Monthly Archives: August 2017

“Bet You Can’t Make It”

The challenge came from my younger brother.  “Bet you can’t walk it all the way around.”

Now, I’ll say at the onset that I’m not particularly competitive.  Usually, the type of dare he would give me wouldn’t even cause me to think twice.  But, this one was different.  It was a little bit more than intriguing.  Could I actually make it all the way around, I thought.

He was referring to the top rail of a five rail fence that surrounded the corral where our dairy cows jostled, pushed and shoved each other around in order to be the next in line to find relief in the milking parlor.  That fence was five and a half feet high and stretched over two hundred feet in total length and width.  Half that length was a cinch, I mused.  The top rail of that section was a new addition to the paddock and sported a top rail constructed from used ‘bridge plank’; the kind of board that was ten inches wide and three inches thick.  Laid on edge, it provided easy footing for the feet of a young lad wanting to pluck his suspenders and boast of an easy walk around.  But, the other half of the fence was different.

The remaining part of the fence, the older part, consisted of six inch creosoted posts spaced eight feet apart and 1×6 top rails that were only 3/4 inch thick.  Combined with a total board length of eight feet, those top boards provided an ‘interesting’ wobble for the feet of those boys who wanted to walk across the top of them and, let’s say, show off a little.

Humility/reality requires that I admit to failure…my first try.  Once outdone by the fence, I became determined to ‘master’ it.  If memory serves me right, it took ten tries before I successfully navigated the entire length.  By the time victory was mine, success was experienced most every ‘trip up’ until finally, I could walk the top board all the way around anytime I tried.  Oh, the thrill of victory.

Now you may be wondering what in the world this has to do with spiritual matters.  Well, simply this.  In 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, the Apostle Paul urges his readers to ‘widen your hearts also [for me]’.

In Corinth, Paul had a few antagonists. Some questioned his Apostleship.  Some didn’t like the sounds of his admonitions.  Others liked OTHER church workers better.  All in all, the relationships were somewhat strained.  This was disconcerting to Paul, who often pleaded for unity and mutual cooperation among church brethren.  Philippians 4:2 and following for example.

His inspired solution to the dilemma was to appeal to the Corinthians to ‘widen their hearts so relationships could more easily develop without the risk of failure’.  Church health increases where love is ‘broad enough’ to insure a successful balance of all the natural differences in believer’s spiritual gifts and personalities.

God doesn’t intend that we all be alike.  But, He prefers that our love be broad enough to accommodate all the unique Godly differences of people in relationship together and provide each one with the security to walk in Christ without fear of rejection or retaliation.  It is so  much better for the church to ‘widen its hearts to each other’ so everyone can securely walk together in Christ and so the world can tell that we are God’s children.

Let’s widen our hearts.

The Tale of the Tape

I was anxious to go down and look this morning.  Recently, I had begun to tape and mud seams and corners on the drywall we installed in a basement room we are finishing.  All the corners and seams were put in place.  And last night I put the first coat of mud over them.

This is a somewhat routine part of the process, with one caveat.  If, by chance, the corner beads were not sealed correctly, the new mud will pull at the edges of them and create ‘bubbles’ where any part of them is loose.

I wondered how many spots were not sealed correctly that now would need to be redone.  To my pleasure, only one small spot, a bubble six inches in length and a fourth of an inch wide, needed attention.  I’ll just need to take a razor knife, cut underneath it, press it back down and let it dry.  Once dry, I’ll put a coat of mud over it and if it sticks okay I’ll sand the seams and apply the next coat of mud.

The key to my relief this time was taking care to apply an adequate coat of join compound underneath the seams/corners, firmly press them down and trowel away excess mud.  This process will be repeated at least two more times before we can begin to sand, finish and paint the surfaces.  Hopefully, by the end of the first weekend in September, I’ll be looking at an adequate finish job.  I see why not everyone wants to do this job and why those who do, get paid well.

In a way, this process reminds me of ‘sanctification’ God takes me through in my spiritual life.  As the Lord leads us along, He draws us into deeper and deeper relationship with Him.  His desire is that we press into Him ever more firmly each day.  He knows that a day in the future will dawn with the advent of a circumstance that will tug and pull at us and threaten the strength of safety of a life secure in Him.  If not, then He will help us cut away those things that are inadequately secured and redo the process.  He’ll repeat this as many times as needed until all holds strong in the face of stretching pressure.

In a way, I wonder if this common natural event is a fit example of the process God describes in 1 Peter 5:10.  There He says,

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace…will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Let’s resolve to press into Him today.