Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Sacrifice of Family

Okay. Let's see. Where was I before leaving for my mother's burial? Well, I missed posting a story on Monday. Also, my laptop broke in half, but I rigged something up using an old CRT monitor - for just such an occasion as this! However the image on the screen is convulsing so this may be a really short story. LOL! AND near the end of today's story my computer actually died. Three hours later, I am coming to you from our basement using an old Windows XP computer. Had to download a new browser, delete all my cookies so . . . FINALLY, here it is.
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It is good to be home. All the miles my wife and I logged during this last week approached the 2,000 mile mark. :O But all the travel was well worth it for all of the love we received at my mom's funeral. The sacrifice of family touched our hearts.

I was doing pretty good that day - keeping my emotions in check pretty well - until all the people started showing up. Kari Lyn, a distant cousin, came from Southern Michigan. several hours in a car, leaving her parents behind whom she cares for.

Then I saw my cousin Jeff and his sister Cathi walk in. They had a longer drive - southeast Michigan and Ohio. Jeff saved my life when we were in our early teens. No big deal for him. Just helping someone out. It was a BIG deal for me, nearly drowning in the local swimming hole.

Then there was William, a strapping young man, the son of my cousin. William is in the army, stationed in Tennessee, but said he "had to drive home home for Aunt Jane." I think I gave him four hugs while he was there. We then honored his love for my mom by asking him to be one of the pall bearers.

But the one visit had us ALL teary-eyed and in shock was when William's sister Sarah came walking through the door. Her left leg was bandaged from the tip of her toe all the way up to her hip. She had just gotten out of the burn unit at a hospital a few hours earlier. The adhesive residue was still on her arm where the IV was and the identification bracelet was still on her wrist. She had been burned in a workplace accident by 300-400 degree grease.

My young cousin was in tremendous pain yet she came to pay her last respects to my mom and our family. She sacrificed her comfort to comfort others. Wow!

All these people attending my mother's funeral, sacrificing their time just to show how much my mom meant to them. What a wonderful way to demonstrate their love. It reminded me of when Jesus died. He sacrificed Himself that day to demonstrate His love for us. In turn, the disciples sacrificed THEIR lives for Him to proclaim the Gospel. Do we sacrifice OUR lives for Jesus to demonstrate our love for HIM?

I need to examine myself a little closer. Where do I come up lacking in MY sacrifice to others? Sarah's example of sacrifice and the sacrifice of all my family members, will forever be in my heart.

"15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another." - Romans 12:15-16

O The Blood - Gateway Worship

Saturday, June 16, 2018

How You Love Me

This past Wednesday my 91-year old mother passed away. It was a sad day to be sure. My sister was devastated. My brother too. We all were. This was our mom! But God (two of my favorite words in The Bible), He comforted me in a most amazing way.

Compassion has a strong pull on the believer. When any of my friends or family members are hurting, I have a strong desire to go to them and just be with them. Offering kind or encouraging words is what we Christians do.

Throughout the days before my mom's death I received many messages and texts from my friends at work. They knew what was going on and had compassion on me, as I would for them. Unfortunately, they were a 45-minute drive away from me at work.

Several years ago my pastor saw me refusing to be thanked for something I had done for someone. He pulled me aside and told me, "It's okay to allow people to thank you. They want to do it. Just take their thanks as crowns and lay them at the feet of Jesus." He was right.

This sad situation of my mother's was the same thing. I knew there were people at work wanting to express their sadness to me for the loss of my mom. Deep, meaningful talks and hugs were waiting to occur but my friends and I were apart from one another. The next thing I knew I was in my car.

On my way to visit these friends I thought about these work relationships. So many unique and special people. Each one different, yet the same in their desire to show compassion.

Love is a two-way street. It can be a one-way street I guess but it's not nearly as meaningful. When I got to work the outpouring of love was amazing. It made me feel better and it made my friends feel better.

When we go through a tragedy in our lives or a struggle, we often want to retreat into our shell and be miserable all by ourselves. That is the opposite of what God wants us to do.

"2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2

"3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

We are an emotional people. We live, we love, sometimes it can be difficult to express that love and to receive it. Let it happen. Make it happen. In doing so we will fulfill the law of Christ - to love one another.

You Love Me Anyway - Sidewalk Prophets

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tending The Garden

Do you ever get those gloomy days when you'd rather stay in bed? Every day, right? I had one of those days this past week. I was alone, it was cloudy and raining. I was feeling kind of depressed. So, what did I do? I wrote to a friend who always makes me smile. The next thing I knew I was smiling and feeling great!

