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The Origin of Father's Day

    In 1911 Anna Jarvis achieved her dream of a national day honoring Mothers. But decades would pass before fathers would be so honored. The state of Washington was the first to have a Father’s Day, thanks to Sonora Dodd whose own father, Civil War veteran and widower William Jackson Smart, reared six children as a single-parent (history.com). While Dodd pushed for June 5, 1910, her father's birthday, she was content when Gov. M.E. Hay designated July 19, 1910 as the first Father's Day (history.com).
    This spawned national efforts to establish a Father's Day with advocates like William Jennings Bryan and presidents Wilson, Coolidge and Lyndon Johnson. However, an all-male Congress was hesitant, fearing that if they passed such a resolution it would appear to be self-serving. So Father's Day had no official, national observations until 1971 when President Richard Nixon appointed the third Sunday of each June as Father's Day. On that day, at the age of 90, Sonora …

Absentee Fathers

    The father's image may have been reflected in Timothy's face and build.  His mannerisms may have been mimicked by his young son. He may have given his name to the boy who so quickly grew to manhood. It doesn't take much of a man to give those things.
    Eunice taught Timothy how to live (2 Tim. 1:5). She introduced him to a loving God and molded his heart by divine truths (2 Tim. 3:15). At her knees he learned right from wrong, to respect God and to serve others.
    Timothy grew, thanks to his mother, to be respected by all who knew him (Acts 16:1-2). Paul saw in him the spark of a servant kindled under a mother's loving touch.
    Meanwhile Timothy's father is noticeably absent. It is as if his contributions ended at birth. Could his father appreciate the man Timothy had become? Was this man, shrouded in a world Timothy chose not to share, the one who planted in Timothy the fear that would dog his every step as an adult (1 Tim. 5:12)?
    Timothy is an object le…

What is a Dord?

    The second edition of Merriam-Webster New International Dictionary (1934) included an entry for the word "dord," which was defined as a synonym for density. The problem, however, is that the word "dord" wasn't really a word. How could such a thing happen? The answer seems to be a misplaced note card on which an editor requested that an abbreviation, "d" for the word "density," be inserted for the next edition. Somehow, that card marked "D or d, cont/ density" was mistaken by the next editor as new word. It remained in the popular dictionary for five years before finally being removed (www.snopes.com).
    Words are powerful. They can break one’s spirit and uplift the broken hearted. Words can incite anger and reconcile estranged friends. A thoughtless word can easily offend while a tender, sensitive word can endear. They can be infused with emotions, whether for good or ill.
    The gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ, i…

Built Together

Read Ephesians 2:22
     Thanks to missionaries Ryan and Sarah (of Warners Chapel congregation) Davis, many of us in the Carolinas have become more familiar with the history and beauty of Cusco, Peru. One of the city’s attractions showcases the area's Inca history: Hatunrumiyoc. Here tourists marvel at the precision of carefully cut stones built into a wall. Perhaps most famous is a twelve-sided, twelve-angle stone. The irregularly shaped stones making up this wall are so perfectly fitted together that "it is not possible to push a pin or a piece of paper between the stones" (theonlyperuguide.com).
    When you consider the ancient craftsmanship it took to build such an amazing wall, you will be reminded of the even more amazing skill in which God as, over the intervening centuries, places the living stones into Christ’s church (1 Corinthians 12:18). In Paul's letter to the Ephesians you can see this great spiritual wall from this perspective (Ephesians 2:19-22). Here …

History Repeats

    Déjà vu, French for "already seen," refers to the feeling that a situation you are currently experiencing has already been experienced in the past. It is a strange feeling of our memory playing a trick on us. But on the larger scale of world history it has been long observed that history repeats itself. The names and places may change, but the parallels to the past experiences of history replay themselves in the lives of generations to come. As George Santayan, a Spanish-American author, famously observed: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
    That statement by itself has a feeling of déjà vu, we've heard it before. The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw observed, "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history” and poet Lord Byron observed, “History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page.” But all of these reflect the far older, inspired truth of wise King Solomon, "That which has been is what wil…

Deacons as Not Doubled Tongued

Read: 1 Timothy 3:8    The following entry is found in a book entitled Epitaphiana: "Sir John Strange / Here lies an honest lawyer, / And that is Strange" (archive.org). I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but there was a popular British lawyer in the 1700’s with whom such an epitaph has been associated.
     When Paul began outlining the spiritual qualifications for deacons he demanded that they be honest. To be "double-tongued" is to adjust the truthfulness of their speech to the conclusions held by their hearers. They are like the dishonorable listeners in 2 Timothy 4:3 who, "because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers." Preachers and teachers can be just as guilty by saying what any given audience "wants" to hear rather than what they "need" to hear. Such fast and loose handling of God's word should have no place in the life of a Christian. Therefore, those working with a deacon and those whom a deac…

Thank God For Mothers!

    Cries of anguish filled the throne room of Heaven. God's chosen nation languished in severe bondage, oppressed by the merciless brutality of Egypt. Heaven rang with cries of confusion at the silence and apparent apathy of God. Cries of desperation in the face of seemingly forgotten promises of deliverance echoed about the Creator.
    The time was right for God to change the world. A child was to be born, sheltered and nurtured to step into the vacant leadership role and bring forth the Hebrew nation. But before that child could be sent, another had to come, a kind, caring soul equipped to bring about the marvelous scheme of Heaven. God sent first Jochebed, a mother.
    Later cries of anticipation filled the throne room of God as the world languished in deadly bondage to sin. These were cries of hope that God would act by bringing forth the long-awaited Savior. Israel anticipated the Messiah that God had promised. Their cries of exultation, prompted by the knowledge of those wo…