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Friday, January 29, 2010

The power of Intergenerational Mentorship 3

Yesterday I wrote about the vagrant disrespect among our culture for our elders. This disrespect carries into our congregations as well. the bible talks numerous times about the value of the older teaching the younger and vice versa, yet how many of us actually do it? How many of us allow someone older in the faith ( not necessarily the color of the hairs on their head) train us in how to be more godly? It wasn't until just recently 9 over the past year and a half) that I started to understand the value. I joined a bible study. The ladies range in age from me the youngest to age 80.  It had soon become a family to me, and I have learned a lot. Now, it would have been easy for me to say because I am a pastors' wife, I don't need to be trained. But, I would have been doing myself a great disservice if I had not joined them in humility looking to be trained. I have joined another one where I am one of the younger members. They like having a " pastor's wife") there and I bring a lot to the table. However, I wouldn't be able to bring the confidence about my knowledge if it were not for the other bible study.
There is definitely some value to being humble enough to " spur one another on toward love and good deeds." If only the churches would encourage their congregation to sharpen each other, it would help change the face of Christianity today. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The power of Intergenerational Mentorship 2

I was watching the tv show " Men of a Certain Age"  the other night and was yet again struck by our severe lack of respect for our elderly. I think we are the only culture that treats our elders in this manner. Other cultures put their elderly in their rightful authoritative place in society in in the younger generations lives. On this episode, Ray Romano's dad was trying to get a job at a hardware store. He was turned down by the store's manager because of the ladder climbing he would have to do and other " heavy lifting" and learning a new computer system. Of course, he had owned his own hardware store for 40 years, but that didn't stop the manager from casting him aside. That is, until one of his customers tries to ask a teenager how to fix his pipes and the teenager relies on the computer and his naivete to guide him. The dad steps in, gives him all he needs to fix his pipes at a low cost, and was hired immediately. 
Why did the man need to show his expertise to get the job? Why don't we rely on the past generations to lead the next generation?
1 John 1:12-14 tells the reader to basically learn from your " fathers" because " They have known Him who was from the beginning" and from the "young men". Likewise, the reader  can learn from " the children" and take from them their new fresh approach to  knowing the Father. 
Perhaps the young manager could take  a lesson from the Father's knowledge in this situation.
Perhaps we can take a lesson from the " fathers" and "young men" in our congregations, too....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are you good soil?

" Matt 13:3-9 says "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear." 
So, are you good soil? Are you allowing the things of this world to choke you out of what God is doing? When we talk about helping our own country before the impoverished countries like haiti, is that good soil? 
In my mind, soil changes. Sometimes I can get choked, other times I produce, still other times I don't hear what God is saying. My goal, however, is to always be good soil.  Where is your root today? Is it grounded in tradition, or on the Word of God?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

God doesn't care about your happiness

697. This is the number of times the word love is used in the Bible- 257 in the New Testament alone. 
56. That's the number the word forgive is used. 
Guess how many times the word happiness is used? 6.
And out of that 6 only 1 time does it refer to our own happiness, the rest were about someone else's happiness.
So, if these are the stats, why do we care more about what makes us happy in the Christian life than about other people's happiness?
John, the disciple closest to Jesus, is said to talk about love more than any other person. In fact, his 3 Epistles's main theme is argued by some to be " Love one another."
Not what I love. Or love me. 
Love one another.
If we claim to be a Christian, and worry more about what makes me happy than about the welfare of others, isn't that a bit hypocritical?
Yet, that's what we get fed, isn't it?
My church. My devotional time. My sin. My personal relationship with jesus.
The best 4 words I have ever read in a book come from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. 
These words encapsulate the whole point of the book. 
The whole point of the Gospel.
They are this:
"It's not about you."

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Dangers of Church Shopping

I just got word from one of the couples in our church that they were not coming back. They suddenly felt that they were not called to our vision. Needless to say, I'm a bit hurt.  This is the 4th person that has done this. Coincidentally, they are all ages 45 and above. I don't know if this is a generational idea or what, but I don't know where discarding the body of Christ, whom you have committed to for the past few months, is biblical. The more research I do on the concept of adoption, the more I realize that if you claim to be a Christian, you have been adopted into Christ's family. Therefore, you have a whole new set of brothers and sisters- the church! God calls us to be in community with one another- Hebrews 11 speaks to that. But, what I don't understand is how someone can just forget about all of the people you have gotten to know, been in fellowship with, prayed with and for, etc. and then leave when you don't like the worship, or the preaching is not your style, without even a word goodbye? It's like saying to your real sibling: " This relationship is too hard, you annoy me too much, I've decided not to be a part of this family anymore." When things are tough, isn't that the best time to be a part of a church body? Furthermore, why do we expect that the church body is supposed to be perfect, when our own families contain their own dysfunction? The consumeristic nature of Christians has snuck its way into our churches, and it needs to be stopped. Can someone give me a bible reference as to the validity of consumerism? My mind seems to be going a bit blank today.....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Jesus Folded the napkin