Do you have people like that in your life? I sure hope so. They are a treasure! But those relationships can fade away and even disappear if we don't keep them alive.

Relationships are like plants in a garden. We plant seeds in the spring. That's an effort of hope and faith right there. And once the seeds sprout and a plant begins to grow, it needs some things. Nutrients from the soil, water and sunlight.

What makes our relationships grow? I think there has to be a healthy dose of love - some kind of bond. My wife has many friends but her closest friends she does stuff with. They'll go shopping of go out to eat. They keep their relationships alive by doing things together.

I recently retired from work but I still go back there. Why? Because I have relationships with the people there that I would like to keep alive and active. I love my friends and want to keep them in my life so I work at it. I water the garden. I try to spread love in THEIR lives and they do the same in mine.

God loves healthy relationships.

Sadly, my relationship with God sputters sometimes when I don't spend time with Him. I'll forget to pray or read and then I wonder why I'm feeling so depressed. It's because one of my most treasured relationships is dying. That's NOT a good thing.

As you go through this day, and you think about one of your friends, send them a message or give them a phone call. Let them know that you care about them and love them. That's the best way to keep your relationship garden alive and thriving.

The day before Jesus died guess what He did? He went for a walk with His friends in a garden. Before the fall guess what Adam and God were doing? Walking in a garden.

"15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." - Genesis 2:15

If our friends and family are OUR garden, what would God have US do?

In The Garden - Alan Jackson

Monday, June 11, 2018

A New Day

I was up before the sun this morning. It's interesting watching our planet wake up. Everything is dark at first but then there is a hint of light in the dark sky overhead. The motionless leaves in the trees begin to move, slowly.  Everything coming to life.

It is exactly the opposite at the end of the day. And at the end of life. The light fades. Once-moving things slow, then stop. Then all is still.

My mother is in the next room, nearing the end of her battle with cancer. She is sleeping. Soon she will go the way of the wind in the trees at night. The setting of the sun.

There are blessings in death though. Relationships strengthen, people come together. Love, mercy and compassion abound. It's too bad it takes someone's death to bring us to life - living the life of love that God commanded us to live, always.

34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:24-25

This morning I am remembering another quote. This one is not from Jesus though. It is from Admiral James T Kirk from Star Trek. He said, "How we face death is at least as important as how we face life." Is that true? We only find out when we face death.

One thing I have noticed though. As we face the death of a loved one our level of compassion increases towards others. Grace increases. We are more willing to express love. Why does it take someone's death to have that happen?

Watching my sister, my wife and my niece tend to the needs of my dying mother has been a blessing. They are "facing death" with God's gifts of love, grace and mercy . . . "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14)

Each of us has one life to live. How will we live it? Will we live it in love? Or will we battle and fight our way through it. The choice is ours. Yours.

The sun is up now. A deer is walking across the backyard, nibbling the grass as she heads into the woods. It is the dawning of another day. How shall we live it?

A New Day Has Come - Celine Deon

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Parable of The Peony

Today's story is an example of how God works in our lives. Often unnoticed, especially in times of trouble and strife, God is right there with us. The blessings that God can shower upon us, although sometimes spectacular, are usually more subtle in nature. Yet they are just as amazing when we realize that God DOES care.

Before I can tell you this amazing God story, let me set the stage for it. Two of our family members are currently battling cancer - my mother and my brother-in-law. Needless to say our thoughts have been focused on them and our prayers have been sent to God on their behalf.

Cancer can be overwhelming. An uninvited guest, it rarely leaves when we want it to. We can become so focused on thinking and praying that we can miss God's reassurances when they appear right in front of us. Like this week at our house.

My wife came in, almost crying, from the front yard. "I can't believe it! I finally get a bud on my peony and the deer ate it! Everybody else's yard has peony's in bloom but not us. Nooo!"

She was REALLY upset. So, when she left to visit her dad in Milwaukee, I had an idea.

Several years ago I had noticed a random peony plant growing in the woods behind our house. Why it was where it was I didn't know. Until the other day. I grabbed a bucket and a shovel and started walking to where I remembered the plant was. And guess what . . . it was still there!

There were actually four peony plants hidden in the underbrush. So I began to dig one up. That's when I noticed the mushroom - a Morel mushroom. A rare delicacy. A Treasure!

After I got done transplanting the peony I returned for the mushroom. "That's weird," I thought. In our 30 years of living here I had never scene Morel mushrooms. And why was there just one? There had to be more so I looked. And there were. Yumm!

