Tag Archives: Love

Meeting Janeen

Janeen and I met when I traveled to Iowa to visit my best friend Jason in May of 1978. I was living in Massachusetts at the time working in a large computer center for a big company.  Jason and I had reunited at our 5th High School  reunion, having graduated from West Boylston Jr-Sr High School in 1970.  We had gone our separate ways after high school, him to the army and Vietnam and me into a full blown long-haired hippie.  We were excited when we ran into each other that night. 

We spent some time together while he was in town and he kept telling me I needed to get saved.  He had met Jesus when over in Germany. 

“What do you mean “I need to get saved?”  Saved from what” I chided him

“From hell!” Jason always was a very direct and driven person.  I remember him taking on an Amway business in his junior year in high school and making good money.  Sure beat the caddying we did at the country club, or my paper route, or washing dishes at Franklin Manor, which was my high school job.

“Did you become a Jesus freak” over there?”  This was the time when Jesus freak was a popular name for someone who went around saying Jesus saves, Jesus saves.  These were the years of “Day by Day” and “Put your Hand in the Hand” being popular songs on AM radio.

Jason replied “You’re my best friend and this is the best thing that ever happened to me.  I have to share it with you.”

“Well. I appreciate that, friend, but I want no part of it.”

He didn’t give up and I didn’t give in.  We kept in touch after that and I traveled to Iowa to visit him for the first time in 1976.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  I had some vacation time coming up and Labor Day weekend was right around the corner.  Thursday afternoon I gave him a call.

He picked up the phone.  “This is Jason.”  Short and sweet.  Hard as nails.

“Hey Jason, I’m coming out for a visit!”   He recognized my voice and got all excited.

“That’s great! When are you coming?”

“I’ll be there Saturday morning!”  It was a 22-hour, 1,500 mile drive straight through, so I figured a couple stops along the highway to sleep and I’d be good.  No hotels for me.

“Wow, that fast?” He asked.  “That would be great.”

“Yup, I’m heading out first thing tomorrow morning.  Me and Sophie will be just fine.”  Sophie was my burnt orange Dodge Opal.  She was a great car.  A nice little four passenger sports coupe that god great gas mileage (not that we thought much about that In those days).  I have no idea where I got the name from, but she had travelled with my many miles.  This was just one more jaunt.  I arrived just when I had promised and we embraced at seeing one another again.

The first night I was there we went to a southern Baptist church in Fairfield, Iowa.  There was a missionary preaching that night, and all I can remember about it was that it was a hell-fire and brimstone message.  The preacher had told me that it was a place I would burn forever, but never die.  That I would thirst forever, but never get a drink.  Hat worms would gnaw at my skin and crawl on my body and  I’d feel everyone.  He told me that unless I confessed my sins and asked Jesus to be my Lord, that I was headed there.  He said there was no other way. 

After that message I knew I was headed for hell, and I knew I did not want to go there.   They gave the altar call and raised my hand to accept Jesus.  When they asked if all who raised their hands would come down to the altar, I could not move.  I was frozen in my seat.  My body would just not get up and go there.  I prayed the prayer in my seat and we left.

The night before I left Iowa, Jason’s pastor came to his trailer home and talked to me about that service.  I told him why I raised my hand and he said I could receive Jesus right there in my friends living room.  He asked if he should lead me in prayer and I said no, I knew what I had to say.  I prayed for forgiveness, repented of my sins and asked Jesus to be Lord of my life.  I got saved that night.

The next year I went out to Jason’s wedding – he married that Iowa girl.  I decided to travel again to visit him in 1978, not knowing how that trip was going to change my life forever.  After the long trip I walked into his house and he was on the piano playing a song.

“Do you recognize this song” he said

“Why yes, I do.  It’s “You Light Up My Life”. I said.  He played the chorus and we sang it together.  We sang together as kids in church quite often so this was no weird thing.  Then he started playing another song and asked me if I knew that one.  I did not.

“It’s called Blessed Assurance.  Come on over and sit down,  I’ll teach it to you.”  I sat down on the bench beside him.

After getting saved back in 1976, I started attending the church I grew up in, the First Congregational Church in West Boylston, Mass.  My mom was the church secretary, so we were always there,  Jason went to that church too.  But I had never heard this song.  I had been out of church since my mid-teens, so it was odd being back in that church.  But I was well accepted as a lost sheep who came back to Jesus.

