Saturday, July 9, 2016

Your Life Matters To Me

My life-long friend, Gene Merkl, sent me a text about an experience he had this morning. It was so profound that I wanted to share it, and he's given me permission.

Gene went to the grocery store this morning. They were cleaning the floors and he couldn't get to the coffee section. He asked about getting through and was told he'd have to wait until the floor was clean.

Gene is a persistent kind of guy, so he went to the other end of the aisle. He got the same response.

He'd decided to give up when a young man, an employee, overheard the conversation and asked, "What do you need?" Gene told him and the young man said, "Wait here."

He was back in just a bit with the coffee Gene wanted. As the young man handed him the package, Gene was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and said words that are beautiful to me.

"I want you to know that your life matters to me. I want to make it personal. I don't need a government or a media to say it for me. YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO ME because we were made by the same God and have the same hopes and fears and dreams. I don't know if I will ever be able to help you, but it won't be because I didn't care. Your life matters to me."

Gene nailed what I tried and failed to say with hundreds of words.

Your life matters to me. 

No matter what color skin you have, no matter what your religious preference, no matter what your lifestyle or your occupation, no matter where you live, no matter what you do, your life matters to me, because it matters to God.

I believe Gene is right. These are the words we need to be speaking to each other, especially white to black. Black to white. Your life matters to me because it matters to God.

I wish I'd said this yesterday, but I will be saying it from now on. I challenge you all to begin to say these words to all you meet, and to mean it. 

"Your life matters to me because your life matters to God."

These are words that will heal.

It's balm of Gilead, and we need to spread it over this hurting, broken nation of ours.

Your life matters to me.

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb... I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." Psalm 139:13,14 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to All Life Matters/Every Life Matters


The Fish Hook Gift

It was a tough week. Sam and I took another step in this journey of ours. He was having trouble preparing meals he could eat and it had finally become more trouble than it was worth for him. Although I don't cook anything like Jamie (his beloved wife who died in October), we decided I would cook every meal for Sam, pureeing it to make it easier to eat. Sam agreed to eat anything I cooked.

It was an adjustment for both of us and we were both tired by the end of the week. On top of our new schedule, I was exhausted from crying and praying about our nation. Going fishing was the last thing on my mind.

Sam, however, had wanted to go fishing for a while. I knew he could catch the fish without help, but getting the fish off the hook and cleaning them was another matter. I could get the fish off, even though I hate to, but cleaning fish is not in my skill set. I'd been dreading cleaning the fish, and I'd put off a fishing expedition because of it.

God knew that, and He sent Harold and Suzann Patterson to help me out. Wednesday night, Harold said, "I remember you said Sam wanted to go fishing. Would it be okay if we came Friday afternoon and took him fishing?" I wanted to cry. Yes, it would be more than okay.

As the week went on, Harold decided to bring two young men with him and have a fish fry with whatever they caught. Wesley and his wife go to our church. Chad is a seminary student in Memphis. Both of them love to fish.

Sam, Harold, and Chad went to the best fishing spot and started to fish. (Wesley hadn't arrived yet.) Sam threw his hook in the water and caught a fish. 

It was obvious he couldn't get down to the water to get the fish off the line, so Chad, who was closer to the water, rose to the occasion. "I'll get it for you." He took the fish off the hook and put it on his stringer.

Before Chad could get his own line back in the water, Sam caught another fish. Chad took that one off the hook, too.

It went on like that for hours. Chad, an avid fisherman, sacrificed his own experience for an elderly man he had just met who loved to fish. He took one fish after another off Sam's hook. Dozens of fish.

"How many fish have you caught, Chad?"

"Only two. I don't have time to catch fish. Every time Sam reaches his hand out, he picks up a fish." His grin spread all the way across his face. If he wasn't having as much fun as Sam, it sure looked like he was.

When Wesley arrived, pole in hand, he watched Sam and Chad for a few minutes, saw the rhythm the two fishermen had going, and opted to move down the levee a little. If Chad hadn't been there, I have no doubt Wesley would have managed the hooks for Sam.

Later, as the two young men cleaned the fish, Chad talked about his dreams for the future. "I just want to minister in a way that makes a difference."

"You've already done that tonight. I can't begin to thank you for the way you ministered to Sam." 

