Faith, Observations

Lessons Love Taught Me


The old man sat on the swing under the large sycamore tree. It was his little slice of heaven, his place to sit and watch, to see what else nature could teach him. Ancient and strong, the sycamore’s branches stretched far and wide, shading a very large portion of his back yard. Sunlight filtered green and golden through the giant leaves that sheltered all that sat in her shadow. Years ago, he had hung that porch swing on the low, horizontal branch, itself large enough to be a tree trunk for a smaller tree. Just like that old tree, my grandfather was ancient and strong.

Grandpa Perkins had been a woodsman most of his life. Felling timbers for International Paper in Sarepta, Louisiana, he had worked hard all his life. When he had grown too old to be a woodsman, International Paper had him spend the last years of his work life cleaning out the chimney stacks at the mill. That was just as hard, and even more dangerous. There were no real “Safety” regulations back then. Safety meant getting the hell out of the way before a block of ash fell on your head because you jarred it loose cleaning the stacks. He had grown up in a hard world, and learned the ways of the woodlands, and earned his keep off that woodland. Even as an old man, he looked to me to be strong enough to snap two by fours with his hands.

Momma told me to wait until after grandpa had his coffee before I pester him. So, I stood at the back door, looking out the screen, waiting for him to put his cup down, signaling he will be receiving an audience. Grandpa had an old border collie, named “Pup”. That old dog stood guard while Grandpa drank his coffee. When he heard the cup settle down next to the old swing, he would turn and wag his tail at Grandpa, and receive a good scratching between the ears for being a good dog. Pup growled low at most people who came up, but he treated me like I was his best friend.

Momma told me not to go out there and talk Grandpa’s ears off. So, I walked out there quiet as a church mouse, and, after giving Pup a good solid hug, I crawled slowly and quietly in to that old porch swing and just sat there, as silent as a tomb. Grandpa, Pup, and I would sit like that for the longest time. No one moved. There was no talking. The only sound we heard were the sound of cicadas or a slight breeze jostling the leaves on his prize “Cane Pole Garden”, and the chickens clucking in the yard. There was hardly any reason for us to chat. Grandpa was a man of few words, but even if he were a chatterbox, it seemed like it wasn’t necessary for us to have to talk. It felt as if all our talking happened through our hearts.

Eventually, Grandpa would turn his tired blue eyes on me, squeeze my knee, and nod. It was the benediction on a long and silent communion we alone had shared. It was time to do the chores.

His property was small for that part of Louisiana, but a poor woodsman could barely feed his family, let alone have a good stretch of land. What he had, he made the most of. He had a garden, he had chickens, and he had his famous cane poles, growing along the fence line. Grandpa grew the strongest and straightest Bamboo Cane Poles in North Louisiana. People came from far and wide just to try to get one. He had over a hundred poles growing at a time, but very few of them passed his standard of what makes a really good cane pole. What other men would accept as passable, Grandpa threw in the fire for kindling. Our first chore was to cover our mouth and noses with damp cloth and cut down some of the Bamboo Canes. Cane fibers would get in your lungs if you didn’t protect your breathing. Those fibers were like tiny spears that could penetrate your lungs. We had to cover up so we wouldn’t inhale them.

After that, he would choose which ones were worthy of being a Grandpa Perkins Fishing Pole, and have me strip all the tiny branches and buds off the pole. I had no idea I was working hard, all I knew was that me and my Grandpa were doing stuff together. I didn’t care, I was happy as a pig in slop just being around Grandpa. He taught me how to keep a really good cutting blade and a really good chopping blade. You don’t just go up to Bamboo poles and start hacking away at them. There is a way to cut them down. It is an art, and done right, means less hard work, and more poles to dry and season. I was too small to cut the big poles, so Grandpa had me clear the little bamboo from between the big ones. He said they would never grow to be a good pole, so they had to go. It was my job to make them go away. I felt like a real lumber jack cutting down those poles.

Grandpa was a woodsman, and being a lumberjack was mostly what he did. He taught me how to pick the right axe for the job, how to sharpen the axe, and keep it sharp. Out there, in rural Louisiana, there was no going to Home Depot to get a new axe or axe handle. I still have one of his axes. The one with the home made handle. That handle is better built than any I have used from a factory. Trust me; I have broken many axe handles, except that one. Grandpa taught me several lessons on that. If you want it right, do it yourself. Otherwise, you can’t say a word about it. Protect your tools, and they will feed you.

