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Proper Maintenance Required

A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart, and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle. (Proverbs 15:30)

A twinkle in the eye might suggest that one is bright, sparkly - there is evidence of merriment or delight. Now, just how often do you experience a twinkle in your eye? If you can answer this as "very often", then you might just be the kind of person I'd like to hang around with! This little "twinkle in your eye" is really an indication of how much you connect with the things around you and the ones in life that actually bring you delight! I find the eyes are a definite window to the soul - revealing what it is we "connect" with the most frequently. If there is frequent connection with negativity, the "twinkle" is just not there. If there is frequent connection with uplifting people and "content", I see much to take delight in! "Fit as a fiddle" kind of brings some mystery into this passage, as I don't know many "fiddles" who actually are "fit"! In the times this phrase was coined, to describe something as "fit" was to describe it as "seemly" or "suitable". In other words, you were saying it was fit for a purpose. His word inhabits us, making us stronger for the battle, lighter in heart and mind for the journey ahead, and even joyful in the darker times we might encounter along the way.

Joy in the heart is evident in the display of the eye. Fitness for the purpose you are being directed into is felt first in the mind and makes it way to the heart. Did you know a "fiddle" must be cleaned - inside and out? I guess this kind of escaped me, but as I explored the meaning of this saying, I came across some interesting stuff that sparked a little thought for me. The "fiddle" is really a violin, and the violin is an instrument with some hidden "places" where dust gathers. Within the "walls" of the violin, the dust which gathers actually changes the "tone" of the violin. Enough build up of the stuff that does not belong there and the violin really doesn't sound as well as it should. In terms of the strings, they can get build up on them, making them less maneuverable. When this occurs, the one playing the violin has to take greater effort to traverse the strings up and down the neck of the violin. If oils from the hands build up on the neck or fingerboard of the violin will also "slow" the movement of the violinist's hands as they move to form the notes to be played. If something gets lodged under the end of the fingerboard, the sound of the resonating strings will be affected. The fingerboard must be able to resonate along with the strings. Even the "f-hole" in the instrument has a purpose. Those "holes" in the violin body allow for the passage of the sound - resonating with just the right "pitch" or "frequency" of the tones emitted. The bridge actually helps to hold the strings at the right place and at the right height. When they are properly attached "into" the bridge, the sound produced is much sweet. So many parts, and each with their purpose.

Now, what does this have to do with our disposition of heart and mind? Thinking about all the "parts" that need care within us, I think we can see how much we also need the proper "maintenance" in order to bring forth the most melodious and beautiful "sound". It is more than just maintaining the outward, but also being open to some internal cleaning. The depth of the cleaning insures the beauty of what is produced. In other words, we will be fit as a fiddle! The "intake" of Good News - God's Word - makes us feel fit. Not so much in the physical sense, but definitely in the spiritual, emotional, and even in the sense of the ordering of our thoughts. The intake gives us right perspective and helps us "clean out" or "rid ourselves" of the stuff that gunks up our lives. In turn, we produce a much better "tone" from our lives - even displaying something of "light" from within. Just sayin!

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Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,