I got this from a Facebook forward, since John is my main subject I thought it was really interesting...
Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never
noticed this....

The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over
the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.

The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly
folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the
tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus
loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I
don't know where they have put him!'

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.. The other disciple
outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen
cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen
wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was
folded up and lying to the side.

Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to
understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded
napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it
was exactly the way the master wanted it..

The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out
of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not
dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his
fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and
toss it onto the table.

The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the
wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it
beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table,

The folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'

Thursday, January 21, 2010

His community remembered him favorably

The more research I do on John, the more I come to know and understand who he was. As most of you know, I am wrestling with why John was called " the disciple whom Jesus loved."  Commentaries are divided on why he refer to himself with this title. Although one commentary did say that it was John's followers who wrote the rest of the gospel after he died and that is how they remembered him. I like this choice because it shows how much John was loved by his community. Who wouldn't want to be known or remembered as someone to whom Jesus gave His favor?  I would love for people to refer to me with as much love and warmth as John's followers did in that designation. 
What will your community remember you for? What would you like your community to call you after your death? Are you even known at all in your community?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What do I write?

This is the question I often ask myself as I sit in front of the computer. Yet, God is faithful, and presents me with something to write about everyday.  Even today I struggled with the subject of today's blog, yet God gave it to me at the last minute. I am also writing  my book as well, so my mind is constantly thinking about subject matter and how the bible relates to everyday life.  That's really what I want this blog, and my book to be: the Bible meshing with the intricacies of  everyday life. I hope that is how Christians are thinking about life, too, how does  my life personify, ( or not) the Biblical principles of what I believe. I suppose that is one of the purposes of the Bible, too. In fact,  Paul urges us that " whatever is true, right.... think on these things..."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Abandonment of Religion

I was reading a bumper sticker that read " just for today is a spiritual thing." This is not the first bumper sticker that I have read about the abandonment of religion. If I had a dime for every person who said " I'm spiritual , not religious", I'd be a millionaire. Why is everyone abandoning organized religion? According to the Barna Group, only 3% of Millenials ( those born 2000 and after,) look favorable upon religion. why does everyone like Jesus, but hate those that follow Him? Isn't that a bit hypocritical? I mean, Jesus himself said  " I came to seek and save those who are lost." Isn't that all of us? You can't  claim  to be something  yourself and hold peers to the same standard, then point the finger and say they are not living out the faith. Aren't we the same as those who point the finger? Although those statistics are staggering, here's another: 86% claim to be Christian. So, why the abandonment to those who you  claim to have fellowship ? Either we have out work cut out for us, or someone needs to check their facts....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Compassion for Haiti?

I don't think I can keep quiet and not respond to some of the posts I'm reading from Christians who say that God is removing His hand of protection from Haiti or they are sick of Americans helping those from other countries without first helping their own country. In a word, that's scary. I can't believe people would have the audacity to write that for the world to see.  What is wrong with us as a society? I'm sure Jesus is upset with us right now, showing others love who right at this very moment are pulling their own family members from piles of rubble, making makeshift graves because their is not enough room for all of the bodies, covering their nostrils from the stench of death, and standing in the devastation around them in the realization that they have lost everything.  If my salvation is still a work-based salvation, and if Jesus's sacrifice was not enough,that response might be appropriate.  But, His sacrifice was enough and I am working out my salvation with fear and MUCH trembling, in the hopes that God doesn't have the same response for America, the godless nation that has turned its back on who God really is . The ironic thing about this, is that a news article stated Haitians gathered together PRAISING  God for what has happened. Perhaps we can take a lesson from them ,who have "always given a reason for the hope they have"......

