I had a little “self-pity” recently, the kind that makes you want chocolate, with nuts! Luckily I didn’t have any on hand, except the dark chocolate dipped strawberries someone had sent to me and being totally selfish at that moment I ate three before I offered to share with the family! In this same mood, I got into my car and plugged my phone into my sound system to soothe myself by listening to some old favorites. I have a lot of favorites, my list goes like this, Gospel, Classical, a cappella (Voices of Lee and Bible Institute), Streisand ballads, Boots Randolph sax and a particular sax solo of “Try a Little Tenderness”, “You are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker, and a few country tunes by Dolly Parton, Eddie Rabbit, Don Williams and the one I chose today, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, by Van Morrison. It set off a flood of memories and thoughts. A memory from when I was very young came up first, the parsonage was on the back of a piece of property, which boasted a “Juke Joint” and the crowds would gather and you could hear the music playing, people laughing and the last song played, every night, was Good Night Irene (dating myself). I was playing in a little sandbox using cups to make buildings, I had an old billfold that daddy had given me to play with and to my surprise, when I opened the wallet to “pay” for one of the buildings, there was a $20 in it! I stood up (shaking sand from my panties I am sure), and took it in the house to daddy. I didn’t understand his reaction as he burst into tears and started thanking God for answering his prayer! Seems that he needed that amount of money for something important, and was, at that point, penniless! I can’t explain how it happened, but knowing that God created us from the dust of the earth, I like to think He created that $20 from the sand! OK, so it was probably in some hidden fold to save, and then forgotten about, but it’s my memory.
One day Jesus was discussing paying taxes with His disciple, Peter. Jesus had asked Peter, “Who pays the taxes the King levies?” Peter answered, “The subjects”. Jesus said, “Then the children get off free, right? But so we don’t upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax collectors, it will be enough for both of us.” (Matthew 17:26-27) That memory tucked away I thought of the last time I saw my grandfather Mushegan. I cannot write this without tearing and thinking of his words of wisdom to me. I wish I had paid more attention, listened a little closer, did I tell him that I loved him? The same with my Uncle, always telling me things I needed to do with my life, did I say, “Uncle Harding, I love you?” My Uncle Nap, my dad’s last remaining sibling, called me today and I told him I loved him over and over again just to make sure he knew how happy I was to hear from him.
It’s easy to think of things like this, after the fact, isn’t it? Hearing a song that dredges up feelings can help you bring them to the surface and deal with them. For all the times I have fallen on my knees and cried out to God with only “Help me” being audible, times He has given me direct answers, have I told Him that I loved Him?
John 14:21 “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”
1 John 5:1 “Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten. If we love the One who conceives the child, we’ll surely love the child who was conceived.”
The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.
I guess the point is in the old adage “Actions speak louder than words.” If we love Him keep His commandments and love His children!
For you, my reader, have I told YOU lately that I love and pray for you? I do!