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Wednesday, March 16, 2022
We travel in the dark during the winter months to get to several of our companies early in the morning. We always look forward to seeing these lighted cupolas and other lighting on this barn just before we get to Manheim on our way to Lebanon County. Yesterday we drove off the main road to take a closer look. It's already getting light so all the lights were not nearly as dramatic, but that's OK since we're enjoying natural light from the sun as days are now getting longer!
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"Understanding Spiritual Things"
Message summary: Most of us have abundant exposure to spiritual truths. However Paul makes the following assertion after citing the words of Isaiah: "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they 'might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them'" (Acts 28:27). Help us to hear and understand; to see and perceive.
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"Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving" (Isaiah 6:9).
Ever since the Tower of Babel humans have dealt with a language communication problem. In the course of our chaplain service we encounter people from a wide variety of language backgrounds. Some have learned enough English that we can converse simple thoughts, but with others we have a very limited ability to communicate. We smile and sometimes use hand motions to speak a brief message to them seeking to speak the actions and language of friendship, hoping to bring a pleasant moment to their day.
For many years we visited with a group of middle-aged to older Vietnamese ladies who can scarcely understand any English. But they nevertheless seemed to get excited seeing us and although we are unable to communicate well we sought to be a cheerful face in their day of hard and monotonous work. It's our desire to let the Lord's love shine through us though our words are very few.
Even within our own language, depending on where you live, folks in other parts of the country may "talk funny". Shortly after we took a pastorate in Massachusetts back in the early nineties, Jean stood up at the conclusion of an evening church service and asked, "Does anyone want to go to the potty with me?" Now I've heard women in a restaurant ask if anyone wanted to go to the restroom with them, but this seemed very inappropriate to give such an invitation in this setting! I didn't know what to say, but I'm sure I exchanged looks with Brooksyne wondering what we'd gotten ourselves into, with our new congregation.
I sure thought it strange that she would ask such a personal question publicly in a church setting. Well, if you are familiar with the New England accent you probably have guessed by now, the "r's" sort of disappear in the New England states and she was actually speaking of "going to a party, not potty".
In "The Grapes of Wrath" John Steinbeck wrote about these regional accents through the character of Ivy who said, "Everybody says words different: 'Arkansas folks says 'em different, and Oklahomy folks says 'em different. And we seen a lady from Massachusetts, an' she said 'em different of all. Couldn't hardly make out what she was sayin!" Interestingly, Brooksyne has connections with all three of those states and agrees that their accent certainly sets their English apart from many other states.
We eventually came to understand the local folks in New England a lot better the longer we lived up that way. After living there over seven years even Ester would say, "Let’s get in the caw" or "Let's go to the pawk.”
Far more important than the challenges of understanding other people’s languages or working through their particular accent, is coming to understand spiritual concepts. In ancient times Job's friend Elihu wisely said, "But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding” (Job 32:8). Fundamentally we all need the breath of the Almighty to understand the simple and complex truths God has established in His word.
The daily verse was a part of Isaiah's call to ministry and is twice repeated by Jesus and once by the apostle Paul: "Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving" (Isaiah 6:9). It describes a sad spiritual condition endemic in the human race.
Most of us are abundantly exposed to spiritual truths. However Paul makes the following assertion after citing the verse: "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them" (Acts 28:27).
Does this not describe our world today? What about you? Have you understood with your heart, turned and received His spiritual healing? We sure hope so! If not, without hesitation, please do so today. Help us to hear and understand; to see and perceive.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, help our ears to be alert, our eyes to be open, and our hearts to be perceptive as we follow in Your ways. May we be eager to hear Your teaching and apply it to our lives so that we may be found blameless before You and experience the joy You give to those who follow Your commands. When Your meaning is clear help us to seek no other meaning to satisfy our own desires or to change the clear meaning of Your message. Align our desires with Your own, that we might find genuine peace and respond to Your commands with wholehearted obedience, so that we might also experience spiritual maturity and growing faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Open My Eyes" Video Fountainview Academy My, aren't these pleasant looking young people!
"Love in Any Language Virtual Choir" Video Sons & Daughters Alumni 1995-2004" This song became very personal to us during the late 80's when we were taking in children from Guatemala who spoke Spanish, as young as eighteen months and old as eight years. They each had life threatening illnesses and came to the U.S. to have surgery from hospitals and doctors who donated their services. These children left everything familiar to them, including their parents and families, to live with total strangers. Before their arrival we learned basic words like bano (bathroom) so that we could meet their basic needs but we did a lot of playing charades, for lack of a better explanation, to figure out what they were saying and vice versa for several weeks after their arrival. But one thing we could easily communicate was love, as it is viewed the same in any language, not by what we say but what we do. These children were so very special and we are still in touch with them today though they now have families of their own. Our love continues to be expressed by our smiles, pictures, and when we do use words translations are now provided via online.
This employee we visited with yesterday at White Oak Display is assembling a rack for displaying fishing rods that will used by Bass Pro Shops. It's neat to see products made by companies we serve in the store!
The Shenks Mill covered bridge is near a rail trail we enjoy riding on. With our ebikes we can get off the rail trail and ride on the country roads a bit easier than a non-electric bike due to less exertion riding up the hills. On an electric bike you still pedal but the motor provides assistance and can be adjusted depending on how much you want to exert.
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Stephen & Brooksyne
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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