Friday, January 15, 2010

He does what he sees His father doing

I took my son to Starbucks with me yesterday so I could do some writing. He asked if he could bring his computer and do games on it, which I agreed. So, picture this: him and I both walk into Starbucks, out computer bags slung over our shoulders. I ordered a drink at the counter and the Barista asked if he wanted a kid size drink of hot chocolate on the house, to which I also agreed. We both have our drinks in one hand, our bags in the other. We both take out our laptops and do our " work."  Adorable to say the least. But, not unfamiliar. 
John 5:19-21 says " I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself, but only what he sees His Father doing..."   Jesus took his cues from His dad. Just like Caleb took cues from me and Joe. We never taught him that was what work was, but we taught him that through our example. in the same way, Jesus learned  how to set the example, through the greatest example he knew: his Dad. 
Who is your example that you are watching today? Your parents? God? TV?  
Make a commitment to do what you see your Heavenly Father doing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Just Couldn't let Him Go

                                I Just Couldn’t Let Him Go

I walked onto the red stained deck of my workplace and was immediately greeted by the laughter of thirty energetic kindergarteners  and thought it was going to be an ordinary day.   I entered the adjacent playground and locked eyes with one of our “problem kids.”

This was no ordinary day.

 Upon hearing me discipline him for misuse of the facilities,  he screamed  “Shut Up! I don’t care” and scurried to the corner of the slide. I had heard this broken record so many times, but today enough wwas enough. I  leaned over  and met his stare. I firmly stated “ I don’t want you to say ‘shut up’ to me anymore.” Before I could even say another word, he hurled a handful of  woodchips at my face, one of which almost landed in my eye!

  I’d seen this episode played out a million times. Same story. Same ending. Until today. 

In that moment, I had a choice to make. I could either  allow this behavior to continue  and endanger the welfare of myself, the other staff, and 30 other innocent little bystanders, or I could change it. So I did.

Crossing his arms in front of him, I firmly and quickly dragged  him to the edge of the fence.  He kicked me, screamed “ You freak!” and tried to break free. With mud- caked pants and bruised legs, I continued to hold onto him. 

I looked at him, and  I immediately realized the reason for my restraint.  I saw right past his tear –filled eyes into his soul. I saw fight after fight that he has endured and the fear that comes with family instability. I saw the baggage and self- rejection that was all too familiar.  I saw a scared little boy, grasping for whatever attention he can muster out of anyone who will take a moment to care. Most importantly, I looked beyond him and saw an all too familiar face: mine.

            It is the same in my relationship with Christ.  When I am in sin, I struggle and try to break free from God’s convicting grip on my heart. In His loving grace and mercy, He never  loosens His grip. “Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined ( and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have trained by it.”( Hebrews 12:7-12 NIV).

In the face of my sin, I wriggle and squirm , hoping for an opportunity to run away and hide. God releases me, for a short time, to allow me room to breathe in my free will. When I come running back,  His tight grip turns into a loving embrace,  full of love and grace. I am so happy God has never loosened His grip on me completely, no matter how hard I struggle.  I’m also glad that when I return to Him, looking for those arms of grace, ( and I will need them again),  I am assured that they will be waiting there for me once again.

  I couldn’t let him go. Because I may be the only Jesus this child ever sees.

I patiently waited as he slowly regained his composure . When he was calm, I let him go.  I had done all that I could do for him in that moment. It was time to let him go. I loosened my grip, and released him. I not only released him from my grip, but also into the heavenly Father’s care so that God could do only what He could do with him.

I thought it was an ordinary day. But, instead I taught a little boy about the unending and unflinching grace of Jesus. All because I just couldn’t let him go. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awakenings 3

The last thing I noticed in this movie was that the doctor, and the nurse and the orderlies, never gave up hope, even when those around them already had. Like in the initital scenes, the doctors care more about where the salt is on the table than about the diagnosis of these patients. It also would have been easy for the patients to give up too. They knew no one saw anything special in them.  That their situation wasn’t going to get any better. Yet, they still believed that if this Dr. could help them, they had a shot at getting better. Turn to John 11:17-27. -On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Bethany was less than two milesa]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] from Jerusalem, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

 21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

 23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

 24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

 25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

 27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,b]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

A different verse used on the concept of hope than you are probably used to seeing.  But, to me, it is one of the best.  Here is the hope, don’t blink or you’ll miss out. It is in 2 words in verse 22. The words are EVEN NOW. Even when I don’t understand what’s going on. Even when the situation isn’t getting any better.  Even when I did everything you asked, and you were my friend and you didn’t do what I asked of you or expected of you. EVEN NOW  I know who you are.  Not only do I know who you are, I believe it. I think we can all take a lesson from Martha and her blind obedience to Christ.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Awakenings 2

The second thing I observed from this movie is that the men and women could not move by themselves. But, as the nurse says, they “ borrowed her will” or the will of the tennis ball  to help them move. They literally picked up the traits of the ball or the nurse, or the music, etc. to trigger that reaction. Continue in Colossians with me to Colossians 3:12 

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, humility, patience,and gentleness.

