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Archive for February, 2016

The Presidential Race is going strong here in the USA.  Sadly, that means dealing loosely with the truth is broadly on display for all to see.  At least two of the front runners in the race for our highest office are guilty of repeatedly lying.  And yet they are still in contention to be our next president.  I find myself becoming discouraged, not so much by the fact that the lying occurs, but that it seems like it is accepted by so many voters.  Truth is devalued.  When truth becomes so devalued that it no longer matters, the consequences are brutal.  Just look at Germany in the 1930’s…the Soviet Union in the early to mid 20th century…ISIS today.

Fortunately there is a remedy – an eternal remedy.  God is real.  His sovereignty is genuine.  His plan is being worked out.  Ultimately all lies and distortions of God’s eternal truths will be completely overthrown.  And if we chose, we do not have to wait for some time in the future for this to begin taking place.  Jesus explained this to a crowd of His followers and His antagonists in John 8:31-32.  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

I have lost count of the number of times God’s truth has given me a stable place to stand when it seemed the world around me was in upheaval.  Some of them stand out as stark reminders for me now and on into eternity.

When my company announced a merger and it was likely that the group I was in would be downsized.  The Lord clearly spoke Isaiah 41:10 to me.  “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be ashamed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Through the months of waiting as the merger unfolded and the office I was in was eventually downsized, I had God’s truth holding me.

Nine months into this process, when they called us in individually to tell us our specific outcomes, I was told my job was being eliminated.  This time Jeremiah 29:11 repeatedly came to mind, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  I was totally buoyed by the truth God spoke.  I was immensely aware that the God of the universe was with me to see me through.  No matter how it turned out, He had my back… as well as my front, my sides, above and beneath.

Five days before this job was to end, they offered me a new position which was a significant promotion to do work that I really wanted to do.  I experienced the reality of Jeremiah 29:11 in a way so tangible that even as I write today I can’t help but smile.  I know a freedom that the world doesn’t know because I am certain of the truth – He is alive and He is living in me.

But let’s bring the story up-to-date.  A little over a year ago I was in a leadership role in a new company where I had worked for about 3 years.  I had significant responsibility in a brand new plant.  We were making steady progress on our goals, but my boss, the plant manager, and I were not on aligned.  While it was not a surprise, it was still uncomfortable to be told by your friend, the HR Manager, “I have to let you go.”  Since we are talking truth, I have to admit that there were bouts of anger, feelings of loss, and a number of times when I reviewed what I could have done differently.  I continually came back to the same place though.  I had continued to lead with the best interests of all involved to carry out my job in a manner that glorified God and met the company objectives.  In my heart, I could not perform my job the way my boss wanted me to and remain true to my moral and ethical beliefs.  And since he was the boss it was his right to fire me.

Through that soul-searching time the Lord repeatedly gave me signs of His love and peace.  Over and over as I would begin to sink into either anger at the unfairness or self-pity at the loss of a very good (compensation-wise) job, the Lord would whisper, “Trust Me.” 

Today I am at peace and even quite thankful for that situation.  I work part-time doing work that I enjoy, working with people that appreciate what I do.  The mountain of stress that I was under is gone.  My marriage is as strong as ever.  I am able to be much more involved in caring for people.  In fact this afternoon I am going to my grandson’s school to give a brief talk on Thomas Jefferson as part of their President’s month.  I am thrilled to get to do this.

Dear reader, I don’t know where you are in your life, but I want to encourage you today to look to the Truth.  Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  If you already know Him, as I am sure is the case for many of you, then commit yourself totally to knowing Him better.  Spend time every day seeking His face and fellowship.  Obey what He says in His Word and what He whispers to your heart.  He is there and He is not silent.  Love Him and let Him love you.  Freedom – amazing, awesome, peace-filled freedom is what awaits.

What are you waiting for?  Tether to the truth and hold on for the ride of your life.

Be blessed and be a blessing today!

 

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Getting ready for Home Group I noticed the kitchen window needed cleaning.  It was the last task I got to, but I still had plenty of time.  It was probably good that I didn’t rush through it or I may have missed the simple message I share today.

