Posts Tagged ‘love’

This is the closing post on the subject of “Life Is.” It’s a great summary and i wish i had written it. But, i didn’t. It was written by someone i hardly know and yet after reading this i felt like i had known him for years. Kindred spirits is all i can say. my hope is that you enjoy it as much as i have.

Life is a first date and a couple in the arms of new love where their hands gently, and accidentally, brush together. Life is holding the hand of the one you love as pledge yourself to a lifelong struggle of passionate love and commitment before

God, family, and friends. Life is holding that same haimagesnd and praying for God to take away the cancer that is slowly turning the one you love into a shell of who they used to be. Life is longing for the hand that has held yours and wondering if God could ever heal a hole that seems so vast and so real.

Many equate life with this finite span of physical existence, loving relationships, and emotional experiences that begin joyously at birth and end abruptly in death.  Life is a flower in the field, growing and beautiful, but gone in the morning. Those we know are here today and gone tomorrow. We wake up remembering what it felt like when we were young, but as we roll out of bed we feel the weight of all the years that were gone too fast. When we look at it this way life is wonderful and beautiful but ultimately it is a defeat and no victory can be found in it. Because, life explained only in terms of this world will always leave us wanting.

Is this what Christ meant when he said he wants to give us “abundant life”. Did he give us the beauty of a sunset or the joy of love as the height of life? Or is there something more?

I would like to suggest that we have begun to translate what is offered in this world as a definition of life. All its joys and sorrows, comforts and worries, all we can feel and see have consumed us. We no longer know of the Kingdom of God here and now. Life can be found in this world yet it is much more. Christ came and has shown us what true life is. We miss the awesome power of these words, “I AM the way and the truth and the life”.   What Paul said is right “For to me, to live is CHRIST and to die is gain.” To live in this world is to live in humble obedience to Christ and to sow the rewards of eternity. A life lived as a beacon for Christ will be rewarded in eternal life, where death is a beginning.

Life is Christ. Life is abundant and eternal love. Life is trouble in this world and tremendous wonderful joy in the next. We live here and now, but we fix our gaze on eternity and true life. This truth will give us eyes to enjoy the meaning and purpose of today as well as experience, in part, the joy and reward of Christ.  Life is the joyous communion we have, through Christ and in the Spirit, with the God of Abraham.

The first century church with all the persecution and turmoil knew of a life that few in this generation have ever tasted.  We have entertainment, comfort, technology, education, and everything we could ever need.  We have interpreted life and it’s meaning from these things. But life is found in the pierced hands of our Savior. The knowledge and love of Christ will illuminate the love we have in this life and it will bring forth joy from sorrow. The way to the find the true interpretation of life is up Calvary’s hill, passed the entrance of an empty tomb, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  In Christ true life is made clear.

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As i have listened to, read and studied Kisses From Katie i was challenged as part of my fearless moral inventory to consider what i have to offer others… yet seldom, if at all do. Oh i’m great when it comes to giving financially and even time wise but not in the way that these scriptures outline. This was made even clearer to me yesterday as i met with some people to help them with a matter. i could tell that they were not themselves yet, i asked no questions and offered nothing. Today i had to call them and apologize for not grabbing their hand and pulling them to their feet.

imagesExodus 17:12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Deuteronomy 15:11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Matthew 10:5 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.

Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Luke 3:10-11 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”

James 1:17 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

images-1James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

1 John 4:19-20 We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Acts 20:35-38 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 15:1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Ephesians 4:28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 THE END!

 

images-1Yesterday i left off with… “Because I heard her say that tomorrow is her birthday,” I told him. “What do you say you and I do something about that? What do you think about us throwing a birthday party for her—right here—tomorrow night?”

A cute smile slowly crossed his chubby cheeks, and he answered with measured delight, “That’s great! I like it! That’s a great idea!” Calling to his wife, who did the cooking in the back room, he shouted, “Hey! Come out here! This guy’s got a great idea. Tomorrow’s Agnes’s birthday. This guy wants us to go in with him and throw a birthday party for her—right here—tomorrow night!”

His wife came out of the back room all bright and smiley. She said, “That’s wonderful! You know Agnes is one of those people who is really nice and kind, and nobody does anything nice and kind for her.”

