Love Thy Neighbor

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13, KJV

   Sacrifice.  Most of us know that Memorial day is a holiday created to honor the sacrifice of the service members who gave their lives in defense of our country and our freedom. Most of us also know it is most often celebrated with barbeques and a trip to the local swimming hole, whether that be the pool in your backyard, a lake or the beach with family and friends.  Coming from a service oriented family, it’s always been a special day of remembrance for me.  Yet, never has it been filled with such poignant meaning as it is today. 

   Most years, remembrance takes the form of thanking service members, and families of the fallen I may see while out and about, and in recent years, on social media.  Pleasantries offered and gratitude expressed, I go about my ritual of enjoying classic barbeque fare and splashing in the ocean.  It wasn’t merely the lack of a grill, or a backyard, or a beach that altered my plans this year.  My newly renewed faith certainly had something to do with it.  With the renewal and revival of my faith has come a deeper understanding and appreciation of the sacrifice Jesus made over two thousand years ago on the cross of Calvary.  

   This year, in addition to expressing gratitude to service members, I decided to honor God’s love and sacrifice with an act of love for my neighbor.  I don’t mean the people who live in the apartments near ours, though I do love them.  When Jesus said ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ I don’t believe he spoke of only just those who live in close proximity to us.  I believe he was referring to all people of which we are aware.  We live in a time of global awareness. To me, this means that people all over the world are our neighbors.  And I don’t believe they need to have a permanent address to qualify.

My husband and I may not have the means for me to pick up and leave for Haiti to lend a hand.  I may not be able to go on a missions trip to Peru.  We may not have the money at the moment to donate to a global faith-based charity.  But I usually make too much food for my family, especially on a holiday.  Today was no exception; Hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and Southwestern chopped salad.  The Lord has blessed us with an abundance of which we were able to share. So share we did.  Immediately after our meal, I boxed up a portion of each item and added two bottles of Powerade, a package of pop-tarts for breakfast tomorrow, a package of granola bars and a can of Pringles chips for snacks.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40, NIV

I enlisted our oldest daughter’s help with this mission.  So she and I, parcel of love in tow, headed out in the direction of my husband’s former workplace.  There are always men and women along the way, each holding a sign containing an abbreviation of their story.  Veteran/Single mother; Homeless/Hungry; Please help; God Bless.  Their faces always show more than their signs could ever say.  It’s what shines in their eyes that breaks my heart for them every single time I see them.  The truth of how much I’ve been given that I don’t deserve is reflected in the tears of gratitude that stream down their faces as I leave.

After driving quite a while, we came across an older man who looked very thin and frail.  I knew he was the one God put in our path to help.  His sign read: Vietnam Vet; HUNGRY; Anything helps; GOD BLESS.  I’m well aware there is always a chance that people are not who and what they say are.  But I don’t feel it’s my place to decide who is lying and who isn’t.  That’s not what I am commanded to do.  I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself.  This man is my neighbor, and I choose to love him as Jesus has loved me.  It’s that simple. My action was very small.  I wish I could have done more.  The good news is that every day brings new opportunities to do more, give more, love more.

Friends, I don’t share this story with you as an attempt to boast. My intention is only to encourage others to step out in faith and love their neighbors.  Every encounter is an opportunity to spread the Word of God and the love of Jesus.  Don’t miss your opportunity out of fear.  I’m not encouraging you to be careless, but to live with intention. By all means, please be aware of your surroundings and don’t take unnecessary risks.  But don’t let fear stop you from giving of your time, resources and love.  For all of these things are gifts from God, given for the purpose of sharing them with others.

 

LET THEM SEE YOU IN ME – Allowing God to use me and the gifts he gave me for His purposes.

“Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:16b, Msg

   One of the most important realizations I’ve ever come to was that I am who I am for a reason. During my “lost years,” I felt so inferior to the people I knew. In my mind, they were better than me and I could never measure up. That erected what appeared to be an impenetrable wall between me and the people in my life. For someone who refuses to use prefixes like step- or half- when referring to siblings because they put up walls between people, this was ironic, at best. Taking that wall down, brick by painful brick, is a process I’m still going through, despite my epiphany and my newly restored faith.