He showed me the different ways of cutting wood, and what type of strike did the most good for the type of tree you are felling and cutting up. He said that a man has to keep good care of his axes and saws because they took care of him. Besides, dull and badly kept blades made for twice as much work for half the pay. I had no idea what that meant at the time; I was just overjoyed to be around him, and him letting me inside his world.

Grandpa was known for being an outstanding fisherman. Louisiana is “Fisherman’s Paradise”, and Grandpa was famous for knowing all the hidey holes where all the good fish were. It was his secret, shared with no one else but me and my big sister, Carol. We would go out while it was still dark. I was little, so Grandpa already had the boat hooked up to his old Ford truck, and warmed up. He sat me in the passenger’s side and I fell back to sleep. The next thing I know, we are at Bodcau Bayou, near Minden, Louisiana. After swearing me to secrecy, we would launch our john-boat out to those hidey holes. Grandpa taught me how to hold a pole and how to “hear” the fish through the line. He showed me how to set bait, how to cut bait, and what to do when I catch a fish. Catching the fish was the fun part. Cleaning it was another. But Grandpa taught me that God gave us fish so we can catch them, eat and enjoy them, and be happy. Grandpa was very happy about fish.

I didn’t set out to learn how to make fishing poles, or cut timber, or catch fish, or sharpen axes and blades. All I wanted to do was hang out with Grandpa because I loved him so much. Learning how he does things was a byproduct of that relationship. He loved me very much, and gave me good things; simply because I thought he was more important than all the fish in Louisiana.


Seeking the kingdom of God…and all these things.


God brought all this to my remembrance yesterday. I cried happy tears at all those sweet memories. To this day, I still do those thing he did because I loved being with him, and he was a good and gentle teacher. That is the message God is trying to get through our sheepish skulls. Do you love God for all the stuff he will give you, or do you just love God, and want to be with Him? Sandy and I are facing some challenges in our life, right now, and we have been praying our hearts out over them. That is when the lessons my Grandfather taught came to my mind. I never asked Grandpa for anything, I just wanted to be near him and love him.

Am I to the point where that is why I want to be with God, or do I want to be with God because I want stuff from Him? Either way you go, God will be there with you. The difference is, if you hang out with Him simply because you love Him, all the rest of the things you seek will simply happen as a consequence of His love for you. In the meantime, He will help you grow up to be just like His beloved Son, Jesus. After all, it was Jesus who introduced you to God.

Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. Seek Him and His kingdom (Which happens to dwell in you already), and ALL these things will be added to you. You will be just like Jesus then. You might be the only Jesus people meet before they die.


Grandpa Perkins, with my Big Sister, 1952




Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15 KJV 

I almost titled this “War Of The Words”.  If you are here for some homiletic inspiration, you will be disappointed.  This is a class room, today.

A long time ago, I worked for an engineer who is from Cambridge, England.  We discovered that it was not the Atlantic that divided us, it was our common language.  Tom lacked a fully developed comprehension of North Louisiana colloquialisms.  Sometimes, the results of us both using the same exact words in the same exact sentences led to completely opposite results.

I also had a friend, at that time, who was from North Beirut.  He was working very hard to understand Louisianian.  In those parts of Louisiana, if you wanted someone to roll down a car window, you would say, “Hey, crack the window.”  Both Tom and my friend from Lebanon had a bit of turmoil when I would say, “Crack the window”.   My Lebanese friend would ask, “Why cracking the window?  It is perfectly good!”  And he would stare at me as if I had lost my mind.  So, I would use common English and say, OK, ROLL down the window.”  Again, he would stare at me as if I had just grown an extra head.  He would say, frantically with frustration, “Window is GLASS, Dawid, one cannot roll glass like it is a sheet!”   My Lebanese buddy was a near genius, he had a 4.o in college, had earned SEVERAL undergraduate engineering degrees and a couple of Masters degrees in the same amount of time I attempted to make it through ANY type of degree.

Either way, Tom or Lebanese friend, I would go through the illustrative mechanics of rolling down a window, while I highlight the virtue of the Louisiana brevity and colloquial meaning.

After about a year, Tom and I were finally on the same page.  My Lebanese buddy was continuously surprised by words that sound exactly like Lebanese, but were English, and the meanings were vastly different.

Did you know that in India, cow has around 50 + definitions?  It all boils down to how you say it, your inflection, where it lay in the sentence, and the verbs, adverbs and other modifiers that surround it.  You may think you are calling a woman beautiful there, but actually be insulting her in ways that would cost you your life.

