hymn with portions quoted in our message)

"The Bridge"  Video  This powerful dramatic video illustrates the sacrifice God made in allowing His Son to die for our sins.

"Hosanna, Loud Hosanna"  Video

"Hallelujah, What Savior!"  Video  Includes a powerful clip of Martin Luther.

"Loud Hosannas"  Video  David Wyper

Maple Weekend in New York

Here's an article with a good explanation of the history and process of maple syrup making. 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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