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Monday, February 22, 2021

Farm in southern Lancaster County
A sprawling farm in southern Lancaster County

"The Ultimate Essential Oil"

Message summary: May the Lord help us all to be wise and well-prepared! Keep us stocked with the ultimate essential oil.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps" (Matthew 25:4).

Bird feeder on poleWe are having a raging battle in our otherwise peaceful neck of the woods between human (me) and animal (squirrel) ingenuity. I stock our birdfeeders as Brooksyne especially likes bird watching, but the squirrels manage to get into the bird feeders and eat far more than their share of sunflower seed in my opinion (probably not theirs). I assure you we take good care of the squirrels as well with the thousands of acorns that fall from our two towering oak trees in the front yard.

I'm determined to keep at least one feeder out of their reach and began with the one in our front yard. I had read that if you take a piece of schedule 40 pvc pipe and use it as a sleeve they can't climb it. I tried that but they just bypassed the climb and jumped up on the feeder about 4 feet off the ground. I tried making a baffle to obstruct their jump but that didn't work either. They were persistent and hungry.

So Saturday I came up with the idea of using a long piece of square pvc left over from my deck railing project and putting the feeder about seven feet off the ground. Surely squirrels can't jump up that high! It looks a bit unsteady and sways now and then, but the birds were back early Sunday morning as seen in the photo to the left and I felt pretty good about my accomplishment. I was away from the window getting ready for church when Brooksyne hollered, "Stephen, you won't want to hear this, but two squirrels are eating their lunch at the birdfeeder." So now I will inform you that squirrels can climb up pvc!

WD-40But I wasn't finished with this battle and recalled a suggestion from Linda, a reader from West Virginia, to spread Vaseline™ on the pole. I just didn't want to slather the petroleum jelly on the pole with my hands and was musing of a similar, but touchless, strategy. Then it hit me - why not use my favorite essential oil, WD-40! Although it doesn't say anything about stopping squirrels from climbing poles on the can, among home enthusiasts WD-40 is used for a lot of stuff "off label" so I went out and liberally sprayed the pole. Do you think it will work?

Today let us consider the ultimate essential oil as described in one of the last parables Jesus taught before His death. "The Parable of the Ten Virgins" is recorded in Matthew 25:1-13. Due to vastly different culture practices this is an unusual teaching to most of us living in 2021 but would have been easily understood by Jesus' original listeners.

In the previous chapter Christ had been describing some of the events of the end times, including His second coming (Matthew 24:36–39). He has been warning them that He will arrive with no notice, interrupting the daily activities of those who expect life to simply go on as it always has. Those who follow Him must live in a state of readiness for His return. Jesus could come back, at any moment, as King and Judge.

He now begins another parable to illustrate this point, using a common scene from the daily life of the Israelites in this era. In this, He uses the metaphor of an expected bridegroom. Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom as part of a wedding procession. They took lamps because this part of the celebration took place in the evening.

Oil in my lampThese unmarried young women gather to wait for the groom to arrive during a wedding celebration. They plan to join in a procession to a great feast when he comes after dark. Five of the young women foolishly forgot to bring sufficient oil for their lights.
"The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps". When the groom arrives, the foolish scramble to get more oil but are not admitted to the feast when arriving late. Jesus urges His followers to be prepared and watch for His return. *

Early on in our Christian life, even as a child, we exuberantly sang a chorus based on this passage. Some of you will recall it!

*Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray.
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Keep me burning till the break of day.   

May the Lord help us all to be wise and well-prepared! Keep us stocked with the ultimate essential oil.

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we pray that you will help us all to be wise and prepared! Keep us stocked with the ultimate essential oil, that of Your Holy Spirit that lights our path, teaches us wisdom and discernment. We want to live with a heart that is ready...ready to follow You no matter the consequence, ready to submit to Your will, to be set apart for Your service, and to be eagerly awaiting Your second return. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Me Oil In My Lamp"  Video

Brooksyne's Note: My dad, having been a driver for Auto Convoy (hauling new Ford cars) for over twenty years, was a devout Ford man. So, in remembrance of him today, let me include another fun verse we often sang:

"Give me gas in my ford, keep me truckin' for the Lord,
Give me gas in my ford I pray.
Give me gas in my ford, keep me truckin' for the lord,
keep me truckin' till the break of day."

Squirrels trying to climb pole (Video)Brooksyne sat down this morning in her favorite swivel chair that she turns around to face the picture window when she reads her devotional. But the busy squirrels just outside the window got her sidetracked and she decided to videotape video two squirrels that made repeated attempts to climb the pole. So far the WD-40 method seems to be working as the squirrels slide down but we know how resourceful and persistent they are! After several failed attempts they simply came back to the pole, sniffed it and headed back to the oak tree - so they know something's up and it's not in their favor.

For handymen (or handy women if that pertains to you) WD-40 is an essential oil. I grew up seeing that old blue and yellow can that I don't think has changed much in appearance my entire lifetime. My dad sure had it on his work bench and Brooksyne remembers the same with her dad in his big truck garage. Also her mom had a ready stash as she was also very mechanical. How many of you have a can of WD-40?

The Family Handyman lists "34 Brilliant Ways to Use WD-40 at Home". Among these 34 Brilliant Ways are "Keep Squirrels Away from Bird Feeders"!

It happens all the time: Just as you fill your bird feeder with seed, the squirrels get into it and eat it all before the birds have a chance. Next time you fill up the feeder, just spray a good coat of WD-40 on top of the feeder and those rodents will slip right off. Check out these hilarious attempts by homeowners to keep squirrels away from bird feeders.

Barbed wire on poleMy brother, Pat, who lives in the Lehigh Valley about 100 miles northeast of us, has thwarted the squirrels by wrapping the pole his bird feeder is on with barbed wire. But we are "afraid" that might draw the attention of PETA.

* BibleRef.com  Assistance with exposition today from this site.

Yesterday we very briefly split up as a family and attended different churches since Brooksyne had duties in our home church. Stephen had promised to take an elderly couple to a country church in southern Lancaster County where their son is the pastor.

DJ and Anna Mary Paglia
We met DJ (Doc) and Anna Mary Paglia shortly after moving to Lancaster County 20 years ago. They are now in their mid-nineties and still living in their own home. DJ has been a pastor and evangelist and served as a chaplain to both the Pennsylvania House and Senate.

Doug Paglia
Their son, Doug, is the pastor of the church.
We share the very same birthday, both born on October 14, 1954!

Farm in southern Lancaster County
Another southern Lancaster County farm in the snow across from the church Stephen attended.

Finally today from Brooksyne:

Yesterday Ester and I witnessed a very touching baptism testimony at Calvary Church. I was moved to tears as Katheryn and her mother shared together of Katheryn's faith. For thirty years the congregation has reached out to those with disabilities through the Shepherd's Class and Katheryn is an example of that. We also wrote in a previous message about Suzanne born in Viet Nam and adopted by a family in our congregation. Suzanne also attends the Shepherd's class. I was so moved by the entire video of Katheryn and her mother but the part that really touched me and will touch anyone with a mother like heart was when Katheryn's mother said this about Shepherd's Class: "And Katheryn runs to the class. I can drop her off. She independently...runs to this class, and for a mother, that's wonderful!"  See video of Katheryn's baptism testimony.

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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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