Archive - February 2017

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Our First Valentine’s Day
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Preaching to Myself

Our First Valentine’s Day

Thirty-eight years ago Preacher sat beside me on a wooden park bench on the campus of Baylor University and handed me a wrapped box for Valentine’s Day. It was our first Valentine’s Day together.  I was so in love with this blonde haired, blue eyed preacher boy that my heart was beating out of my chest.

I opened the box and there it was….a brown leather NIV bible. At first, I will admit, I was disappointed.  Preacher, I know you are a preacher but could you  get a girl something a little more romantic than a brown leather Bible.

Then I opened it up to read the words he wrote on the inside cover.

Presented to: Donna Duniven

By: John Avant

“To the girl I love—the words of the only one who will ever love you more.”

Love always, John

My heart melted. I knew this preacher knew what real love was.  He understood that love wasn’t just an ooey-gooey feeling.  Love wasn’t about giving expensive gifts or romantic dates.  Although, I will say over our 37 years together as husband and wife, he has romanced me plenty.

John Avant knew the only thing that would sustain us through the many ups and downs of life would be the love of the Heavenly Father and His word.

His Word has held us through the death of both of our earthly fathers, the death of a grandbaby, and many friends who have gone to be with Christ.

His Word has been our wisdom while raising three children.

His Word has sustained us through tough financial challenges.

His Word has reassured us through times of questioning.

His Word has reminded us of His passionate love for us when the world felt cold and lonely.

His Word has been our direction when we weren’t sure which way to go.

Preacher challenged me on February 14, 1979 to passionately love Jesus and to hide His Word in my heart.

As I look at that old, brown leather NIV Bible, which is now all marked up, I thank the Lord daily that Preacher’s first Valentine Day’s gift to me was not something that would wilt or fade with time, but it was the Word of God!

Thank you Preacher, for not only preaching His Word faithfully but living it daily in front of me and all those  you shepherd.   Happy Valentine’s Day, Pastor……..may you know I love you with my entire heart and He loves you more!

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  I John 4:7-8

 

Preaching to Myself

This Texas-born, now turned Rocky Top girl is not a devoted “country western” music-lover. However, sometimes there are lyrics that grab my attention.    “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw is now on my playlist.  Please don’t judge me.  The chorus of this song does have biblical truth in it:  “Always stay humble and kind.”  The rest of the song, not so much.

“Be completely humble…”Ephesians 4:2

“Be kind and compassionate to one another…..” Ephesians 4:32

The Greek word, “humble”, in Ephesians 4:2 means “to lower your self-estimation.” For one who follows Christ, it is the acknowledgement of total dependence on Him.

The Greek word, “kind” in Ephesians 4:32 means “to furnish what is needed, to do good, or be gracious”.

Tim McGraw got it right when he put “humble and kind” together.

If one doesn’t lower their “self-estimation” and acknowledge their total dependence on God, it is impossible to show true kindness to others.

January hasn’t shown much humility and kindness in the news or on social media. There are a lot of people just yelling, shouting, complaining, arguing and marching.

One can believe the Bible is true and inerrant, be pro-life and also be humble and kind.

“Hold the door, say please and thank you!” McGraw’s lyrics continue.

Before self-righteousness happens, remember humility and kindness may be easier to show to those we really don’t know very well. “It can be easy to get so focused on the darkness around us that we never address the darkness in us.”  (Lysa TerKeurst)

The letter to the Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus. Apparently, there were people who called themselves Christ-followers who weren’t being humble and kind to others in the church.

This preacher’s wife has had way too much experience with people who aren’t “humble and kind” inside the four walls of the church, including myself, sadly. It is imperative that we model to our children how to respectfully disagree with others.  The current trend is “if you don’t agree with me you must be dumb, unpatriotic or not a Christian.”

As January comes to a close up here on Rocky Top and we enter the “love” month of February may each of us choose to be “humble and kind” to those around us.   Some practical suggestions: (preaching to myself)

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Make eye contact with others and give them a smile.
  3. Listen to others without thinking about what you are going to say next.
  4. Have a teachable spirit. No one knows everything.

As followers of Christ, let us model humility and kindness inside the walls of the church as well as outside the walls of the church.

 

 

 

 

 

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