He looked confused. "Ministered to Sam?"

"Yep. You sacrificed for a man you didn't know in a way I could have never done. I consider it a gift for both of us. Didn't you see his face? He was thrilled beyond words. You gave him a gift he won't forget."

A slow smile spread across Chad's face. "I didn't see it like that, but he did have fun, didn't he?"

Sam will talk about yesterday for a long time. The day he caught one fish after another (and didn't have to take them off the hook) will be one of those memories that we take out and retell over and over again.

It wouldn't have been possible without the body of Christ working together to make it happen. Harold and Suzann, Chad, and Wesley were all critical elements in the orchestration of God that blessed an elderly man who's too frail to fish by himself.

I saw God at work in them all last night, and the hard times of the past week faded away before the gift they gave. 

I want to be as ready to serve others as they were last night, especially Chad. To be as quick to recognize a need and respond as Harold and Suzann. To be as open and eager to get to know his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as Wesley. 

Jesus said, "When you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." 

Last night, Four people served Sam, but, in so doing, they served Jesus, as well. It was a beautiful sight.

Let's go and do likewise.

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:40 nasb
#fishing #bodyofChrist #disciple

Friday, July 8, 2016

All Lives Matter/Every Life Matters

I was writing again, as I do every day now, from the serenity of my screened porch, overlooking the lake. My entirely-too-spoiled Shih Tzus tussled at my feet. The breeze blew the loose strands of hair from around my face. It seemed peaceful and surreal there.

But it was not.

I'd seen the news and the video of Philando Castile's death. I'd listened in horror as he moaned, sat transfixed with shock as he fell over in death. 

I wept bitter tears as I heard his girlfriend say, "He shot him in the arm", because I knew no arm wound had done what I observed. There was at least one bullet in a vital organ. That much was clear.

I'm not offering condemnation for either party. 

I'm saying a man is dead, and that matters. 

A family grieves, and it matters. 

An officer's life has changed in an instant, and it matters. 

His family grieves, and that matters, too. 

All of it should matter to all of us.

We are polarized again, and we don't yet know all the facts. Make no mistake about this: there are still facts to be learned, from both sides. We can be sure of that. 

This blog post is not about who is innocent nor who is guilty. It's not about police or black people or white people. This is about all of us who respond with indignation, angry words, and threats of retaliation to what we have seen and heard. 

Twelve policemen were shot in Dallas last night. Five are dead. How does that make anything better? 

Is there anyone whose judgment is so skewed that they believe slaughtering policemen helped the situation? 
I could easily be overwhelmed with fear, because we have policemen in our town, and I know them. With just over 400 people, we know almost everyone. This little town is a kind of family of its own. 

I understand how quickly a tense situation can spiral out of control, and it frightens me, because an out-of-control situation can quickly become lethal. For one of our citizens. For one of our officers. For someone just passing through.

When that happens, there's always more than one kind of death, and far more than one person left to suffer for years to come. Families torn apart. Communities ripped asunder.  

As I've wept and prayed for our nation, one thing has become clear.

Guns are involved, but they are not the main problem. 

Skin color is involved, but it's not the only problem. 

The problem is, at least in part, fear and hate.

We are afraid, of each other and of the possibilities, and our fear and hate are killing us. The fragile bond of unity we thought was forged has shattered.

There is nothing to be gained by allowing this malignancy of fear and hate to continue. 

I wish I could propose a wise and far-reaching solution, but all that comes to mind is, "Perfect love casts out fear." 

When the love of Jesus constrains me, fills me, and casts out my fear, I don't have to panic over a frightening situation. 

I'm speaking as a white woman who's been in a frightening racial situation before, and it escalated out of control. 

Leaders, black and white, I'm speaking to you.

The ongoing harassment didn't frighten me nearly as much as the riot. If those in authority had allowed me to "take it" for a few more minutes, instead of standing up and making a fuss in the heat of the moment, there wouldn't have been a riot. If the one who threw the first punch had stayed in his seat, there would have been no riot.

So there. I've thought it a long time, and I've finally begun to say it. 

If anyone's anger that night made life better for me, I still can't see it. 

What I know is that their anger only hurt me in the long run. 