Why all this palaver over words?  Because, unless you actually read Koine Greek, and Hebrew, you can get lost over what something means.   The good news is, with all our modern study tools, books, and the internet, you can become aware of what each and every word in the entire Bible means.

I talk to Athiests, Christians, Hebrew, Arabic speaking peoples, people from the Philippines, and parts of Europe.  I have to be very careful that when I say something, I know, in their vernacular, what it is I am actually saying.

One big issue I run in to constantly is a lack of understanding of the word “perfect”.

A good example is ” Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthiew 5:48

By commonly accepted definition, we typically understand that perfect means that it has no flaws, whatsoever.  We also know that NOTHING on this planet, created or constructed is exactly perfect.  Not even the Pyramids, which are off by a very tiny margin of error.  No computer can create anything completely perfect, either.  It can come incredibly close, but at some point, on some level, a flaw can be found.  Genuine perfect means utterly and completely flawless. That is how we understand the word “perfect”.

So, is Jesus telling us to do something that is impossible?  NO.  What is impossible is our understanding of the words that were used to translate the scriptures into something you can actually read.  Unfortunately, translations, transliterations and interpretive bibles are flawed, and inaccurate.  Some can come incredibly close, but still, most languages lack the precision of being able to show mood, intent, flavor, idea and place in a simple word or description.

So, when most translations say Perfect, we think of an unattainable idea and give up.  A friend wrote me and told me that we cannot be perfect, that only God is perfect.  So WE try OUR best.

That simple statement is so inaccurate I can write a book on it.  We cannot do ANYTHING to make our life perfect before God.  Only the Spirit of God working in a submitted heart can work Anything in us.

Because I will be writing on the topics centered around the Lordship of Christ, and how that actually defines what a real Christian actually is, I will have to define terms, on occasion.  This is one of them.

Below is every use of the concept ‘perfect” used in the New Testament.  Read it carefully.  There are scripture references attached to each definition.

One thing I will add:  Any of the qualities of Christ, that we are told to have, always begin when you are saved.  That is the point at which the Spirit of God comes to you to BEGIN something in you.  After that, your growth TOWARD that thing is determined by how well you submit to the will of God.  The reason you weren’t raptured when you were saved is so the rest of this planet can watch you grow in Christ.  That is so that some others may be saved.  You will be the only gospel some people ever see and hear.  We are called to walk like Christ and be just like Jesus.  We also sin.  So, the world will be watching to see how you handle your sin.  Will you repent and grow, or will you try to justify it, or will you try to rationalize your sin to God and others, or will you lie, further betraying your relationship with Jesus.  You cannot do any of this on your own power or will.  Only God can do this in you as you submit to Him.  The third thing that the Character of Christ is, it’s complete before God.  When He sees you, he sees you are covered in the blood of Christ, and he declares you are complete, perfect, and whole.   So, even though, in this world, and on this earth, you are still growing into the character of Christ to the day you die, God already sees you as perfect.  You must keep growing so that your life becomes a living testimony to others about why you are a Christian.

Part of growing up is being able to read the bible for all it is worth.  You have to know what it says, why it says it, and what was really meant when it said it.  The Holy Spirit can lead you to the Bible, but He cannot make you drink deep of it.

Please look at these definitions of “perfect”.  Look up the reference verses.  You will see that your understanding of the word is vastly incomplete when you compare it to what it really means.  And this is only ONE of the many character traits of Christ we are to grow into.  Just remember, you cannot do this on your own power or will.  Only a heart submitted to the Holy Spirit can make these changes in you.



Strong’s Number: g5046

Greek: teleios

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

signifies “having reached its end” (telos), “finished, complete, perfect.” It is used

(I) of persons,

(a) primarily of physical development, then, with ethical import, “fully grown, mature,” 1Cr 2:6; 14:20 (“men;” marg., “of full age”); Eph 4:13;Phl 3:15; Col 1:28; 4:12; in Hbr 5:14, RV, “fullgrown” (marg., “perfect”), AV, “of full age” (marg., “perfect”);

(b) “complete,” conveying the idea of goodness without necessary reference to maturity or what is expressed under (a), Mat 5:48; 19:21; Jam 1:4 (2nd part); 3:2. It is used thus of God in Mat 5:48;

(II) of “things, complete, perfect,” Rom 12:2; 1Cr 13:10 (referring to the complete revelation of God’s will and ways, whether in the completed Scriptures or in the hereafter); Jam 1:4 (of the work of patience); Jam 1:25;1Jo 4:18.



