I celebrated the life of our dear son Shawn who passed away on March 17, 1998. What a tremendous joy he was to so many. And he left a legacy of life and love that Michael and I cherish to this day.
Thank you God for Shawn, his sons Mavrick, Jordan and for the awesome circles of family and friends you gave him and us. O Lord, you have blessed us beyond measure. Thank you for to his sister Coquese, and brother Paul and those who, still to this day, remain part of this endless circle of love. These young men and women (adopted brothers and sisters) who came to us through their relationship with Shawn have enriched our lives. They have never left us, and have kept their promise to make positive life changes. We and the greater community have benefited from their commitment and their deep and abiding love. So out of tragedy came “a family and a community united by God’s love.” As a result Shawn’s light still shines bright.
It is with deep appreciation that Michael and I extend our thanks and gratitude to all who loved him, and to those who continue to demonstrate their love for us, for his family and for the community.
Yesterday, we received news one of our dear friends’ cancer had returned. As she related the information about the treatment plan, there was an undeniable peace within her voice. How grateful she was for the excellent clinicians, support network, and medical facilities. She blessed God for his goodness, grace and for allowing her to survived two previous bouts. Her confidence in His goodness was evident. Our conversation was one of joy and hope from a beautiful woman who knows and loves the Lord.
Hosea 10:12, “I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”
Our friend planted good seeds for years. We’ve witnessed her faithfulness, compassion, joy and the harvest of love. I have no doubt God will continue to reward this remarkable woman.
“And this is my prayer : that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10
Blessings to you.
On this day twelve years ago much of the world watched transfixed by the events of 9/11. Disbelief, uncertainty, fear, horror filled the air. Today, we paused to honor those fallen, as well as those left behind to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” on this day. We do so with musical tributes, speeches, flowers, poems, stories, candles, the ringing of bells, wreaths, but most of all with memories.
There are other days written on our collective psyche – December 7, Katrina (August 23), and others. These days mark and unite us in a common bond of sorrow, and pain, but they also create within us the knowledge of precious fabric of life and love, and the need to be more like you O Lord filled with courage, hope, peace, forgiveness, and that blessed assurance.
Today, O Lord help us to remember, and care for those who need your special touch of comfort and love as we all walk through the memories on this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Luke 19:1-10 accounts the story of Jesus and the tax collector Zacchaeus. The story begins with these words, “Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho” (v1).
Struck by those seven words in verse one, it occurred to me this was the same area where in the OT Joshua and his army defeated the inhabitants of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down. The same Jericho, now years later that the Master entered and walked through. The same vicinity where healing of blind eyes would take place. The same vicinity wherein grace and restoration would be experienced.
Our Lord entered in and offered an invitation to grace to a tax collector. As with Zacchaeus, there are walls and rubble all around us [ the sins of our past] waiting for the Master to enter in and walk through. Just by Him entering in and walking through our walls (vicinity) of pain, suffering, agony, guilt and shame, they are transformed by the Holy of Holies. When Our Lord Jesus walks through, He offers us the invitation to experience His restorative love and grace, just as He did with Zacchaeus.
Let Jesus enter and walk through the Jerichos of your life.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Do you remember these lyrics, “There is no secret what God can do, what He done for others, he’ll do for you?” This song is not sung that often in today’s churches, however the meaning is true. Our God is no respecter of person. He showers blessings upon us each day. He grants forgiveness to his beloved yet wayward children who frequently mess up. And yet, in His infinite mercy and grace God fills us with His spirit. We are the recipients of divine hope, immaculate grace, priceless joy, and unmerited love. Our most wonderful Lord provides us with peace that passes all understanding if we trust in His word.
Rest in the holy and comforting knowledge that this day you are the recipient of God’s hope. And may that knowledge strengthen you.
“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” G.K. Chesterton
“Whoever loves much, does much.” Thomas A. Kempis
“Our God is not made of stone. His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eyes of God. God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude.” Richard J. Foster
“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” Mother Theresa
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life: love illuminates it” Martin Luther King, Jr.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
Dear God, help us this day to love you with all our hearts, minds and souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen
“Love penetrates the defenses that have been built up to protect against rejection and scorn and belittlement, and it sees life created by God for love.” Eugene H. Peterson
Our lives were created by God for love – that’s right, you and me created for love. Pretty amazing when you consider it. Our Creator designed us to be love. Love is an action word, although some think it is a feeling. However, love creates an atmosphere where the unlovable is now the object of profound love. Love drives us to save the lost and hurting. Love expends everything to build homes for the homeless, provide food for the hungry, and give water to the thirsty. Love demonstrates patience when dealing with a rebellious child. Love shows compassion for each sinner. Love delivers kindness, forgiveness, joy, goodness when the darkness of the world creeps in. Love means to sacrifice, to give, to cherish, to show mercy, and to correct injustice. Love is God, who loved this world so much that he gave is only begotten Son for us. God loved and created us in His image. Love is action.
Lyrics from a song made popular by Dionne Warwick, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…it’s the only thing that there is just too little of..” If there is too little love in the world on this day, and during this month, then show the world what we were made of-love. All of the faith, and hope in this world, love is the greatest.
Show your love this day.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the marvelous manifestations of love.
The work of Christ on the cross did not influence God to love us, did not increase that love by one degree, and did not open any fount of grace or mercy in His heart. He had loved us from eternity, and needed nothing to stimulate that love. The cross is not responsible for God’s love; rather it was His love which conceived the cross as the one method by which we would be saved.”
A sudden call in the middle of the night; a moan; a cry of disbelief, and then the slow walk into the “valley of the shadow of death” echoed through the room. Reality and shadow merged, and the question why is uttered. The sudden lost of a friend hits hard, and when it does your spirit and soul seeks a place of refuge. A place that makes sense when the floor beneath your feet feels like sinking sand. As news of the sudden passing of our friend came, the community that knew him gathered to comfort and console one another. There were memories of past days of fellowship, fun and friendship. Conversations that began with “remember when he; remember when we; remember, remember, remember…. The inevitable sighs, and strained moments of laughter amidst the reality of lost, and what will be never be again. Then tears, sadness, and pleas to gather more frequently, to share and celebrate our lives together.
Friendship is a powerful thing that connects and unites us to another human being or circle of individuals. It is mutual values, experiences, common interests, or special ties which creates a bond sometimes stronger than family relationships. Friendship generates community; a sense of belonging to something or someone. Friendship forms love.
The abundant life includes friends whose purpose it is to share their life with you and I. Yes, friendships are a wonderful thing, but even more they are blessings from God.