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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Weaverland Road farm 9/14/17
A breathtaking view of verdant crops and landscape surrounding a farm off Weaverland Road in eastern Lancaster County.

"A Lesson From A Stumble"

Message summary: Have you stumbled? Of course you have at some point in life. Perhaps as you read this you are in the process of trying to stand again after you've fallen. Call on the name of the Mighty God of the universe. As you take hold of the Lord's righteous right hand He will pick you up. He will come and save you.

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"We all stumble in many ways" (James 3:2).

Darvin on Val-Co forklift Several weeks ago we shared a photo of Darvin, a material handler, who drives a forklift moving materials all day long in a large manufacturing facility. He has worked this same job for 40 years and we calculated that over his 40 years of work
he has driven a forklift at least the equivalent distance of around the world, over 25,000 miles. That would be a brutal trip all at once but he did it one day at a time.

That got me (Stephen: although we both write I tend to be the more analytical) to thinking about our work as company chaplains, which we have done for nearly 20 years. A major component of our work is walking through companies, large and small, visiting with individual employees. Brooksyne has worn a reliable pedometer for several years and conservatively estimates that we currently walk at least 5 miles each week in the course of these visits alone. Although this varies we
estimate w/o exaggeration in the course of our chaplain work alone that we have walked more than the distance across the USA!*

With all that walking what happened in a recent visit to a large distribution center is quite unusual, in fact it's the first time it ever happened to Brooksyne. She was visiting with a female employee from a distance and chose to walk toward her for a close-up conversation. In doing so her pant leg got caught on a jagged pallet causing her to stumble and ingloriously fall face down. Thankfully she was not physically hurt, but she told those who witnessed her embarrassing fall and expressed concern over her well-being, "Only my pride is hurt!" She also dropped her phone face down on the concrete floor but it was not damaged. (She is writing this story with me so I have her permission!)
She told me afterwards she's surprised I didn't take a picture but really, I am not that opportunistic, not in our older, more fragile age, that is!

Have you ever stumbled? Of course you have! You did so a lot when you were learning to walk. Just ask your parents. You've all very likely also fallen a few times after being full-grown and how embarrassing is that! Some of us will remember the low budget TV ad from the eighties with the memorable line, "I've fallen and I can't get up." Actually you can still hear that line on some commercials even today, but truth be told, that's exactly what we'd say if we were in that same situation.

The Apostle James writes, "We all stumble in many ways" (James 3:2).

"We all stumble." We've also stumbled spiritually; all of us. Any who may deny this should consider Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." or "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling" (Proverbs 16:18).

"In many ways" James is making this point in the context of teachers and the use of the tongue (our words). "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment" (v.1).  But the "many ways" infers the various ways we may stumble. A few we might consider are doctrinal, moral, relationships, integrity and many others. Sometimes we stumble "big time", but more commonly in the "small ways". The seasoned Christian pilgrim recognizes spiritual bruises from life's stumbles. The persevering believer has a testimony of overcoming stumbles and falls.

The Christian journey is like hiking through a wooded trail. Our favorite walking trail is across from our home. Because of the uneven terrain and the extensive tree roots, rocks and now walnuts (lots of them), we often stumble as we walk along and might even occasionally fall. We can linger in a fallen position or we can choose to get up, brush off the debris, and trudge on. And when we are unaware of what made us fall we need to examine the terrain and see what obstacle we stumbled over, lest we do it again. That's a good lesson for the Christian life.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that You are our guide; that our footsteps are ordered by You. Though we stumble or fall, we are not cast down for You uphold us with Your righteous right hand. In ourselves we may be clumsy, weak, and nearsighted, but following You, our Great Shepherd, through dangers, toils and snares to the high places of Your love, we will be like that of hind's feet in high places. When we unexpectedly find ourselves in a fallen position we feel pretty foolish and somewhat helpless. We usually bounce right back to an upward position. But there are times, Lord, when we get trapped in a fallen position and desperately need Your help and often assistance from others to help us walk upright again. When we're in a fallen position spiritually, Lord, it is Your uplifting hand that we reach for. You uphold us with Your hand because You are the changeless, faithful One who sees our fall before we even know it will happen. You do not abandon us nor cast us down but You only want to lift us up again. Our hope is in You alone so help us to cling tightly to Your hand as we walk the potholed terrain of this life. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

Additional study note:

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand" (Psalm 37:23,24).

In the latter part of the first daily text the Psalmist acknowledges that the godly man falls, but gives us two great promises.

1) "He shall not be utterly cast down."  Thank God that we have no excuse for staying down after we fall.  God has promised that we will not "be utterly cast down."

2) "For the Lord upholds him with His hand."  Grab hold of that truth today, believing friend. The immutable God continues to uphold His children. What an assuring promise.

Have you goofed up, messed up, or even blown it big time?  Perhaps this is even your condition as you read this today. Call on the name of the Mighty God of the universe. He will come and save you.

Some more scenes from our journey as we approach the Autumn season

Cherry Hill Orchards apples 9/15/17
Apples at the Cherry Hill Orchards are a welcome Autumn scene!

Seyfert Orchards truck 9/19/17
Yesterday we saw this modified pickup truck used for harvesting fruit at the Seyfert Orchards in Lebanon County. Looking at their website I see they have two of these trucks. They told us they take the tops off to get under the low branches of the trees. I'll bet they're good at ducking even while driving! We got a basket of honeycrisp apples which happen to be our favorites at the present time! They're sweet as honey and have a healthy crunch as you bite into their juicy interior!

Kinderhook Road home 9/15/17
We regularly pass this interesting home along Kinderhook Road. The concrete stairs leading up to the white arbor and two seat swing creates a warm, inviting setting.

Ironstone Ranch farmhouse 9/16/17
The old farmhouse on Ironstone Ranch.

Habecker Church Road 9/15/17
A pleasant view along Habecker Church Road.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Order My Steps"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"He Will Come And Save You"  Video  Bob Fitts

"Faithful One"  Video  Robin Mark

Monday we shared a video that Ester had recorded of the Calvary Church choir Brooksyne sang in last Sunday. Here's one that has better sound (probably through the church sound system)  "It Is Well"  Video

* How many miles is it from coast to coast in the United States? (using a road)  or shortest and longest straight line distance (not using roads).

Finally today:
Rick and Rachel with grandkids 9/19/17
Our friends, Rick and Rachel, whom we mentioned last week as thankful grandparents, shared this photo of their grandchildren with some of the cool equipment at Grandpa's company.

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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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