I was always one that was quick to pick up a tune, and this was a pretty easy one.  I fell in love with the chorus right away.  “This is my story, this is my song.  Praising my Savior all the day long.  This is my story, this is my song.  Praising my Savior all the day long.”  We sang together for a while then he said he would take the first verse and I should take the second.  I said OK.  We stopped practicing to have some lunch, and then he asked me

“Will you sing this with me in church?”

“Sure” It was Saturday so I had time to catch on.

“Well, we have to memorize it”  No problem I thought.  I had two verses to memorize and the chorus was a breeze.  We practiced some more when he turned to me.

“We have to have it down for tonight”

Tonight?  Why tonight” I asked

“Because we go to the television studio and record the service tonight” He said very matter-of-factly.

“Did you say television?”

“Yup, sure did.  Don’t worry, you’ve got this” He said very calmly/

I said OK and we continued to practice.  We were leaving in two hours and he wanted to have it down real good,  He picked up his guitar and we practiced some more because he would be playing guitar that night.  We got ready to go and headed to the church to meet the others who were heading down.  When we got there I met the pastor, organist, a couple of church members, and few other people who were coming along for support.  It was about an hour and a half drive to Kirksville, Mo where the recording studio was.  We got there and the service went just fine.   On the way back we stopped at a diner that was open to have a bite to eat.  I sat next to the organist and her younger sister sat on the other side of her.  I ordered a hamburger and fries and turned to talk to her

“Hi Joyce.  Loved your piano playing tonight.”  I had met her earlier so knew her name.  I had not been introduced to her sister.

“Oh, thanks Peter.  It is Peter, right?” She asked

Yes, but I go by Pete.  What’s your sisters name? I asked, looking over at the young girl.  I was guessing she was about 15.

“Her name is Jana”

“How old are you, Jana?”  For the life of me, I don’t know why I asked that question,  I did have a girlfriend back home and was only staying for a few days.  It was not something I really needed to know.  I was 26 at the time, so this girl was way too young by any standards.

“She’s 15.” Joyce said.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a sister that is a little older, would you?” Again, I didn’t know where that question came from.  I just blurted it out like I had thought this whole thing out.  But I had not.

“As a matter of fact, I do” Joyce said with a ring in her voice.

“Well, could you have her in church tomorrow morning?” I asked.  There’s another question that came out of nowhere.  It was like something had taken control of my words that night.  I didn’t need a girl out here in Iowa.  I was just visiting!  I’d be leaving in three days.  What was I thinking?

“I sure will try!” said Joyce with a smile and a clear joy in her voice.  I had no idea what would happen the next morning.  We all finished eating, got in our separate cars and headed home, arriving back at Jason’s at around 11.

The next morning I arrived at church and sat a few rows back from the front. It was a small country church in the heart of the small town of Batavia, Iowa.  I recognized Joyce when she came in.  She took her place at the organ and the young lady with her sat behind me.  She had on a pretty dress on with pastel flowers in the pattern.  I knew who she was, but did not turn around or say anything to her during the service.  After the service I went back to sign the guest book at the back of the church.  As I signed my name and wrote West Boylston, Mass, the young lady walked up beside me.

“You came a long way to go to church today” she said.

“Yes I did!” I said and I walked out of the church.

Joyce told me later her sister Janeen was furious that I had asked she come to church and yet I didn’t even acknowledge her.  But Joyce was very persistent and she convinced Janeen to come back to the evening service.  Jason convinced me to help him lead worship for the evening service,.  He taught me a few simple choruses as we practiced nearly all afternoon.  I thought I was ready for what was to come.

Jason liked to be fashionably late, so we walked in just a minute or two before the service started.  When I walked in the door, Janeen turned to look at me and our eyes met.  For me it was like love at second sight.  Something just jumped in my heart.  I had never sensed anything like that before in my life.  I smiled at her and nodded my head in greeting.  We went through the worship service and sat down. 

After the service Jason had a get together at his house for Mother’s Day.  Janeen’s Mom and Dad and sister were all there with her.  Janeen and I chatted for a little while and I got buzzed with questions.  Before they left it was mentioned that the next night there was a fellowship meeting with other churches the next night.  Janeen and I went back and forth for a bit with the old “I’ll go if you go” routine until we finally decided we would go.

