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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Colorful pantry
A colorful pantry in an old order Mennonite home.

"A Pantry For God's Commands"

Message summary: Today let us consider the value of storing up the wise commands of a loving God. "Store them up" in your soul's Scriptural pantry so that your spirit overflows with fruitful produce year round!

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"The wise store up choice food and olive oil" (Proverbs 21:20). “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you” (Proverbs 7:1). "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11).

A pantry is "a room or closet used for storage (as of provisions) or from which food is brought to the table" (Merriam-Webster). A pantry is a colorful and palatable sight. It's also a reminder of God's abundant provision preserved in jars or other storage methods such as freezing by hard-working human hands. What a great treat for the family, especially in the dead of winter when reminders of the fresh hearty summer produce is served at the dinner table! Several weeks ago Brooksyne prepared 18 bags of fresh sweet corn for the freezer, and pureed neck pumpkin and froze in bags for making pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie and all the many ways pumpkin is now used. She has an ample supply of canned preserves of various fruits.

George Washington & Nellie Mae SteincrossMy grandparents, George Washington and Nellie Mae Steincross lived in a small, white frame house in southwest Missouri in a tiny town called Harwood (here on Google map). The pantry in their home was a large walk-in storage room for home canned goods and baking supplies right beside the kitchen. We grandkids just loved to play in there.

I recall getting in trouble a few times for breaking a jar or getting into something I shouldn't have. I would be scolded and told, "Stephen, get out of the pantry!" MaMa made the very best apple pie and the pantry storehouse always seemed to have the ingredients she needed, although in my recollection it was never completely full or arranged fancily. I suppose my MaMa's pantry was intended for practical storage after a harvest to be used through the winter till the next harvest season.

I don't have a photo of that pantry or other wonderful childhood memories such as the old water pump at the side of the house. In the sixties it just didn't occur to us that something we took for granted would be of interest 50 years later! Before digital photography was introduced film wasn't "wasted" on something like that! But nevertheless many images are firmly planted in my memory!

Pantry in closetUtilization of a pantry is an expression of obedience to Proverbs 21:20, "The wise store up choice food and olive oil". Due to the configuration of our present home we don't have a single pantry. Since Brooksyne likes to can fruits and vegetables we have several pantries in our home, although none are next to the kitchen. Our largest pantry is where I  placed shelves between the studs of an unfinished utility closet (see photo to right).

Today we want to consider a spiritual application from the storage pantry of God's Holy Word. Our second daily verse comes from Proverbs 7, which in its entirety is a warning against the adulteress. Perhaps it was initially intended as a charge from Solomon to his son or to those under his authority. As a part of the Holy Scriptures I believe we need to foundationally take it in the way it was intended and, although 3,000 years have passed, it's still altogether appropriate and needed in this sense!

However we can also apply it in a more general way as from our heavenly Father to all His children extending the application to not only physical adultery but spiritual as well and the need to keep His words and store up His commands within us.

"Keep my words." The word for "keep" in the Hebrew literally means, "to hedge about", and implies guarding and protecting. We need to keep God's Word deep and firmly grounded in our hearts.

Jesus said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word" (John 14:23). We are barraged with many words and voices, but we need to recognize and honor the words of our heavenly Father above any other beckoning voice. The enemy of our soul is so cunning to deceive that we must be ever wary of dangers that lurk through internet porn, racy literature, malicious gossip and many other devilish strategies that seek to steal, kill, and destroy the soul. It seems that Satan hunches over his drawing table 24/7 devising schemes and fine-tuning his trickery to trip up believers and to keep unbelievers under his control.

"Store up my commands within you." This part of the verse really intrigues me. Over the years I've done a lot of storing up of God's Word through Scripture memorization. However it occurs to me that I lean toward the promises of God that bring me assurance more often than the commands of God which bring conviction and guard my soul against sinning.

But storing up God's commands can provide a tremendous support toward self-restraint and redirecting one's thoughts toward holiness when the time of temptation comes. This is expressed in our 3rd text, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11).

Open Bible in church* Store up "Thou shalt not steal" and it will be a powerful deterrent to stealing.
* Store up "Honor your father and your mother" and it will remind us of God's fundamental order in society.
* Store up "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and we will guard our hearts and minds against assaults on our morals.
* Store up "shalt thou labor" and we will fortify ourselves with the fundamental necessity of labor.

Today consider the wise commands of a loving God. "Store them up" in your soul's Scriptural pantry so that your spirit overflows with fruitful produce year round and lifelong!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I want to hide Your Word in my heart, like a Scriptural pantry, that I might not sin against You but instead will be fruitful in my Christian walk.  Your Word is my Guiding Light so that as I live by faith I will triumph over evil. Help me to rebuke the devil's temptations with Scripture just as Jesus did during the wilderness temptations. I may be weak, but Your Word is powerful to fight off the temptation to sin and to reassure me that You are with me even when others may forsake me. As a sign of my love for You I will obey Your commands and heed Your instruction. I can do this through Christ who gives me strength. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Thy Word"   Video   Maranatha! Music

Finally today:
Buffet prep
Yesterday we joined our friends Ron and Rick at the Bird in Hand Restaurant for lunch. We chose to eat from the Soup and Salad Bar, so we had to put on our proper Covid mitigation PPE's before we ventured to the Salad Bar. We teased that it looked like they were preparing to perform a physical exam.

Home Depot
Looks like this Amishman is getting supplies for a home improvement project!
It was a very cool, windy and wet day in Lancaster County yesterday.

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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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