I began by cleaning the inside.  As I cleaned I easily saw the dirt specs on the outside.  I almost convinced myself to stop working on the inside because it seemed like all the specs were on the outside.  I didn’t stop, although I was probably not as meticulous in “finishing” the inside before moving to the outside.  Oddly, my rag was pretty dirty from cleaning the inside even though I perceived all the dirt to be outside.

So I attacked the cleaning outside.  Once I was outside though, the dirt specs were suddenly not so obvious.  Oh, there was still grime to remove which I did.  Interestingly the more I cleaned the outside, the more obvious the remaining specs on the inside became.  After one final cleaning on the inside I was satisfied the windows were clean enough.  As I looked through I was surprised at how much clearer the view was.  While I was focused upon removing individual little specs, I had not realized how much cleaner the whole window had become.

That I could always see the dirt and grime on the opposite side of the glass better than what was on my side struck me as important.  Life is like that.  It is so easy to see someone else’s faults, but often we are blind to our own warped motivations and short-comings.  Jesus spoke on this in Matthew 7:1-5.  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

When I cleaned the inside of the window, I didn’t realize how dirty it was.  However, after the first cleaning I was in a much better position to see and clean the outside.  And carrying the metaphor a little farther, when I put myself on the outside, akin to putting myself in another person’s shoes, I could see that there was still more cleaning necessary on the inside.

Jesus begins with an admonition about judging others.  Yet He ends by describing how we position ourselves to help others remove the stuff that hinders their vision.  These things that hinder are what the bible calls sin – ways we fall short of God’s plan for His children.  So there is a progression here.  We have sin in our lives.  We must deal with our sin first.  Then we are in a position to help our brother’s (that would mean other believers) deal with sin in their life.  And we are to do this without judgement.

Jesus specifically used the word brother meaning a person who shared the faith.  I believe this was intentional.  With the unbeliever, our focus should be upon introducing them to Jesus.  It is not to be about cleaning them up, getting sin out of their life.  It is pure and simple, to arrange for them to meet the One Who loves them more than us and Who can do exactly what they need.  With the believer though, we have a responsibility to encourage and strengthen one another in love.  Jesus helps in this, but He does so from within the believer.  We are simply to cooperate with Him in the work.  And it follows the progression mentioned above.

I hope this lesson I gleaned while I cleaned has given you a clearer view of God’s grace.

Lord, thank You for the work of Your Holy Spirit.  Thank You for salvation through Your Son – Jesus.  Thank You for the transformation that You are bringing about in us as we trust in You, as we read Your Word, as we obey Your commands, as we seek to know You better.  And thank You that we are joined together with other believers as Your Body, growing evermore into the people of God, fashioned for the good works You have prepared for us to walk in.  We love You Lord.  We pray in Jesus’ Name.

Be blessed and be a blessing today!

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The sign on the window made me sad.  Not because of what it said, but that it had to be said at all.  And additionally because our federal government felt the need to create a law about it.  Oh, they got the sentiment right, but it is a sad commentary if, as a society, we are so broken about doing the right thing that the minutest details of our life have to be codified by the government.

CS Lewis was one of the most brilliant authors of the 20th century.  While raised in the church early in his life, he threw off the restraints of “religion” at a fairly young age.  His path led to an atheistic worldview for a while and then moderated to more of an agnostic perspective over time.  In his classic book, Mere Christianity, he identifies the existence of a moral code within every society as the reality that caused him to rethink his worldview.  The moral code – that framework of right and wrong, was intrinsic to every society.  Yes there were differences from place to place, but virtues such as loyalty, courage, and honesty within the tribe were consistent across every group.  Likewise the vices – betrayal, cowardice, lying within the tribe, were common threads across people groups.  The only logical explanation was that a universal law existed.  And if such a law existed, that demanded a Creator of that Law.  Hence Lewis followed the logic and expanded his godless worldview to include the reality that God existed.

