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Archive for April, 2013

I recently stumbled onto a letter my dad had written to me back in the fall of 1963. He had filled it with miscellaneous tidbits of information about things taking place at home. Towards the bottom of the first page I came to this:

"Ironing shirts is not easy for me. I work real hard at it. Either of my boys can do much better. But a while back I saw how behind my spouse was with the ironing, so I decided I would help by ironing my own shirts, thereby releasing her to spend a little more time at her story assignments, in which she was behind considerably.

"These are the white shirts and light-colored shirts I wear in the post office with the sleeves rolled up and the tails tucked in. When I ironed them I did it with a minimum of effort. Like said, it was for me hard work.

"Well, you should have heard the sputtering and the fuming that went on later.’Alec! What have you done to these shirts?’

"Mom was really fit to be tied. ‘What will people think of me? What if someone would come in and look at these? A whole closet full of clean shirts, with the sleeves and the tails as wrinkled as can be!’

So after that, I iron a clean shirt just before I put it on–tucking in the tail and rolling up the sleeves at once."

Apparently my dad had determined that the most efficient way to iron his shirts was to exclude those portions of each shirt that were out of sight to the public. He didn’t iron the portion tucked into his pants or that portion of each sleeve hidden, when rolled up. Problem was, Dad hadn’t counted on my Mother finding his partially ironed shirt.

In The Message paraphrase of the Bible, in Luke 18, there is an account of a woman who caused a man to change his ways. Not quite in the same context as my Dad experienced with my Mother, but……well, read this:

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’

“He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’” (Luke 18:1-5, The Message)

My Mother apparently influenced my Dad to change his ways, quickly. It took the widow a little longer from what we see in this account from Luke. But I am reminded that all of us can go to our Heavenly Father with our concerns, needs or requests, and He listens to us. And many times we see Him answer our prayers! It may be in just the way we had hoped. It may be in ways we never would have imagined. Or it might be a gentle "No," when God knows better than we do what is best.

Prayer: Father, thank you for providing us with examples in your Word that encourage us to bring our needs and concerns to You. Thank You, for always listening to us and for answering us. Yes, thank You! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

 

Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group."

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IRONING

When I was a young boy growing up with the stress of having a younger brother and an older sister in the same household, my parents made a regular habit of assigning various chores to do around the place. I was certain I was regularly assigned all the more difficult tasks, for two reasons. My older sister was just too busy with school activities and helping out with other chores around the house, and my younger bother, I mean brother, was just too young to be doing all the hard stuff. It seemed like he was too young, till I finally left home! My parents just seemed to have a hard time seeing through him, that’s all.

In any case, there was one chore that was kind of a double-edge sword. I hated it, but my parents had found a way to make it more appealing by applying a case reward to the task. Ironing. Yes, ironing. Like with an electric iron and an ironing board.

You see, we always seemed to go through a lot of clothing at our house that needed ironing. And this was long before anyone had dreamed up such a thing as “permanent press,” or tags inside of clothing that said “No ironing needed.” Nope. Nearly every piece of clothing needed ironed. At least every piece that was open to public view.

But my parents had determined that ironing was a chore my brother and I could handle, and to make it seem a little more enticing, they would pay us to do it. Not much, nor was it an hourly wage. We would get paid by the piece. As I remember, a pair of my dad’s slacks was worth .15 cents, and one of my mother’s Sunday dresses was .20 cents. Those were a real pain and took far too much time.

We made .10 cents for each shirt we completed, whether it was a short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirt (something about that just didn’t seem fair but my parents would not bend on that rule). Handkerchiefs were worth a penny each. There may have been other articles of clothing that we received different amounts for ironing, but I don’t recall what they were.

Ironing in our home, though I am sure the miserable task must have broken many child labor laws, was actually a pretty decent income earner for my brother and me. I mean, if you really went to town on it you could iron 10 shirts in an hour and walk away with a dollar bill. That almost made life worth living!

In the New Testament, in Hebrews 11:1-2, there is a comment about life being worth living, even though I must admit that it is not quite in the same context as my brother and I might have seen it. Here is what those two verses say: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.”

Chapters 11 and 12, of the Book of Hebrews, are two of my favorites from the Bible. If you haven’t taken time to read them lately, why not take 10 minutes or so, grab a pen, and read through those two chapters, underlining the word “faith” each time it is used. You will come away encouraged! And there is no ironing involved!

Prayer: Father, thank you for the multitudes of faithful men and women who have walked this journey through life ahead of us, walking hand-in-hand with You. Help me remember their example during the difficult times I am confronted with. Help me to remember I can trust You. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

By the way, I know that I sometimes paint a somewhat negative image of my siblings, but they actually turned out pretty decent once they were grown up!

Pastor Bill

 

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights

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Live your life in such a way that you always do what you already know you should do!

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