A Love Without End

February 18, 2012

A love without end
A deep abiding friendship
With the one who gives life
A daily rhythm given
To the dance of joy
Just because you don’t feel it
Doesn’t make it not true
Don’t let unfamiliarity rob you
Of knowing Jesus’ story
God hates hypocritical religion
With all its self-righteousness
Bringing judgement on others
Jesus came to love
He said, “I came to give life
And give it abundantly.”
I decided to test it
Fifty years ago
Love in action speaks
Much louder than empty words
I focus on his actions
Love demonstrated
Taking time for quiet stillness
Today as I contemplate
A deep rhythm of the soul
Helps me live in peace
One moment in time
He gave it all to set us free
A love without end
Terry S. Smith
February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day Revolution

February 14, 2012

My daughters Margaret and Sara wrote this blog post.  It challenged and inspired me, so I wanted to share it with you.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

On Valentine’s Day, we naturally focus our attention on those that we know and love well.  TV commercials show rapturous men declaring their love with diamond-encrusted necklaces; grocery stores showcase tight bunches of frozen-smelling roses. Probably most of us forgo these tired symbols of love and go out to eat with our beloved, or write a thoughtful note to our spouse. My brother-in-law holds that Valentine’s Day is a consumer culture-manufactured event calculated to get us to spend more money; for a while he refused to participate. (My sister finally got him to compromise and purchase her a book to celebrate the day.) While finding a way to celebrate romantic love is fine, there are other kinds of love to celebrate and mark as significant.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted from the world.

James 1:27

Let’s have a Valentine’s Day Revolution!

I challenge us to be just as aware of those who desperately need love, but are not represented in Valentine’s Day commercials or Hallmark cards.  (I’ve never seen a Hallmark card section marked “Orphans”).  It is easier ignore the pain that Valentine’s Day evokes for some people than to enter into the distress of the heartbroken, isolated, and lonely.  Let’s deliberately and intently search for people that we can show God’s gracious compassion and unrelenting love.  We can look for practical ways to demonstrate this love and “look after” those living with a relationship void. 

Help me bring about a Valentine’s Day Revolution! 
Here are three specific ways we can “look after orphans and widows in their distress”:

1) The New Hope Foundation cares for precious Chinese orphans with disabilities.  Click here for more information and to donate. 

2) Volunteer at a homeless shelter, particularly one that has women and children.  Often, these children, while not actual orphans, are starved for attention and time. 

3) I know of a young widow who needs our help.  This December, my friend Angela’s thirty-four-year-old brother Joshua died suddenly from a heart problem.  His wife Jennie is devastated.  She needs encouragement and financial provision.  Jennie was left without life insurance and with large medical debt.  Any help would be appreciated. 

The Joshua Wilkison Memorial Fund                                      
In the name of: Jennie Wilkison
Cleveland Bradley County Teachers Federal Credit Union
420 Central Avenue Northwest  
Cleveland, TN 37311-4922
(423) 479-6393 (for debit cards)
Via Nancy Trotter
For cards of encouragement:
Jennie Wilkison
c/o Angela Thomas
1727 George Whittaker Lane
Knoxville, TN 37931
If you are reading this and you are heartbroken, isolated, or lonely, please know that there is hope.  God is close to the brokenhearted and he saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). 
Your Valentine From God
You are precious and honored.  I love you. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. I will strengthen you.  I have called you by name and you are mine.  Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.
from Isaiah and Hebrews