Do you think that God rewards us for our good deeds? I believe it to be true. So did King Solomon.

"The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself." - Proverbs 11:25

Do something for someone else today. It can be just a simple thing like giving someone a flower. My wife's reaction when she saw the peony in our yard was worth all the mosquito bites I received. God's reaction was unexpected too and much appreciated.

We will be blessed simply by helping someone else. So, what are we waiting for? The day is young and the opportunities are many. Let's go!

Happiness Is Helping Others

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Truth Hurts

Sometimes, when we hear the truth, we don't like it. Why is that? I think it's because sometimes the truth doesn't coincide with the way we want things to be. Truth can be painful. But it can also "set us free".

When we first find out that a loved one has cancer for example, often the first word out of our mouths is "No!" Why? Because we don't want to hear it. We don't want it to be true. Our next thoughts then turn to "How can we fix that?" How can we change the truth? That's just part who we are. It comes naturally.

When cancer strikes a family member we seek out the best doctors, specialists and health care providers. We can place our hope in other human beings and our technology. Granted, sometimes they DO come through for us but often they do not. Then reality sets in.

Several hundred years ago a theologian wrote a book entitled "The Jews and Their Lies." That doesn't sound very P.C. Guess who wrote it. Martin Luther - the founder of Protestantism and the Lutheran faith. Was it the truth? Opinion?

The United Nations began as a good concept after World War II. It was intended to unite all of the nations on earth, together, in peace. Well, it didn't take long however for us humans to figure out a way to "work the system" to get what we wanted.

There is now a large block of nations within the U.N. who are anti-Israel. They seem to be constantly passing anti-Israeli resolutions, condemning Israel for things they actually didn't do. Why? Because they don't like Israel. To them "the only good Jew is a dead Jew."

Jesus was a Jew.

I saw this video the other day. Someone actually spoke the truth to this group of nations. It's interesting to watch the reaction of the various delegates as he delivers his message. They were hearing the truth but not believing.

Palestinian Speaks The Truth - UN Watch

Desiring to change the truth is NOT a bad thing. I can actually be a wonderful thing. But denying the truth at the expense of others can be quite evil.

There are many people who believe in God. Still others do not believe. Each people group wants to other to believe as they do. There is only one truth. Either God exists or He does not.

God has proven His existence to my satisfaction. Has He proven Himself in YOUR life? No? Have you asked Him to?

"42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” - John 8:42-47

Monday, June 4, 2018

Adaptable

I can never predict where the inspiration for my stories come from. Last time it came from friends. Today it came from one of my dad's screwdrivers. Yeah, I know. Weird. I don't question. I just write.

This screw driver, which I lovingly call Bumblebee, is wider than the average screwdriver. Why? Because it has storage for 12 different kinds of bits inside. It's adaptable for whatever kind of nuts or loose screws it comes across. And so should WE be.

The Apostle Paul was adaptable. He became "all things" to all people so he could share the Gospel with others, that they might receive it no matter who they were.

"19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

When I am having a conversation with someone that I don't know I will often ask questions of them. "So, tell me about your faith. What has your spiritual journey been like?"

Eventually, I will attain enough information about that person to ask them some better, more direct questions.

"Wow. It's tough when someone hurts you like that. Wouldn't it be great if people were more loving and truthful? Where do you find truth?"

Paul learned who his audience was and then adjusted his presentation of the Gospel to meet their needs. Do we do that? When we're talking with someone who is struggling do we tell them we will pray for them? Or do we put our arm around them and pray for them right then and there?

This world is short on love and way too long on trouble. We need to do more loving than talking. And by loving I mean caring. Investing in someone's life without thought of getting paid back. Do it! Why? Because Jesus did the same thing for us.

I encourage you to invest some of your time getting to know someone. Get to know someone. Give love. ANd give sacrificially. You will get so much more in return.

The following is a scene from one of my favorite movies. It is about a teacher who demonstrated that she cared for her students. In the video the teacher is about to receive in return what she so freely gave. Grab a Kleenex.

The best teachers are those who adapt their teaching style to suit the students in order that the students actually learn. If we just go through the motions in our relationships what good are we? Invest, adapt, change, succeed.

We were commanded to "spread the Gospel to all nations." Effectively, truthfully and in love. We must become the best of teachers. The kind that gains the respect of students and our Father in heaven. Then, and only then, can we best deliver God's message of love, grace and forgiveness.