Jason convinced me to sing a solo at the meeting so we practiced Monday afternoon.   I rode to the fellowship meeting with Jason while Janeen and her sister rode up separate.  Jason stayed for my song but had to leave early to go to work. On the way home, I rode with Janeen, her sister and her little nephew.  The nephew was so funny on the way home that Janeen and I just laughed and laughed.  I hadn’t had a real laugh like that for years.  When we got back to Batavia, I wanted to go over to where Jason was working.  My head was spinning.  So much had happened in so short a time that I really didn’t understand what was going on.  I wanted to talk to my friend tonight because I had to leave the next morning to get back to work.

Janeen volunteered to drive me over there, about a 15 minute drive.  She had a sweet 1965 Ford Mustang.  On the way over to Fairfield, right out of the blue, she started singing “You Light Up My Life.”  It was almost surreal.  The same song my friend had been playing when I got there was coming out of her sweet lips.  She sang beautifully and my confusion grew.  We got to my friends place and I got out of the car.  I walked around to her side of the car and pinched her elbow.

”She you later” I said.

She said “Okay.”  She tells me she was mad for a long time I didn’t kiss her goodnight that night.

I went into that gas station and sat down on a chair.

“Jason, I’m lost” I said, almost weeping.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, I don’t know where I belong right now.” A few tears started to form as I spoke these words.  “I have a great job and a great future, but I feel like I am supposed to be here in Iowa.”

“What are you going to do?” He asked me.

“I have to leave tomorrow.  There’s not a choice in that.  I guess I’ll just have to figure it out.”

Jason piped up.  “I’m sure God will help you.”tesst

“Yes, I sure hope so!”  I stayed with him at the gas station until he closed up and we went home.  I went to bed and awoke the next morning to get an early start.  It was a 22 hour drive.  Usually I drove straight through, stopping along the way to sleep for a little while in my car.  But this time I got halfway across Pennsylvania and decided to stop at a Red Roof Inn for the night.  I got into my room and was still feeling dazed.  Looking for any answers, I reached into the nightstand and pulled out the Gideons Bible.  In the front it had some helps, and there was one reference of scriptures to read in times of decision.  I tuned the Bible to Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  I all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.”

I immediately picked up some of the hotel stationary and wrote Janeen a letter.  I  told her if she would be my girl, I would move to Iowa.  I drove back to Massachusetts and went to work the next morning.  That day, before she had even received the letter, I gave my letter of resignation, giving them 2 months warning.  I knew it would take that long to train someone.  They offered me more money, a different position, and pother incentives to stay.  They just could not figure out why I would want to leave when my career was just starting to gel.  One guy asked me “So are you going to go out there and get married and have babies?”  I told him I wasn’t sure – but I just might!

Janeen and I traded letters and telephone calls for the next two months before I moved out to Iowa in August.  She was still in High school and worked a night waitressing job in Fairfield, so often those calls came at one or two in the morning.  I loved it when she called because it was not work calling – I was on 24 hour a day call.   We would talk for an hour or two whenever she called.

Janeen, Jason and Jason’s wife all came out to get me in August of 1978.  Janeen and I spent some time alone when they were in Massachusetts.  I remember our first kiss coming at Pinecroft Dairy, a local ice cream place.   We had ordered homemade ice cream cones, Janeen had chocolate chip and I had peppermint stick.  We sat out at a picnic table and ate them and after we were done I leaned over and gave her a kiss.  It was wonderful to feel her soft lips.  There were many more kisses after that!

With just enough stuff to fill a station wagon I left my family, home and job to start new.  Everyone thought I was crazy.  My mom was very supportive, as she always was, but she sure did not understand.  She was the one that hired me for the job I was leaving after being there 7 years.  My brother had just arrived back from college the year before and we had started to hang out together again, especially on the tennis courts.  He was really sad to see me go.  But I just had to leave. 

At first when I moved back to Iowa, I lived with Jason.  I started a job at the local Pamida store as a stock clerk.  Pamida was a Midwest department store at the time.  It was quite a step back from my computer programming job and it came about on a whim.  I had applied for another job at Rockwell that was the exact same job description I had left in Massachusetts.  They called me for an interview and were amazed that someone showed up at their door out of nowhere and applied.  The church thought God had put that job there just for me.   