   This insight came to me through a book called, A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. If you haven’t read it, and taken the journey it will guide you through, I encourage you to do so. But I will warn you. The moment you get to a part in the book and you say, “I’m not going to do that” is the moment you choose to stay where you are, as you are. It’s the moment you stunt your spiritual growth. So before you embark on the journey, make sure that you approach with with an open heart and an open mind and are willing to do what is asked of you, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Because it will. I promise you that.

“For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory.” Romans 11:36

   It’s not that before taking this 40 day journey I’d never heard I had a purpose. It’s just that no one had ever attempted to tell me what it was or explain what they meant by that. It felt like just a useless phrase people tossed around to make you feel better if they thought you were depressed or suicidal. Honestly, even as I read the words and corresponding scripture, it wasn’t like someone flipped a light switch on inside my head and I instantly understood. No, it was more like someone lighting a candle in another room of a large, dark house. I could see faint remnants of its flickering light, but my mind was far from illuminated. I kept searching; I kept reading. The more I read, the deeper I dug, the stronger and brighter the candle’s light grew. Every day since it’s grown stronger and brighter, as more and more candles are lit.

“Surrender your whole being to Him to be used for righteous purposes.” Romans 6:13

   I still do not fully understand my purpose. I don’t believe I’m supposed to. I truly believe God’s plan involves a lot more tests of my ability to walk by faith, and not by sight. Part of what that means for me in this moment is writing this blog. Years ago, if you had told me I’d be writing a faith-based blog, I would have laughed hysterically and assumed you were on some sort of mind-altering drug. Needless to say, this wasn’t really my plan.

“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

   I had a lot of plans for my life. First, I was going to be a famous photojournalist for National Geographic magazine. I wanted to travel the world and immerse myself in cultures I didn’t understand. I wanted to see things I never imagined ever existed. Then I was going to be a social worker and work with autistic and special needs children. I wanted to show these little ones how beautiful they really are, even if the world doesn’t see them that way. I wanted them to know they are loved. I was going to be a poet and a published author. I wanted to write every day for the rest of my life. First and foremost in every single one of my plans, I’ve wanted to work to make this world a better place in some small way.

“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” 1 Peter 4:10

   My plans may not have worked out the way I saw them in my head, but it’s amazing how God has used my gifts in ways that are not at all dissimilar from the ways I intended to use them. No, I never worked for National Geographic. Through my husband’s military service I have observed other cultures. I have traveled a small part of the world and I’ve seen things I never imagined existed. And I am a photographer. I’ve primarily worked in studios and taking artsy photographs of my children, and our surroundings. No, I haven’t earned a degree in social sciences and begun a career in social work. During my time as a studio photographer, I was blessed to meet and work with children and families from nearly every walk of life and every level of ability. God has also seen fit to place a few autistic and special needs children and adults in my life, and I am so very grateful for every one of them. They are so beautiful to me, and I am grateful to God for letting me see them through his eyes.

“God works through different men in different ways, but it is the same God who achieves his purposes through them all.” 1 Corinthians 12:6

   Yes, I am a poet and an author. During my lost years I wrote a plethora of secular poems, prose and short stories. I was even blessed to have had one spoken word performance piece published in a small time, British literary magazine. I have written some Christian poetry recently. God has given me everything I ever asked for, on a smaller scale, one much more tailored to my abilities. How could I not trust in Him and follow His lead after all He’s given me, not the least of which being my salvation. It is my greatest hope that God will allow me to continue to write, and will continue to grow and expand my understanding of my purpose as I continue to seek His face in all I do.

“God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Philippians 1:6

Praise Him In The Hallway

    Today my heart is filled with gladness and gratitude for the Lord’s blessing.  I wrote before that times were hard, and they were.  My husband lost his job of nearly a year, and seemingly without cause.  Now we’ve been through something like this before, so we had both the confidence of  faith and experience, and the anxiety that comes with knowing just how bad things can get and how quickly.  We chose confidence over anxiety.   I’m reminded at this moment of a line from Jo Dee Messina’s song, “Bring on the Rain.” 