Freedom Writers Best Scene

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Desperate For You


There is an old Irish proverb that says, "God gave us two ears and one mouth so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak. I think that's true.

My Friday started out rather "normal."  I read 10 chapters in the Book of Psalms. David was an amazing guy. He was SO desperate for God. You can almost feel it in his words.

 "1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. 4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." - Psalm 25:1,4-5

That set the tone for my entire day when I went to visit some friends of mine. I listened as they opened up their hearts and allowed me to carry a portion of their burdens for a short time. Here's some of what they're going through.

Stress in the workplace, pending surgery, a stroke, medical concerns, an abnormal mammogram, awaiting test results, cancer, teenage suicide, more cancer, unemployment, a relationship falling apart, a mother and daughter estranged and a bad prognosis from some hopeful patients.

Everyone has their own way of coping with things. Some trust in doctors and science while others trust only in themselves. David placed his trust in God. He was so desperately clinging to his hope in God that nothing else mattered. Are we like that? I'm not. But I think we all should be.

That's the question of the day I guess. How desperate are we for God? Are we lost without Him? Is He the air we breathe? Do we live and breathe Christ as we walk through each day of our lives?

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence
Living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word
Spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for You
And I, I'm lost without You
Oh Lord,… 
We are commanded to "love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength." What life event will it take before WE get desperate for God?

Breathe - Marie Barnett
Love The Lord - Lincoln Brewster

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Transitions

We go through many transitions in life. Some of them good, some of them not so good. Day changes to night, night to day. We transition from good health to bad and from bad to good. It seems as if we are in a constant state of change. That's because we are constantly morphing into some future version of ourselves - someone we have yet to be.

I currently have a cold. I used to be healthy but now I'm not. I know I'll get better based on my experiences with past colds but during an illness even God''s reassurances can seem pretty uncertain.

Sometimes we choose to change. Other times it gets thrust upon us without our asking. The weather transitions from sunny to cloudy and back again. If you think about it, just about everything changes. Except one thing. God. He NEVER changes.

"I the LORD do not change." - Malachi 3:6

Having a constant during times of change can be reassuring. When I retired my wife and I were a little unsure about our financial future. We had made plans for our transition from work to retirement but to actually go through it was another thing all together..

Cancer is a "transition" that gets forced upon us when we least expect it. My sister-in-law, my brother-in-law and my mother all have it. I can't even begin to comprehend the transitions they are going through.

When life's transitions take place it is always reassuring to have something remain constant. A mountain climber faces major transitions should things not go right during his climb. A piton, the metal anchor they use to fasten themselves to the rock, can provide security to the climber who is in danger. So can God provide security to us in this life.

God, who has already told us He does not change, offers us a secure transition between life and death and new life. All He asks is that you believe in Him.

In a world that's constantly changing how can we be sure of what lies ahead? If we place our faith in Christ we CAN be sure of one thing. Whatever changes come our way we know can get through them . . . with Him. He has promised. And He never lies, nor does He change.

How Can I Be Sure - The Young Rascals

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Way We Were

Most of us are old enough to have gone through some changes in life. Maybe even multiple changes. We are not the people we once were. But neither are we the people we have yet to become. We are not the way we will be, nor are we the way we once were.

Life changes us. Our experiences, whether good or bad, shape us and mold us into who we are. Maybe it's an illness or the death of a friend or loved one. Change can also be brought about by our work situation or the decisions we make. We can even be changed by the nightly news or by a book we might read.

I think that how we react to all of the changes we face in life defines who we are as human beings and as spiritual beings.

God can change us. He has changed me. And it seems to me that, when He DOES change us, it's usually for the better. Even in sickness or tragedy we can become better. But nothing changes us quite like our faith and when we come to believe in Jesus, the Messiah.

I know people who were once alcoholics and drug users who were changed by Christ. A mother I know lost not one but two of her children. Her faith defined her reaction to those deaths.

We are faced with decisions and choices every day. How we decide, what we decide, effects the rest of our lives. Even eternity future.

Jesus requires us to become changed.

Everyone remembers John 3 where Jesus tells Nicodemus, "You must be born again." But how many recall this Old Testament verse, spoken by God through the prophet Ezekiel?

"I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a] 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God." - Ezekiel 36:26-28

That's a big change! But it is a change we ALL must make. Have you made that change? If not, please do so today. Change can be a scary thing but it can also be an amazing, transforming event. Embrace it. As long as it brings us closer to God, how can change be anything but good?

