Don’t me and my family require the highest degree of concern and protection? Me first. Then, maybe, I can do something or other for my family. That is, if they’re good to me. After that, if there’s any extra time, money, or good will, we can think about church and neighbors, and throw in a stranger or two for good measure. And for my country? Nah, why bother with patriotism for a nation well on its journey down the tubes?
Isn’t that pretty much the idea these days of priorities and commitments? Gone is any sense of duty beyond me and mine.
So the following words from Lot sound like they come from another planet. Continue reading “Blind to duty”
Nosiree, I didn’t commit a typographical error in the title. A litotes* is a figure of speech, and a common one at that. It is, according to a Webster clone, an “understatement for effect”, especially when expressed by a negative to the contrary. In plainer words, you use a negative when you mean a positive.
An example: You say, “I have not a few regrets.” You mean, “I have many, many regrets.”
Another example: You say, “That’s not bad.” You mean, “That’s really good!” Continue reading “Do no harm — an important litotes”
The cart before the horse. It may be dated, but it still gets the message across. It could be updated to say, “Don’t put the caboose in the front of the train.” But now trains don’t even have cabooses anymore. What’s the world coming to!?
We have a ton of sayings that are concerned with putting things in the right order. You have to walk before you can run. That’s one.
And cooking! How many recipes tell us to mix some things first, then add other ingredients. The wrong order of the steps will ruin the recipe. Continue reading “The right order is crucial”
Places mean much to us. Where we were born. Where we got married. The first house we lived in as newlyweds. Where we were baptized. Where we had our first job.
Places of memories, of special moments, of important connections between people.
When the Jews sought to seize Jesus, he escaped from them to a special place. Continue reading “There, that special place for Jesus”
Some Internet services provide by email or online a Verse of the Day or Daily Verse or whatever they style it. I confess to both liking and despising them, simultaneously.
These little snippets of verse appear all too like the scripture boxes the Pharisees wore on the foreheads, but apparently never read, by virtue of being close to the eyes but out of range of vision.
Good luck charms they were, blessings in a box guaranteed by a literal — and altogether easier — obedience than by installing that same passage of Bible in the heart and living it out daily. Continue reading “Verse of the Day”
Pretty much the same faces greet me each week. The same preacher gets behind the same pulpit every Sunday. The same Bible school teachers take their turns in front of the class.
Sure, there’s turnover. Some folk move on, others die. People from the world are immersed and join our ranks. Once in a while someone falls to the clutches of the dark side.
And there is a variety of subjects to study. The preacher does well in providing a balanced diet of sermons. Even the prayers, where in some locations are stale and rote, in our congregation, show forethought and preparation. Continue reading “Sameness”
by A.A. Neale
The maudlin sentiment gets spoken and written here and there among my good brethren.
They ask, Where are the spiritual giants of yesterday? Who will replace people like Cline Paden, Reuel Lemmons, Johnny Ramsey, and Batsell Barrett Baxter?
The names of the giants, obviously, vary with the worrier and his acquaintances.
I suppose I miss as much as anybody many of the spiritual giants who are passing from the scene. And there have been plenty of them.
Many of those I would name you’d not recognize. They don’t appear in the brotherhood eye. I’m tempted to name a few, but that would defeat my purpose.
Now just because we don’t see the well-known giants on the horizon doesn’t mean they’re not there. Maybe we’ll recognize them as such in another 30 or 40 years.
But as much as I respect and give thanks for the marvelous lives of the men named above and for those I would add to the list, let’s remember that our Lord has his own list of spiritual giants.
We know the Lord looks on the heart. We know that only the all-knowing God sees the final results of a life. We know all that.
But we can often forget it.
The real spiritual giants may be people few of us know.
One of them might be you.
But let’s not mourn the passing of spiritual giants and fret over the failure of more appearing to fill the shoes of those passing from the scene.
God gives every single one of us the same opportunity of heroic service in this world, of a gigantic place in his kingdom.
Instead of wailing there are none, let’s hitch up our pants and be one.
“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great”
(Psalm 18:35 NKJV).
With God’s power, the meek and humble can be a spiritual giant. There need be no shortage, ever, of their kind.
Continue reading “Where Are the Spiritual Giants?”
General Dwight Eisenhower said, “There are no victories at discount prices.” Churches and Christians win no spiritual victories at discount prices, either. Churches like to cut corners. Go the easy route. Play up the audience. Cater to the common denominator. They may gather crowds, but the victory slips through their fingers. Another discount price is to be happy with what we’ve got. Don’t rock the boat. Take it long and slow. Claim nobody wants to hear the Truth (with a capital “T”). In such places, a ten-year-old Christian is still considered a recent convert. No victory there. Christians, too, pursue … Continue reading Discount Victories
Places mean much to us. Where we were born. Where we got married. The first house we lived in as newlyweds. Where we were baptized. Where we had our first job. Places of memories, of special moments, of important connections between people. When the Jews sought to seize Jesus, he escaped from them to a special place. “And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed” (John 10:40, NKJV). This rugged, isolated place would have made it harder for the authorities to grab our Lord. And in these … Continue reading There
Medical students in the U.S. must now take another test to get their licence to practice medicine. The National Board of Medical Examiners is giving the would-be doctors six chances to prove they have good bedside manners. The students are negotiating for ten. (Just kidding!) As a professional class, doctors are lousy listeners. Maybe they’re just reflecting the general population, but when I spill my litany of bodily ills, I want a doctor to be all ears. I hail this move by the national board because too many doctors act like they are God and already know what you’re problem … Continue reading Better Bedside Manners