Love, Love, Love

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The Christian life involves many things…it is life changing. Prayer, study, meditation, caring, and more.

But most of all, it means to love. It’s the first and greatest commandment. It is the one I strive the hardest to meet and fall short. But still, I strive.

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Be Mine…

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One of the most wonderful things about accepting Christ into your life is the fact that you know someone will always love you…no matter what you do.

Unconditional love is rare in this earthly life but we have a Savior who loves us daily and wants the best for us.

Many years ago, I felt the tug on my heart and a desire to belong to Christ. I have never regretted my decision. To me it was as if He said, “Be Mine” and I responded with a “Yes!”

I hope you do too.

1 Corinthians 13 NIV

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 
10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Photo of heart shaped depression in a boulder on Middle Prong Trail, by Gail Patton.

Laughing in the Rain.

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Driving down the highway is always an experience.

Halfway to my destination today, I saw a convertible Beetle similar to my own. The difference though was my convertible top was closed but the other was down and open to the elements.

…it was raining.

The occupants were laughing hysterically while getting drenched and I reveled in their joie de vivre. They were ecstatic.

All days are not sunny and sometimes the rain pours down upon my head. But, it is up to me to choose to laugh in the rain knowing it will pass or wallow in misery.

God doesn’t promise perfect days, perfect people, or a perfect life. But what He does promise is to cover me with His grace and love.

That is something to hold onto on less than ideal days because I want to laugh in the rain. I really do.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

God is just a Heartbeat Away.

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There are days when I am full of wonder and there are days that I am not.

When I think of God, I think too often with my head and intellect. I try to discern the meaning of scripture, instead; I should be seeking God with my heart.

It is easy for me to believe in God, it is easy to follow man-made rules, it is easy to listen to leaders and prophets but it is not so easy to listen with the heart. To listen with a pure heart is to be open to God without reservation.

To open your heart risks hurt. To seek God with your whole heart requires giving your very soul and essence to the Lord.

I want to say that I have done a good job of this but I am a work in progress. I love the Lord with all my heart and all my soul, but my heart is heavy and burdensome. I worry. I fret. I want to know the future and what it holds for those I love. I want control.

I feel my heart beating in my chest. I feel the heaviness of a heart that hurts so much for this world. I want to give it all away to Him who loves me more than I can imagine.

It is my loving Father who made my heart beat and it is that same beating heart that longs for a deeper relationship with Him.

In the words of a famous hymn, “Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne.” Oh, that is may be so.

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13

Sometimes there are no answers…

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This past week has been a hard one for people of faith.

In the one place you expect sanctuary, respite, and acceptance is the Church. This was not so in South Carolina.

Nine precious people were overwhelmed by extremist hatred and paid for it with their lives.

It doesn’t make sense. There are no answers. God did not cause this.

I do know this…

Hate will not win. Darkness is overcome by light. Love never dies and God still sits on His throne.

I look for a brighter and better tomorrow but I won’t forget the sacrifice of so many.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Don’t be so touchy!

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Everyone is so touchy and I mean that in a sad, ironic and bewildered way.

We live in a social media and communication savvy world where every word, every comment, every thought is digested and repeated and dissected until the pundits can pounce on a person’s thought process.

To be fair, not all comments are created equal. Not all people are smart enough to keep their mouths shut. We are all guilty of saying stupid things. But, and this is important…we have a right to do so.

The church is often stuck in the middle of this quagmire of judgmental commenting and can be quite touchy upon subjects in which they do not agree. Be careful, this is dangerous territory for those who love the Lord.

As for me, I choose to love. I may not agree but I don’t berate, belittle or hate people for their words. To do so is to place yourself in a position from which only God can stand in judgment. I am not going to spew hatred. That is totally contrary to the message of Christ.

I think back to the story of the woman who was an “untouchable” and was an outcast in society. As Jesus moves through the crowds a woman appears that is known as being untouchable and cursed. But this woman takes a leap of faith and makes a desperate grasp for the hem of Jesus garment in order to touch Him. She touches the Messiah and in an instant she is healed. The part of this story that really resonates with me though is that Jesus turns and asks “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:30-34

I believe in my heart that Jesus knew who touched Him but He wanted the crowd to know. He wanted to make a bold and powerful statement. One person deemed totally untouchable was now recognized by the King of Kings and was healed. His touch saved her. It saves people today. What a powerful testimony, What a powerful savior.

As my Pastor once said “No one you lock eyes with is beyond the love and reach of God”. We all need His touch. Be a witness to that truth.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.
Song by: Bill Gaither