“It’s almost like the hard times circle ’round.  A couple drops, and it all starts coming down!”

    That rings so true to me.  My husband was a faithful member of the United States Air Force for fourteen years.  Any former or current members of the military, or their families reading this?  God bless you!  Thank you for your service and all of your sacrifices.  Because of my husband’s service, my family and I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing people, and practically circle the globe.  In each new place though, our old issues followed, lying dormant until seemingly just the right moment to wreak the most havoc possible on our lives.

   We desperately needed God, and though I suggested it a few times, I was not strong in my conviction.  Each attempt to seek God was spiritless on my part. Of course a relationship with my Creator would stay just outside my reach until He knew my heart was really in it!  Psalm chapter 25, verse 14 says, “Friendship with God is reserved for the ones who reverence him.”  And so every attempt to deal with our issues and heal our wounds without God was equivalent to no more than putting a big band-aid on a compound fracture.

   We have since dealt with those old issues, or at least some of them.  It’s a distance race, not a fifty yard dash.  It will take much more time to heal all the things broken inside myself and my husband.  Life is a journey and sometimes it can seem as though you are stuck in a labyrinth.  It’s easy to get lost and turned around if you take your eyes off the goal even for what seems like just a moment.

   My husband was honorably discharged from the Air Force in late 2011. Officially, it was because he failed to consistently meet their fitness standards.  From that time on, we struggled.  We struggled to fix our marriage.  We struggled to stay afloat financially.  We struggled to find our way.  We would gain a little ground, only for it to fall away again. Save for a short time working as a seasonal employee, my husband had been unable to find a job.  He’d been unemployed for over a year.  And last year, I found myself unemployed as well. 

“Fear thee not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea; I will help thee, yea; I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Isaiah 41:10

   The company I worked for filed bankruptcy and closed the doors to every photography studio…forever.  Then my parents gave us the harsh news.  We had until the end of May to find jobs and get out.  They’d had enough.  It was a jagged pill to swallow, but I don’t blame them one bit.  We were scared, because we had been trying to find jobs, but nothing was happening.  I cried out for God’s help. “What now, Lord?  Surely you don’t intend for us to be homeless with three daughters?”  A-ha!  Finally, I had found the missing piece to the puzzle.  I prayed for God to show us the path he was making for us.  Two days after that emotional conversation with my parents, I had prospects, and so did my husband. 

   With hearts burdened with the strain we had put on others, we began what seemed like a race to see who would be offered a job first.  I was quickly offered a position selling insurance.  I knew virtually nothing about insurance other than it could be expensive, but helpful when disaster or tragedy struck. Though I was nervous and uncertain as to whether or not I could meet their expectations, I accepted the position and was given a start date for training.

   It seemed things were set, but then a funny thing happened.  My husband showed me an email offering him a position in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He’d been offered jobs in the North before, but never anything like this.  The pay was excellent, it was a direct hire position with health, vision and dental benefits as well as vacation time, etc.  The company was offering to pay to move us from Florida and put us up in a furnished apartment for a month until our belongings arrived.  When I was younger, this kind of offer would have seemed common, but these days?  These days you are beyond blessed to receive such an offer, because you won’t get a better one. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9a

   We had a choice to make.  We could stay in the city I loved, the city that had become a part of me and would always and forever feel like home and play the odds that didn’t seem to be in our favor. Or, we could take a leap of faith and leave for a city we’d never seen.  In simple terms, stay in our cozy box until it collapsed in on us, or step out of our comfort zone and do things God’s way for a change.  We would still have to live modestly, but we could begin to pay our bills again, and we wouldn’t have to be on public assistance.  Since the position I was offered was largely commission-based, it was no contest.  I told my husband to take the job, and we would move. That was a year ago. 

   We must have just gotten a little too comfortable with our improved circumstances, and started to take them for granted. That’s how I saw it at first.  It was a Thursday.  My husband had left for work at the usual time, and everything seemed fine on the surface.  Something had seemed inexplicably strange to me, though.  An hour and thirty-seven minutes after he left, he walked back through the door.  He’d been suspended for a mistake he made the week before.  It was unfortunate, and it would cut into the paycheck, but we’d be okay.  Surely, despite all the other things we were dealing with, we’d be okay.  That’s what I told myself. 

