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Friday, November 11, 2016

Lapp home 11/10/16
A creative decorative display at an Amish home using an old chair!

"The Daily Grind"

Message Summary: Today as you work remember the words of the Scripture and see your labor as an act of faith and obedience, indeed recognizing the sanctity of work in "your daily grind".

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"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody" (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12).

As was inevitable regardless of the outcome of this year's election results; some are happy some are not. Throughout my life I have been on both sides of the happy, no so much outlook following an election. As we shared earlier in the week it's so important that followers of Christ supremely recognize that God is ruling yet and continue to go about living their lives with this assurance. However it's so sad to hear reports of protests, some violent, in regard to the election results and we consider where this outlook may lead our country.

Following the election this week I have especially enjoyed visiting our various companies and encouraging those who get up each morning to go to work so they can responsibly care for their families and conscientiously provide a product or service that benefits their fellow man. Some have called this "the daily grind".

The world really works because of people that just seek to faithfully live out their lives responsibly. We see maids cleaning hotel rooms, engineers designing equipment, construction and service workers, manufacturing, call and distribution center workers.

Val-Co regulatorI visited with Ray yesterday. Few people would find what he does for a living very interesting. Ever since I met him in 2007 he has been assembling water regulators which are used in the watering systems in large chicken houses. Since the product he makes goes into chicken houses all over the world it's likely that many of our readers have eaten an egg or a chicken that used a regulator he put together. Ray demonstrates a quiet, non-pretentious steadiness as he works with his hands in the same spot day after day, year after year. People like Ray keep things working. Ray's kind of shy and didn't want his photo taken but the part he makes is shown to the left.

Our daily text is one of the great statements on work in the Bible. Paul began the church in Thessalonica and the record of this rocky start is recorded in Acts 17:1-9. The fledgling church survived and the Holy Scriptures contain two letters written by Paul to these believers. Both letters contain a teaching on work. In Paul's second letter he develops this thought more fully in chapter 3:6-15 (See below). Possibly it was due to a problem that needed to be addressed in Thessalonica because of a mistaken view of the Lord's return. Some felt they no longer needed to work since the return of the Lord was so imminent.

Paul reminded them of the value of work and the consequences of not working. Notice that in both portions Paul was merely reminding them of his teaching while he was with them. I believe this indicates that this teaching was an integral part of Paul's ministry. Good balanced preaching should include teaching on practical daily matters. He also modeled it himself when he made tents in Corinth for a time.

Read the text again. It's from God's holy Word and is just as much a part of the inspired Scriptures as the rich "theological" portions.  As you work rejoice in this act of obedience to God. And pray that our country will return to its godly foundations, including a Biblical worldview of work. Today as you work remember the words of the Scripture and see your labor as an act of faith and obedience, indeed recognizing the sanctity of work in "your daily grind".

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us to view work as a blessing from You that gives us opportunity to participate in gathering adequate provisions for our family as well as making a positive difference in our work setting. We can overcome challenges in the workplace when we do our work heartily, as for You. We seek to be just and diligent in our work not just when we're being observed by our supervisors or fellow-employees, but we remain aware that You are always watching over us. Help us not to resent or dwell on the negatives of our work or workplace, but to recognize how we serve You well when we work with a cheerful heart and we make the workplace a more pleasant atmosphere as well. We are especially motivated when we remember that our reward is not just the weekly paycheck but most importantly the glorious eternal inheritance we receive in heaven. Keep us faithful we pray. Amen.

Brooksyne's note: "A cheerful heart is good medicine" - In keeping with our theme today I had an interesting chat with an older employee (older means older than me). She had notified me via email telling me she had something important to share with me when I made my rounds yesterday. I stepped into her office and right away she asked, "Do you notice anything different about me?" Frankly, I didn't since she was wearing the usual attire, no new glasses or haircut. I was a little stumped and then she was forthcoming: "I have a brighter outlook" was pretty much her message to me. This woman has fallen upon hard times in recent years,  in her health, her family and with changes in the workplace. Pretty much every week I would hear another story of why she had a right to be frustrated and it even left her a bit grumpy. Seeking to be a cheerful face I often tried to cheer and reassure her. More than once she allowed me to pray for her for which I am thankful. What a blessing to have her share with me the positive change in her outlook. She contributed much of the change to our regular visits. Well, of course, I know it was the joy of the Lord that came through my conversation and visits with her and she knows I genuinely care for her. Many of you have co-workers that you have opportunity to influence for the good. Be careful not to brush off those who may be abrasive as you may be a positive influence as you allow the joy of the Lord to shine through your conversation and caring acts. "Do not be weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you don't give up" (Gal. 6:9).

"Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good." (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13)

Some views of our travel
yesterday through scenic Lancaster County in the course of our chaplaincy visitation. We have people that comment on how much we travel but most our photos are from the course of our work here in a scenic part of God's creation as we go about our work!

Amish farm 11/10/16
An early morning rural scene
near Strasburg.
Click to enlarge

Amish girl with straw hat 11/10/16
We were enjoying a visit yesterday morning when little Sarah Jane walked into the kitchen wearing her Dat's straw hat. ("Dat" is the Pennsylvania Dutch word for Dad)

Fall foliage 11/10/16
This rustic split rail fence lined with autumn colored trees caught our eye yesterday morning near Strasburg, PA.

Lancaster County Mennonite school 11/10/16
We passed these children having their lunch in front of a one room Mennonite school near New Holland. Sorry for the chain link fence but we seek to be respectful and unobtrusive when taking photos like this. Brooksyne actually took this through the van out an open window as we drove by.
(See here for original) Aren't these new smart phone cameras amazing!

Fall foliage 11/10/16
Fresh Produce:  We stopped at two roadside produce stands and purchased some fresh cauliflower, broccoli and two huge neck pumpkins for a dollar each! Brooksyne looks like she's carrying an oversized drumstick but she'll get to this huge pumpkin in the winter months with the help of our dear senior friends, Jesse and Wilma, who love to help peel and cut up our pumpkins and butternut squash. On their visit to our home a couple Sundays ago Jesse reminded Brooksyne, "Now make sure you call us when you get ready to do your pumpkins. I really look forward to that!"  Jesse is 92, Wilma is 91! Oh, that we would be so spry, able and desirous of working with our hands at their age.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Val-Co watering systemThis Perdue chicken commercial shows a part of the watering system Ray works on. Video You have to watch carefully to see this equipment! Yesterday I visited with two engineers seeking to make further improvements to this system. It's amazing not only to see the production of this equipment but all the engineering that goes into it, something we suppose many people really don't consider since agricultural equipment is usually not considered hi-tech.

"“He Shall Reign Forevermore"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"Living Beyond the Daily Grind" is a book written by Chuck Swindoll which probably prompted the title of today's message.

Finally Today:

Yifei Zhang 11/11/16
One of the blessing in our work is meeting people from all over the world. Yifei moved to the USA from China when he was in his twenties and now works in marketing. He is among the most pleasant people we meet in the course of our chaplaincy. He showed me this morning the city he came from which is east of Beijing and has over 5 million people.

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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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