On the way home from that job, I stopped by the Pamida store and saw they were hiring, so just for kicks I put in an application there as well.  I went back to Jason’s and that night the assistant manager from the store called me.  He said if I would promise to give them 6 months he would hire me.  I told him I would, fully intending to leave if Rockwell played.  It was then I found out God wants me to honor my word.  The Rockwell job was filled internally/

After about a month I moved into Joyce’s house where Janeen was also living.  We dated and got to know each other over the next couple months.  In early October I asked her to go out to dinner with me.  I had purchased a small diamond ring and hid it in the glovebox of the car.  This was the night!  We went in the restaurant and the waiter sat us down at a nice window table with a candle in the middle.  The décor was a bit dark with red table cloths and curtains.  It was beautiful.  The waiter brought us dinner and we each enjoyed the meal.  After the meal, I looked over at her, took her hand and pulled out the ring.

“Janeen, I know we haven’t known each other very long, but I love you.  Will you marry me?”  I opened the ring box to show her the ring.  Her eyes lit up as she held out her hand.

“Yes, I sure will!” she said as I slipped the ring on her finger.  We kissed and left the Pizza Hut after a great date! 

“I knew you were going to ask me tonight” Janeen said.

“How did you know that?”  I thought I had done a good job keeping it a secret.

“I saw the ring in the glovebox before you got in the car” she giggled. “ I was so excited”

“I/m excited too!”

We were married on November 25, 1978. We now have three daughters and five grandchildren.  Like all couples we have been through good times and bad.  There were times we were not sure the marriage would survive but our faith in God and belief in His word kept us together through the toughest of times. 

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Maintain Good Works

Titus 3:8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

We use to sing a song that said “We’ll work ‘til Jesus comes.” The sentiment of the song was that we needed to be busy about the Father’s business right up until the time the trumpet sounded His return.  Right up until we were caught up to meet Him in the air.  It seems to me that today people want to sit back and wait until He comes.  They want to study and study and study the word, but not do the word.  They sit with their commentaries and concordances and multiple translations to pick out key verses linking Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel all to try and figure out exactly what is going to happen and when.  They listen to teaching by David Jeremiah and get the prophecy bible of John Hagee so they can claim to have a handle on the prophetic end of the age.  They are all wrapped up in what is to come and forget about the day at hand.  All the while, what Jesus wants is for us to work until he comes.

Why is it so important to know what Heaven will be like?  Why must we know when He is going to come?  Shouldn’t our every day be lived as if it were our last?  Shouldn’t our lives reflect His love every moment of every day?  Yes, Paul told us to study to show ourselves approved unto God, but James said the faith without works is dead.  We can study and learn and quote scripture (with the address of course) all we want.  But if we are not going about doing the Father’s business, we are not doing what we are supposed to.  We are not living the word.  James told us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only.  Here, Paul tells us that we must affirm constantly that we are careful to maintain good works.  Constantly.  In the NIV, this verse says to affirm confidently.  A rarely used word, it means to be emphatic until the end, to se it all the way through.  That tells me that I must be sure I am doing good works all the way through my life.

I am not writing to condemn, but to admonish.  Isn’t it time the church start to do what the church is supposed to do?  The church was not a social experiment.  It was not designed to feed the full, but the hungry.  It was not designed to give solace to the well, but to heal the sick and broken.  It was not designed to have million-dollar budgets to operate, but to distribute the money of the rich to help the poor.  I’m not saying that we should be a socialistic nation as some are saying this would be a scriptural society. What I do believe is that the church should be socialist in a way.  The New Testament church described in the first few chapters of Acts acted as a group of people who took care of each other’s needs.  They did not give because they were promised it would be returned pressed down, shaken together and running over.  They gave to help each other by having a common pool through which to bless the members.  The apostles were charged with distributing to the necessity of the saints (Romans 12:13).  This same verse also says they were given to hospitality.  They actually had group meals and fed each other regardless of social status.

In today’s society this would be quite a church.  A mechanic who works on people’s cars in the church and does not charge.  A plumber who will help someone without fee in an emergency.  A snow remover taking care of a church member who does not have the ability or the means to get his snow removed.  Doing whatever we can to help each other.  Giving all we can to help each other and not holding back.  Look at what happened to Ananias and Saphira!  They both died because they did not give what they said they were giving.  They only gave part of what they had the ability to give.  I am guilty of that quite often.  What else can I do for God’s kingdom?  I’m not talking here about witnessing and sharing the Gospel, although that is a piece of our works. Some people are more gifted with that ability than others, and it is important that we share the word whenever we are given opportunity.  I am talking about our ministry to the needs of others.  The needs they have today, not what might come tomorrow.  Today is what counts to these people.  Right now they need a touch from God, and I believe God wants that touch to come from us.  We are His workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).  Some translations use the word masterpiece instead of workmanship.  I love being thought of as a masterpiece, but a masterpiece that does not do what is intended to do is of no use.  It will wit collecting dust.