Did anyone care what I wanted? I couldn't tell it if they did. They were so proud of standing up for me and handling the moment that I was completely lost in the situation. And I am still miffed about it. 

It would have been better for me to take the minor brunt of a racially-charged situation than to allow a school function to escalate out of control. Blows were exchanged. If there had been guns that night, there'd have been gunfire. People would have died. I have no doubt of it.

Looking back with the distance of more than forty years, I understand that adults wanted to protect me and the other young woman who was also involved. That desire was both appropriate and admirable. In the end, though, they hurt me more with the way the situation was handled. It was FEAR and anger that drove their decisions that night and in the days that followed.

I'd hoped we'd learned from the mistakes of the desegregation years, but we haven't yet. 

I am not proposing that we allow abuse of any kind to continue. God forbid. I am not proposing that we allow criminals to run unchecked on the streets. I am not proposing that all people who are shot are actively committing a crime. I am not even proposing that all shootings are "justified" or unavoidable.

What I am desperately trying to say is that there is a better way, and we need to work together (black and white) to find it.

For the love of all we hold dear, can we stop this nonsense while we try to solve our problems? 

We are a nation of people with multiple skin tones, and those skin tones do not determine what's inside of us. The colors don't even extend all the way through the skin. 

Our hearts are the same color. Every single one of them.

Not every unexpected situation has to frighten us out of our minds. 

We do not have to respond with violence every time we're afraid. 

We do not have to shoot first. Whether we are law enforcement or citizen, innocent or guilty. We do not have to retaliate by shooting more policemen. It only feeds the fire.

I know it sounds like I'm a Pollyanna, but I'm not. I simply believe what I say I do. 

People of God, we have to love first. 

As fellow citizens of this nation, we need to be intentional about getting to know people of different socioeconomic groups, different skin colors, different faiths, different persuasions, and it needs to start with God's people. We need to see that they are not all our enemies. 

If Jesus loves "red and yellow, black and white," we should, too. And the world should be able to tell it.

Yes, there is evil in the world. Yes, there are people who are filled with evil and do evil things. But not everyone who is different from me is evil.

Even if they are evil, how will they ever come to Jesus unless someone who knows Him takes a risk and loves them with the love of Christ?

My life is full of people who are different from me in some way, and it is richer for the diversity. They help me to see life and the issues of today from a different perspective. They give a face to the social issues of the time. Increase my compassion. Decrease my prejudice and hate.

The people in my life who are different from me increase my ability to love as Jesus loves.

I highly recommend a life filled with diverse people and the love of Jesus

We have another problem that is more deadly than fear, and it probably makes our fear worse. We have forgotten how precious life is. Every single life. The born. The unborn. The young. The old. The black. The white. The whatever-difference-frightens-us-today life. They are all precious.

For the love of life, I crawled on my belly under azalea bushes twice a day for weeks, a spoon in one hand and a can of food in the other, in order to feed a dying dog. It was not because I'm a nut about dogs. It was because his life mattered. 

The life of the one who frightens me matters. Even the life of the one with a gun matters,whether he wears a uniform or not.

So, please, listen to me now. The life of the young black man who caused all the trouble forty-four years ago matters. I don't know if he has spent his life in a productive manner, or not, but if he still breathes, he still has a chance to change. And I still pray for him because his life mattered. 

And HIS life matters because ALL life matters. We were created in the image of God, and if that doesn't take your breath away, it should. We are still born in the image of God, though we have done our best to mar that image.

How will we fix these problems? I hate to tell you this, but we are broken and only Jesus can fix us. 

In the meantime, we can begin to make some better choices and they need to begin by understanding that skin color is not even skin deep. It's based on pigment in a few cells. We're all the same on the inside. Fearfully and wonderfully made because God Himself designed us that way.

If you have skin on your outside, you and I are fellow humans. I choose to act as if we have a connection. Because we do. I hope you will, too.

I choose to slow down. Listen to the facts. Look for problems we can change. Try to find solutions in this crisis. I hope you will, too. 

I choose to love you, regardless of your skin color or any other difference we have. I hope you will choose to do the same.

We have a problem. I don't deny that. We need a solution. I don't deny that, either.

Solutions are possible, and we can find them. I want to find them. I hope you do, too.

