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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Wren eggs
The other day I was going to dig out and transplant a small blue spruce and when I set out to start digging around the tree I noticed a tiny bird fly out. Upon examination I saw that there was a tiny nest with three eggs so I suspended the operation! Brooksyne has informed me it's a wren. The nest is only about 3 feet off the ground and yesterday morning all three eggs were unhatched

Baby wrens
Two Wren Nestlings hatched yesterday with this photo taken last evening. Doesn't take long before they're hungry! (This morning 6/28 all three eggs have hatched)

"When Joy Accompanies Work"

Message Summary: Like wise Solomon, we commend you to the enjoyment of life and specifically that joy will accompany you in your work all the days of your life. This day do your work wholeheartedly and let the light of Christ shine through you and the labor of your hands!

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"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). "So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 8:15).

Here in America we have a variety of ways of procuring food including our own small garden. We have been to places like Whole Foods in an affluent section of New York City and Trader Joe's in LA, which tends to be a place the city folks shop (my oldest brother especially). Of course we have regular supermarkets here in Lancaster County, as well as many farm stands with fresh produce.

BB's Grocery Outlet Schaefferstown, PA However I suppose our favorite grocery store as far as the shopping experience is BB's. Now don't let the sophisticated-sounding name fool you. BB's is a country store run by the Amish which sells overstocked and damaged type items at a deep discount. The motto states "bents, bumps and bunch of bargains" (which I suppose is the basis of the name BB's (the sloppy grammar adding to the folksiness). Many of these items are also nearing or slightly past the expiration date so you have to use some grocery buying discernment. It has a large walk-in freezer (coats are provided outside the walk-in which Brooksyne used last week) and some of the cheese is over a year past the expiration date but we are told that it should still be safe to eat because it has been frozen the entire time. Brooksyne is still just a little bit wary about certain items - perhaps they're safe but quality counts as well! We have our own challenge at home with storing food items in the freezer for much longer than planned.

BB's also has stuff you never know you would find and you certainly wouldn't go there to look for. In one section they have boxes of completely unrelated stuff where you may find some unusual bargains. For instance several weeks ago I found an assortment of the expensive lightning charging cords which are used on newer Apple devices that usually sell for over $10.00
for only $1.50. Of course you have to be willing to suffer the indignity of rooting through the box in the first place. (I have no trouble with the indignity.) Who knows, someday I just might find an iPad for $5.00!

Gas lantern at BB's Grocery Outlet Schaefferstown, PA They have four stores but our favorite is in rural Schaefferstown, PA. (Google map) As most people know the Amish have some restrictions that seem peculiar to us regarding the use of certain types of modern technology.

BB’s seems rather dark inside compared to most stores because they don't use electric lights. Once you enter the store the skylights are adequate, though they do have gas lanterns mounted and use them as needed. Loud generators provide electricity for refrigeration and the cash registers since they aren't connected to the grid.

But our favorite part of the Schaefferstown BB's is the
singing. Throughout the store you will hear Amish ladies of all ages sing as they stock the shelves and we even heard one young lady sing as she checked out customers at the cash register! They seemed rather oblivious to the mostly non-Amish customers and really don't seem to care that singing old gospel hymns and songs out loud in public would probably not be the latest cool, trending thing to do these days. Last week we heard a young lady singing an old Gospel favorite, "Farther Along".

Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by...

The young Amish women stocking shelves were not doing the kind of work most people aspire to. Anyone who has worked in retail knows the frustration of putting items neatly on display only to have customers move things around or worse yet, change their minds about an item and dispose of it far from its original location. Yet their joy was contagious and I smile as I reflect upon the experience.

How's your attitude toward your work today? Mondays are dreaded by many with an outlook of the long workweek ahead. The TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) outlook seems to permeate our society. It reflects an attitude that the work week is finally over and now the real living can begin (weekend party time).

But God's Word says, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it" which would apply to every day of the week! That is a constantly present tense reality. Each day is the day that the Lord has made and we are directed each day to rejoice and be glad.

Solomon makes a point so needed today: "So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 8:15). We especially highlight that phrase, "then joy will accompany him in his work."
What a great perspective to enjoy the work we do realizing that God has providentially placed us in our present job position. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4). "Always" would surely include time spent at work.

Paul wrote, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men" (Colossians 3:23).

Today, like wise Solomon, we commend you to the enjoyment of life and specifically that joy will accompany you in your work all the days of your life. This day do your work wholeheartedly and let the light of Christ shine through you and the labor of your hands!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, we find pleasure and fulfillment in our work when we work at it heartily, as for You, primarily. We thank You for giving us the wherewithal to provide an income for our family where our financial needs are met. Certainly each workplace has its challenges, but as we look to You for strength, endurance and wisdom to deal with those challenges we find joy, thanksgiving, and fulfillment in our work. May others see heaven sent joy flow from our lives as we spread mutual respect and a strong work ethic in the workplace. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Farther Along"   Video  Dailey and Vincent  Probably linking to a group like this, which happens to be among my favorites, will dispel any notion that I am "cool"!  More Dailey and Vincent music is here.  Here's another one I really like.  "By The Mark"  Video

BB's has a website  Yesterday (July 27) all the stores in the BB's chain were closed for the company picnic. How many retail stores would do that!!!

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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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