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Showing posts from September, 2018

Iron Sharpens Iron

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My Dad has been sharpening my lawnmower blades for years. He still can take a dull blade to his bench grinder and in a matter of minutes put a razor sharp edge on it. This is the interaction of bringing the rough surface of the grind or whetstone into proper contact with the metal edge of the cutting blade. The end product can be seen after the blade is bolted back to the mower's underside and the first run up the lawn has taken place. Looking back, one can see that blades of tender grass have been evenly cut so that the lines of each pass have a certain attractive symmetry to them. A keen eye is always able to detect when a blade is sharp!

In the Bible, this process of "sharpening influence" upon another is applied to friend-to-friend communication. The writer to the Proverbs says, "As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens another" (27:17). The Bible has numerous examples of friends encouraging friends: David-Jonathon, Ruth-Naomi, Jesus-Peter, James and John, an…

That's Not Our Concern!

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Monique and I were traveling this past summer to visit the kids and had a connecting flight through one of the airports on the way. While walking down the Jetway to board, we were engaged in a vigorous discussion and I blurted out, "That's not our concern!" At that moment, a young lady following us giggled and said, "You two are just like my parents!" We're finding out that the older we get, the more attention we are drawing to our discussions. That should give us pause!

I'm not even sure what that conversation was about, but it seems that I felt free to say that we were not going to get involved in the matter. Now, understand that I have fashioned myself as a "fixer" or "problem solver." But with these passing years I have found this to be more wearying and am increasingly reluctant to take on another problem to fix. I do know, however, that the Lord daily gives us many opportunities to show caring concern and that it is our respon…

Junk Mail!

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I saw a neighbor lady’s disappointment recently. As I was driving by, she had just reached into her roadside box to retrieve the daily mail. Her expression was displeasure, if not disgust. She evidently hadn’t received what she had been anticipating. I could identify with her feelings and fallen countenance. I miss first-class “snail mail!” I admit to being old-fashioned. It comes with getting old!

“Back in the day,” has become my mantra. It bores my grandchildren and some of my peers as well to hear me start off a conversation with those four words. I can remember getting real mail. I long for those hand-written notes and even letters that used to come to my post office box. Hey, I would be glad to even get some of the type-written varieties today!

It’s not that I lack for communication pieces. Like many in this digital age, I do get copious amounts of text messages, emails, push notifications and social media postings each day and sometimes every few minutes! As one of my profess…

Appreciate the New!

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During summer vacation visits to our grandsons in Texas, our tradition is to watch a series of movies. Last year, these featured a selection of films by Robin Williams. This year, we thought we would do all Pixar films, but ended up mixing in a variety of others. Now, it might be good to note that the boys have already seen all of these films, but they are re-watching them to enjoy this time with their Poppi who doesn’t get to the “movie house” very often!

The surprising film in our near nightly gathering at the home theatre was an older one (2007) by Disney, Ratatouille. I had seen parts of this, but had never viewed it entirely. This animated adventure is about a Parisian rat named Remy who is, ironically and comically, an excellent restaurant chef!

When the boys suggested this one to watch they noted that it was their dad’s favorite. Marc would later explain that it was the final review by the villainous newspaper food critic named Ego that was his favorite part of the movie. Ego …

A Surprise in Teaching

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Leon Kilbreth, “Mr. Sunday School” to many of us serving in educational ministry in the midwest, shared a surprising statement years ago: “90% of teaching is the life and personality of the teacher!” He did not want any of the conference attendees to misunderstand. Kilbreth wasn’t saying that we only teach the Bible 10% of the time in our lessons. Instead, he was emphasizing by hyperbole that the Bible others see and hear comes from the life and personality of the teacher. If we aren’t “practicing what we are teaching,” we aren’t completely teaching the Bible. We may be sharing some useful truths, but we aren’t teaching with maximum influence.

Bernice Littleford of the First Baptist Church in Vandalia was my fifth and sixth grade Sunday School department director and teacher. She had a winsome spirit about her. Mrs. Littleford cared about older children. She was an experienced parent. When I was in seventh grade, her son, Jim would be my basketball coach. Her other son, Warren, was …