   An hour and seventeen minutes later, the phone rang.  The terms of the suspension had changed.  Now, he was not to go into work until they called him.  By the middle of the following week, he was unceremoniously let go.  This time I needed a moment to collect myself before saying anything.  I excused myself to the other room.  I gave myself five minutes to cry, and then I was going to pray.  Before the last tear fell, I was already on my knees.

“You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.”  Isaiah 26:3

   I prayed more fervently than I ever have before.  I prayed for my husband; I prayed for our daughters; I prayed for myself.  I asked God to steady me so that I could be strong and remain calm for my husband and our daughters.  I prayed that He would show us the path he was making for us.  I praised him for his wisdom and professed my faith in his plan even if I didn’t understand it.  I closed with, “Thy will be done, Lord.  Amen.” 

   I made the decision to not let this closed door shake my faith, to praise God in the hallway.  And I did.  My husband seemed bolstered by my calm, confident attitude and did not spiral into depression like he so easily could have.  He kept his eye on the goal.  We continued to attend church.  Even though we didn’t have any money coming in, we gave what we could.  I had moments of doubt, but I chose to trust God.  Most days, my husband needed me to be strong so that he could work on getting over his feelings of failure, let go of any resentment over what had happened and trust God to lead him.   I had days where I didn’t feel like Miss Suzy Sunshine, believe me.  On those days, my husband somehow found the strength to be my comfort.  For once in our almost fourteen years of marriage, we got it right.  We didn’t let our circumstances steal our happiness or our faith.

“The Lord is pleased with those who worship Him and trust His love.”  Psalm 147:11

  I am blessed to be able to tell you that my husband began his new job yesterday.  It’s a longer commute and toll roads are a factor, but the pay is higher and will compensate for the difference.  This is wonderful news for our family.  Our struggles aren’t suddenly over, but the storm has subsided for now.  I know that God will fulfill all of His promises if we abide in His word. 

“God bless the people who patiently endure testing.  Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12

   Friends, I know this post has been very lengthy.  I want to thank you for taking the time to read it.  I pray God works in your lives as he is working in ours and that you are blessed beyond measure.

His Work In Progress

**Note: This is not written with the intent to attack anyone. If you start reading this, please read it in its entirety. I promise you, the first part does not paint a pretty picture of what I’m actually trying to say, but the truth doesn’t always come in a pretty little package with a bright shiny bow. Sometimes it’s downright UGLY. It is more important to me that His message is conveyed clearly and honestly than for you to think that I am an awesome person. In fact, even if you’re tempted to think I am (you all know who you are, and I love you), please don’t. I am not awesome, amazing, or any of those adjectives that should be saved for He who is worthy. I am a sinner, I am human. I am just me. Any goodness that lives in me comes from Him just as surely as I breathe. That said, I hope you will take the time to read the following:

 

Inevitably, in every conversation about God and faith with a non-believer, certain key responses are used. It almost seems scripted doesn’t it? I’m certain my responses seem that way to them, and they’re partially right. What Christians say to non-believers is scripted, but most of us don’t have a little cheat sheet we keep in our wallets (not literally, anyway). Some of us have “brochures” for you to read or use for scratch paper (I know because I used to do the latter myself). But what we say to you is either Spirit-led or can be found in any copy of the Holy Bible. (Yes, it’s true that the Bible is often misquoted, misinterpreted and misused by many Christians. I will cover that in another post, because it’s too far off-topic for this one) So, let’s just all agree for the purpose of avoiding argument for the moment that we have the same, scripted conversation over and over. Sometimes we’re reading from Act 1, Scene 1. Sometimes we’re in Act 2. But it’s the same script. Here’s just one of my ‘favorite’ lines:

“I’ve read the Bible, and it’s nothing more than a biography about a guy who lived a long time ago.”