These people make the choice to respond to the moving object, or the music, etc. Their response is positive. As the orderly said, it wasn’t just anything, it was whatever “moved them.”  If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, isn’t that enough to “ move us?” What if we allowed the Holy Spirit to continue His work to refine us to become like the father ? How do we allow the Holy Spirit to work? Make a choice. Make a choice to wrap yourself in compassion, gentleness, humility, etc. Make that an automatic response. It will become natural to you and a habit after a while.  Everyday we choose our clothes. We choose our shirt, pants, socks, shoes, etc. in colors that coordinate and make an impression to the world around us. In fact, our clothing makes a statement about who we are.  We want the world to be impressed by us. What if we choose to make the impression from what is in our hearts, not what is on our bodies?  I know many people who are very beautiful and attractive. But, when they speak and what comes out is pride, or arrogance, or ignorance, or filth, or insecurity, it makes that person less attractive to me. The bible is right “ From out of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  If we believe in a God who loves people as He loves Himself,  then we need to act and speak like He is a loving, gracious God.

Tomorrow I will wrap up my observation of this stellar film.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Awakenings Part 1

Has anyone ever seen the movie Awakenings? For those of you who have never seen it, it stars Robin Williams and Robert Deniro. It is a true story of Oliver Sacks work with patients who suffered from an encephalitis epidemic in the 1920s.  In the movie, Robin Williams plays fictional doctor Malcolm Sayer whose dedication allowed him to find a temporary cure to wake these patients from their catatonic states. This disease had robbed these patients  of their livelihoods. Everything in their lives were stripped away from them in a moment, and now these patients are trying to rebuild their lives.  Although this movie is a bit dated ( it was released in 1990), it always inspires me that one person’s courage and determination helped  others to regain their lives back.

There are a couple of things I observed as I reflected on this movie as a whole.  The first thing I noticed is that the doctor, the nurse, played by Julie Kavner,  and the orderlies believed that these people ‘s lives could be more than what they currently living. They believed they were not living to their fullest potential and worked tirelessly to  enhance that potential. But, their belief didn’t just stay belief. It translated into action, It was through the actions of these select people, that caused the breakthrough medication that these people needed.  Read  Colossians 1:9-10.

A few things about this verse.  One is we always expect that the next Bible study, or if I do a

daily devotional or listen to the Christian radio and think that we will be “ filled” or more 

equipped. However, according to this verse, if God isn’t filling you,  it’s of no use to you. 

I’m not saying that  those things are not good  and that we shouldn’t do them. What I am 

saying is that don’t expect  to do your own filling.  God is the one who fills us with the 

knowledge when we are ready to receive the message. There were many years when I read 

the Bible and didn’t understand a word of it.  I didn’t get the meaning behind it. That’s 

because I was still drinking “spiritual milk”  and not ready for the meat yet. But, about a 

couple of years ago, after years of on and off faithful  reading of the Word, I started 

developing a new love of Scripture and God began to allow me to see the Scriptures in a 

new way and understand them and the context in which it is written.
In the next post, I'll reflect more about this movie and how it relates to our walk with God. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Lesson on Reconciliation

So, I'm still working through the incident I had with my son the other day. I've been asking myself" How do I get past what he has said to me?"  I suppose I am wrestling with the same things God wrestles with, loving His children who choose not to love Him back.  I had a hard time looking him in the eye that afternoon. But, I knew that wasn't the right thing to do. So, I did what I could do in that situation. I kissed him on the cheek and said I was happy to see him. I also prayed before I saw him that I could let it go and see him with Jesus' eyes and not my own.  Since that moment, it hasn't hurt me as bad.  There have been other times this week when Caleb cared more about his dad's affection than mine, but it hasn't bothered me as much. 
I wonder how God deals with His children not loving him, or loving other things more than Him. Does He cry? Turn His Face so no one sees?  Or does He choose to kiss those same children on the cheek when they run to Him asking Him to fix their problems? Does He tell them He is happy to see them?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Everything Ushers in the Kingdom