Being the brilliant mind that he was, Lewis’ curiosity could not long rest with a riddle partially solved.  But neither was he going to be taken in by mere sentimentality or man-made religious dogma.  He was convinced that God existed, and therefore, the potential existed that He could be found.  His position on the staff at Oxford University gave him unfettered access to vast amounts of information collected from around the world and from history’s earliest recorded times.  Lewis was uniquely prepared and uniquely positioned to ferret out the truth.  I find it fascinating that JRR Tolkien was a fellow professor and confidant of Lewis.  In my mind’s eye I picture these two literary giants cloistered in the hallowed confines of Oxford, sharing a drink at their favorite pub, pondering the meaning of life, the potential existence of God, and how their latest book was shaping up.

His search led him back to Jesus.  Which brings me back to the writing on the window.  Right and wrong do exist.  And while I agree with Lewis that God is the authority of what is right and wrong, many people today resist or outright reject the reality of a Supreme Authority.  That vacuum is untenable.  Chaos, anarchy, and strife fill the void.  Society was not meant to exist without the structure that a framework of right and wrong provides.  So into that void government – whether it be a dictatorship in a third world country, elected leadership in a democracy, or simply the village chieftain, rises to define and enforce the law.

The problem with laws is the tendency latent in every person to break laws we don’t like or aren’t convenient for us.  In many cases we actually like the laws… so long as they apply to everyone else and I can be the exception when necessary.   The apostle Paul talks about this a lot.  The Law, in his writings meaning the Law given by God to the nation of Israel through Moses, served God’s ultimate purpose of pointing to our need of a savior and redeemer.  Jesus, was the only person who has ever lived who perfectly fulfilled the Law.  He was without sin.  And as such by His sacrificial death on the cross He was able to pay the price for every lawbreaker who has ever lived.  Those who accept His death on their behalf can receive forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

But it is the next step in the process that causes the sign on the bus window to stir me so.  When we submit to Jesus as Lord, we surrender our will to His.  He in turn puts His Holy Spirit within us.  The Holy Spirit will lead us step by step into closer intimacy with Jesus.  The Holy Spirit will gently transform our self-centeredness into other-centeredness.  It will become an internal desire of our heart to please God, to do what is right.  Read what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40.  Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In place of obeying the writing upon the window out of duty, we will look for someone needy of our seat and we will leap at the chance to provide it.  For the widow and orphan, we will reach out in love to provide for them.  For the sad and discouraged, we will speak words of life and hope.  We will act with compassion and kindness.  We follow the Law, not because of some external pressure, but rather from a living, vibrant center within us where the Spirit of the Living Lord is working to transform us into the real us we were ultimately created to be.

God reached out and saves us because He loves us.  As His children He desires that we join Him in His work.  Letting our light shine by following the leading of His Holy Spirit is one of the ways God is proclaimed to a hurting, dying world.  The world doesn’t need more laws.  It simply needs more of Jesus.  Join me today in seeking to let Him live larger, more completely through us today.

I love you friend.  Be blessed today and be that blessing God intends in someone’s life today.

 

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It struck me as I chatted with the young man that he was in a good place to hear the Lord’s voice.  He had just finished the quarterly pest control treatment around the house and I simply asked his name.  A biblical name – Noah, and before I knew it we were talking about Jesus and His passion for people.  My new friend mentioned that he hadn’t been attending church, but that he was feeling like he should especially since he now had custody of his 10-yr old son… Responsibility, that can often make or break a person.  From our brief conversation I can tell my friend is embracing the responsibility and I am praying for him to grow as a Dad.

As I have prayed for him the Lord has impressed upon me that He loves him.  A vision of the Lord speaking to his heart like He has spoken to me through the years has been a consistent component of that prayer.  There is just one difference.  He speaks to Him in perfect Spanish.

There are times when the Lord’s love for someone overwhelms me.  That has happened with this young man.  Is this for the purpose of a blog post, is it for a season, is it for a unique purpose – I do not know?  But I am aware that I have a responsibility now to pray, and if the opportunity presents itself, to engage my friend again in conversation about the Lord and whatever He might bring up.

