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Friday, August 7, 2020

Barn near Buffalo Valley rail trail
This large weathered barn is near the Buffalo Valley rail trail which travels through a very rich agricultural area in central Pennsylvania.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Blessing On Barns"

Message summary: Many tend to see work as a mere necessity to be avoided, as much as possible. But God has called us all to use our hands for our betterment and for His glory.

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"The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to" (Deuteronomy 28:8).

On our final rail trail bike ride this last weekend (actually Monday on our way back) we rode on the ten mile Buffalo Valley Rail Trail between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, PA. The trail runs along a very straight and level grade through beautiful farmland inhabited by many old-order Mennonites who, since they wear plain clothing and ride in a horse driven buggy, are often confused with the Amish. We saw a lot of corn but in addition to the field corn (animal feed) we saw large fields of sweet corn destined for human consumption likely going to a commercial food processor.

Weber utility barnWe also saw lots of big barns! We have a small two story utility barn where I have my workshop and lots of storage. This is probably the only barn I will have on this side of eternity. But will there be barns in heaven? Since the Bible mentions horses in heaven we feel there must surely be barns!

Barns vary in size, design, color and even their intended usage. There are cattle barns, feed barns, equipment barns and many other kinds. As a little boy I would play in my Uncle Gentry's barn on his farm outside of Harwood, Missouri. When the cousins came together for family gatherings we'd play for hours in that barn and especially the hay loft. Uncle Gentry would hitch a wagon to his Allis-Chalmers tractor and take us for a ride in the fields. When we heard the ringing of the dinner bell we'd all run back to the old white 1880's farmhouse for Aunt Dora's country fried chicken, sizzling in a cast iron frying pan.

Barns are mentioned throughout the Bible with today's verse being the very first reference to "barn" in the Scripture. This was prior to the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land and thus is a prophetic promise since, at the time, they were concluding their wilderness wanderings and certainly did not build barns.

"The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to."
It was a wonderful promise to them and in principle a promise to all of us whether or not we have a barn.

"The Lord will send." It's so vital to recognize where our blessings come from. In the Doxology we sing "Praise God from whom all blessings flow". God continues to send forth His physical and spiritual blessings to the fallen human race. Sadly, many reject the reality of this source or exhibit an entitlement attitude. God owes us nothing and yet provides for all that we need.

"A blessing on your barns." This phrase indicates the agricultural way of life so common in the Bible period. But in principle it surely also means your work or business, whatever that may be, that relates to the way we make a living today.

"On everything you put your hand to." Note carefully how that this Scripture expresses a cooperative relationship. God is faithful to bless. But farmers don't just lay around all day waiting for God's blessing to fall down from the skies. They work hard, using the skills God has taught them over the years, often through the trials and errors of farming. Although most of us don't work on farms the principle is surely the same in life.

Design engineerYesterday I visited with a young design engineer who was doing final testing on a new product his company has developed that will be a benefit to many of our readers, although very few would be aware of that, which is the case with so many contributions others make in our lives. I commended him for his many, many hours of hard work using his hands and mind to be productive and an asset to the planet.

Many tend to see work as a mere necessity to be avoided as much as possible. But God has called us all to use our hands for our betterment and for His glory. Consider these verses:
  • "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need" (Ephesians 4:28).
  • "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you" (I Thessalonians 4:11).
  • "We work hard with our own hands" (1 Corinthians 4:12).
Let us claim today's promise and let us faithfully obey God's commands. And let us always be mindful of His blessings regularly giving Him thanks.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank you for Your blessing on our "barns". We are confident that You will provide for all our needs as we obey Your commands. You have instituted work from the very beginning so that we can provide for ourselves and others that which is needed. Your blessings fall upon those who obey You, those who are not idle or wasteful. Thank you for our work. We lift up our brothers and sisters who are impacted by this pandemic period who earnestly want to work and are diligently looking for employment but still await doors to open. Father, we pray that You would open the right door and provide for their needs in unconventional ways as You always care for Your own, no matter the circumstances. May it be a time of trusting and growing as they look to You for their provisions and for the open door. We also pray that they will find ways to be useful in helping others while they are flexible in their schedule. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Doxology"  Video  Shane and Shane

Today we share our final set of photos from our five bike trail rides this last weekend.

Barn near Beaver Valley rail trail
Another large barn we saw from the Buffalo Valley rail trail.
The contrasting green and beige colors and matching cupolas really stood out on this barn.
Click on photo to enlarge

Farm near Buffalo Valley rail trail
This scene reminded us of how farms looked in our childhood, especially in the area of southern Missouri where my grandparents lived: clothes hanging to dry, cows grazing, corn growing toward the sky, green pastures, silos that stretch above the trees and clouded blue skies.
Click on photo to enlarge

Buggy junk yard off Buffalo Valley rail trail 8/3/20
We passed the Vicksburg Buggy Shop (Building, Repairing and Restoration) and saw this buggy "junk yard" out back. See this photo of their restoration of an 1890's era fire company ladder wagon. Brooksyne thought it fitting that these buggies were laid to rest under a large shade tree.

Wagon off Buffalo Valley rail trail 8/3/20
On a hot afternoon this family rode on their wagon down to the swimming pond; adults, kids, and pets.
Click on photo to enlarge and see the dogs on the wagon.

Trailside treats near the Buffalo Valley rail trail
An enterprising Mennonite family hosts this small stand along the rail trail selling "Homemade lemonade, root beer and baked goodies". The rootbeer is bottled in old fashioned jars with a handle: $1.50 for 16 ozs., $3.50 for half gallon.

Bikes near Buffalo Valley rail trail
These Mennonites might be the same as a branch that is settled here in Lancaster County where we see a lot of them hauling items in cardboard boxes on back of their bikes. This mother and son had just done some grocery shopping at Wenger Discount Grocery in Mifflinburg. We shopped there before leaving the area and found their prices excellent. Their music fed our souls while shopping - all the songs or hymns were sung acappella Mennonite style.

For any who may be interested:

Buffalo Valley Trail on Trail Link (many nice photos) The trail is located in this region of Pennsylvania (Google map) The trail parallels PA Route 45.

Finally today:

Brooksyne with baby goats
Yesterday morning we stopped by the Old Windmill Farm and greeted these twin baby goats born just 4 days earlier.

Stephen with baby goat and puppy on Old Windmill Farm
Stephen with Petey, a baby goat and Sheba, a Siberian Husky puppy, on the Old Windmill Farm.

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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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