It Has Been One Year

One year ago this week, Cindy and I spent the week with our parents at their house. During the day, friends and family members would come and visit, but in the evening it was just the four of us – like the old days.

I had the best family growing up. We didn’t have a lot and didn’t want a lot. Any small gift or unexpected excursion was a big deal. Cindy and I were taught to be content and to be grateful.

A year ago, we were brought back to that place.

Alzheimer’s had taken nearly everything Mama had except for her breath. In her last two weeks, she had one afternoon when she recognized some of us and carried on short intelligent conversations. Other than that afternoon, the disease had robbed her of her ability to communicate, to walk, and to eat. We were content just to have time together, and we were thankful.

On Wednesday night, we all slept on Mama’s bed. Daddy was against the headboard facing Mama, Cindy was sitting by the bed behind Mama and sharing her pillow. I sat on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed with my head by Mama’s feet.

Early Thursday morning, I noticed Mama’s eyes were open, so we decided to wake Daddy and leave the two of them together for a while. After an hour or so, it was time for a bathroom break. Then, we all came back into the room together at 7:10. At 7:11, Daddy’s wife of 57 years slipped away. My aunts and uncles lost their sister, my kids and grandkids lost Grandma Moore, and Cindy and I lost the best Mama ever. But Mama got back everything Alzheimer’s had taken from her.

I haven’t seen the proof yet, but I’m content to believe it’s true. And I’m grateful.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more – or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.
Revelation 21:4

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Just Rest

23253557_sHave you noticed how busy church folks are these days? There’s always a meeting, a conference, a concert, a dinner – something to occupy your evenings and weekends. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, but when do we get to enjoy the abundant life Jesus promised us? My hunch is that we will find Him waiting for us occasionally in a quiet spot on the beach or in a porch swing.

We find Jesus’ own words in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

One of the benefits that Spirit-filled believers enjoy is peace. It’s listed as a fruit of the Spirit just after love and joy. If our lives in Christ are supposed to produce peace, why do we see and experience so little of it? Perhaps it’s because we focus more on the busyness of religion and the turmoils of life – family squabbles, being overworked and underpaid, social unrest, and the like rather than living fully connected and engaged in the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

What has your attention and is robbing you of peace? Consider what you can do to refocus on what really matters.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee. Isaiah 26:3

The Fruit of Love

38970693_sLove is the central theme of the Bible, the primary characteristic of God, the primary fruit of the Spirit, the greatest commandment of the old covenant, and the only commandment of the new covenant.

No, not the huggy, mushy, “sloppy wet kiss” kind of love, but something greater. Something deeper.

True love is not spoken, but demonstrated. True love is boundless and unconditional. It initiates without expectation and responds immediately.

Does it forgive? Yes, but I can forgive without loving. Is it accepting? Yes, but I can accept others without loving them. True love is shown through generosity. When I love, I forgive generously, and I accept lavishly.

A loving person is known as a giver not a taker. A loving person makes his or her home a safe warm place, the community a better place to live, and the workplace more productive.

1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.

Did you notice it does not say that we should love God back since He loved us first? We express our love for God by loving others. God’s love is perfect and generous toward us with no selfish expectation. Like all fruit, love contains seed that we plant in others. The fruit of love yields a great harvest.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love…

To hear Tony teach more on this subject, watch the video here.