Everything ushers in the Kingdom, be it positively or negatively.  Everything from generosity to arrogance, Joel Osteen to Adam Lambert.  The world is changing. And everything changes with it.  Instead of shaking our heads at how " much of a moral decline" the world is in, we should instead ask ourselves " What can I do, as a Christian, to change it? I was reading in John again and was struck by " Do you not say ' four months more and then the harvest? 'I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! they are ripe for harvest. " everyday the community moves further away from knowing God, and everyday we let them.  In my next posting, I will share with you a missed opportunity I had to " look at my fields."  But, until then, I encourage you to become more aware of what is going on in your communities. Who has God put in your path that is " ripe for harvest?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Power of Words

My son has been in a pahase of missing his dad and crying when he goes to work in the morning. It hasn't really bothered me, since sons always have a special affection for their fathers. However, today I went to write a note in his lunch so that he can see it when he opens his lunchbox at lunchtime, and when I showed him and asked him what it said , he gave me this look and said " you don't have to write me notes every time ". I was crushed. Then when I went to drop him off, he went right over to the activity table and without a word began playing. 
I guess this morning I got a small glimpse of what God feels for His children when they turn away from him. I don't mean blatantly ( although I'm sure it grieves His heart just as much) but when we treat each other with disrespect, disdain or contempt. When we lack faith and trust ourselves over God's sovereignty. When we reject the greatest commandment " Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind , and love your neighbor as yourself." When we treat others as less than us, and don't " walk humbly with our God."  After he saw I was upset, he said " Well, maybe you can." But, I knew he didn't mean it. He was only doing it to appease his own guilt.  I think I understand now when people came to God with their leftovers and expected to sacrifice them as an atonement for their sins.  I think that crushed me more than his words, but the whole situation crushed me just the same.  I hope, dear reader, you will be challenged, as I have been, to think about the words you use towards God and others.  The words you use have the power to literally crush those around you. 
Do your words edify, or crush those around you?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best of both worlds?

I was just listening to the old Van Halen song " Best of Both Worlds." Now, i've known that song since I was about 9-10 years old, but I guess I never realized the impact of the lyrics. I'm talking specifically about the lyrics" You don't have to die and go to heaven, or hang around to be born again, just tune into what this place has got to offer, because we will never be here again".  Is that really as good as it gets? Is this life, with all of its pain, injustice, sickness, and heartache, really all there is to live for?  I suppose I should listen to the rest of the song to get at the heart of what it is saying, but I certainly hope this isn't all there is to live for. Living for people who, with the best of intentions, let us down, and life which is unfair at times through no fault of mine. I wonder what would happen if all of us who claim to no Christ, lived as Paul; did, who said, to die is gain, but would rather live here because he knows the Lord is accomplishing His work through him. 
What world is better than the place where I can see Christ face-to-face?

Monday, January 4, 2010

There Were no Chinks in her armor

This is a quote from the book The Tangible Kingdom. Made me think and I hope it makes you think, too...
"I was now on the hunt for any chink in her armor ( not that she even knew I thought she was wearing armor)...I began by asking her what the most important in life to her. 'That's easy' she said, 'My work and my community of friends'.' Darn,' I thought, 'she used the community word.' For the first time in my life, I felt I didn't have anything to offer.
'I'm sorry I never asked you what you did for work.' ' I'm a pastor, 'I said. She asked what type of church?' Oh,' I said, 'just your average Christian church.' What happened next will always be deeply embedded in my mind. She gently reached down, grabbed both of my hands, looked me right in the eyes, and said ' Oh, I'm sure that must be heard to do. I've never found anything attractive about any church or christians I've ever met. I will pray for you.' And then she recited some celtic blessing over me that sounded like it came straight from the very mouth of Saint Patrick. She left, and I just stood there babbling to myself. I had just been blessed by some woman who genuinely felt sorry for me because she perceived me to be the poor, searching one. She literally had no chinks." 
What happens when you try to evangelize, and the "literally have no chinks?"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

I am always taken aback by the song we sing " Auld Lang Syne", which one of the verses states " Should old acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind..."  Why should we forget who God has brought to us in the past years of our life? Doesn't it give God glory when we can look back on those times of learning and turn away from the times that have brought us down and respond appropriately to those in the past who have let us down? Personally, I hope i never forget my old acquaintances, they are a part of the person I am today.....
Happy New Year!