Honestly, this response always stuns me (sort of like a taser). I want to do a face-palm and say, “Really?? Are you kidding me?? If you don’t believe in God, you can just say so…you don’t have to lie to get your point across. Because anyone who’s actually read even part of the Bible, knows it is far more than a ‘biography,’ and Jesus? Okay, so yes…you have to be a believer to know that He lives…not lived a long time ago, but LIVES…as in present-tense, risen-from-the-grave, roll-the-stone-away LIVES. But just be honest with God and yourself and admit that you never really read it. I mean truly read it, with an open mind and an open heart.” Relax, Mom, I don’t actually say that. I do know better than to think I can catch flies with vinegar. You taught me well that honey is easier on the stomach. But I am as imperfect a Christian as there ever was, so that knee-jerk mental reaction still shows on my face even when I am able to let God’s love flow through me and out of my mouth. Believe me, the opposition sees it and uses it to its advantage (at times quite successfully).

I’ve all too often wondered what God was thinking when He called me to use these gifts or “talents” to grow His kingdom. Surely he knows me and my shortcomings?! Surely he knows I struggle every moment of every day to be more loving in my approach, regardless of the response I get. And He must be aware of my tendency to give up too easily! If I was just slightly more tenacious, I’d have written and published dozens of books by now, or at least one. I often start things and leave them unfinished for years. But that won’t do now. God won’t let it stand. Let me tell you about that unpleasant, kicked-in-the-stomach feeling I get if I walk away without saying what He wants me to say! As if I’ve just been publicly admonished by my father! Of course, I have been. Even if the opposition doesn’t hear Him, my red face and lowered gaze say it all. I know I blush when it happens because my face gets hot and instinctively, I hang my head. I used to get so frustrated and angry with the opposition, I’d get pulled into a heated discussion that is designed for me to fail in my task. I’d then get so frustrated and angry at myself and shrink away from any conversation about God, heaven and my faith.

I stopped for a while, convinced that I should wait until I know more before I tried again. But that’s not what I was asked to do. Who am I to make the Almighty wait? He let me know every Sunday I attended church that I was disobeying Him, again, even after promising, again, to live my life for Him. But God is merciful and His love unfailing, even when I am disobedient. I’ve recently begun sharing again, and something is different now. I’m different now. Lately, even when I want nothing more than to go sulk in a dark corner and lick my invisible wounds, I am reminded by that still small voice that Jesus and His disciples suffered far worse with few or no complaints. So I take a deep breath, allow God to calm me, and try again. Wouldn’t you know it? This time I make it a little farther before I stumble again.

It’s beginning to sink in, the whole concept of Christianity being a lifestyle, not a religion. I’m understanding it in a way I never did before. It’s becoming clear to me that this is a process, a goal that will likely take my entire lifetime to achieve. Pastor Del’s sermons are getting through. I’ve got to stop running like a sprinter. This journey, if it’s a race at all, is a distance race. It’s all about endurance. God wants to use me now, along the way, not at the end when it’s too late to do any good. So here’s what he has placed on my heart to tell you all:

God has never forsaken me. And he won’t forsake you. Human beings will fail you. Even the people who are supposed to love you the most, no matter how well-meaning they are, will let you down and leave you feeling as broken and empty as their well-intentioned promises. When life leaves you brokenhearted and there seems to be no one around who is willing or able, where can you go for comfort and solace? There is only one place to look: UP. God’s love never fails. You can stand on His promises. You can stake the fate of your soul on them. He will not promise you won’t ever hurt or struggle. Anyone who promises you those things is either a fool or a liar. And God is neither of those things. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. He promises to comfort you when you cast your worries upon Him, strengthen you when you lean on Him, and to always find a way to use your pain and your struggles for your good and to His glory. He is waiting for you to run into His open arms and accept His salvation. His gift is free. Paid for with the blood of His only Son. All you have to do is accept it. How about now? Why not today?

God knows I’ve stumbled through this post. Knowing myself, I will likely stumble and fall far more often than I will take flight and soar. I’ve never been that graceful. If I were, I never would have given up ballet, chunk or no chunk. But God knows that too. Maybe that’s why he called me in the first place. It’s not for me to question His call but merely to answer it. So this is me, His work in progress, answering, “Yes, Lord. I will follow you.”