Strong’s Number: g5046

Greek: teleioteros

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

the comparative degree of No. 1, is used in Hbr 9:11, of the very presence of God.



Strong’s Number: g739

Greek: artios

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

is translated “perfect” in 2Ti 3:17: see COMPLETE, B.



Strong’s Number: g5048

Greek: teleioo

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“to bring to an end by completing or perfecting,” is used

(I) of “accomplishing” (see FINISH, FULFILL);

(II) of “bringing to completeness,”

(a) of persons: of Christ’s assured completion of His earthly course, in the accomplishment of the Father’s will, the successive stages culminating in His death, Luk 13:32; Hbr 2:10, to make Him “perfect,” legally and officially, for all that He would be to His people on the ground of His sacrifice; cp. 5:9; 7:28, RV, “perfected” (AV, “consecrated”); of His saints,Jhn 17:23, RV, “perfected” (AV, “made perfect”); Phl 3:12; Hbr 10:14;11:40 (of resurrection glory); 12:23 (of the departed saints); 1Jo 4:18; of former priests (negatively), Hbr 9:9; similarly of Israelites under the Aaronic priesthood, Hbr 10:1;

(b) of things, Hbr 7:19 (of the ineffectiveness of the Law); Jam 2:22 (of faith made “perfect” by works); 1Jo 2:5, of the love of God operating through him who keeps His word; 1Jo 4:12, of the love of God in the case of those who love one another; 1Jo 4:17, of the love of God as “made perfect with” (RV) those who abide in God, giving them to be possessed of the very character of God, by reason of which “as He is, even so are they in this world.”



Strong’s Number: g2005

Greek: epiteleo

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“to bring through to the end” (epi, intensive, in the sense of “fully,” and teleo, “to complete”), is used in the Middle Voice in Gal 3:3, “are ye (now) perfected,” continuous present tense, indicating a process, lit., “are ye now perfecting yourselves;” in 2Cr 7:1, “perfecting (holiness);” in Phl 1:6, RV, “will perfect (it),” AV, “will perform.”



Strong’s Number: g2675

Greek: katartizo

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“to render fit, complete” (artios), “is used of mending nets, Mat 4:21;Mar 1:19, and is translated ‘restore’ in Gal 6:1. It does not necessarily imply, however, that that to which it is applied has been damaged, though it may do so, as in these passages; it signifies, rather, right ordering and arrangement,Hbr 11:3, ‘framed;” it points out the path of progress, as in Mat 21:16;Luk 6:40; cp. 2Cr 13:9; Eph 4:12, where corresponding nouns occur. It indicates the close relationship between character and destiny, Rom 9:22, ‘fitted.’ It expresses the pastor’s desire for the flock, in prayer, Hbr 13:21, and in exhortation, 1Cr 1:10, RV, ‘perfected’ (AV, ‘perfectly joined’); 2Cr 13:11, as well as his conviction of God’s purpose for them, 1Pe 5:10. It is used of the Incarnation of the Word in Hbr 10:5, ‘prepare,’ quoted from Psa 40:6 (Sept.), where it is apparently intended to describe the unique creative act involved in the Virgin Birth, Luk 1:35. In 1Th 3:10 it means to supply what is necessary, as the succeeding words show.”*
[* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, p. 101.]
See FIT, B, No. 3.

Note: Cp. exartizo, rendered “furnished completely,” in 2Ti 3:17, RV; seeACCOMPLISH, No. 1.



Strong’s Number: g199

Greek: akribos

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

accurately, is translated “perfectly” in 1Th 5:2, where it suggests that Paul and his companions were careful ministers of the Word.
See ACCURATELY, and see Note (2) below.



Strong’s Number: g197

Greek: akribesteron

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

the comparative degree of No. 1, Act 18:26; 23:15: see CAREFULLY, EXACTLY.



Strong’s Number: g5046

Greek: teleios

Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly:

“perfectly,” is so translated in 1Pe 1:13, RV (AV, “to the end”), of setting one’s hope on coming grace.
See END.


(1) In Rev 3:2, AV, pleroo, “to fulfill,” is translated “perfect” (RV, “fulfilled”).

(2) For the adverb akribos in Luk 1:3, AV, see ACCURATELY; in Act 24:22, AV, see EXACT.

(3) For the noun akribeia in Act 22:3, see MANNER.

Vine, W. E. “Perfect (Adjective and Verb), Perfectly”, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 12 Jul 2013.