Jesus said that He had to be do His Fathers business (Luke 2:49).  We must do the same.  By now you are probably saying “Okay Pete.  We get the message.  Please tell us what we are supposed to do!”  I’ll be happy to.  Don’t think for a minute that I have all this down pat.  I have a long ay to go to be able to ay I am doing the Father’s business all the time.  But I always try to do my best when a situation presents itself.  And I am not going to get into a long diatribe of what each thing is, nor will I supply a comprehensive list.  But I will give you some food for thought which will lead to action, I hope.  I am just going to give a few scriptures that tell us what we should be doing.

First, Let’s look at Luke 4:18-19 (or Isaiah 61:1-2).  18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  Jesus said this was His mission.  Is this not ours as well?  Jesus places the Holy Spirit within us when we are born again, soi the Spirit is upon us.  We don’t do these things, the Spirit within us does.  But we should be praying these things for others all the time, and proclaiming the year of the Lord.

Next, I take you to Matthew 6:14-15.  14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  We are not to bear grudges or keep anger inside us.  We are to forgive and put the matter behind us.  This is a hard work but it is a very good work.  Do you have someone you need to forgive?  I suggest you do it quickly and constantly!

Now, Matthew 7:12   12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Jesus said it was all summed up in this verse.  Treat others like you would want to be treated.  Very simple, yet so profound.  If only we would all live like this every day.

I could actually just take the whole Sermon on the Mount.  It is full of ways we can do good work.  But I will move on to a few other places.

Ephesians 4:29 says 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  Do I speak grace at every occasion, or do I fall into the trap of being angry, or complaining, or grumbling?  Another verse that coincides is Philippians 2:16 “Doall things without grumbling or complaining.” Oh my!  How many of us follow this sage piece of advice?

Then there is Romans 12:6-21.  I am not about to put this whole section of scripture into this blog, but I will give you a snapshot of the good work that can come out of following these words.  Prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, showing mercy, show love that is pure, hate evil, not slothful in business, bless them which bless you, rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with those that weep, live in peace with all, don’t take vengeance, treat everyone equally, don’t be conceited, don’t return evil for evil but overcome evil with good,

That’s a mouthful! All of these things out to be a part of our lives.  They ought to reflect who we are as children of God.  I could use a good dose of many of these things in my life how about you?  I think a majority of the time we think of good works as doing something tangible and we stop at that.  But how many of the things on this list are intangible?  It’s the attitude of the heart that is the greatest work of all.  We can give, attend, lead, socialize and do deeds all we want, but if we don’t get these things down right, we miss the mark.  Which brings us to the greatest work we can do – Love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a.  “13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth

Do this, and you’ve done good work!

Sound Doctrine for Men (Part 2)

Titus 2:1-2

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience

We are in the middle of a discussion on sound doctrine and the first three pieces of advice were covered in my last post.  Being sober, grave and temperate means that we are serious about bringing mercy and grace into another person’s life.  It does not mean we can’t ever be light-hearted or make a well-placed joke or two that adds to our point.  In fact, laughter is a help in getting a point across.  But we must not get out of control with jokes, or anecdotes, or conspiracy theories, or anything that takes away from the gospel.  Unfortunately, the church is going in all different directions, and not just toward the cross any more.  These are serious times that demand serious answers.  Being sober, grave and temperate are ways to talk with sound doctrine that will help us get through these difficult times, I have heard some call for insurrection of our government for what they are doing now.  I think the Romans ere much worse in Jesus’ day, yet He never called for insurrection, but prayer and loyalty.  Walk 2 miles, give him your cloak also, pray for your enemies.  These are His commands.  We must take on the humble attitude of sobriety, be grave in our conversation and temperate in our attitude.