“Look,” I told them, “if it’s okay with you, I’ll get back here tomorrow morning about 2:30 and decorate the place. I’ll even get a birthday cake!”

Unknown“No way,” said Harry (that was his name). “The birthday cake’s my thing. I’ll make the cake.”

At 2:30 the next morning, I was back at the diner. I had picked up some crepe-paper decorations at the store and had made a sign out of big pieces of cardboard that read, “Happy Birthday, Agnes!” I decorated the diner from one end to the other. I had that diner looking good.

The woman who did the cooking must have gotten the word out on the street, because by 3:15 every prostitute in Honolulu was in the place. It was wall-to-wall prostitutes …and me!

At 3:30 on the dot, the door of the diner swung open, and in came Agnes and her friend. I had everybody ready (after all, I was kind of the M.C. of the affair) and when they came in we all screamed, “Happy birthday!”

Never have I seen a person so flabbergasted… so stunned… so shaken. Her mouth fell open. Her legs seemed to buckle a bit. Her friend grabbed her arm to steady her. As she was led to sit on one of the stools along the counter, we all sang “Happy Birthday”‘ to her. As we came to the end of our singing with “happy birthday, dear Agnes, happy birthday to you,” her eyes moistened. Then, when the birthday cake with all the candles on it was carried out, she lost it and just openly cried.

Harry gruffly mumbled, “Blow out the candles, Agnes! Come on! Blow out the candles! If you don’t blow out the candles, I’m gonna hafta blow out the candles.” And, after an endless few seconds, he did. Then he handed her a knife and told her, “Cut the cake, Agnes. Yo, Agnes, we all want some cake.”

Agnes looked down at the cake. Then without taking her eyes off it, she slowly and softly said, “Look, Harry, is it all right with you if I… mean is it okay if I kind of… what I want to ask you is… is it O.K. if I keep the cake a little while? I mean, is it all right if we don’t eat it right away?”

Harry shrugged and answered, “Sure! It’s O.K. If you want to keep the cake, keep the cake. Take it home, if you want to.”

“Can I?” she asked. Then, looking at me, she said, “I live just down the street a couple of doors. I want to take the cake home, okay? I’ll be right back. Honest!”

She got off the stool, picked up the cake, and carrying it like it was the Holy Grail, walked slowly toward the door. As we all just stood there motionless, she left.

When the door closed, there was a stunned silence in the place.

The rest of the story tomorrow!

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In chapter 8 Katie continues to share her story of relentless love and redemption while i continue to be amazed by what God is revealing to me from the book titled Kisses From Katie.

imagesKatie takes a deep breath of the air that smells like what she can only describe as “Uganda” and let it fill her with the joy of being in the place God has called her. i had to wonder if i have ever been in such a place. Not Uganda but a place where the air filled me with the joy of being in God’s presence. my experiences with that have been limited to moments in times of worship but i desire to live in that place each and every day regardless of circumstances. With every breath joy and an overwhelming awareness that i am in God’s presence.

The second morning, Agnes looked at me and said, “There it is! It came back!” I asked her, groggily, “What came back?” With joy she could hardly contain , she replied, “That light that lives in your eyes!” I would imaging that being filled with the joy of being in the place where God has called would show in outward physical signs such as the eyes. What would it be like to have people see the presence of God on my life without speaking a word… to the point of saying “there it is! It came back!”

“In Uganda, as in all the nations of the earth, human beings are hungry for God; they long to live lives filled with purpose and love. They want to be able to support their families; they want to be able to work; they want to be able to give back and to be good, noble people. They want to feel important and needed and beautiful. Children want to play, eat, learn, and be loved. We are all the same. We do not live in different worlds; we live in the same world. People are people.” And this is where there is a great gap between Katie and i. It is a struggle for me to believe all of that about people. my experiences have led me to believe otherwise. i’m not saying that i’m right and she is wrong because Katie has much that i desire when it comes to God and relationships.

