Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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Pursuing Righteousness and Kindness

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21

What Smokey & the Bandit Taught Me About Kindness

Righteousness and Kindness

The greatest movie of 1977 was Smokey and the Bandit. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees with me! I know Rocky won the Academy Award for best picture that year, but think about it. Rocky lost his fight at the end (sorry if this is a spoiler, but the movie is 44 years old, so that’s kind of on you). But, on the other hand, Bandit actually completed his mission and did what they said couldn’t be done.

Also, the theme song to Smokey and the Bandit is a lot catchier than Rocky. When you sing the Rocky theme, you just go “duh duh du-du-duh du-du-du-du-du-duhhhh.” Nothing tops Eastbound and Down by Jerry Reed.

I think I’ve made my case.

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Let There Be Hospitality

Let There Be Hospitality

In the Beginning . . .

Hospitality

There is an old, well-worn, and often repeated poem by James Weldon Johnson titled “The Creation.” Written in the style of an old African American sermon, the poem retells the first chapter of Genesis from God’s perspective. The poem begins, “And God stepped out onto space, and he looked around and said, ‘I’m lonely. I’ll make me a world.’” After surveying the creation of the sun, moon, stars, plants, and animals, God looks at the world he has created and pronounces, “I’m lonely still.”

It’s then that Johnson draws God into himself. “Then God sat down on the side of a hill where he could think. By a deep, wide river, he sat down with his head in his hands. God thought and thought until he thought, ‘I’ll make me a man!’”

My theology tells me that God is self-sufficient; my understanding of the nature and being of God tells me that he lacks nothing and needs for nothing. And yet, I love this sermon for what it teaches us about ourselves. Somewhere within the image of God locked inside each of us is the cry, “I’m lonely.” Created in his image together, our heart’s longing is for companionship. Unlike our Creator, we are not self-sufficient, and we only find our completion in relationship with one another.

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Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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Laughter is the Best Medicine

Have You Laughed Today?

Laughter is the best medicine

“Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.” – from the article, Laughter is the Best Medicine

If you’re like me, you probably already knew the truth of that article from Reader’s Digest, but the healing power of laughter is also found in the Bible! Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Let There Be Laughter

God created laughter, and he created us to laugh. Verses like Proverbs 31:25 speak of those who have faith to laugh, rather than worry, at times to come. Psalm 126:2 responds to the mighty works of God with mouths filled with laughter and tongues with shouts of joy. Jesus even promised in Luke 6:21, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Laughter and faith seem to go hand-in-hand.

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Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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The Crucible is for Silver: Life is a Test

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and the Lord tests hearts.
Proverbs 17:3

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and a man is tested by his praise.
Proverbs 27:21

God Takes the Heat with You

There’s an old story that many preachers have told about a ladies’ Bible study that was confused about Malachi 3:3, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” As luck would have it, one of the ladies knew a silversmith and asked if the class could come to observe the process.

Preacher note: I’ve heard this illustration many times and told in various ways. I’m pretty sure my first hearing was from Chuck Swindoll. There, it involved a ladies’ Bible study, but this version I found online made no such distinction.

Crucible

Watching the craftsman at his work, he explained that he must sit at the crucible the whole time the silver is heated. He also must keep the silver in the very center of the heat to purify it.

One of the class members asked how he knew when the silver was pure. The silversmith replied, “That’s easy. I know it’s pure when I see my reflection in it.”

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Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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Iron Sharpens Iron: A Biblical Call to Friendship

Friendship is a Holy Calling

Friendship

One of my dearest friends is a person I have known since our childhood. Another is with a person who passed me in the hallway at college wearing a t-shirt advertising a band we both liked. One of my most defining friendships is with a man who happened to preach down the road from me 30+ years ago.

Most of our friendships are the result of proximity and mutual interests, but there’s more to it than that, isn’t there? We recognize a connection in our spirits that goes beyond ourselves. There is an understanding that God has brought us together.

Friendship is a holy calling.

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