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Random Blog: Fun with Words

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

Jeremiah 18: 1-6

There's a reason why my children give me mugs with sayings like, "Dad Joke Champion."

It's not just the jokes per se. It's more of a way of life. I have a random, curious mind, and sometimes its contents spill out in odd ways.

For example, I have perfected the art of ending sentences in contractions. Take this simple exchange:

"Dad, are you joining us?"

"Yes, I'm."

My kids argued for years that English doesn't allow contractions at the end of sentences. Then I met my daughter's English teacher at a social event. I told her about our argument, and she said there was no grammatical reason why I couldn't end a sentence with a contraction. Score one for Dad!

Recently I was musing about words that seem derived from another word that may not exist. Take "inert" as an example. "In" means "not," so it seems logical that its root is "ert." But "ert" isn't a word. Or should it be?

So I started using such words in my conversations around my family. "I'm not inert. I'm moving, I'm active, I'm ERT!" Or how about with inept? "I'm not inept. I'm very EPT." (Yes, I realize there is an opposite word, "adept," but still, I challenge you, what about "ept"?)

My son said, "Your made-up words are inane." I replied, "No, I think they are ANE." Inane means lacking sense or significance; silly. Is my premise silly? Well, maybe. But no, I'll argue that it is not silly, that it is actually "ane."

My wife laughingly tells me, "You're incorrigible." That means beyond correction or reform; uncontrollable. In this case, there is a corresponding word: "Corrigible" means capable of being corrected or reformed.

In the case of silly words, yes, I'm incorrigible. But as a follower of Jesus, I need to be corrigible. I need to be shaped by the Holy Spirit into the character of Christ and into the person He wants me to be. God illustrated this to the prophet in Jeremiah 18: 1-6:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel."

The old hymn says, "Thou are the potter, I am the clay." In my experience, I am clay in God's hands. The Spirit corrects and reforms my bad behaviors, shaping me into a better person.

Throughout my life, God has called me to new purposes. He has revitalized my being. He has taken my past experiences and integrated them to shape me into someone new. I'm still the same lump of clay, but I have taken different forms, if you will, for God's use, just as Jeremiah's potter was revising to construct a vessel that was useful to him.

So as Christians living a 7-day practical faith, let us be:

  • Ert rather than inert - Active and power-filled rather than motionless and powerless.

  • Ept rather than inept - Using our God-given gifts in effective ways.

  • Ane rather than inane - Sensible and acting in significant ways to serve God's kingdom.

  • Corrigible rather than incorrigible - Ready to be molded as God sees fit in this season of our lives.

God can mold and use us in surprising ways. Today he used my cleverly silly side to teach a lesson!

Please register for my first webinar, "Five Ways to Get Closer to God during a Crisis," based on principles from my book and video series, "The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life." The webinar is scheduled for Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. Central time. To register, go to, scroll down, and enter your information in the registration box that appears.

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