A Soft Word

Proverbs 15:1-4
​A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

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In days of old Kings had retainers who were supposed to act as a filter since most of the government resided in the King himself.

He was the head of the highest court, head-of-state, the treasurer worked directly for him and the coffers were his to use as he saw fit.

He made wars, levied taxes, made laws and lead his armies into battle.

One man cannot accomplish this alone, so they developed loyal men who worked with them to make the government function.
They had no internet, blogs, post office, newspapers or telephones. The only way news travelled was by word of mouth or passed hand to hand in a letter that could only be read by a few since most people, even most Kings were illiterate.

The dependability of a persons’ word was of paramount importance.

That is one of the reasons kings depended upon their retainers being incorruptible. When the men a king relied upon could be bought or were foolish the king could die.
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Today we suffer from “information overload.” Cynics start to expect dishonesty. We no longer recognize a person’s word as worth a life.

Human beings are still the same, however. How many lives have been destroyed by lying words?

Marriages die from falsehoods. Livelihoods are lost from gossip. Bullying words relentlessly hounding young people driving them to wish for death.
Unkind words are still wrong.

We all fail. Foolish talk escapes us all at times. Sincere apologies are the appropriate response. Let us honestly reflect upon and seek to use only words that build one another up. Encourage each other.

Gentle words matter.

Now is still the time to speak love, friends.

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Sweater Weather

imageSweaters, Merriam-Webster lists them as knitted or crochets garments.

The first use of the term comes from the 15th century. That is about the time that knitting first began. Prior to this if you needed some extra warmth you were dependent upon a cape or shawl.

With the development of knitting it first became possible to have a garment that had some stretch. Trying to move your arms and shoulders freely was difficult unless you wore a loose-fitting garment. Conversely, loose-fitting clothing for warmth, like a cape, allows quite a bit of air flow up into the garment decreasing its ability to keep you warm.

In the 21st century we have threads that have stretch and we love materials that have fibers like Lycra and spandex woven into them.

We have the advantage of being able to keep warm and comfortable without considering how for centuries those were mutually exclusive objectives.

When they first came on the scene a sweater was a marvel of new technology.

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Today a sweater is a symbol of coziness. It resonates as comforting.

Sweaters can be works of art or works of love when they are hand knit. Or they may be called, “ugly” when they are mass-produced gaudy.

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The sweater depends upon who made or purchased it and how they fit the wearer. It is easy to take a sweater for granted. Most of us have drawers full of cardigans and pull-overs with which we keep ourselves warm and comfortable.

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If you are a knitter you know they extent of the labor involved in making a sweater. It does not consist simply in the sheer quantity of the thousands of stitches, but also in the complications involved in shaping the piece to fit the body.

Let it be sufficient for me to say that if you ever happen to be the recipient of a hand-knit sweater you are extraordinarily loved.

imageA completed sweater no matter how poorly made is a masterpiece of hope, plan, labor and hopefully skill.

To knitters who wish to attempt this Everest of knitting, tell the recipient, make sure they like the design and take repeated measurements and fittings throughout the process.

To attempt a surprise is tempting fate and will like result in a complete waste of your time and considerable money.
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A well-made hand-knit sweater will fit the recipient exactly. Unlike ready to wear it is a personal  garment.

Treasure the sweater for the love that it represents, even if you hide the offending item when the maker is not around.

Nothing

WW1 foxholesIt just occurred to me again that this July 28th is the one-hundredth anniversary of the start of World War 1. The “Great War” or “War to End All Wars” was a dark period in history, so much suffering, so much destruction. How much have we learned as a society? For many people in Europe World War 1 was a war that left them with nothing. Their way of life was annihilated. For others life itself was gone and their families and communities could never be the same.

What am I afraid of loosing? What possessions, family, friends, habits, physical abilities, pleasures am I counting as necessary for life? So much of what society took for granted as basic was unraveled in the guns and poison gas of the “Great War”. What am I building my life upon?

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 My life as a Christian should be built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Civilization did not actually end after the smoke cleared on the western front in France. Nothing can really stop God’s love for humanity. Jesus said it on the cross, “It is finished”. Death is defeated. No longer can the devil do his worst to us,because of Easter. Victory belongs to Christ in the end.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus. There really isn’t anything that can destroy my peace if it is really built on Jesus Christ. So much of what I fear, is not really going to destroy me. I can face the future with more hope knowing what the past has taught us. No matter how cataclysmic the circumstance nothing can prevent us from living fully in the love of Christ!

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