If you're grieving, I'm genuinely sorry. I want to help you find a way to make it count.

If you're afraid, I'm genuinely sorry about that, too. I want to help you find a way to ease your fears.

If you're angry, I'm especially sorry about that. I want to help you find a way to channel your anger into productive ways that result in positive change.

Fellow citizens, we have a raging fire that will consume us if we do not work together to put it out. Once and for all.

I beg you. Let's work together. Forget about the pigment in our cells and look at the hearts in our chest. We are all flawed by sin, but there is forgiveness, grace, and mercy available. Those of us who claim to follow Christ should know that most of all, should offer forgiveness, grace, and mercy first, should lead the way.

So, in the powerful name of Jesus, let's do what must be done. It is not killing we need. It is life. Love. Forgiveness. Unity.

If we must err, let's err on the side of love, and let's err with love together. No matter what color we are.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 nasb

I have more thoughts on this subject and more to say. Fear, hate, and the devaluing of life are not our only problems and I intend to address the rest soon.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Sister Sleepover
#alllivesmatter #blacklivesmatter #Jesus #disciple
And here's the link to the follow-up post, Your Life Matters to Me

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Sister Sleepover

We had the greatest of intentions. After my mama died, my sister and I started Sister Saturday. Once a month, we spent a day together, alternating from her house to mine. It worked great and was loads of fun.

But life.

You know how it is. We both have busy lives. Eventually, Sister Saturday became Sister Once-in-a-while. 

Yesterday, though, my sister came to Tupelo for work. All day long, I rejoiced in her coming. "My sister is coming today!" I said to myself, over and over again. I could hardly wait.

She spent the night with me last night. We laughed and talked until far too late. Slept too little. Up too early.

We had a great time. 

Of course, the dogs joined in the fun. Maggie was her usual imperious self. She greeted Cookie but She Who Must Sleep found a comfortable spot, curled up, and napped while we chatted.

Mamie, however, was beside herself with joy about the Sister Sleepover. She followed Cookie around, gave her hundreds of kisses, insisted on getting on the bed with her. Snuggled. Kissed. Snuggled. 

She wiggled all over with delight every time she saw my sister. 

We both laughed at her antics, but there's no doubt Mamie made Cookie feel welcome and loved. I couldn't do it nearly as well.

It left me pondering how we interact with those we love and how often we take them for granted. How seldom we take pure delight in their presence. How easily busyness can interfere with time spent together. How precious family is and how important our time together.

Life is short. Family matters. Take time for those you love. Make time to be together. Greet each other with the joy of Mamie. Wiggle with delight. Love with abandon. Hug lots. Enjoy the time together while you can.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will life up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 esv
#sisters #family #love

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Resting in the Shade of Our Safe God

Sam's in and out of my house all day long, but never more so than when Ryan is home. The two of them are nearly inseparable. In the picture above, Sam, Ryan and I were on the pond levee, feeding the fish. Bento, Ryan's dog, was playing in the grass, chasing bugs.

Late in the afternoon, the surrounding trees give enough shade to make this a cool, comfortable spot. 

We take shelter in the shade of the towering oaks.

This morning, the image of the three of us, comfortably resting under the trees by the lake, came to mind as I read Psalm 91.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty."
Psalm 91:1 nasb

The psalmist goes on to say that God will "cover us with His pinions" and we can take refuge "under His wings." 

When we put our lives, our faith, our trust in Almighty God alone, we have taken shelter in a safe, comfortable place. It's the safest place of all. 

There is no danger, no trouble, no sorrow that can attack us under His protecting wings, unless it goes through Him first. What danger is strong enough to go through God? No danger. 

This doesn't mean that we will never encounter danger, trouble, or sorrow. It means that God may allow us to face these trials, but we won't do it alone, and we won't do it without His protection and assistance. 

All our trials will have a point. None of them will be wasted.

Verse 5 of that psalm also tells us, "You will not be afraid..."

In this world, there is so much evil that it's easy to be intimidated by the present and by the future. Our world is full of angry, disenchanted, violent people who seek to take matters into their own hands. They want retaliation and change, though it's seldom clear that what they propose will be an improvement. 

I see our nation and our world heading in a deadly spiral of sin, and the future looks bleak.

