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Saturday, July 11, 2009


It has been almost two weeks since I had nose surgery, but the pain continues. I will spare you the details. Perhaps when the doctor removes the stent August 6 the pain will end.

The nose is such a small body part, but when it hurts, the whole body suffers. For example, the nose doesn’t play an integral role in the golf swing, but I am not ready to swing a club yet. I feel too weak to do that. As far as I know, the apostle Paul didn’t have a painful nose, but he understood that the suffering of even a small member of the body causes all the members of the body to suffer (1 Cor.12:26a). Therefore, no hurting Christian should be considered unimportant. Every congregation can show greater concern and care for those who suffer.

A phone call or a visit to a hurting believer may be the perfect prescription for that person’s recovery.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Minnesota Visitors

Jay and April visited us for a couple of days. They retired recently and decided to leave Minnesota for a two-month tour of the West. Gloria and I had never met Jay, but we knew April, although we hadn’t seen her since she was a young girl. Her parents were active members of a church I served as pastor 25 miles east of Rochester, New York. Her older brothers were teens and she was ten in 1964, when Gloria and I moved from New York State to serve a church in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

We enjoyed showing Jay and April some of our Colorado Springs scenery and conversing with them about spiritual matters. We had lots to talk about, and names from the past rolled out of our minds’ archives.

Jay and April’s daughter Danielle and son-in-law Joseph are missionaries to Spain.

In my pastoral ministry, I was involved in the construction of two church buildings, but the constructions that mattered most were those involving families. I don’t believe a pastor has a greater joy than that of seeing the faith taught and caught by succeeding generations. We may build church structures for the future, but we build families for eternity.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So Much for Patient Privacy

During my post-op appointment with the surgeon yesterday, an older couple entered the waiting room and received customary medical forms to complete. They sat near me, and the woman began reading the list of diseases the old fellow was supposed to check off. In the ensuing ten minutes the old fellow responded audibly to each item. and then his wife placed the checkmark at the appropriate place.

So much for patient privacy! I learned the man’s medical history, including how long ago he had been a smoker and how long he had smoked. Perhaps his glaucoma had required his wife’s assistance in reading each medical form to him.

Frankly, I hope I never reach a stage of life in which I have to share my medical history audibly in a doctor’s waiting room or wherever strangers are within earshot. I am too reserved for that.

On the plus side, it is good that a wife can help her husband or vice versa. In the absence of a spouse, a good friend’s support in times of medical challenges can bring practical help and encouragement.

Solomon wisely observed the mutual benefit of a close partnership. He observed: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10). Contrary to the opinion of some, these words do not refer to suspenders but to the beneficial relationship of spouses.

How can you help your spouse or best friend today?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Priorities Matter

Somewhere I read that a woman sued for a divorce on religious grounds. She told her attorney she worshiped money and her husband didn’t have any.

We can enjoy the humor in this story, but it also has a serious side. Some people do worship money and even accompany such worship with sacrifices. They may sacrifice their own health as they work long hours in the pursuit of what they consider the almighty dollar. They may sacrifice their marriage by devoting far more attention to their financial goals than to their spouse. They may sacrifice their children by leaving little or no time for parenting. They may even sacrifice their souls by having greed as their creed and valuing gold above God.

Jesus issued crisp, significant counsel about setting life’s priorities. He taught us to set our hearts on eternal values. Serving God pays eternal dividends, He explained, whereas serving money leads only to irreversible loss (Matthew 6:19–24).

To be sure, the Bible does not condemn wealth. To the contrary, it lauds a number of wealthy men and women for their service to God. Those individuals had their priorities straight. They valued God above money. Like them, we should be good stewards of our money instead of slaves to it.

—An excerpt from The Anchor, Haven Ministries, written by Jim Dyet