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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Squeezing Grapes

"Squeezing Grapes"

Message summary: Today each of us will likely encounter a situation that will tempt us to grumble or "squeeze grapes". We can set out on the road of grumbling or we can choose the road of gratitude. The choice is ours. Let us determine to have the sweet fruit of a grateful spirit, not the rotting fruit of a grumbling spirit!

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“When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner” (Matthew 20:11). "Do everything without grumbling" (Philippians 2:14).

Jim GambiniJim Gambini was our pastor for several years in the early 2000's (2001-2005) after we first moved to Lancaster County from New England. We've stayed in touch with him and his wife Wendy through the years and they currently live in Georgia. We called them this morning and they are enduring some very hard trials but holding on to a faith-filled outlook. Jim encouraged me with his perspective on the hard time, counting their blessings.

Jim used interesting phrases in his messages to describe a situation or emotion. One he often shared to describe a person having a tough day that leads them to grumbling is "squeezing grapes".

Now to tell you the truth I'm not sure I ever fully understood the sense of this but it sure succeeded in being a memorable phrase! This morning Jim told me it was a play on words, such as "wining" or "whining"!

Do you ever find yourself grumbling, whining or complaining? I'm glad I don’t have to see the show of hands. Mine, along with many of yours, would shoot right up in the air!

There has always been grumbling but it seems to me that there’s more and more focus on the negative. Grumbling goes way back in the Bible, an early example being the people of Israel after they crossed the Red Sea complaining about the food. (Exodus 16)

Grumbling is a reaction to a perceived unfairness. Just consider people complaining about the unfair treatment they got from their workplace, the government, nature’s storms, the medical staff, their family member(s) and on and on it goes.

It’s interesting that within the same family one can be upbeat and positive with a pleasant disposition while another seems to always have something to complain about. The same is true in the workplace or other public settings. Who would you rather spend time with? We have met people who are energy givers and others are energy drainers.

The daily text is a small portion of Scripture from our Lord’s parable of the workers in the vineyard, which is recorded in Matthew 20:1-16. If you’re not familiar with this parable we encourage you to read it to get a good understanding of the truth Christ presents in this teaching.

Essentially it deals with perceived unfairness regarding the way the landowner (God) handles His affairs. Several groups each worked for wages that had been agreed upon prior to starting. However, due to comparisons with the other groups, one group had "expected to receive more" (v. 10) and when they didn’t get it they "began to grumble against the landowner".

At its heart, grumbling is our reaction to a perceived unfairness. “I deserve more than this” or “I deserve better than this”, we may say or think in our hearts. And regardless of how much we have or the extent of our blessing there’s always something to grumble about! In fact in a sense I detect complaining rises proportionately to blessing and prosperity, though many times we can visit with people who have little of this world's goods who are delightful to be around as they are thankful for the little things we don't even take notice of. And then there are those who have more of this world's goods than your average Joe and yet they're quick to grumble about that which they have or want more of what they don't already have.

Today each of us will likely encounter a situation that will tempt us to grumble or "squeeze grapes". We can set out on the road of grumbling or we can choose the road of gratitude. The choice is ours. Let us determine to have the sweet fruit of a grateful spirit, not the rotting fruit of a grumbling spirit!

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word tells us to do everything without complaining and arguing so that we may become blameless and pure in a crooked and depraved generation. Instead of spreading negativity from our words and actions we are to shine like stars in the universe so that the divine light of Christ may be evident in the way we interact with our peers. Would You raise us above the fray of life as we determine to have an attitude of thanksgiving and praise to Him who doeth all things well!  Amen.

Prayer based upon Philippians 2:14,15

Additional note to today’s prayer: In reflecting upon Philippians 2:14,15 (which is the basis of my prayer) I consider the analogy Paul makes of believers shining like the stars of the universe. When we go outside after darkness has fallen it’s inevitable that our eyes are drawn upward because we’re naturally drawn to light.  Our focus is not on the darkness that surrounds us, but rather the numerous stars that we often find ourselves counting or trying to find certain patterns. I wonder if what Paul is trying to convey through his analogy is that having a pleasant disposition and grateful heart in the midst of trying circumstances draws others to the light of Christ that indwells us rather than the darkness that surrounds us?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Thanks"  Video  Gaither Homecoming Singers

"Believe For It"  Video 
CeCe Winans  Dedicated to our friends Jim and Wendy

"Too Good To Not Believe"  Video  Cody Carnes

Perspective: Inside Nigeria's Biggest Slum  Video  Next time a grumbling temptation comes, watch this. This YouTuber has a whole series on the world's worst slums. We contrast this with Brooksyne's view this morning for her devotions. (See her photo below)

Bev and Brooksyne
Yesterday afternoon Brooksyne, along with her friend, Bev, attended the musical, "A Simple Sanctuary" at Bird in Hand Theater. The musical is based on a novel by Beverly and David Lewis, well known by their many inspiration fictional writings about the Amish. Brooksyne and Bev purposely stood in front of the photo above them where Beverly Lewis (middle front) is photographed with cast members and texted it to Beverly Lewis' sister, Barbara Birch. She and Brooksyne have gotten acquainted via Daily Encouragement through their text messages and emails over the last several years. There are many inspirational Amish fiction books these days on the market, but to our knowledge, Beverly Lewis is the forerunner of such books. Brooksyne has enjoyed reading her books, especially after our move 21 years ago to Lancaster, since their novels are written in the setting of Lancaster, PA. Barbara and Beverly's family lived in Lancaster during their growing up years where their parents planted a church on Queen Street in Lancaster before moving to Colorado during their daughters' late teen years.

Corn close-up with moon
Toward the end of our evening walk about 8:00 pm we saw the moon in the far distance above the acres of corn. If you enlarge you'll see the "banana" in the air. If often remember, when viewing the moon at night, when Ester was about three years old. It was a Wednesday evening in St. Marys, PA and I walked out with Ester to the parking lot. The night was pitch black but the moon was brilliantly bright that night. Ester looked up, pointed to the moon and asked me, "Mommy, will you get me a ladder so I can climb to the moon?" Well, I chuckled inside but about that time Tom Neizmik, one of our deacons walked by, so I asked him, "Tom, could you get me a ladder long enough for Ester to climb to the moon tonight?" Like many requests people make in a church setting, the deacon didn't have the resources or know-how to give us what we really wanted at that time. He just kind of shrugged his shoulders and tenderly let her know he couldn't find a ladder big enough. That was the beginning of my awareness that Ester loves to watch the moon at night and often takes photographs that we occasionally post.
(Click on photo the enlarge)

Morning view from porch
As Brooksyne sat on our front porch having her devotions she looked out, picked up her phone and photographed this peaceful view. We only have it a few months of the year so she is out there in it as much as possible before the cold winds move back to our area.
(Click on photo the enlarge)

Trout Run Road horses
Early this morning Stephen went for a bike ride through our rural neighborhood and got a photo of the beautiful horses on Trout Run Road.
(Click on photo the enlarge)

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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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