A Peek into the Heart of God

Charity suffereth long, and is kind…is not easily provoked…Beareth all things… endureth all things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4,5,7

The archaic translation of the KJV sounds funny to my ears.  “Love” makes more sense to my modern ears.  But the Holy Spirit began to woo my heart away from modern sensibilities and opened my eyes to the heart of God.

Today, when we think of “charity”, we think of giving to the poor and needy.  Seldom does the word make us feel warm and fuzzy inside and cause us to desire face time with those we are closest to.  But the word “charity” is an apt word that comes much closer to what Paul is writing about than our overused and undervalued “love.”


When you toss a dollar or two into the hat of a street person, you never expect that person to jump up and give you money back… Do you?

When you buy groceries to support a Food Pantry, you never expect the recipients to knock on your door with a bag of food for your family… Do you?

That is the heart of charity – loving without expecting anything in return.  It is loving your spouse, children and friends all the while knowing that they have weaknesses and blind spots; knowing that they will let you down and cause you pain from time to time – yet loving them anyway.

I have taught this principle and felt good about it.  But this week, the week we honor the sacrifice of Christ, I was challenged to dig a little deeper.

If you were walking down the street and the homeless person knocked you down, spit on you and smeared your face with trash, how likely would you be to put a dollar in their hat?

I can answer for myself: “Not very likely!”  Yet our Lord and Savior went through the worst treatment imaginable, suffered long, bore it all, endured it all… all for Love.  Love for you and me.  Love that we can never repay.

And this is the love He desires that we extend to each other.  When we do, we can rest assured that, whether we call it “charity” or “love”, it will never fail.

May your celebration of Easter be meaningful and rich in love…



Some Things Are Just Sticky

One of my fond memories from childhood is of my grandfather donning a “bee suit” and robbing the hive. My grandmother would break off pieces of the honeycomb, give it to the kids and send us outside to enjoy the sweet treat.

This memory often comes back to me as I read Prov. 16:24 each month: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”            

Pot of honey and wooden stick are on a table.

 Honey has many characteristics but one of its main traits is – it is sticky.  Sorta like our words. What we say to our spouse “sticks“. What we say to our children “sticks“. If the words we share with our loved ones are pleasant, they will feel loved and secure. If we abuse them with our words and point out their weaknesses over and over, they will feel unloved and insecure.

At one of the churches we pastored there was a young lady who grew up being told such things as, “You’re so dumb you can’t get out of a shower of rain”… “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached to your body”…  Needless to say, as a young adult this girl felt quite inadequate and inept.

But thankfully, honey has another wonderful characteristic: it is a healing agent. It has antibacterial properties and can even reduce scarring. The lady I mentioned above married a wonderful man who believed in her, built her up with his words and helped her to overcome the wounds of the past.

What a privilege we have to speak positive, life-giving words into the ears of our family and friends, helping them to feel loved and accepted.

So… the next time you spread honey on a biscuit or drop a spoonful in a cup of tea, remember that your words and influence can be just as sweet.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

In his wonderful book, “Prayer,” Philip Yancey shares this story:

   “During a trip to Nepal, a physical therapist gave my wife and me a tour of the Green Pastures Hospital, which specializes in leprosy rehabilitation. As we walked along an outdoor corridor, I noticed one of the ugliest human beings I have ever seen. Her hands were bandaged in gauze, she had deformed stumps where most people have feet, and her face showed the worst ravages of that cruel disease. Her nose had shrunken away so that, looking at her, I could see into her sinus cavity. Her eyes, mottled and covered with callus, let in no light; she was totally blind. Scars covered patches of skin on her arms.

    This creature crawled to the very edge of a walkway, pulling herself along the ground by planting her elbows and dragging her body like a wounded animal. I’m ashamed to say my first thought was, “She’s a beggar and she wants money.”  610988133e088a806fec32d24284fb19

   My wife, who has worked among the down-and-out, had a much more holy reaction. Without hesitation she bent down to the woman and put her arm around her. The old woman rested her head against Janet’s shoulder and began singing a song in Nepali, a tune that we all instantly recognized: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.””

Oh how sweet to know this truth!  No matter where we are or what our circumstances may be, “Jesus loves me, this I know!”

He loves my  grandbabies who sing this song with gusto and He loves the rock star who sings the sensual songs of the world.

He loves those who are hurting and those who are happy; those who ail and those with perfect health.

He came to our planet and gave up His life so that we could experience this love.  All that is required is to believe that He died for our sins and accept His forgiveness.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.””  ~ Romans 10:9,13



Fine Dining

My son, Lee and I have an inside joke that goes something like this:  I’ll want him to do something, but he’s not very enthusiastic about it.  So I begin to recount all I have done for him – “I carried you nine long months, went under the surgeon’s knife and through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’; I lugged you around and changed your diapers…” (You get the picture? 🙂 ) He rolls his eyes and stops up his ears!  We laugh about it and move on.  Sometimes it works; usually it doesn’t!

Lee knows I’m just teasing and that I would’ve gone through anything to bring him into this world. (35 years ago today!! Happy Birthday Lee!)  Humor aside, our silly little repartee illustrates a deep longing inside each of us – the longing to be appreciated and valued.

One of the quotations in my marriage journal says, A glorious marriage is sometimes only an appreciation away. ~ Debi Pearl.  Oh, how true this is!  The writer of Proverbs certainly knew about the power of words.  In just one passage, out of many, we are reminded that:  “Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.” (Proverbs 18:20 NLT)

Think of eating a fine meal, followed by a yummy dessert.   You may sigh and think, “That was awesome!”  Now think about this: words of appreciation and affirmation make your spouse and loved ones feel the same way – awesome. Words of appreciation, spoken in love, feed the need inside each one of us to be valued and honored.


Think of it this way: Men never outgrow their need for a cheerleader…  Women always want to be the cherished princess.  What a privilege we have to speak into our loved ones’ lives and bring them the satisfaction of knowing that no matter the negative, unkind words that may be spoken into their ears, there is someone who believes in them and appreciates all they do.

I love and appreciate you,