Lenten Thoughts: Noseblowers

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My grandson was trying to get my husband to give him all his bandana handkerchiefs to play with, but he didn’t have the correct name for the item in his very extensive three year old vocabulary. He started up the stairs to retrieve them by himself when he decided to enlist my help to get the “noseblowers.” We couldn’t help but laugh.

He called the item by its function. Makes pretty good sense. We find all kinds of reasons to identify things and describe stuff. In the very early recounting of Creation, Adam is given the daunting task of naming all the animals. I sure would like to know how he came up with hippopotamus.

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My mother swears I created the word “humongus.” (She thinks I’m so creative and that’s one bubble I chose not to burst.) But since then we’ve come up with ginormous, absatively, and oppersponsities. (My spell checker is giving me fits right now—I’m afraid I may run out of red ink.)

Making up words is obviously not a new thing. When I studied New Testament Greek, I was always looking for the 1-1 words. These were words that were used one time by one writer. They were unique and purposely place to catch our attention. They were words “coined” or used by that writer to express something new or different, or something old in a new way. Now when you think of this, it makes a lot of sense since everything was new since Jesus.

Paul was especially good at these word creations. He would be trying to describe the enormity of God, or his love, or our responsibility and he would just start shoving words together to emphasize the “gigundousness.” Paul was pretty intense about his faith. He wanted everyone to get it. And he used and created words to create interest and attention—and believers.

“Noseblowers” caught our attention and we laughed. Grandson loved the attention and we played with handkerchiefs for over an hour. Even through the games and laughter I found myself thinking about the words I use. In Paul’s instructions to young Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), the first thing listed for setting the example is in speech. God spoke and the world came into being. Words carry a lot of power.

We can have a lot of fun with words. We can also do a lot of damage. What will your words do today?

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Rebuilding with Nehemiah, Chapter 5, Day 6

Saturday: Nehemiah, The Sharing Leader

Text: Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. (Nehemiah 5:17-18, NIV)

WP Neh dev 5-6 integrity

Teach: The world is looking for leaders with the integrity to live what they believe. It would have been easy for Nehemiah to tell others what to do, after all, he was the governor. He came with the endorsement of the king. All too often we see that power results in corruption. Nehemiah was different. He was the kind of leader who set the example. He asks no more of his people than he was willing to give.

WP Neh dev 5-6 set the example

Take: Timothy was a young pastor of an influential church. It would have been easy to be intimidated. Paul encouraged his young friend by reminding him: Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12) In essence, don’t be swayed, be the example.

Task: Paul was aware of the pressure to conform to the world. He told the Romans that they weren’t to let the world squeeze them into its mold, but instead be transformed by the renewing of their minds (see Romans 12:1). Seek God’s guidance to be the kind of believer who sets the example of godliness.