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June 26, 2018

Futon Theater, Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 6/22/18
Walking through downtown Lancaster last week we passed the historic Fulton Theater.

"Sour Grapes"

Message summary: How we handle what we can't have is a great test of our character.

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"Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him. He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the sons of Israel" (1 Kings 21:25,26).

Kauffman Fruit Stand, Central Market, Lancaster, PA 6/22/18 Brooksyne enjoys making her own jellies and jams. During this season one of her favorite ingredients will soon be available, freshly picked sour cherries. The other day we were visiting with Audrey, a friend from Lebanon County and as we were leaving I said, "We're going up to the fruit stand to see if they have some sour grapes."

Audrey looked at me with a quizzical expression while at the same time Brooksyne turned around and gave me the look that only spouses are permitted to give - no words needed, her expression told me I had said something that wasn't quite right. It was at that point that I realized I had said "sour grapes" instead of "sour cherries". There's a big difference. We sure don't need to go around looking for sour grapes, do we!

Preachers know when preparing a sermon you should begin with a text and then find a suitable illustration, but I am quite sure I'm not the only preacher that at times turned that around and found a text to use with my illustration, including the one today!

Sour grapes are actually mentioned in a Bible illustration, “In those days they will not say again, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge" (Jeremiah 31:29, Ezekiel 18:2).

The term "sour grapes" as used today is usually ascribed to
an old fable by Aesop. A hungry fox noticed a bunch of juicy grapes hanging from a vine. After several failed attempts to reach the grapes, the fox gave up and insisted that he didn't want them anyway because they were probably sour. When somebody expresses sour grapes, it means that they put down something simply because they can't have it. However the English idiom "sour grapes" is also commonly used of envious disparagement toward others.

Ahab and Naboth
The Bible story we want to share today is found in 1 Kings 21 concerning "Ahab Covets Naboth’s Vineyard". King Ahab wanted a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth but couldn't have it. He had a severe case of sour grapes at what he couldn't have as his own. In a sense he was green with envy, intent that he had to have that vineyard.

He went home sullen and vexed and laid down on his bed, turned away his face and ate no food. His wife Jezebel saw him, heard the story, and then plotted to have Naboth killed so Ahab could have the vineyard.  It's a sad but very instructive story concerning fallen human nature demonstrated in wicked King Ahab and his even wickeder wife, Jezebel.

Because of their mistreatment of Naboth, Ahab and Jezebel were each promised an untimely and violent demise.

How we respond to that which we can't have is a great test of character. Rather than look for a moral alternative as in looking for another vineyard he could legally acquire, Ahab was fixed on that which he could not have and his wife was more than willing to make it happen. Human history is replete with similar stories of taking drastic and deadly means to get that which we cannot have.

The better alternative when facing a "can't have" situation is waiting for the Lord to work it out in His time. Often times the work is done within our own heart which reflects our changed attitude that seeks to honor God.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are a blessed people; no longer slaves to sin, we are Your children. In fact you call the fallen ones Your own. In addition to freedom from slavery to sin on this side we are promised eternal bliss on the other side, permanent residency in heaven where we will have no more need for attitude adjustments. When we fix our hearts on all that we have in this life and the next we no longer dwell upon that which we don't have. In fact we'll think about the promises in Scripture that teach us the very best is yet to come and it will not be taken away from us. We're grateful to You, our benevolent God, who gives all good things to us, Your children. Amen.

Window box on Prince Street 6/22/18
One of Brooksyne's favorite sights, when driving through downtown Lancaster, is this building on Prince Street with a very long flower box that thrives each summer filled with pink and red geraniums and trailing vines. We assume it is an apartment building and there must be great cooperation among the tenants to keep the plants so uniformly healthy. Note: We realize this is a poor photo since we took it in the morning when it was shaded.

JK electricians at hotel project 6/22/18
Most of our chaplain visits are at the companies we serve, but we (especially Stephen) also enjoy visiting the employees out on the field. These electricians from JK Mechanical are renovating a large hotel in Lancaster city along Queen Street.

Brooksyne visiting with Lori at Central Market 6/22/18
When we were in the city we almost always go to Central Market. Brooksyne is visiting for a few minutes with Lori, whom she met through our association with JK Mechanical, where Lori's husband Keith works.

Lancaster Central Market
The Lancaster Central Market was established in 1730 and is the oldest continuously operating farmer's market in the country.
It's always an interesting place to mosey through. Kauffman's Fruit Farm. In the photo of the fruit stand, in our message, Brooksyne is talking to Mr. Kauffman about when to expect sour cherries. He has been coming to the Central Market for 45 years. Here's a neat video about making cider!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"In His Time"  Video  Maranatha! Singers

"Two Children"  Video  Steve and Annie Chapman   An excellent song regarding two siblings raised in the same family with an alcoholic father. One grew sour and bitter, the other found peace and joy through forgiveness. We make the choice of the way we view life, no matter our circumstances. When we listen to this song various people come to mind through our over 40 years of ministry and we have seen this dynamic of contrasting forgiveness and bitterness many times, even within our own families.

Who was Naboth in the Bible?

Finally today:
Martin at Kleen-Rite 6/22/18
Martin, a very friendly employee, is installing fittings on hoses at Kleen-Rite, a company that is a wholesale distributor to the car wash industry.

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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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