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Friday, January 18, 2019

Pennsylvania red bank barn in snow (Photo by Greg Schneider)
Pennsylvania Bank Barn
Overnight we had snowfall with a storm forecast for this weekend.
We have milk and bread!
 (Taken by our friend Greg Schneider)
"The Consequences Of Forsaking God's Pattern"

Note: Today's message is longer and perhaps a bit more mentally challenging than many using an illustration from engineering.

Message summary: Let us renew our resolve to follow the Lord and walk in accordance to His pattern of belief and His way of life.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"He forsook the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk in obedience to Him" (2 Kings 21:22). "Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:28-32).

All this week we have been studying the concept of "pattern":

    * God is pleased and honored when we follow His patterns.
    * We are not to conform to the pattern of this world.
    * Scripture provides a pattern for what we are to believe.
    * Scripture provides a pattern for how we are to live.

Today let us consider the consequences of forsaking a pattern and to do so I use an illustration from engineering. We visit with many engineers and product designers in our role as company chaplains. Presently, most are mechanical. However, all through my ministry, I've associated with many different kinds of engineers; electrical, chemical, civil, software and others. Engineers apply science to specific functions and products. I suppose I enjoy my engineer associations because I have found engineers to be usually very sensible. They are smart but generally not pretentious. I appeal to any engineers reading this to give me some slack if my illustration below is not precisely put into the proper terms you prefer to use.

Drinker valve
We serve as chaplains at Val-Co, a company that makes watering equipment for poultry. Some tend to think that getting water to chickens wouldn't involve any more than a farmer using a hose and just filling up drinking containers for the birds.  But in large chicken houses the birds get their water by tapping their beak on a drinker valve that opens so that a single drop of water comes out and then the valve closes completely. It's designed so that the bird gets adequate water without drips which would create dampness in the facility conducive to disease. Of course thousands of these valves are needed in a large chicken growing operation.

Drinker valve assembly machine
The machine that makes these parts runs very, very fast producing thousands each hour yet each single part must stay within the design tolerance which prompted me to discuss with Tom the importance of this machine making these parts so precisely.

The engineering specifications (pattern) call for a very specific measurement but a very slight acceptable deviation is allowed. Yesterday, when I was visiting with Tom, a manufacturing engineer, he explained that these parts have a design tolerance of +or- .0005 of an inch which is less than the diameter of a human hair!

"Engineering tolerances are assigned to parts for manufacturing purposes, as boundaries for acceptable build. No machine can hold dimensions precisely to the nominal value, so there must be acceptable degrees of variation. If a part is manufactured, but has dimensions that are out of tolerance, it is not a usable part according to the design intent." (Wikipedia)

We believe in life there is a parallel. Of course none of us attain the precise design specifications as ordained by our Creator since we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus completely lived entirely up to the design specs originally intended for the human race!

Today we want to consider the consequences of forsaking God's design specs (pattern). Both Bible and secular history abundantly demonstrate these consequences. Especially in the Old Testament we can easily recall the cycles of
rejection and disobedience followed by renewal and obedience, repeated over and over. In secular history we observe the rise and fall of nations and kingdoms.

Even the "good" characters in the Bible forsook God's design specs at times, most notably David, in the Old Testament. Scripture records the life-long heartaches King David endured as a consequence of his sin. His family and others also experienced grief, conflict, and loss as a result which is often the case when a person sins. From the New Testament we consider Peter's denial of Christ, the guilt and shame it brought, and his blessed restoration.

Forsaking God's design specs always has consequences, some immediate but others delayed. Delayed consequences can lead to one's faulty thinking that it really doesn't matter since there appears, for a time, to be no negative consequence to one's choice.

One factor is how it seems as though there is a "grace allowance" (for lack of a better term) even for those who reject God's design specs, at least in the sense that life may still work and seems to be going OK. I struggle as I place these thoughts in writing lest I be misunderstood. The grace allowance for the human race is similar to the engineering tolerance. Life still works even when we don't match up to the divinely ordained specs. However, Scripture teaches us that there is a most certain judgment, if not now it will be at a future date!

Now let me seek to make a spiritual analogy: mankind as noted above has always (since the fall) failed to wholly live up to God's pattern. As Romans 3:23 famously states, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Grace provides a safety factor for those who repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and serve Him as Lord.

But I consider that there is also an allowable tolerance and failure factor to society as a whole even the unrepentant and those who willfully reject God in regard to God's design.

Looking at the human race as a whole we see more and more willful, open defiance of God's design specs on many issues. Consider marriage and the family, sexuality, truthfulness, responsible living, hard work and in so many other areas.

Of course the failure factor will ultimately be revealed in the final Great Judgment when Jesus separates those who receive His eternal inheritance in heaven from those who perish in hell. But since there is a delayed period between sowing and reaping many assume all is well even while charting their individual course that ultimately leads to eternal destruction.

The daily text is an obscure verse succinctly describing the life of King Amon, son of Manasseh. "He forsook the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk in obedience to Him." What a sad legacy King Amon left for all to read, right down to our own generation.

Let us renew our resolve to follow the Lord and walk in accordance to His pattern of belief and His way of life.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we seek to honor You in our lives. We don't want our lasting legacy to go down in the history books like that of King Manasseh and his son Amon, who forsook You, the God of his father, King Hezekiah. Though he repented late in his reign so many he had already influenced for evil, went on to influence their children and their children's children. Instead we want our lives to reflect that of King Hezekiah who trusted in You, the God of Israel. Thank You, Father, for letting us make choices for ourselves, but we dare not trust our own wisdom in making these choices. We rely on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to establish the desirable pattern for right living here and now for that will also determine our future for all of eternity. Amen.

Randy inspecting machined partRandy is inspecting a part he just made and informed me his tolerance was also +/- .0005. Being within this tolerance means the part is acceptable, although of course the conscientious machinist strives to precisely make the part to the exact specified dimension.

However I suspect that the part would still "work" even if it was slightly lesser or greater than this accepted allowance, though there would certainly be a point when the part would fail. There's only so much margin; the next step is the failure factor.

Chicken drinking from Val-Co drinker valve (Photo by Joe Ulicny)
Our friend Joe Ulicny, who leads the marketing team, at Val-Co took this photo of the part mentioned in today's message being used.

Brooksyne visiting with Baba who, for many years, has run the machine that "spits" out the drinker valves designed for the watering systems in chicken houses. (In many cases with languages we don't know we learn their names but probably spell them wrong!)

Brian and Tan 1/17/19
It's great to see people getting along! Brian is a supervisor on the second shift who has become great friends with Tan, a Vietnamese immigrant. Tan calls Brian his big brother, although they are only a couple of months apart in age. In several weeks they are both going to Vietnam to visit Tam's family.

Smucker team 1/17/19
Last night we joined the Smucker team for a gathering that included lots of food, bowling and laser tag. We didn't care to display this photo on the site but for the first time in life we actually played laser tag! This photo shows the prize winners who won gift cards from a game played during bowling.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Has Shown You, O Man, What Is Good"  Video  Maranatha Singers  Micah 6:8 set to song

"May The Mind of Christ My Savior"  Video  Jake Armerding

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self-abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

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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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