Katie says her life looks different than most because she made different choices than most. But making different choices didn’t make her superhuman. In fact, every day was filled with reminders, sometimes painful reminders, of her human emotions, human desires, and human limitations. That’s where i find myself in Chapter 8… filled with reminders. Not good reminders, not bad reminders but reminders of God’s grace with regards to my life.

images-1In closing Katie talks about how often, as human beings , we are crippled by our fears. We are afraid of change, of loss, of being hurt. We cling so tightly to what we have because we are afraid of what would happen if we didn’t have these things anymore.

Every day, i have a choice. i can stay safe and let fear cripple me. Or i can take a risk, do something to help someone, change someone’s world.

 

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Remember i shared about feeling old and used up and no more exciting that a cardboard box. Well i have a few thoughts. Katie shares at several points about the people of Uganda sleeping on old wet cardboard boxes. For them that box is useful. Then what parent hasn’t felt the frustration or the amazement of a child wanting to play with a plain old box in preference to all the toys they have. Lastly i am thankful for old cardboard boxes as my garage is lined on both sides with hundreds of dollars of stuff inside them. Well… i feel a little better but i think Katies remarks are still the way for me. “Lord, thank You that when i feel old and used up and broken and no more exciting than a cardboard box, You whisper that You love me and value me, and that in Your eyes, i am shiny and new.”

Katie in Chapter 7 reminded me of the story of The Velveteen Rabbit.

velveteen-rabbit1It begins with the rabbit, fluffy and beautiful, but all the rabbit wanted was to be real. The boy who owns the rabbit loves it to tatters; his velveteen fur becomes worn and his stuffing starts to come out. “So much love stirred in his little sawdust heart that it almost burst. And into his boot-button eyes, that had long ago lost their polish, there came a look of wisdom and beauty, so that even Nana noticed it next morning when she picked him up, and said, ‘I declare if that old Bunny hasn’t got quite a knowing expression!’ ” The boy loves the bunny “so hard” that he loves his whiskers off and the pink fur on his ears turns gray. After the boy contracts scarlet fever, the doctor says the beloved, worn-out rabbit has fever germs and must be discarded, so Nana throws him out. And only then, when he is tattered and ugly, does the fairy come and make him a real rabbit, all sparkly and new, who can run and play with other real rabbits.

Here’s what spoke to me. He wasn’t patched up or glued back together. No, he was transformed, made altogether new.

Who hasn’t been hurt and scarred and banged around a bit in the past year, but God uses all those things to help me and you to Unknownbecome real. Katie says, she was coming to understand that what it means to be real is to love and be loved until there is nothing left.

This book is causing me to see how completely different i am becoming and i’m not completely sure what i think about it or what to do with it.

 

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Greetings! my name is Dr. ed peterson and i’m the host of the me and i am post and podcast. Thanks for joining me today as i continue sharing my thoughts and revelations regarding my own life as i read a book of relentless love and redemption titled Kisses From Katie.

Chapter 4 was like a breather for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s packed with trinkets but they were far more subtle than the previous chapters.

UnknownWhile Katie shares the following words almost as though everyone already knows them, which they may but me… i needed to be reminded. She says, “My love for the people around me was not something I could muster up myself; it was God-given, it came from the overflow of the love He had lavished on me.” The love that is thrown around these days is exactly what Katie says, “something i could muster up myself.” i remember my daughter telling me that i had hurt her husbands feelings because after talking on the phone i didn’t say i love you before hanging up. At the time i didn’t think i need to say it. Which i didn’t for me but for him… that’s another story. When Ann Marie and i were first married she said to me one day, you never tell me you love me.” My response was simple… “No news is good news.” Today i know just how wrong that was but i am never going to be one to just include i love you for the sake of it. If i say i love you, you can be assured that it comes from my heart and it comes with commitment. my intention is for my words and actions to line up with what loving someone looks like through the eyes of Jesus. i want my love to be just like what Katie describes… an overflow of the love God lavished for me.

As i shared there are other trinkets to be found in chapter 4 but my favorite one came at the end. “Oliver’s friends noticed her helping me and teased her about it. “Why do you follow around that small white girl?” they asked. “Because God is going to do something with her here,” she replied.

Because God is going to do something with her here! And i wondered if anyone was following me around with an expectation that God is going to do something with me here? And then i wondered… who am i following around with an expectation that God is going to do something with them? my answer to the last thought was my children.