Sound in Faith.  What exactly does that mean?  Isn’t faith, faith?  Isn’t it the substance of things hooped for and the evidence of things not seen?  What does Paul mean when he says sound doctrine is sound in faith?  I am not sure of the exact answer, but I know what it means to me.  It means that we take the whole body of scripture as it applies to faith.  I hear these name-it, claim-it preachers all the time.  Claim it – it’s yours.  Claim your healing!  Claim your prosperity! Claim your deliverance!  Never mind that I have asthma that is acting up, that my finances are shot and that I am steeped in debt.  Claim it now!  God owes it to you because His word says if you ask you shall receive, and when two or three agree He will do it, or if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can ask anything.  He owes it to you now.

I think not.  God does not owe me anything.  Nothing.  He has given me air in my lungs, hands to type this message, eyes to see the keyboard, ears to hear the phone ring if it does, and so much more day after day after day.  He doesn’t owe me anything at all.  If I ask, He will bring it about, but in His time, and that might not be the same as my time.  And He might answer differently than what we think He will.  The answer is not always what we think it is.  Do you think Gideon wanted to fight the Midianites with only 300 men?  Do you think Samson wanted to wait until he was blind to defeat the Philistines?  Do you think Jonah wanted to be eaten by a big fish?  God answers in mysterious ways, but His answer is always the right one, and His timing is always perfect.  Be sound in your faith by trusting God to complete the work he started in you with each situation that comes into your life.  Everything has a purpose if we let Him work it out.

Sound In Charity.  We all know this word charity speaks of love. How to be sound in the doctrine of love is really simple.  Just read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.  This little portion of pure gold by Paul tells us more about the kind of love we should have than anything else in the whole Bible.  The sound doctrine of love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, is not prideful, does not act unethically or immorally, doesn’t look out for itself before looking out for others, is not made angry easily, thinks no evil of anyone else, does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth.  If that is not enough It bears all things that people may say or do because it believes all things will work out for the best and it has high hopes that all will come out well so that it endures any hardship that might come.  It never fails.  Never fails.  Never fails.

I asked someone once how I could possibly fulfill this definition of life, and he said that I could not in myself.  It is only through Christ that I can come close to fulfilling this doctrine of love.  This definition is the supreme height of love, and anything lower or lesser than this is not sound doctrine.  Every day, I must weigh my decisions out based on these principles, because I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself, and this is the kind of love I should have toward my neighbor and toward myself!  This is being sound in love.

Sound in Patience.  As I said in my last post, I love that Paul put this last, like it is the closing on a speech that wraps up the thought.  Sound doctrine must be drowned in patience.  James tells us that when patience has its prefect work in us, we will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing!  Patience perfects us through our trials, whether they be with other people with ourselves, with our government or our job or our children.  But patience is one of our biggest stumbling-locks because we don’t want to wait on God.  We want it when we think we need it.  We want that person to change their ways to suit our timetable.  We are an imperfect people, that’s for sure. Much of it is due to the fact that we lack patience.

In the list of the fruit of the Spirit, we out a lot of stock in the first three things listed – love, joy and peace.  But have you noticed that patience (long-suffering) is fourth on the list and is probably one of the ones we least want to possess?  That’s because we equate learning patience with trials, and we don’t want to go through trials.  We don’t want to see others go through trials.  We want them to find answers now.  So we will pray that a miracle will happen, or we will help them through a trial without seeking God about it.  Sometimes those trials have to be gone through to build the faith and to perfect that person.  Sound doctrine in patience helps us to see when we should help and when we should not.  It helps us to wait on God to renew our strength so we can mount up with wings like eagles.  This is being sound in patience.

This list of ways that we can speak sound doctrine is – well – sound doctrine.  These are traits all of us should strive to maintain in our own lies while speaking them into others.  Don’t get carried away by the waves of deceit and lies that are swirling around you.  Don’t take part in the dazzling array of end-time projections and doomsday reports for our country.  Simply turn to God and he will make all things right.  He will make all things new.  He will guide us through these rough and stormy times to a  much brighter day ahead.  Be sound in your doctrine, men!

Eph 6:19-24

Eph 6:19-24

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul loved to talk about Jesus.  Everywhere he went, he would find people to tell them about Jesus.  In the synagogue, in the open market place, or finding a place he could stand and preach.  It didn’t matter – Paul would preach and let people know the mystery of the gospel.  He was bold with the gospel at all times.

