It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on LOVE!

The word LOVE and its various forms (loved, lover, etc.) are mentioned over 700 times in the Bible.

That alone should state its significance to the Lord.

But remember, God is no respector of persons. He doesn’t give us a list of who is worthy of being loved or of who deserves our love more. He wants us to love everyone.

From the person who wronged you to the man holding a sign on the street corner. From your best friend to that one co-worker who really rubs you the wrong way.

It’s easy to love those who love us back. But what about the rest?

We are supposed to love them too!

Focus on three people this week who you have a tough time feeling compassion and love toward. Pray daily for each one and if you cross paths this week, give a genuine smile. Ask the Lord to open your heart and help you feel love toward these three people.

John 13:34-35 King James Version (KJV)

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

THE BIG 5-0!

I can’t believe I’m 50.

On this day in 1969, a little hazel-eyed blonde baby was born to APD officer John Ritchie and his teacher wife, Gloria.

I had the quintessential Southern suburban upbringing. School, church, neighborhood parties. Summer vacations, club tennis and swimming. Grandparent visits, piano lessons, community theater.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I look back with rose-colored glasses or I just didn’t appreciate it like I should’ve back then.

Probably a little of both.

My teenage years were tumultuous. Even then, I was stereotypical. Preacher’s kids and cop’s kids, right?

I was a rebel.

But a very naive one, a fact I would later realize in my early 40’s. One whose pragmatism was ironically cloaked in idealism. Still is, to a certain degree. It’s strange when you have two brains simultaneously competing for thought time.

But after 4 decades of life, I have come to appreciate these quirks. I like that I’m a little weird. I think we all are.

If only we could realize that when we’re younger.

I’ve also learned to embrace my past. It’s not delusional to stow away the more unpleasant memories and focus on the good ones. I know they are there; I’m not trying to erase history. But their place is the basement of my mind. The good memories get the window seats.

I like being able to look in the mirror and really like the person I see. Sure, she can lose a few pounds, but she’s no longer lost HERSELF.

I like her because I see the Lord in her.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Now for my next 50 years…