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My wife and I have had a painter in the house this week creating a very colorful and fun bedroom for our two youngest sons. The painter is a man who cares deeply about his craft. In conversation with him this week, I have learned a great deal more about the nature of painting than I had previously every considered.

In painting an older home, there is a lot of preparation work involved. Indeed, if the job is to look its best at the end, then it is important to fill all of the cracks between the trim wood and the walls. It is equally important to fill in the gaps between the wall and the door frames and the walls. If the job is to be done properly so that it has lasting results, the window frames have to be roughed up a little bit with sandpaper, and then they have to be painted first with a primer and then the actual paint. If you don't do all of the preparation work, then the results are far less likely to last under difficult conditions; like the conditions of having my active boys and their Saint Bernard playing in their bedroom!

The primer is so important that if you do not use it or apply it properly, it is possible for the paint to just slide off as you apply it. When applied, the paint has to be able to stick to the wall to get proper coverage. In this case, we were using some very high pigment Disney colors, and because of the saturation of the colorant in the paint, when it is applied to a smooth wall or window frame without the proper preparation work, the paint would just slip, drip and slide all over the place. All the effort available in this case does little more than to spread the pigment around in streaks and blotches but never causes it to adhere. Though you would work for days on end, without the proper preparation work the paint would never cover the way it should have.

In Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophet foretells the days in which we now live. Without the proper preparation work of allowing God to write His law on our hearts, we will never be able to fulfill the command of Christ to be merciful unto others even as God is merciful to us, as recorded in Matthew 22:37-40.

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