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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Amish family off to picnic 5/5/15 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday we passed this Amish family of seven headed for a picnic, or so it would appear, by the carry-on picnic basket and old insulated ice chest.
(Click on image for larger view)

"Time To Seek The Lord"

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"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you" (Hosea 10:12).

Hay harvest 5/6/15All across our area and throughout the northern hemisphere farmers are working the soil and preparing for seed-time and in some cases harvesting. Last night they began harvesting the Rye for hay from the field across from our home but were interrupted by a blessed rain shower. But this morning they're already back to work! The equipment is sure different than they used in the Bible times or for that matter much of human history. The tools and technology may change but the basic fundamentals of sowing and reaping remains the same as well as the spiritual lessons we can learn.

The daily verse from Hosea lists three verbs related to crop farming; sowing, reaping and breaking up. It's interesting to me that he doesn't list them in the order we would expect (that is breaking up or plowing, sowing and reaping). As I contemplated and studied this I believe there is a reason.

Hay harvest 5/6/15"Sow for yourselves righteousness." In this case the interest is in personal or individual sowing which indicates a responsibility God has given us regarding our own spiritual development. Jesus reinforces this in His Sermon on the Mount when He directs His listeners: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). The latter part of our daily verse "For it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you." It's always time to seek the Lord, not only because we have opportunity to bless Him, but also for the bountiful favor we receive in doing so, for "He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

"Reap the fruit of unfailing love." When farmers sow, regardless of how rewarding the sowing may be, they have a purpose and a goal. They want to reap a bountiful harvest! I talked to my farming friend, Galen, this last Lord's Day. He's been very busy sowing corn and soybeans. He did so in confidence that he will reap a good harvest in September or October.  As a result of sowing righteousness our spiritual harvest will be "the fruit of unfailing love."

"Break up your unplowed ground." Our lives get kind of like hard soil. We need more than surface work; we need the Holy Spirit to do some heavy-duty renewing. Hosea uses the metaphor of "unplowed ground".  Farmers know that a well-prepared field is essential to a good crop. Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sower about the seeds that fell on the hardened path. These seeds never had a chance to take root because the birds came and devoured them. 

Finally today I want to consider a reason Hosea may have placed these three elements of planting in the order he chose. In a sense we need to work the soil in an ongoing way so that we keep our hearts soft and receptive to God's truth. It's a cycle that will continue all through life since there are many ungodly forces at work in the changing seasons of our lives that contribute to spiritual hardness. Today let’s welcome the Holy Spirit to work in our lives as we respond appropriately to His leading, as we invite Him to "break up our unplowed ground" and sow righteousness as we reap His unfailing love!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I confess to You that my heart can easily become like unplowed ground. Often destructive attitudes that I don't deal with right away remain in my heart and cause me to be hardened toward You and others that I love. I invite the work of Your Holy Spirit to cleanse, renew and refresh me as I yield my heart to the searchlight of Your Word. As I seek You, Lord, You will come and shower Your righteousness and blessing upon my life as the fruit of Your unfailing love flows out to those around me. I can do all things through Christ who enables me through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Whittler Chris Lubkemann 5/5/15
Yesterday we visited with an interesting man at Val-Co, a company we serve as chaplains. Chris Lubkemann is a master whittler and author of the "Little Book Of Whittling". I recall my grandpa taking out his small pocketknife and whittling (or using it to slice off a piece of hard chewing tobacco)! This chess set is one of only two in the world and is valued at $5,000.00. The chess pieces are intricately carved poultry by Lubkemann, quite appropriate for this company that manufactures poultry feeding and watering systems! See this close-up photo of his work.

Country pitching machine
Chris is a colorful man and travels about with this huge "Country Pitching Machine" sling shot on his van.

Susquehanna River trail 5/3/15
We continue to enjoy riding our bikes and walking along the Susquehanna River trail which runs between railroad tracks and the river.

Limestone cliffs along Susquehanna River trail 5/3/15
"White Cliffs of the Susquehanna" can now be accessed on the newly expanded portion of the Susquehanna River Trail. Prior to making the trail this area was inaccessible. The cliffs are the waste material from the processing of limestone-dolomite that was dumped over many years along the edge of the river.

Eagle along Susquehanna River 5/3/15
Not an eagle photo that will go viral but I did manage to snap this photo as we rode our bikes on the trail Sunday evening. I just couldn't get the eagle to turn around and face me for a photo op! In addition the eagle is facing the sun.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

National Day Of Prayer: Tomorrow is a National Day Of Prayer and there will be events all over our country. We have a local prayer meeting on Thursday morning and a county wide event Thursday evening with Ravi Zacharias. We encourage all our readers to pursue this and find out where prayer gatherings will be held in your community. For information see the National Day of Prayer website.

"Bringing In The Sheaves"  Video  Old-Fashioned Bluegrass Gospel

Here is an article about Chris Lubkemann in the current Costco Connection.
Here's a video of him whittling a flower from a small stick the size of a toothpick!  His website: Whittling with Chris Lubkemann

Article about the Susquehanna River trail and here.

Finally today:
Yesterday we visited with our friend Mike Stillman who told us about a new ministry approach called hashtaggospel.com. Here's a nifty, thought-provoking video. Frankly I don't know how hashtags work but you sure hear a lot about them these days.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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