The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Thursday, March 1, 2018
Yesterday, the final day of February, we saw these tiny flowers making their appearance on an unseasonably warm day. Just enough to give us a bit of spring fever!
"A Lesson From Pretzels"
Message summary: Now, as much as any time in history we need to see God's Word and truths expressed and impressed upon those who follow us.
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"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Yesterday we stopped by the Shuey's Pretzel Shop in Lebanon, PA, a family owned business, making pretzels in a coal oven since 1927. The two master pretzel makers are the older grandchildren of the founder. We have a lot of pretzel makers in our area, including the Sturgis Pretzel House of Lititz, Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1861. Sturgis is the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in the United States.
Until the 1930s, pretzels were still manufactured by hand. But in 1935, the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the first automated pretzel maker, which enabled bakers to put out some 245 pretzels per minute, compared with the 40 per minute an individual worker could make by hand. Today, Pennsylvania remains the American pretzel-making capital, as a full 80 percent of U.S.-made pretzels come from the Keystone State.*
Pretzels have an ancient history, although their origin remains a mystery. There are many stories as to how the first pretzel was created, the most common being that in 610 A.D. Italian monks used scraps of dough to form the shape of children’s arms in prayer, with three holes to represent the Christian Trinity. They were called “pretiola” in Latin or “little reward” and were given to children who learned their Bible verses and prayers.
We still try to incentivize children in learning Bible verses and other spiritual disciplines. We also look for object lessons that can serve as a reminder of a spiritual truth much like the pretzel.
Today's Scripture text is one of the most important to the Jewish people. It is known as the Shema and is an an affirmation of God’s singularity. Its daily recitation is regarded by traditionally observant Jews as a biblical commandment.
Today we want to focus on a command to parents concerning God's commands, "Impress them on your children."
Moses then lists several specific means of how we are to impress, "Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
The most culturally unusual to many of us would be the command to "Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads." But observant Jews still practice this by wearing a phylactery, small leather box containing Hebrew texts on vellum, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer as a reminder to keep the law.
A thought to consider today: How are we impressing God's truths upon our children, grandchildren and all who we may influence? The ancient Jews used the phylactery, middle-aged monks used the pretzel.
Now, as much as any time in history, we need to see God's Word and truths expressed and impressed upon those who follow us. Are you doing your part?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that You are the Lord our God and that the Lord is one, for there is no other. We love You with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength. For that reason we want to impress upon our children and our children's children the commands of Scripture so that they will have an understanding of who You are and learn about the way You want us to live. This duty of showing our children the righteous path is best taught by example and Scripture when we talk, when we walk, when we lie down at night and upon awakening in the morning. Surround us with Your blessed presence and covering we pray. Amen.
Shuey's pretzel making. Notice the long pole used to reach the back of the oven.
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Shuey's pretzel making. The employee who invited us to view the workings of the Pretzel Store referred to "the old man sleeping". We were uncertain as to who he was and even wondered if he was a prop until he lifted his head during our visit.
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Shuey's pretzel making.
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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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