My Spanish is pretty lame.  Two years in high school and a few brief attempts since to gain some basic conversational skills has left me with a few phrases and a dozen or so words.  But I have a heart to tell people about the Lord’s love whoever and wherever they may be.  I think that matters.  Jesus died for ALL mankind.  Not just our family, our friends, those who look like us, think like us, vote like us.  He died for ALL.  Although it is hard to grasp, Jesus’ sacrifice was also for those we despise like ISIS and those who seek to deceive and manipulate us.

That is sometimes hard for me to swallow.  But as I quiet my soul and I consider where I was, what I have done, how I seek my own way at times, I recognize the Father’s voice calling to me.  At first it is a gentle whisper.  A whisper so quiet I could easily ignore or dismiss it.  But when I turn my ear to hear and my heart is open to receive, it becomes clear and distinct.  He loves me.  He cherishes me.  And He calls me to higher living.  He meets me where I am and He calls me to live a life with Him that manifests itself in a transformed mind and faith-filled life.

In this holy quiet I hear Him strike up another conversation.  He is reaching out to another one far from Christ.  He is telling him that He loves him, that He cherishes him, that He desires to live in him… only I can’t fully understand the words because I don’t speak the language.  But I do recognize the voice.

Lord, please take my life and the words I speak and write and use them for our good and for Your Glory.  Be present in a tangible way for my new friend and draw him to Yourself.  And help those who read this post to be encouraged to listen and respond to Your voice.  We love you.  Help us to grow evermore in Your love and grace.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.

Be blessed and be a blessing today my friend.

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With both parents in their late 70’s I have to admit that my anxiety level rises when the phone rings at an unexpected hour and it is from their number.  The other night that happened and I quickly picked up the receiver hoping everything was okay.  It was Mom and I could tell she was excited in a good way.

“You know Monday night is our bowling night.” she said.  “We’re on our way home just now, but I had to call.”

Relief is a beautiful thing and I reclined into it knowing that the call this time was going to be fun.  “So Mom, how did you do?”

“Well, I bowled a 212 and finished with a 500 series.”

“Wow, Mom, that’s incredible!”  By now we were both giggling like a couple of happy children.

I am convinced that our Heavenly Father loves it when His children laugh in pure, clean fun.  He created us with the senses to experience life and an amazing brain to process these things, so it seems only right that He enjoys it when we use them to experience joy.  Listening to my Mom giggle like a young girl again touched my heart and made me appreciate my parents anew.

It also reminded that our Lord’s love is not simply a theological dogma, but a practical, living, present reality that undergirds, overshadows, and fills all of life. It is there for all to experience, only a faith step away.

Have a blessed day today.  And be the blessing the Father created and equipped you to be.

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The following is a repost of a Facebook blog of mine from March of 2014 when the Lord saved me from dying of a heart attack.  It includes a few updates near the end.

I am a new heart disease survivor. Two weeks ago my brother-in-law Keith and I ran about 3 miles. Friday I had 3 stents placed in my heart where there were 2 – 90% blockages and one 99% blockage. One of the blockages was in the widow-maker. I am so thankful for doctors who helped diagnose and treat me, my family and their faith and encouragement, but I want to acknowledge in the most heartfelt manner my thanks to the Lord for making it clear to move and move quickly.

I want to share a few warning signs for others so you can benefit from my experience.

The first sign that something was not right was getting winded heading up the steps to the daily meeting I attend at 9 am. It was only a few steps but it was enough that I noticed. My thought was that I had to get back into condition. The wild weather this winter combined with lots of long days at the plant had gotten me out of my routine.

The next sign was that I could not run as well when I did run. Keith and I have been enjoying 2 – 3 miles runs over the past several months. It is good exercise and fun to talk about life. But I actually had to stop during a couple of runs. There was one run a month ago that, looking back now, was a clear sign something was up. But I laughed it off and then ran two miles after that convincing myself I was okay, just out of practice.

