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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



It is as if I suddenly woke up and noticed that the summer is half over. This week two of my favorite people share a birthday, granted both are still stuck at 29 but when you are counting after that age it all kind of just flows together.

Both are strong Christian women who have influenced my life in one way or the other. The first gave me life, and in her own way taught me to be a man. She raised me right, although it may have never seemed quite perfect, especially when she was yelling at me at 3 a.m. when I was trying to finish a 4-H project the night before county fair. She taught me to be honest, to work hard, and to be independent: perhaps just a little too independent, teaching me how to cook, do my own laundry and to sew. I’ve watched her struggle over the years and watched her change from Mom into Grandma, which in all honesty seems to be where she really excels. She taught me not to hate camping too much, and that if you have failed, you get back up and you work your way out of it.

The other has given me nearly twenty years of friendship and is a constant source of good advice and a friendly voice. We’ve shared both good and bad times together and have learned in our own way that sometimes it is best to “Be Still” and to listen to the voice that is guiding us through our lives. I’ve learned from her that there is a proper way to use the phrase “wicked” and that I’d probably starve if I had to add more seafood to my diet. I’ve also learned from her that our lives are like rocks thrown into a pool of water and that the waves that emit from us entering the water affect the lives of many people around us, even when we aren’t aware of what our actions can lead to.

I was sitting on the porch the other night watching the sun go down over the corn field across from what is left of the construction equipment that obscured my view and picked up the Bible to do a little reading. I was drawn to Ephesians 5 and these verses which should be handed down from every parent to a child and from every friend to another. Clip them out and pass them along to someone you know who is continuing to grow and be that ripple in the pond of life. Happy birthday you two and see you next week….remember, we’re all in this together.

Follow God’s Example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father. Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, for Christ’s love for you was like sweet perfume to him.

Let there be no sex, sin, impurity or greed among you. Let no one be able to accuse you of any such thing. Dirty stories, foul talk and coarse jokes- these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God’s goodness and be thankful.

You can be sure of this: The kingdom of Christ and of God will never belong to anyone who is impure or greedy, for a greedy person is really an idol worshiper- he loves and worships the good things of this life more than God. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible wrath of God is upon all those who do them. Don’t even associate with such people. For though once your heart was full of darkness, now it is full of light of the Lord, and your behavior should show it! Because of this light within you, you should do only what is good and right and true.

Learn as you go along what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them. It would be shameful even to mention here those pleasures of darkness which the ungodly do. But when you expose them, the light shines in upon their sin and shows it up, and when they see how wrong they really are, some of them may even become children of the light! That is why God says in the Scriptures, “Awake, O sleeper, and rise up from the dead; and Christ shall give you light.”

So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to find out and do whatever the Lord wants you to. Don’t drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead by the Holy Spirit, and controlled by him.

Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks for everything to God our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5 1-20