A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Daily Encouragement on
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Message summary: Today our message is based on 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.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"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).
This last weekend we visited a neighboring town, Lititz, and toured the Sturgis Pretzel House, the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in the US. They began making pretzels at this location in 1861. We took a tour and learned about the history of the company and the pretzel. At one time Lititz had so many pretzel makers that the mascot for the high school teams was the "Pretzels".
Pretzels were originally made by hand and a pretzel twister was expected to twist 50 per minute. In our tour we made a pretzel by hand although mine (to the left) didn't look too appetizing or artistic. Nevertheless, the tour guide awarded each one in the group a certificate as an "Official Pretzel Twister". So if you ever need help twisting a pretzel just let us know, or you might actually prefer Brooksyne's touch (see below).
Until the 1930s, pretzels were still manufactured by hand and then for a time with an automated pretzel maker (seen at right). Now pretzels are made using dough extruded through molds. It is estimated that 90% of all pretzels are never touched by human hands during the manufacturing process.
Today, Pennsylvania remains the American pretzel-making capital, with a full 80 percent of U.S. made pretzels made right here in the Keystone State. We often pass the Anderson Pretzel Factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania which calls itself the world's largest, producing 65 tons of hard pretzels daily. Auntie Anne's was founded by Anne Beiler who was born into an Old Order Amish family in Lancaster County in 1949. The headquarters is downtown.
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 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."
Unusual culturally 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, a 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 whom 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 truths expressed and impressed upon those who follow us. Are you doing your part? What type of "pretzel" are you using?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Sturgis Pretzel Ovens
Mural of Sturgis Pretzel Ovens
Sturgis Pretzel house historical plaque
Brooksyne's note: Here's my hand made twisted pretzel. When comparing our pretzels I'm not so sure Stephen should have gotten a certificate without a little more practice. Of course, that's just my opinion. Please note: the pretzels we formed were not from true pretzel dough, but rather a play dough consistency, thus the alligator texture on the dough. (Kind of looks like an albino coiled snake in some ways.)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"What You Leave Behind" Video The Talley's
"What Children Believe" Video Gold City
"Statement of Faith" Video The Booth Brothers, The Hoppers & Greater Vision
"Preach The Word" Video Gold City
"I Played in the Band and Sang in the Choir" Video The Booth Brothers Brooksyne's note: This is a song that prompts you to tap your foot and clap your hands as you think about the many songs that have touched your life as a believer. Featured in the Homecoming Magazine in 2012 was a story on Henry Slaughter's accomplishments as a musician and he wrote a note of thanks days later to the Gaithers. He dismissed the compliments and ended with this line, "I just played in the band, wrote a few songs and sang in the choir." That gave Bill Gaither an idea for a new song which he wrote with Larry Gatlin. Henry Slaughter was one of my favorites in the past as we heard him and his wife, Hazel, when they traveled with the Gaithers way back in the 70's.
Yesterday we shared some photos we took in Lititz over the weekend. Lititz is especially beautiful at Christmas. See here for photos.
Lititz is located here (Google map) Lititz is only about 15 miles away from where we live.
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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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