About a week and a half ago I got home with enough light to run and I did. But the entire run was a challenge. I remember at 2 miles clearly thinking something’s not right because my legs felt like lead and I was laboring with my breathing. I should have said something to Lisa but I didn’t.

Tuesday of this week. The clearest description of what my symptom felt like was to put on a very tight t-shirt. That uncomfortable tightness across your chest that makes it hard to breath. Well I experienced that for 15 seconds going to the morning meeting. A little annoying. That evening I took the wheelbarrow and some tools to the back yard and when I got there I had the sensation for 45 seconds. OK, now I was beginning to be concerned. After supper I took Lisa for a walk and told her what had been going on. We agreed I needed to get checked out.  I am not positive that I would have gone before our big trip though.  You see we were a week and a half from heading to Rome and then Israel.  But there was this dream…

That night I had the dream. I walked into a garage on a very windy day. As leaves blew in I thought to get a broom and sweep them out. As I began to step in for the broom I noticed a coffee table with a ball of snakes underneath. I realized they were poisonous and one broke free from the ball and came at me. I knew it was coming to get me. I took one step back and thought to myself, “I’ve got to deal with this.” At that instant my alarm went off. And shouting in my memory was the thought, I’ve got to deal with this.

That morning I was in the doctor’s office. Vitals all looked good but the EKG was A-typical. A call to the cardiologist and I was in their office the next day. I thought a stress test was the next step but after looking at my EKG and hearing my symptoms, the doctor put me in for a heart catheritization the next day. I went in mostly hoping that they would find everything fine, but instead they found and repaired three blockages. An overnight stay in the hospital and I was home before noon on Saturday with 90 mm of SS mesh tubing in my heart. Honestly my head is spinning when I think about the implications.

Addendum from a month plus after the fact:

That return home from the hospital was exactly one week before we flew out for Rome for 5 days and then on to Israel.  The day before we flew out I had a final check with the the cardiologist to make sure everything was still a go.  I met with a different doctor this time and I shared my story with her.  She listened politely and as I finished she said, “You quite possibly would have died on that trip.”  My wife now completes the story by letting everyone know that I definitely would have died.  One of the sites we visited in Israel was Masada, Herod’s mountain top fortress in the Judean dessert.  It is on a high plateau above the Dead Sea.  When we arrived the guide gave us two choices.  We could ride the cable car up the 1000 plus feet or we could hike up the winding trail.  Because of the doctor’s orders to take it very easy for six weeks I really had no choice, it was the cable car for me.  But as Lisa correctly points out I would have chosen the steep trail… in the desert… up the mountain which almost assuredly would have brought on a heart attack. 

And the name of that trail… the Snake Trail.

Practical Learnings from my Experience:

FITNESS ALONE DOES NOT PROTECT YOU.
For the past 7 years I have become a runner. The past three years I averaged running 15 – 20 miles a week. In preparation for the Cooper River Bridge Run last April I was running 30 miles a week. One of the reasons I took up running was because my Dad had a heart attack at age 54 and I wanted to be sure I didn’t have that problem. I completed the 6.2 miles of the Cooper River Bridge run in less than 49 minutes… I thought I had NO PROBLEMS with any ole heart problems because I was FIT!

STRESS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.
Over the past few months the stress level at work has increased significantly. While we have been successful in many ways there is still so much to be done… and I take a lot of responsibility for trying to keep my team and the plant progressing. Lately at least 4 different co-workers had asked me if I was okay and they encouraged me to take it easy and not push myself so hard. I realized this morning looking in the mirror how much different I look. I was worn out and tired most of the time and stress was a major reason. This morning I look 5 years younger.

EATING RIGHT IS NOT A GAME.
In addition to the stress I had some opportunities in my diet. I was not a terrible eater and I had made substitutes over the past few years to go “heart healthy”. I added fish to my diet and lot’s of chicken. Red meat had been a staple but I was down to 2 – 3 times a week usually. However it was more of a game than a lifestyle. If I decided I wanted a cookie, I told myself I’d just run a little extra distance. When I did eat red meat it was a well-marbled rib-eye. To balance it out I began eating the petite portion size. I was not committed to a healthy diet. I assumed that I was fit and my vitals were always very good when I got tested so it was OK for me to cheat on the heart healthy diet.

