A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
The huge blast furnaces remain at the shuttered Bethlehem Steel Company Mill, in Bethlehem, PA. At one time this was one of the largest steel mills in the world and during its heyday in the 1960s, employed 31,000 people at this very location.
"A Lesson From Cor-Ten Steel"
Message summary: Another year is passing by so instead of getting gloomy about the increasing years that change our outward appearance, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith" (4:18). Outwardly we may have more and more rust but inwardly our spiritual being is renewed day by day as we daily read and apply Scripture and commune with God!
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"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).
We all have interests, some perhaps a bit more peculiar than others. I happen to enjoy factory tours and when we travel we just may find a factory to tour, which means Brooksyne and Ester tag along. They patiently endure (I think) but Brooksyne tells me such settings would not be a thriving interest of hers and or Ester's.
On Christmas Day we traveled to Bethlehem, PA and before our visit with my brother and family, I wanted to take a walking tour of the old Bethlehem Steel Mill pictured above. They have a walking trestle* built along the entire length of the mill but, likely to Brooksyne's relief, it was closed!
Steel is an alloy, a mix of two metals to form one, with the goal of gaining some advantage that neither of the two originals could achieve alone. Steel is one of the most famous alloys. Unless we work around steel we may assume steel is just steel, but visiting a laser shop that works with steel I have observed there are many types. We have probably all heard of stainless steel but one of my favorite types is Cor-Ten which is a weathering steel that forms a layer of rust-like coating that prevents corrosion so the material never needs painting. Even if it gets scratched it reseals itself with a thin layer of protective rust.
I remember first seeing Cor-Ten steel during a visit to Pittsburgh, PA with Mike Matangelo, an engineer friend. We walked by the 64 story US Steel Tower and I just couldn't understand why a world class steel company would have a headquarters building made of what looked like old, rusting steel. Mike explained that it was designed to be this way which further puzzled me. I wondered why anyone would design anything to look rusty, a sign of decay and aging? But since then I have come to understand that this is actually an engineering marvel.
Have you considered aging itself to be healthy? Now I'm not recommending that we don't seek to maintain good health as we age which is of course a good thing, but rather the process itself is a design feature by our Creator. We are designed to age.
What a blunt assessment the daily text makes about our physical condition, "Outwardly we are wasting away". I believe the outward here is speaking not only of our visible appearance but our entire physical being. We probably don't like this image in regard to aging but in a sense we are all rusting, although some look a bit more weathered and rustier than others.
Perhaps it's helpful to consider this rust like that on Cor-Ten steel, a coating that protects the inner steel structure, which is even more important than the outer appearance. Likewise, over the years our bodies lose their fresh, youthful vigor, wrinkle free skin, along with other signs of aging. But the Holy Spirit is always at work within us so that "inwardly we are being renewed day by day". We will one day shed these aging mortal bodies, but that which is eternal is being renewed daily.
Another year is passing by, so, instead of getting gloomy about the increasing years that change our outward appearance, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith" (4:18). Outwardly we may have more and more rust but inwardly our spiritual being is renewed day by day as we daily read and apply Scripture and commune with God! That should be encouraging whether you're 9 or 90!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
II Corinthians 4:16-18
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Stephen & Brooksyne
Some More Photos From Bethlehem, PA
The old steel mill area has been repurposed as an entertainment venue called "Steel Stacks". Here is the area on a Google map.
The east end of the huge mill
Eugene Gifford Grace became CEO of Bethlehem Steel in 1916 and served till 1957 when he had a stoke, Even then while over 80, he continued for a little while to run meetings of Bethlehem's big board, 21 men strong. These meetings were sometimes bizarre, according to Bethlehem Steelmaker, an autobiography written many years later by Edmund Martin. Grace, reported Martin, would on occasion nod off to sleep. The world then stopped: "Sometimes an hour would go by," wrote Martin. "We didn't leave. We didn't continue with whatever business was being discussed. We just waited in silence until he woke up and resumed the meeting as if nothing had happened."
Driving through the historic part of Bethlehem early in the evening on Christmas day we passed this recently restored stone building. The old part of Bethlehem is very beautiful.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"We Do Not Lose Heart" Video Truth Songs This couple uses their talents on their YouTube channel to share Scripture verses set to music. Very nice.
What is Cor-ten?
COR-TEN® is a trademarked name owned by U.S. Steel. Weathering steel, best-known under the trademark COR-TEN® steel, is a group of steel alloys which were developed to obviate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance if exposed to the weather for several years. Weathering steel has increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion when compared to other steels. COR-TEN® resists the corrosive effects of rain, snow, ice, fog, and other meteorological conditions by forming a coating of dark brown oxidation over the metal, which inhibits deeper penetration and negates the need for painting and costly rust-prevention maintenance over the years. In simple terms the steel is allowed to rust and that rust forms a protective coating that slows the rate of future corrosion.
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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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