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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Holman Lake in Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, PA
Holman Lake in Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, PA
It is a "Big Bass Lake"; only bass 15 inches or longer may be kept!
Click to enlarge

"A Trashy Lesson"

Message summary: Have we considered everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus? Do we consider them trash, that we may gain Christ?

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7,8).

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres, and wars to own,
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now, compared to this.

Daryl LeiseyDaryl Leisey is a friend of ours we met shortly after moving to Lancaster County in 2001. At that time he was the Human Resource manager in a company we served as chaplains. He is now a partner with North Group Associates, one of our area's largest business consulting firms. Through the years Daryl has provided some excellent perspective and advice for our ministry and we have valued his friendship and support.

Last week I watched a video from North Group. Daryl shared that in one of his first jobs he had worked with a trash crew for a year and 1/2. He mused with some thoughts from "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" perspective (which is often the best kind). Basically he learned to:

1) get up early each morning and
2) to work hard.

Indeed, that is advice that will serve us well throughout our entire life and yet many still need to learn.

Trash truckDaryl's lesson also brought to mind my one summer while attending Bible College that I worked on a trash truck crew. I learned to drive the truck, pitch the trash bags up into the truck and most excitingly I used the special lift that unloaded containers. I also learned to have an appreciation for those who do these types of necessary functions and seek to express my appreciation to them to this day.

Garbage strike NYCTrash, garbage, rubbish. These are not pleasant sounding words but if not properly disposed of we have a growing mess. Some of you might recall scenes from 1968 when sanitation workers were on strike in New York. The New York Times described it as, “a vast slum as mounds of refuse grow higher and strong winds whirl the filth through the streets.” By that point there were about 30,000 tons of trash on the streets, a number that would grow to 100,000 tons. In the Lower East Side, “Garbage was piled chest-high. Egg shells, coffee grounds, milk cartons, orange rinds, and empty beer cans littered the sidewalk.”

In the Bible times they surely had to deal with trash as well, but I can't find much information on it. We sure know they didn't have trash trucks! There was a large place outside the city where trash was burned called Gehenna.

Philippians 3:8 Today let us consider a "trash lesson" phrase from our daily Scripture portion, "I consider them rubbish."

This was written by the apostle Paul. In the context he gives his spiritual background and essentially asserts that if anyone can earn righteousness with God through pedigree and good works that he's the man.

But in his spiritual conversion to Christ he recognizes a vitally important truth: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ".

Today we focus especially on the phrase "I consider them rubbish". The KJV uses the word "dung". The Greek word is "skubala" which is an hapax legomenon, meaning a word used only once in the entire New Testament. (See here for longer description.)

Please pardon the candor in this definition from a Greek reference but the word skubala "is literally any refuse such as the excrement of animals, off scourings, rubbish, dregs and so figuratively speaks of things that are worthless and detestable. It includes material thrown to the dogs."* Paul is actually using the strongest and most descriptive word at his disposal to indicate his estimation of his past life. I can think of other words that he might have used if he were writing today in English.

J. Vernon McGee
The late Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee comments, "Paul says that since that moment of his conversion he lives for Christ. He has suffered the loss of all things. Jesus Christ is uppermost in his thinking. The things that he used to consider most precious he now considers to be dung —that is strong language! He says he flushes his religion down the drain. He flushes away all the things he used to trust. Now he trusts the Lord Jesus and Him only for his salvation. He was so revolutionized that what had been his prized possession is now relegated to the garbage can!'

Have we considered everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus? Do we consider them rubbish, that we may gain Christ? I sure admit that for me this is an ongoing battle but I do well to regularly consider the challenge and aspire to the Apostle Paul's outlook.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You,
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, all the accolades, merits, relationships and physical treasures I've accumulated in this life are but rubbish when compared to the all surpassing gift of knowing You, receiving Your forgiveness, and experiencing Your redemptive love. Because I am risen with Christ I want to place my affections on things above rather than things on this earth where I am so easily distracted from that which really matters and draws me closer to Your throne and the heart of Christ. To know You, Father, is to know peace and joy beyond measure. I thank You through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"All I Once Held Dear"  Video  Shane and Shane

"Give Me Jesus"  Video  Fernando Ortega

Video with Daryl from North Group

Today we share some more photos from our trip to Perry County on Sunday.

Boats at Holman Lake in Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, PA
Holman Lake boats
Click to enlarge

Butterfly Garden in Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, PA
The park had a butterfly garden but not too many butterflies yet.
Click to enlarge

Perry County farm, PA
The Perry County farms are beautiful. This one was down in a hollow and if you close you can see the swimming pond.
Click to enlarge

This turtle was posturing itself as if to say, "What do you want?"

Turtle on back
Here's the turtle photo above in its original context. It was a baby turtle Lizzie had been playing with and we took the photo on her back, not asphalt, as it might appear in the first photo! (The power of cropping with a high resolution camera.)

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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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