I want that kind of boldness.  My brother-in-law died a last week in a car accident.  He was bold for Jesus.  No matter where he was or who he was talking to, he would tell them about Jesus.  He would talk about the blessings of God.  He would ask them if they knew Christ.  There was no doubt he was a man of God, and that he loved the Lord, if you ever stopped  to talk to him.  You knew he loved the Lord.  Give me that kind of boldness – that I may always talk about Jesus!

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Another messenger from Paul, Tychicus, was sent to update the people on what was going on with Paul.  They knew he was in prison, but dd not know about his health, or his mood, or what was coming to him from the Romans.  They were concerned with how Paul was doing.  The people of Ephesus really cared about him, as he had planted the church there, and he was the one who led many of them to Christ.  Paul knew this, and wanted to make sure they knew he was doing fine.

People care about you, too.  I have been out of church now for almost a year due to the chemo and cancer I have been going through.  And my church has some mold in it, so I can’t go there for risk of getting sick.   People are asking all the time how I am doing, so my wife and the pastor keep the updated.  If you are a member of a local church, and you have not been lately, I would guess there are some who wonder if you’re okay.  They may not call, but they are thinking about it.  Make sure you attend regularly if you are able so people know you’re okay!

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Paul leaves with comforting words.  Peace, Grace, faith and love to all.  Paul was always concerned that  the people were well grounded in the things of God.  he desires peace in the church, that there will not be arguing, disputes or disagreements among thee brethren.  He wanted them to have love with faith – I like that combination!  Have love to one another, and have faith that love will return to you.  Never worry if someone may not show you the love you need – have faith it will come.  Love with faith!

Lastly, grace to all them that love Jesus.  Grace to all of you, my friends.  This brings an end to our study in Ephesians.  I have enjoyed going through this book,and I hope you have as well.  I am not sure what book  will do next – I am open for suggestions.  I am going to take a short break from this blog, and I will let you know through my other blogs when it will start up again

Thanks for reading!

All About Love

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. I have talked to so many people and told them how Christ changed my life. Some of them will tell me that they were glad that I found religion, but it was my decision to make these changes that made the difference. That is so untrue. They just don’t understand the difference that Christ makes when we accept him into our hearts by faith. Faith in the transforming power of Jesus Christ, and the fact that he comes and dwells within us when we ask him to, is the power behind the transformation in a Christian. And it doesn’t just last for a few days. It lasts the rest of our lives. As long as we have a desire to grow, God will continue to move in our lives and increase our faith and our knowledge of Him. By faith Christ lives in our hearts.

 We Are rooted and grounded in love. If your spiritual walk is not rooted and grounded in love then you’re going the wrong direction. Jesus and God are all about love. It was God’s love that sent Jesus to this earth. And it was Jesus love that brought Him to the cross. We need to be all about love. Everything we do for Christ needs to be about love.

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

Do you comprehend what is a breath, the length, the depth, and the height of that love? How far do we really need to reach in love?  God reached all the way down from heaven! Should we do any less?  Can you tell me anybody that you know that doesn’t need love?  Our mission, and God’s will, is that we spread the love of Christ to all we meet.If we don’t understand how far we need to reach out and love then we will never reach far enough. God requires us to reach out to everybody and share His love. That’s what we have to comprehend. Now I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully comprehend why he loves us so much. I mean, we are His creation but we are so undeserving of His love. I was a wretched sinner before I came to Christ. I did not deserve any bit of His love. But He loved me while I was still a sinner. How much more should I love others on this Earth with the love He has given to me.  He did not give me His love to just hold onto it.  He gave me His love to share!

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

I need to know the love of Christ. It is much more important than knowledge. I was one who strove after knowledge when I got saved. I started reading the Bible and reading all the books. I started studying my Bible, doing word studies and history studies. I started listening to all kinds of preachers to learn more and more. I got so stoked up with knowledge that I also got full of pride. I was so concerned with gaining knowledge that I forgot to apply the love that God told me to have for those around me. See it’s much more important to know the love of Christ and to practice love with those around us then it is to have knowledge. If you are striving after knowledge I suggest you start striving after love instead.
If we know the love of Christ then we can be filled with the fullness of God.  That is because God is all about love. I want to be filled with God’s fullness. I want everything I can get from God and sometimes that will mean getting into difficult situations. Those situations are my proving ground and my training ground. That’s where God sees what I’m made, and He can see if I would treat other people with love even if they’re coming against me. Those are the times that God really knows what we’re made of.