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Friday, October 14, 2016

Garden cart decorated 10/14/16

We enjoy decorating our garden wagon every fall with mums, Indian corn, straw bales and a variety of pumpkins and gourds.

"God's Eternity and Man's Transitoriness"

Note: Today's message is posted much later than usual. We began the day very early, joining our friends Jay and Lu Kopp and their three sons at the Shady Maple
Smorgasbord at 6:00AM. Jay and I are each beginning another trip around the sun and received a free birthday meal! We then had chaplain visits through the day.

Message Summary: The timeless challenge issued by Joshua echoes throughout the ages: "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14,15).

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"Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:2,12).

For many years I have read a section in the Reader's Digest magazine called "
It pays to increase your word power" which teaches you little used words or words that are often improperly used. Today let us consider a word few use regularly, transitoriness. At least we sure don't!

The heading for Psalm 90 in the New American Standard Bible uses this word,
"God's Eternity and Man's Transitoriness." Transitoriness means "of brief duration."

The Psalms are normally associated with David, but David did not write Psalm 90. It was written by Moses who lived about 400 years before David. Yet an inspired compiler placed his writing in the midst of the Psalm collection in the Holy Scriptures.

The day is the most fundamental unit of time going back to Creation though we don't normally express our age in days.

I have met several people in life who can, on any given day, tell you how old they are in days, literally expressing today's Bible verse. W
e normally don't express our age in days but rather years. If we did days that would sure be hard to keep up with! Today happens to be the 22,646th day since my birth. (I used a widget!)

Our first verse powerfully expresses God's eternity, "from everlasting to everlasting You are God." With all due respect to the people who put the NASV together and wrote the heading, which is not part of the inspired text, we feel it would be better expressed using the word "eternality", which means "without beginning or end".

The second verse expresses man's transitoriness, "So teach us to number our days." We do this because our days on this earth are numbered. They had a beginning and they will have an end. "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

I may be able to count the days since I've been born but I don't know how many more days I have on this earth or what my future holds. But I have learned that, over the course of my life here on earth, there is a lot I am unable to schedule or choose, including trials. As a line in an old hymn states, "Every joy or trial falleth from above, traced upon our dial by the sun of love; We may trust Him fully, all for us to do – They who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true."

"Teach us to number our days" is in the form of a petition. The plural "us" is interesting and I include myself with Moses and others in making this petition. Moses lived some 43,800 days, but it seems to me that he wasn't likely referring to keeping an up-to-date count of the days since his birth. Rather I believe he is calling us to recognize and give attention to the blessings and responsibilities of each day.

The purpose of numbering our days is "that we may present to You (God) a heart of wisdom." This should be a foundational goal in life and a lifelong pursuit. Again James reminds us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (1:5). In light of the times we should be seeking God's wisdom through the earnest study of His holy Word. Then we are able to exercise spiritual discernment as we listen to or read the news.

Moses goes on to say a couple of verses later, "Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14). The deepest source of satisfaction for the believer is God's unfailing love. It is unwavering and inexhaustible; "Though the mountain be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken....says the Lord, who has compassion on you" (Isaiah 54:10).

Today, in numbering our days, let us recognize that, "This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." There are no leap days on God's calendar! We awaken each new day and choose to glorify God and serve Him with all our hearts.

The timeless challenge issued by Joshua echoes throughout the ages and is a fitting way to conclude this message: "Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14,15).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, often the days converge into another and before we know it another year has passed.  Help us to be keenly aware of each new day and the opportunity it holds for us to build character and be engaged in our Father's business. We want to daily turn to Your holy Word for wisdom so that we will present to You a heart full of godly wisdom and a life fully surrendered to You. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

* "Trip around the sun":
  Yesterday I shared this concept regarding the passing of life. During chaplain visits yesterday I shared that I was completing another trip around the sun and would begin another one today to the initial puzzlement of most who looked at me with an "OK, whatever" look. Of course each year we take another trip around the sun, along with everyone else that lives on planet Earth! I was introduced to this concept at a chaplain's conference this summer by Dick Foth, who along with Mark Batterson, wrote a book titled, "A Trip Around The Sun".

Travel note: We have an interesting travel ministry opportunity coming up tomorrow. A longtime reader of our encouragement messages from San Diego is ill and her family has provided the means for us to make a visit, requesting our presence. We will be there next week, returning early the following week. We hope to post teachings next week but may not be able to podcast. Also due to time difference our message may be posted later than usual.

I stopped by to visit my friend Galen Martin who, along with his son Darrel, farm here in Lancaster County. They're harvesting corn and I was able to ride along in both the combine and transfer tractor.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/12/16
Three generations of Martin family farmers!
Galen, his son Darrel and grandson Asher, who enjoys being with his dad on the Combine. Darrel was in high school when we moved to this area in 2001 and married Kelly his high school sweetheart in 2008. They now have two children. Here's a photo of Darrel on a date with Kelly about ten years ago. Here's a photo of him greeting Brooksyne at his wedding after Brooksyne had broken her ankle.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/12/16
The view from the Combine for Darrel with Galen approaching in the transfer tractor which takes the corn back to the storage bins. These rows were 1/2 mile long.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/12/16
Loading the corn from the Combine to the Auger Cart for transfer back to the storage bins. A great deal of concentration and cooperation is required since Darrel continues to harvest even as he unloads into the cart behind the tractor driven by Galen. They will harvest 300 acres of grain corn so they must keep moving.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/12/16
Galen unloading the corn which is then placed in the large storage bins in the background.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/12/16
Another tractor is used to power the auger loading the corn into the storage bins.

It's a lot of work and we are thankful to the farmers who work hard to feed us!

Yesterday Brooksyne observed another harvesting method on Kraybill Church Road right up the road from our house.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/13/16
Our Amish neighbor John is also harvesting corn. This was around 5:30 PM and the sun was not in our favor making it a little harder to see. If you go to Brooksyne's Facebook page she has a couple short videos with the harvest sounds included making this a little more interesting.

Lancaster County corn harvest 10/13/16
It's a one man operation and I suppose quite a bit slower than the Martin farm modern method!

Shady Maple birthday breakfast 10/14/16
At 6:15 a.m. we celebrated two birthdays with Stephen and Jay Kopp. Lu, his wife is standing behind him and their three sons surround them. They've been good friends now for 15 years since our arrival in Lancaster County. From time to time we get together on their birthdays at the famous Shady Maple Smorgasbord where the one celebrating their birthday goes free with a paying customer. Jay and Lu also have a daughter expecting a baby any day now, so maybe the child will appear on his or her grandpa's birthday. There's still a few hours for that to happen!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Teach Us O Lord To Number Our Days"   Video   Bob Fitts

Finally today:

Nathan working on deck 10/13/16
Nathan came over yesterday afternoon to help me remove more old decking that I am replacing. We are pleased to see the project progressing but it keeps revealing some underlying structural problems such as more unevenly spaced joists. Our new composite deck material requires maximum 16 inch on center spacing but some of the joists are 20 inches apart! But that's the way home projects tend to go - often there are surprises, and most of them unwanted ones!

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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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