I'm Not Who I Was - Brandon Heath

Saturday, May 26, 2018

In The Storm

We all have an idea of what our lives will be like in the future - where we'd like to see ourselves. We all have a way we'd like to answer the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" But what happens when all of our hopes and dreams suddenly change?

Sometimes our lives change based on our own decisions.  Deciding to drink and drive can lead to some pretty substantial consequences. We often do things in the dark that we would never do in the light. Bad decisions change lives in a bad way.

But what happens when we get a call from the doctor with some bad news or when a uniformed soldier knocks on the front door. Our lives can change in a second. "Why" has got to be the most often-asked question at times like that.

So, what do we do? There are no answers that pop into our heads to make life all warm and fuzzy again. What do we do? Where do we turn? Where can we possibly find hope?

Right now I am reading through the Book of Job. Now there's a guy who definitely went through the wringer. His entire family died, he lost all of his possessions AND he got extremely ill. He had it all, then he lost it all. Far from where Job thought he would end up.

Why? Why did God allow this to happen? The main reason was that God wanted to prove a point. These are things that we can take away from the Book of Job. They will help us walk through the toughest of storms.
  1. God is God. We are not. When life gets "comfortable" we humans tend to not rely on God so much. That is a mistake.
  2. God allows things in our lives for a reason. God always has a purpose or goal in mind. Sometimes God wants to get our attention.
  3. God will bless us IF we are faithful. To those who believe and follow God, He has promised to bless us. Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, no more pain or suffering.
Although Job complained and whined through most of the book, God blessed Job for his faithfulness. We need to remember ALL of these things when we struggle in life. We all have hopes and dreams but the only way we can be truly blessed in the end is if God is at the center, the focus, of those dreams.

"And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” - Job 1:21

I'm not saying that everything bad that happens is from God. What I AM saying is that, WHEN bad things happen, how we react to them defines who we are in God's eyes.

None of us knows WHY painful things happen in our lives. The important thing for us to remember is to praise God through them.

"1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." - Psalm 46:1-3

Praise You In This Storm - Casting Crowns

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Do You Love Me?

Ever wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep? Ever wonder why? Something you've left undone perhaps? Or something you are afraid of? What if it's someone trying to tell you something. "Wake up Neo."

I had a weird dream the other night. I was having a conversation with two friends in a bar perhaps or in a crowded restaurant. Suddenly two men came in. One of the men reached down towards one of my friends, like he's giving my seated friend a hug, and he placed something into my friend's coat pocket. Drugs.

That was at 3:15AM.

Naturally, my brain had to figure out what all that meant . . . for the next hour or so. Thoughts bounced around in my head like a shiny steel ball in a pinball machine. Perfect. The bouncing ball finally stopped and I was able to fall back asleep but not before getting up and writing some of my thoughts down on paper. This is what I wrote.

 .......
Do You Love Me?
True obedience to the will of God
Do we love others as much as we should?
As much as He loves us?
Do we live our lives as a reflection of Him?
Do we minister to those in need of Him with passion?
OUR ministries must take a backseat to His.
OUR will, OUR thoughts, OUR hopes.
Love one another. If you love Me . . .
.......

"If you love me, keep my commands." - John 14:15

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul describes the relationship between Jesus (the bridegroom) and His church (the bride). He speaks of respect and sacrifice but he starts off the chapter with this.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2

Then I stumbled upon the lyrics of an old Vic Damone song that asked this question.


"Do I love you because you're beautiful? Or are you beautiful because I love you?"
And how about this verse?

"19 We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19

What does all this have to do with my dream? I have NO idea. Well, I actually I do. We, as Christians, are to love one another. That seems pretty clear to me. And we are to do so unconditionally. But can we love a drug dealer? Can we love someone who is addicted to drugs? Can we love someone who is living in sin? Can we love someone who pulls a trigger and removes a loved one from our lives? Yes. Absolutely. We are commanded to!

I met a man at a local food pantry this past Saturday. Late 50's maybe. walking with a cane. Frail, wobbly, weak. I demonstrated love towards him, placed my hand on his shoulder and we talked. The man smiled and thanked me. He shook my hand. I don't even know his name. His name is not important. What IS important is that I loved, like Jesus loved, and that made all the difference to this man.

Do we love others as much as we should? No. Why not? Are we afraid? I think we are. We're afraid of how we might be perceived. We shouldn't think that way. Why? Because . . . there is no fear in love.

"Perfect love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." - 1 John 4:18

"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. "

Let Me Love You Tonight - Pure Prairie League