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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mount Pleasant Communion Table 9/1/13
Mount Pleasant Communion Table
(Click to enlarge)

"Storing Up God's Commands"

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"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:1-5).

This past Sunday we had a very unusual decorative display on our church's Communion Table, which drew many favorable comments. JoAnna, a young mother with three children, decorated the table with wholesome evidence of her summer canning. The large blue water bath canner is a familiar sight to all who need this pan to process high-acid foods such as fruit, jams and jellies, and many vegetables.

It was a fitting way to end the summer as a reminder of God's blessings and also to show the value of the Proverbs 31:17 woman who "sets about her work vigorously. Her arms are strong for her task."
JoAnna selected a familiar verse from the open Bible which states, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).

Salsa making 9/2/13
On Friday, Saturday and Monday Brooksyne also spent her days canning and freezing fresh produce, both day and night. She fits right in with the Proverbs woman who "gets up while it is still night" (if you consider 5 AM still night) "she provides food for her family" (Proverbs 31:15).

This year she used a new canning method known as the Steam Canner which uses only two quarts of water to process her produce where the water bath uses at least two gallons. She canned and froze peaches, rhubarb, various jams and salsa
. It's hard work but we enjoy the fruit of her labor through the year as well as sharing with others, especially her jams. (Left photo: Brooksyne cutting fresh basil for the salsa.)

In our home we have several places we store up our canned goods, but our house has no formal pantry. My grandma had a large walk-in pantry right beside the kitchen in the little house in Harwood, Missouri where my mom grew up. It had lots of shelves and the amount of canned produce varied by season.

Brooksyne grew up on a small farm in Oklahoma and she spent every summer helping her family of seven with the garden and the canning process. By the end of the season they stored up anywhere from 700 to 1000 quarts of canned produce in their well house to feed them all throughout the year. To this day we both are blessed to see a colorful pantry of home canned produce and following this message we will share several pantry photos we have taken through the years.

My son...
Today we want to consider a spiritual application concerning the value of accepting God's words and storing up and keeping His commands, recognizing God's Word as a storage pantry for the soul.

Solomon began the selection, "My son..." His message may have been directed initially to a specific son or his "spiritual" sons. As part of God's Holy Scriptures we believe we are proper in seeing this application to the written Scriptures for all of God's children.

1) May we accept God's Word. A foundational aspect of a Christian is their recognition of God's Word, the Holy Scriptures as His revelation to mankind. Paul wrote that, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Open Bible in church2) May we store up God's commands within us. Storing up may mean a firm and growing knowledge of Scripture and His commands. A very specific application would be meditating,  memorizing, and applying Scriptures so that when the moment of temptation comes we can resist the enemy because, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11). Or when doubts arise a passage such as, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" (John 14:1) can bring reassurance.

Over the years we've both done a lot of storing up of God's Word through Scripture memorization. However we tend to memorize the promises of God that bring assurance more often than the commands of God which bring conviction and guard the soul against sinning.

But storing up God's commands can provide a tremendous support toward self-restraint when the time of temptation comes. Store up, "Thou shalt not steal" and it will be a deterrent to stealing. Store up, "Honor your father and your mother" and it will remind us of God's fundamental order in society. Store up "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and we will guard our hearts and minds against assaults on our morals.

3) May we keep God's Word within us. "My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you" (7:1) Keeping God's Word implies obedience to His commands. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3). In an age when much of God's Word and many of His commands are being forsaken His faithful children will make every effort to keep and obey them.

Today consider the wise commands of a loving God. "Accept, store up, and keep them" in your soul's Scriptural pantry so that your spirit overflows with fruitful produce year round!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to store up Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  It is my Guiding Light so that as I live by faith I will triumph over evil. Help me to rebuke the devil's temptations with Scripture just as Jesus did during the wilderness temptations. I may be weak, but Your Word is powerful to fight off the temptation to sin and to reassure me that You are with me even when others may forsake me. As a sign of my love for You I will obey Your commands and heed Your instruction. I can do this because I have stored up Your truths and commands in my heart and because Christ gives me strength.  Amen.

Today's main text has so much more richness:
  • Turn your ear to wisdom
  • Apply your heart to understanding
  • Call out for insight
  • Cry aloud for understanding
  • Look for it as for silver and
  • Search for it as for hidden treasure
    then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:1-5).

Some Of Our Favorite Pantries

Pantry shelves at the Dourte house 2010
These canned goods were prepared by Wilma who was 85 years old at the time assisted by Jesse, her 87 year old husband! Jesse turned 90 in June and his Wilma is 88. He asked Brooksyne on Sunday to call him when she's ready to peel and cut up pumpkin so he can come over and help. And she surely will.

Pantry in cellar of Amish home
A well-stocked pantry in the cellar of an Amish home.
Notice how the shelves sag in the middle!

Colorful pantry
Pantry of Elvin and Mary, old-order Mennonite friends.

2013 canning assortment

Not in the pantry yet but here's our home canning from the last several days. (We also use the freezer to freeze produce.) Tomorrow we will share photos using the steam canning method Brooksyne is now using.

Nelson's peach stand 8/30/13
Brooksyne paying for peaches at our friend Nelson's self-service stand.

Mount Pleasant Communion Table 9/1/13
Here's another photo of our church's communion table.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Hidden In My Heart "  Video  Musician not specified

"Thy Word"  Video  Michael W. Smith & Amy Grant

* Brooksyne's note: The nice thing about the steam canner is that it uses less water which is helpful when you're depending on the well during a dry summer, but also it is much less heavy to lift when filled (a growing problem for me as I sometimes struggle with arthritic pain in the forearms.)

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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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