There's good news, though. We don't have to be afraid. 

When we take shelter under the wings of the Almighty, our future is not in the hands of angry, disenchanted, violent people. Our future is not in the hands of corrupt officials or crazed terrorists. 

Our future is held tight in the no-slip grip of Jesus Himself.

When we rest under the shadow of the Almighty, we are sheltered in a safe and comfortable place. No fear. No anxiety. No uncertainty. 

We are safe. Now and in the future.

Today, let's put our trust in the One who created and sustains the universe. The One who not only sees the past, present, and future but has the power to intervene. The One who loves us most.

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." 
John 14:1 nasb 
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: God's Favorite Spot
#faith #Jesus #worry #disciple 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

God's Favorite Spot

Sam and I were sitting on the pond levee, throwing old bread to the fish. "Of all the places on the earth, I think this is my favorite spot," Sam told me. 

My favorite place is the old red, wooden thinking chair on the far side. No one can find me there. It's remote and quiet. I can think and pray and, as Sam always says, "solve the problems of the world there."

It was a surprise to find that God, who created the earth and all that is within it, has a favorite place on earth, too. Psalm 87:2 tells us, "The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob." 

Of all the places where His children have dwelt, which is everywhere, God loves Jerusalem the most. 

I can see why. It's a beautiful, crowded, alive city with such diversity that it's almost overwhelming.

David wrote about Jerusalem in Psalm 122 and those words are worth remembering.

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem;
May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces."
Psalm 122:6-7 nasb

Today, let's do what David recommended. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that God's will would be done in the place that is most precious to Him, and that His glory will be revealed.

Since it's God's favorite spot, I thought I'd share a bit of it with you today. The photo above is of the walls surrounding the old city, taken from the Mount of Olives. The photos below were taken in the Old City, in the Jewish Quarter. As you can see, there are old and young, Orthodox and reform. Jew and Palestinian, as well as all the other nations and peoples. 

As you scroll through the photos, pray for the people, the government, and the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that those enemies of Jerusalem would be prevented from harming the place God loves. Pray, too, that you will love what God loves, including the city He loves most.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: How to Preserve the Freedom We Enjoy

#Jerusalem #disciple #prayforthepeaceofJerusalem #linesfromleanna

Monday, July 4, 2016

How to Preserve the Freedom We Enjoy

A few months ago, my pastor asked our church to join together to pray for our nation at 7:14 every day. Twice a day, we were to spend one minute in prayer. The 7:14, of course, comes from the passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14. You probably know this verse by heart. 

If My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 nasb

Two minutes a day didn't seem like many prayer minutes to me, but God didn't say He would move based on the length of the prayer. What He requires is humility, seeking His face, and repentance of sin to accompany our prayers, not lots of minutes.

We pulled out our phones and set alarms. It was obvious we were praying by the number of alarms that went off at 7:14 during the Wednesday evening Bible study each week.

I set my alarms, too. One evening at church, my phone was in my purse when the alarm sounded. I fumbled to silence it, but it took long enough that it drew attention from those around me. After that, I turned the alarm off when I went into Bible study.

A few days ago, I realized I'd turned it off, but forgotten to turn it back on. Without the alarm, I'd forgotten to pray. Somehow, I'd turned off the morning alarm, too. I've prayed some for our nation since then, but I have to admit that it hasn't been with the fervor of those 7:14 alarm prayers.

I've turned the 7:14 alarms back on.

Our country is in a terrible mess. From our leaders to our churches to our individual hearts, we are far from God, and it frightens me. 

America needs the prayers of God's people more than ever, and, as a nation, we don't even realize it. Corporately, we have removed God from the public eye, just as we have removed Him from our hearts. It's a wonder He continues to bless us.

The hearing, forgiving, and healing God promised Israel had nothing to do with the hearts and prayers of those who were not His people. That same principle holds true today. 

If God's people will humble themselves, seek His face, and pray, He will hear, forgive, and heal.

People of God, we must do what we can. The time for delay is long past. 

Today, we celebrate the freedom we've enjoyed for the last 240 years. This has been a great country, but I fear the direction in which we are headed. On this day of joy, let's join together to do what it takes to preserve our freedom. 