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:26-30, NIV

 

Christianity Isn’t a Religion, It’s a Lifestyle

*Note: My experience with traditional church isn’t shared with the intent to make it sound like any one type of church is better than another. Nor is my belief in God expressed in an effort to sound better than anyone else. I am still a sinner. I am no better than anyone. I will always believe that.

“Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a lifestyle.”

Having grown up in a traditional church, I never thought I would one day be a part of a congregation receiving that message from our pastor. But I sat there, this morning, at Christian Life Center in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and listened to our pastor put into words a feeling I’ve always had inside me: That there is more to being a Christian than making the decision to follow Christ, or being “saved.” Even past the baptism, there is more.

I was saved when I was nine, and baptized at the age of twelve. But traditional churches left me feeling somewhat lost. There was all this information, and that was wonderful. I loved hearing God’s word every Sunday. But all I kept thinking was, “Okay, so what now? I mean, I’m saved, right? And I’ve been baptized. Is that all there is, just do those two things and go to church on Sundays and I’m good?” It seemed to me that there would be more to it. Or I would think to myself, “Well, that’s great for Job and all, but how does this apply to MY life?” After a while, with a lack of further instruction, I fell away from church and eventually, from God. I found myself saying things like, “I believe in God, I just don’t believe in organized religion.” Experiences I had while attending traditional churches eventually soured in my memory and I got lost. I started to think that I could do it alone. That I didn’t need God. I told people I was spiritual, not religious. I backed away from anything resembling a traditional church experience, convinced it was enough to just be a good person. After all, wasn’t that more than most people tried to do?

My life soon began to fall apart. My relationships were suffering and my marriage was falling apart at the seams. But somehow I convinced myself that I still had it under control. I rarely, if ever, prayed. I never read my bible. I listened to outside forces telling me to leave my husband and make a new life on my own. And I did. I left my husband. I threatened divorce more times than I’d like to remember. I started to make a new life for myself…but something was always missing, and I was never really ready to let go of my husband and our life together. I kept thinking that I was either afraid of failure or just too afraid to be the person I might be without him. I had glimpses of that person, and to tell you the truth, I don’t approve of her. She was selfish, lustful, and lonely. She ruined every “good” thing that came her way and chose instead the most destructive path possible for her. She drank more than she knew she should, she experimented with drugs, spent less time with her children than she should have, disrespected her mother and father more than anyone ever should. She was on a road to nowhere, a virtual highway to hell, with her foot pressing harder and harder on the accelerator.

To tell you the truth, I honestly don’t know why I did those things. I’m not going to tell you that it was Satan’s fault. I don’t believe I am blameless. I made choices, those choices hurt people I care about. See, it was my choice to do what I knew was wrong. And it was my choice to change my life, to live my life for God and for His glory. All these years, despite convincing myself I didn’t need God, my soul has been searching for His grace. But though I’ve been told a million times, I didn’t realize He never left me. He was just waiting for me to listen to Him. He was waiting for me to come home and trust Him and His promises. He was waiting for me to walk by faith, not by sight. I’ve only recently come to understand just what that means.

My husband and I reconciled over a year ago. I can honestly say now, that I love him. All those times I said it before, I didn’t even know what it meant. As much as we all toss those words around, it’s funny how little we understand their true meaning. See, love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. It’s something you DO. And God IS love.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

That said, doesn’t it stand to reason that there is more to Christianity than just believing in God, being baptized and going to church every Sunday? Doesn’t following God mean following Christ’s example? God is love, and love is an action. Take action. That is what I took from today’s message from Pastor Del. I still feel unworthy, but I understand now that “Church isn’t a hotel for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners.” God bless Christian Life Center, and Pastor Del. God bless the wonderful people of this community for leading me back to the only One who ever truly got it right.

Times are hard right now, but we were reminded this morning that God is calling us up, not calling us down. That he is calling us to trust Him more and fear our circumstances less. To see the white paper, not the black dot. We are so blessed.