Enduring Love

February is traditionally the month of celebrating love. The following is the love story of a very close friend and a wonderful way to end this love month!

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Enduring Love

Boarding the Greyhound bus late, she observed it was nearly filled to capacity with cramped travelers. As she stood at the front of the bus scanning the interior, her gaze identified only one empty seat remaining. Reeling as the bus pulled out of the station into traffic, she quickly slid into the vacant space.  She gave a perfunctory nod to the man sitting in the window seat who was preoccupied reading a book. With the dim overhead reading light shining directly on his head, she dismissed him as bald, and assumed he was elderly.

Silence reigned between the two people for much of the journey. Then at one point when she shifted her position, their eyes met. In the astonishing moment that followed, she felt a spark of attraction toward the handsome stranger with closely cropped blond hair. She mentally reversed her first impression. Names and college information were readily exchanged in the short time remaining. They were both college freshmen in Boston traveling to their separate homes in Maine for their first holiday weekend. She had just enough time to share her reluctance to investigate the city of Boston alone. Reaching her destination first, she departed at the station as the bus lumbered away. Its thick plume of exhaust dispersed in the night air along with any thoughts of a future encounter that may have materialized from the serendipitous meeting with the handsome stranger.

Incredibly, during the following week a letter arrived in her college mailbox from the man she’d met on the bus, inviting her to tour the city of Boston on foot. From that first pedestrian date, their relationship blossomed into a friendship of sharing and caring. Their college years were a whirlwind of fun and exuberant dates; of enviable cultural and educational experiences.

Their friendship gradually transformed into ardent, committed love. The day he proposed marriage and slipped a shimmering diamond ring on her finger, the world was ablaze with irrepressible hope and promise. Their hearts overflowed with ebullient love!

In June they graduated from college and were married. Dreams were fulfilled; prayers answered. Over the ensuing years, people who knew the couple well expressed the unsolicited observation that their marriage was “made in heaven.”

During her first months at college, she had prayed that God would choose her life-long partner. Perhaps her motivation for seeking God’s help was selfish; she likely felt inadequate to make such a monumental life decision herself. It was a tentative act of faith at best, but our Lord honors any amount of trust and reliance, accepting minuscule amounts of sincere faith.

Jesus explained to His disciples, “‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible to you’” (Matthew 17:20, NIV). Jesus was not teaching that His disciples could literally displace mountains, but that when large, looming problems are fully relinquished to the Lord, they are either minimized or resolved when faith is bathed in prayer.

Mustard seeds were some of the smallest known to man in Jesus’ day. When planted, the seed grew into a tall shrub in one season, serving as Christ’s metaphor to illustrate the result of implementing a small amount of faith to gain a large victory. It is God’s desire that our hesitant faith will gradually mature into constant dependence upon Him, no matter how difficult, large, or impossible each situation may seem to us. God is “able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20, KJV).

Our Lord is jealous for our exclusive adoration and devotion. With ever increasing amounts of submission and obedience the couple extended toward their Lord, the greater the abundance of joy and peace He heaped upon their marriage. God delighted in their companionship, He lavished them with His redeeming love, and He accepted them as His friends.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him.
In this way, love is made complete” (I John 4:16, NIV)
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God’s eternal love reaches its full expression on earth through those who believe and serve Him, designating us as His current disciples.

God has been consistently faithful to the couple whose meeting He orchestrated nearly fifty years ago when He answered a dubious prayer. According to His perfect plan, executed in His precise timing, a miraculous introduction of future marriage partners was initiated with coy smiles and whimsical sparks in the improbable environment of a crowded bus cruising the Interstate at 70 mph!  “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37, The Msg.).

Thankful for Friends

thankful-we-are-friends…..

I am so blessed and thankful for my close friends who know me so well and love me anyway. You know who you are!

Most of them live near me and I consider them as my local “family.” I also have a  friend who lives all the way across the country in Maine and we have yet to meet in person, yet our online friendship is so sweet. Then there is that special lady who once lived near me, moved halfway across the country, and then moved back several years later. Although we now live about 130 miles apart, we love it that when we get together, we pick up our conversation just as if we lived next door to each other.

What would we do without the blessing of our close friends?

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Friendship isn’t a big thing–it’s a million little things. —Author Unknown

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same. —Elbert Hubbard

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. —Jim Morrison

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun. —Charles R. Swindoll

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13 Days of Being Thankful

Day 13:

Thank you for cruising these 13 days of being thankful with me. In hindsight, I wish I had started this on November 1st, but sometimes it takes a while for an idea to gel in my mind.

I am always thankful for:

  • my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ
  • my sweet hubby
  • my wonderful children (including my daughter-in-love)
  • my father and 4 sisters
  • my local “family” of close friends
  • long-distance friends, some of whom I have not yet met
  • my church family
  • my cozy home, warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • plenty of food
  • enough clothes
  • a reliable vehicle
  • “thorns” to keep me grounded and closely relying on God
  • laughter to lighten up a rough day
  • overflowing joy in the midst of even the worst of trials
  • the supreme comfort in knowing that my God is always with me
  • that all-encompassing “peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” that “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

This list looks long but I’m sure there are many more things I could add. Sometimes I feel like my view of the outside world is about the size of a quarter because I’m housebound so much, but when I take the time to count my blessings, I am always overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise to my God for providing so abundantly.

Beloved, may we never forget to be thankful for the seemingly tiniest of blessings in our lives!

Just a Coincidence?

Today’s Thankful Thursday is dedicated to a very special friend, Johnny Harkins. To some, the way we met could be considered coincidental but Johnny and I both know it was a God-incidence.

Travel with me back in time to April 2007. Rick and I were shopping for a camper at a dealer in Phoenix. When we went back to close the deal and pick up our new camper, we were also scheduled for a walk-thru to familiarize us with all the systems in the camper. Upon our arrival, we were told that the person originally scheduled to take us on our walk-thru was not able to be there that morning. Instead they assigned another of their employees to do the honors.

Enter Johnny.

Rick and I spent the next hour or so being educated on the systems and idiosyncrasies of our new camper. Johnny was very knowledgeable and gracious in explaining everything to us and easily answered all of our questions. As I listened to him speak, I was struck by his quiet yet friendly manner.

For some reason, I felt the need to ask Johnny if he was a Christian. [Johnny, we both know Who gave me that urge, huh?] When he replied, “Yes,” I shared with him that I was a devotional writer. You cannot imagine the surprise on both of our faces as he told me he had an online devotional ministry and was looking for writers. Was I interested? Ummm… YES!!!

That was the beginning of a wonderful, God-ordained friendship: our God-incidence. If the other technician had been there to give us our tour, Rick and I would never have met Johnny, and I wouldn’t be sitting here right now sharing this all with you.

GEM Ministries

Through Johnny’s ministry—GEM Ministries—I have had the opportunity to virtually meet his other writers and have formed a close bond with some of them. Even though Johnny and I only live a couple of hours apart, I never had the opportunity to spend more time with him until two years ago. I was in Phoenix visiting my children and Johnny invited me to go to church with him. Here’s a photo of that visit:

Johnny, I am truly blessed to have you in my life and am so thankful for you and your special ministry. I love the way God works in our lives in such obvious and special ways!

This is how I see my friendship with Johnny:

You are my friends if you do what I command.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

—John 15:14-16

Again, thank you, Johnny, for the gift of your friendship. May God continue to bless you and Sylvia (and your family) and your work. And may He continue to use you in so many lives to advance His kingdom here on earth!