Saving a nation is hard work, and it cannot be done with elections, or guns, or protests. Saving a nation begins, just as starting a nation did, on our knees. More may be required of us as citizens, but the prayer work must be done first. 

Let's begin by humbling our own hearts, turning from our own sin, and seeking God's face. With that job underway, let's also join together, twice a day, one minute at a time, to pray for God to hear, forgive, and heal this great land we love.

Let's start today. The future of a nation depends on the prayers of God's people. 
In honor of Independence Day, I've chosen several blogs from the archives for today. They'll post throughout the day, so be sure to check back.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Lessons from Lou: A Life Well-Lived

#ifmypeople #IndependenceDay #prayer #linesfromleanna

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lessons from Lou: A Life Well-Lived

At the ripe old age of fifteen, Ole Lou died. He was still smiling. 

Last week, I wrote about The Value of a Life. In case you haven't seen that post, Lou was my much loved pound-dog. By the end, I had to feed him with a spoon. I almost put him down, but we waited because of that big doggie smile. 

Late Thursday afternoon, I sat under the gardenia bush (no easy task) and fed him an entire can of dog food. I was so proud of him for eating so much more than usual, and entertained a brief fantasy that, despite his age, he might get better again.

The old adage, you'd have to get better to die, came to mind about then. He wasn't improving. He was dying, and I knew it.

I buried him yesterday under a big oak tree. I wrapped him in one of the twin-bed sheets Ryan used when he went to camp as a boy. It still had his name on the corner. It seemed fitting. I hauled Lou's body across the yard to the grave we'd dug a couple of weeks ago. Sam, Ryan, and I all dug a part of the hole. I filled it in by myself, tears falling on the dirt the entire time, and it was oddly therapeutic. Come fall, I'll plant azaleas over the grave, because he loved resting under my azaleas. 

He wasn't the smartest dog I've ever had, but he was the nicest. I learned a lot from him and maybe you could, too.

1) All life matters. Even dogs. I didn't really love crawling on my belly under the azaleas to feed him with a spoon, but I did it, and it was worth it. I learned a lot about sacrificing myself for someone else from Lou. It was a lesson much needed and well-learned.

2) Kindness should be our default mode. Lou barked like crazy to warn me when visitors arrived, whether they were human visitors, stray pigs, stray donkeys, or neighborhood dogs, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. Unless you threatened me or his boy. Then, look out. If he knew you, though, he greeted you with a smile and a wagging tail. No matter how bad he felt.

3) Sometimes, the presence of someone who cares is all you need. There were some tough times during the fifteen years Lou lived with us. In the hard times, Lou would walk along with me and nuzzle my hand as we walked. He'd sit beside me, rest his head on my lap and watch me with his big brown eyes. There was depth in those eyes that said he'd seen a few hard days himself, and we'd get through. And we did.

4) In the end, love matters most. When Lou was too old and worn out to run and play, he still did the one thing he did best. Love. He loved his humans. He loved Maggie and Mamie. Even when those little dogs prodded him with their noses and rambled all over him, he was patient and kind. 

5) Life needs to be lived all the way to the end. Even on the last day of his life, Lou wagged his tail and smiled. He walked a few feet with me. He rested his head on my hand. He loved me. I almost "euthanized" him a week ago, but I'm so glad I didn't. He suffered some during those few days, but he loved more. 

I know Lou wasn't a human. He was just a dog, but he was a good dog, and I'll miss him for a long time. I'll miss the rambles in the woods and the way he greeted me when I came home after a long day, but those aren't the main things I'll miss. 

He loved me the best he knew how, and that's what I'll miss the most. 

I'd be a better person if I lived the way Lou did, so here are a few of the lessons I learned:

- Have perfect faith in my heavenly Father for His provision. 

- Always be kind. 

- Love everyone with my entire self and my entire presence.

- Live life well, all the way to the end. 

"But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 nasb
In case you missed them, here's the link to Lou's post (The Value of a Life) and here's the link to yesterday's post: The Golden Gate and the King Who Will Walk Through
If you're doing the Hosea study, chapter ten is ready and here's the link: Hosea Chapter Ten. (They get easier as you go along.)

Tomorrow, to celebrate Independence Day, I have several posts scheduled, so be sure to check back off and on throughout the day.

#doglove #love #disciple