REGULAR CHECK-UPS MEANS MORE OFTEN THAN EVERY FIVE YEARS
Okay, I guess I have uncovered another area where I went astray. As I approached 50 I had a full physical. Since then I have had annual screenings where they check my vitals and tell me they look very good. I had even gotten a little smug… “yeah my heart rate is always real low like that because I’m a runner and I take care of myself” sort of smug. I am ashamed at this moment but I have committed to being honest and transparent in hopes my experience can help others so there is the truth of it. Last fall I set up a full check-up which I canceled 30 minutes prior because we had some crisis going at work. Having good intentions but not carrying through = 0. The result is exactly the same as never having thought of doing the right thing. In my case a November check-up might have revealed a problem that could have been dealt with in a simpler manner.

OTHER RISK FACTORS: SMOKING, DRINKING, CAFFEINE
For myself the other risk factors have not been an issue. I recognize that they are known to be harmful to me and to a degree to those who would be around me, so I don’t smoke or consume alcohol or caffeine.

As I mentioned before my head spins as I think of the implications… I had a time bomb in my chest getting close to going off… I almost missed the warning signs… I can’t hide behind being “fit” to ward off everything that can take me down… God knows me well enough to know I needed a nudge (OK more like a push) from that dream to move and move quick.

One final thing that I remembered a little while ago and told my wife. On Thursday morning as I was heading to work I turned on His Radio for a little soothing music. While I was not scared exactly, I was running through my mind the likely paths this would take. The possibility that there was a problem with my heart was high on the list. You can’t help but to think about the what if’s in such a situation? What if I don’t survive and my family has to deal with my loss. About that time a song came on and the refrain repeated God’s words to us – “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you”. As the melody and these words soaked into my soul the tears came. Not tears of sadness, but tears of joy and release. I KNOW that God lives and that He is in control of my life. He has given me stewardship my time on earth, but as I release my life to Him I can trust Him completely. He gave me a crazy dream about snakes at exactly the time I needed it to motivate me to head to the doctor. Today I celebrate the reality of Who He is and another marvelous thing He has done for me and my family.

Today as I re-read what I posted right after my stents, I am overwhelmed anew by thankfulness.  There are several aspects of this story that are extremely encouraging, but the one that stands out to me is the timing of the dream.  If it had been in the middle of the night I doubt I would have remembered it, but climaxing at the instant my alarm went off was exactly what I needed to motivate me.  The Lord still has things for me to do here and He gave me the necessary nudge to keep me here.  And somehow my having heart disease weaves into His plan for me.  Another one of my life verses comes to mind this morning. From Proverbs 3:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Lord thank you for this life you have given me.  I surrendered my life to you many years ago, but I realize that this process is on-going.  Today I give you thanks for my body and how it is made – even the heart disease that I live with, because I know you are able to use it for the greater good.  Please use it and use me to faithfully proclaim the Good News of Who You are and what You have done.  Open eyes, ears, and hearts to the beautiful, wonderful reality of You.  I love you Lord.

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Valentine’s Day and Love

I am not a fan of crass commercialism.  The true meaning of holidays, or Holy Days as they originally began, is often subordinated under the lesser purpose of making a buck.  It’s not that giving gifts is a bad thing, but it is not necessarily the best thing.  Valentine’s day is an excellent example.  To give my sweetheart a gift on this day as a token of my love and devotion is a fine thing, but if I do it simply because it has become the societally acceptable act then it rings hallow.  Alternately if my love is simply the romantic type of love or what was refered to as Eros in the Greek of biblical times, then it falls short of the deepest and purest of love, Agape.

Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to capture what true love looks like in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians.  He states it so much better than I can.  Take a few moments a let this Valentine’s message saturate your soul.

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.  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.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but to not have love, I gain nothing.

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.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  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.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; hen I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a happy, Agape-filled Valentine’s Day.

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