Christian action verbs make for good study series

Our little project of studying Christian action verbs is close to the half-way point. There’ll be 52 of them, in all. I hope to use it this next year, so I’m writing them up and publishing them to the Brazilian devotional site. Some of them are getting translated for “Walking with God.” Today’s is entitled, “Action: Judge.”

The format of the 3×5 index card is such an interesting one that a number of our projects are put in it, including this one. So one has to write with brevity and make every word count.

The emphasis of this project comes from such passages as Mt 7.21, words of our Lord Jesus in the sermon on the mount, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (NET). So what does this doing of the Father’s will look like? We take a look at that.

¶ The active apostle Paul talks about changing plans in 2 Corinthians 1.12-24. Plans were made and changed in order to benefit most the mission of God and the new converts. The yes and no of human standards are quite familiar to us, v. 17, because they change according to preference and self-interest. The plotting of travel for maximum spiritual benefit, however, is in another league altogether.

What kind of plans are you making for 2016?

¶ They say that residents of Buenos Aires bathe several times a day, since they pay a tiny water bill, supplied as they are by the large bay of the Rio de la Plata. Yesterday, for me, was a three-shower day, so hot it was, in our tropical summertime, as I was out and about doing several chores. Just wait until January, when the real heat gets cranked up!

¶ Brazilian dentistry is on a par with its American cousin, much as plastic surgery. (The latter is hearsay on my part, not from experience.) So it wasn’t surprising that The Maiden wanted to have her wisdom teeth removed while home on Christmas holiday. So many advantages! First, she has Mom to take care of her. And the cost is less than American prices.

The normal price for impacted wisdom tooth extraction, says our dentist, is R$300. The dollar is nearly 4/1, so that’s US$75. Times four teeth. Our dentist is a former next-door neighbor and a good friend; he gave us a very special discount. I’m embarrassed to say how much, and asked him to reconsider. Yup, I did.

The Maiden is doing quite well in her recovery, thanks for asking.

¶ On the other hand, buy most any electronic or manufactured item around here, and pay more for less quality. We’re hanging on to a 31-year-old washing machine, with its metal body and ceramic finish, to avoid purchasing a piece of electronic plastic made to wear out in 3-5 years.

Such are the advantages and disadvantages of living abroad.

¶ People sometimes ask us which is better, Brazil or the US. (Have I told you this before? I hate repeating myself.) Each has good things and bad, so one has to be grateful for the good, and not concentrate on the bad.

Beyond that, when one works in the gospel, it’s never a question of which place comes out best in the good column, but of where the work of God has the greatest need.

¶ Translation is often a challenge. When translating into English the action verb contentar-se, I had to go with the insipid “be content.” The Portuguese verb is more direct.

The verb “content” does exist, used, it would seem, with the construction, “content oneself with.” It often appears to carry the idea of settling for less than the ideal or having to accept one thing because another is beyond one’s ability or grasp. See how often you’ll see a phrase like this: “You’ll just have to content yourself with …” Not a positive sense, at all.

¶ How serious is tinkering with God’s word? Agur thought, by inspiration of the Spirit, that it was a grievous error. “Do not add to his words, lest he reprove you, and prove you to be a liar” Prov 30.6. God will show you to be the liar that you are when you add to his words. If we do this, more than our pants will be on fire, Rev 21.8.


#corollaries, #missions, #plans, #translation