Thursday, February 27, 2014

Enrich Your Faith

Every night as Earl and I prepare for bed, Earl places an oxygen cannula under my nose to help me breathe healthy oxygen-rich air as I sleep. When he lays down he positions his C-PAP mask over his nose and turns the machine on to help him breathe deep and oxygenate his blood.
All our lives we have inhaled and exhaled with hardly a thought—taking breathing for granted. With these therapeutic measures, we’ve discovered afresh how oxygen truly sustains our body. Without it, our minds become confused and disoriented. Our bodies weak and tired.
When I take deep refreshing breaths to fill my lungs with oxygen-rich air I feel the strength return in my body and my mind clears.
This is often the way we relate to God. It’s easy to take the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, for granted. Shallow Bible reading and irregular Bible study allow our Christian faith to become lethargic and our relationship with the Lord wanes.
Sometimes we need “therapeutic measures” to enrich our faith. Most Christian churches have a multitude of faith-enriching activities. Whether you like large or small, young- middle- adult- or seniors, men’s or women’s Bible study groups they’re all available. Local, national and international mission opportunities abound for growing stronger in our faith.
You can read daily devotionals or follow a Bible reading plan. Read, watch or listen to stories of Christian faith, tribulation and triumph. Recently I watched a video of Billy Graham preaching in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1970. The era and location was different but God’s word is unchanged.
By actively pursuing ways to enrich our faith, we awaken each morning fresh and energized—ready to share the gospel.
“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11, 12 NIV).
In Christ,

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love - God's Way

Do you remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school and your hope that your friends would have special cards or candy hearts just for you? You went through your cards one by one with pride and felt the love of your friends.

\When you reached middle school and began testing the water with “going steady” and “dating,” you blushed each time you saw him/her. In high school, relationships grew more important, raising many on the status pole. You were in love and you wore his/her class ring proudly. You’d fight anyone who dared to breach your relationship yet break-ups happened.

We left high school, met new friends and made a few wrong choices as we grew into adulthood. Our desire to be loved ripped our hearts out time, and time again, yet we continued to search for the elusive.

When I met Earl, we ate supper together several times a week at the hospital where we worked. After two months, he told me he was moving back to Atlanta to complete seminary. I asked him when he would be back and he said he didn’t know if he would return to Memphis. We hugged for the first time and he left.

My heart broke. I cried rivers that evening as I remembered his strong embrace and the musk scent of his cologne. I didn’t know I loved him then, I only knew it hurt to say goodbye.

Reunited a few months later we continued eating supper together. When he asked me out one year after we met, I declined. He asked again, and The Reverend John Jones read 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, at our wedding six months later.

I didn’t know the Lord when I met Earl, but He knew me, and He had a plan. In the 28 year’s Earl and I’ve been married Jesus became my Lord and Savior, we’ve pastored four United Methodist churches and we’ve raised our daughter in a Christian home.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV).

In Christ,

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Thank you,