No Day But Today

A long time ago I made a decision to use the word “love” a little more freely.  That decision came with another which was to not let concerns of what others would think of that get in the way of expressing that love.  For example, if it was a female friend then she would get that the “love” was within the context of loving a fellow believer in Jesus Christ, love like a sister that I never had, and possibly a bond that simply comes with walking through many years of life’s ups and downs together.  The transition would be instant, from “Take Care” at the end of an email to “Love, Julie” if we had just endured a crisis together.  When one heart is hurting, there is no other word that will suffice.  Love covers things well.

Born again believers know the author of love as God himself.  The scriptures instruct us that:

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.  1 John 4

The Lord is the perfect reflection and expression of what love looks like.  I do believe that those who are not in Christ have a sense of what love is like too.  That is why I feel comfortable including a video in which 1) two women are kissing and 2) there is a man dressed as a woman embracing another man.  If the relationships were real, they must have a sense of connectedness to express their love outwardly.  I am not condoning homosexuality.  I just might understand it a little more since my late Uncle Fred lived and died within the context of “the gay lifestyle.”  I still loved him despite this decision.  Oh how I wish he and others knew the deeper spiritual connectedness that comes in a God-fearing and God-honoring relationship!  The Lord blesses those Who love him first!  (Hebrews 11:5-7)  But that is not my focus here today.

My focus is the importance of expressing love everyday to those you care about.  It’s not weird!  I am reminded of this today in the middle of 8 days in which my husband and I will attend two funerals.  I had only met his Uncle Don one time and was more “acquainted” with Dave than knowing he and his wife Jane more “personally.”  It didn’t and does not matter.  As fellow believers in Christ, their character and lives had impacted my life with that level of connection.  Uncle Don warmly accepted my marriage to Steve that had come at a time when most of Steve’s children still could not.  Since I knew without a doubt that the Lord was blessing our marriage, it was refreshing to feel loved by his family.  I thank the Lord for this.

Also when Steve and I married and started to attend his church home, he pointed out couples with strong marriages that he wanted to model our relationship after.  Dave and Jane was one of them.  They had been married for decades by then yet still had a sense of fun, a spark, and a deep love for one another that was palpable.  They worked separate jobs outside of their home yet were usually together at church and other important events.  Dave served the body of believers, his community, his employer, and his family with equal enthusiasm.  Thank you for pointing out this great example of a Godly man, Steve.  And yes, you are much like him for sure!

Today I am unable to attend Dave’s funeral service due to complications of a serious, ongoing illness.  Last night was particularly wretched.  I had a sense that it would be risky to go to the funeral home and be around so many people and potential exposures that trigger convulsive episodes.  I went anyways. I am also in the middle of re-shuffling my treatment plan and have no idea what made things so much worse.  The only good part about that hellish 2 hours was the toning of my abdominal muscles from flexion posturing, writhing, seizing, moaning, and more.  Oy vey.  In the middle of it I asked for the Lord to remove this hell.  I begged for His mercy.  It must have come since at some point I passed out and woke up about 7 hours later . . .

Today I am beat up from all that has transpired in the past day.  Somehow I am still alive!  Though my heart is heavy with grief on many fronts, I do not regret pouring out the strength that I had to be with friends in their time of need.  I got to be out with my beloved husband and do one of the important things of this life.  Going to the wake reminded me of the truth told a gazillion times before:  there is no day like today.  There is nothing like love between two people, magnified and blessed when they are one in Christ.  And lest it be forgotten or unknown, it is important to express that love out loud and often.  For me this includes the love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  For just as it says in the song,

I die without You!

Talk about perfect love! Oh Gentle Reader, won’t you join me in sharing a little love today? 

With love, JJ

Great things He hath done

 

Praise at sunrise 5 Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
    but my ears you have opened
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
    from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.  (Psalm 40; NIV)

After speaking in adoration, gratitude, humility, and transparency, King David seeks compassion from his Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  He has been literally chased by his enemies to the cold, darkness of living in caves.  His very life, his promised kingdom, and all he knows is at stake yet he begins this song with faithful praise.  Thereafter he presents his request for the Lord’s mercy and protection.  Although not quoted here, this psalm of King David goes on to pray for the salvation of his people and desolation of his enemies.  In the end his hope that the Lord be glorified through it all.  Yes indeed.  Wow.  What a tremendous example for me!

Adoration.  Thank you almighty God for all that you have provided to this day.  I see your omnipotent power in the sequencing of events of my life to bring me into the best of fellowship to you my Lord and King.  I praise you here and forevermore.  You have provided exceedingly for my real needs.  The greatest evidence is in love of my life that is now here; I am honored to be at his side, his beloved too.

Gratitude.  For my times of sickness you have given me a warm bed in which to convalesce, healthy food, good medical care, and infused your strength into my weary frame to do the tasks that are needed each day.  No matter how I may be feeling, the facts remain true that you care for the details of my life and are here with me.  I am never alone.  Most of all your love changes my sorrow into joy.

Humility.  The striving, the determination of my youth were eventually broken well into my adulthood so that I might realize the plans you have for me.  Hurt has yielded to forgiveness and freedom.  Following the lead of my earthly kinsman redeemer instead of my own desires has brought me into the fullness of what it means to follow you.  Much goodness has come from all of these.  The motto that began the leap of faith to finding Jesus years ago has come true:  letting go and letting God reign in my heart must remain above all else.

Transparency.  You gave me a fondness for writing long ago, mentored by my own mother (a naturally gifted writer).  This blog has seen me through much suffering and challenged me to return my eyes to Your majesty, Your creation, and more.  I have learned that the truth about life is often separate from what I can see.  Lord keep me soft to submit to Your ways like the clay who gives its essence to the master potter craftsman.  Surely goodness shall be the result for Your glory.

 Prayerfulness.  I do ask for healing of this wretched illness that plagues me for hours each day.  Guide me in my interactions with others when frustrated by so many things; may I be a light for my true hope that is in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Bring rest and lead my husband, Steve, in the decisions we are facing.  Grant him wisdom at home and at work, as a father to his four wonderful adult children, and as a leader in our church.  Thank you for his faithful witness to so many of what it means to be a man after Your own heart.  And please bless the fellow sojourners you have brought into my life, especially my Skype Bible Prayer partners Karan and Sherry.  Such sweet fellowship is salve to my soul.

Great things the Lord hath done in my life since I met my first Gentle Reader about three years ago.  Thank you for coming alongside me for the ups and downs, bunny trail side trips, victories, and more.  Know that I am praying for you as I write this, that the Lord be with you this day too.  He is so good and worthy of our praise.  Perhaps King David said it best later in Psalm 40 like this:

16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”