Unknown-1My son and his wife as they began this whole process to adopt a child from Africa. So many God stories to be shared and you can read some of them for yourselves by going to (http://hopefaithlovepeterson.blogspot.com/2014/08/getting-started.html?m=1) i can hardly wait to hear the updates as i’m expecting the God things to get bigger and bigger. As part of this i am preparing to make a copy of Kisses From Katie available to anyone who will make a contribution towards the adoption. More details to follow when it’s ready. And i can hardly wait to see what my two grandsons will be like as they grow up with God being such an intricate part of their lives.

Then there is my daughter and her husband. It would take weeks to share the process they have been going through and oh so many times where God just showed up in so many places. And i know that i know He is not done with them yet… nope, not even close.

imagesmy grandson… God is becoming a close friend with him regularly. Let me share a faith project he is working on right now. Students at his school are traveling on an exciting trip to Washington, D.C., with WorldStrides. His history lessons will come to life as he walks in the footsteps of influential past and present leaders and learn about the events that shaped our nation. He have the wonderful opportunity to go on this educational travel program with his classmates. I am so excited for him to be invited to go on this trip despite the large expense. Contributions will make this trip possible. Will you consider sponsoring him?

It’s easy to make a donation online! Go to the WorldStrides website! Enter my Account Number: 102746769. Enter my last name: Lucci.

i have never asked or made any type of giving available in the over 12 years i have been blogging but i could not resist offering the opportunity for these two great causes. i’ve been asked in the past so here are the opportunities.

 

 

 

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i’m Dr. ed peterson and today i am sharing from Chapter 3 of Kisses From Katie a book about relentless love and redemption. This isn’t a book review but a fearless moral inventory regarding my life. Chapter 3 is filled with revealing thoughts that stirred my emotions but
none better than Katies actual journal page from November 22, 2007 “One Day.”

UnknownPeter is the rock on which God built His church. But first, Peter was probably the worst disciple ever. I am Peter. Jesus tells Peter that he (Peter) will deny Him 3 times; Peter says, “No! I love you, I could never deny you, Lord.” Yet we all know that Peter does in fact deny Jesus three times. I know in my heart and my soul and the core of my being that I love the Lord, that I would do anything for Him, go to the ends of the earth for Him, but how often do I forget to give the glory to His name? How often do I take compliments without giving Him the credit? Do I, like Peter, deny Jesus the glory that is His?

Jesus told His disciples that it was God’s will for Him to be arrested. He went willingly when the soldiers came to take Him, but enthusiastic, loving Peter raised his sword and cut off a soldier’s ear. “Put your sword away,” Jesus commanded. “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” I am Peter. I have my own time frame. When I don’t see things happening, I try to make them happen. And Jesus says, “Put away your sword, put away your plans. Shall we not do what the Father has asked of us?” So like Peter, I put away my plans, my defenses, and watch as everything happens perfectly, in God’s own timing.

After Jesus had risen, He appeared to His disciples while they were fishing. When Peter saw his beloved Savior, he excitedly jumped out of the boat and began swimming to where Jesus stood. Needless to say, the boat probably reached the shore long before Peter. I am Peter— excitedly jumping into things and then standing, sopping wet, at the feet of the Lord, smiling at my stupidity. I get excited, forget to think things through, and end up doing them the long way. Every time, though, just as with Peter, Jesus welcomes my soaking wet self into His arms and is simply happy to see me.

I am Peter who made many mistakes, but I am Peter for whom God had great plans, whom God established to do His work. Peter is the rock on which Jesus built His church. The very night when Peter foolishly jumped out of the boat, Jesus reinstated Him in the presence of the other disciples. “Do you truly love me?” He asked. “Then feed my lambs.” “Do you really love me? Take care of my lambs.” “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep, and come follow Me.” For each time I deny God the glory that is His, for each time I follow my will instead of listening to His, for each time I jump ahead without first consulting my Lord, He asks, “Daughter, do you truly love me?” and I do. “Feed my sheep.” And I will. And I do. “Come follow me.” And I am, or at least I am trying.

These final words describe me just as they described Katie. I am Peter. I mess up. I make mistakes, I am far from perfect, and God will use me. God will establish great things through me.

In closing… You are Peter. God already knows that you will make a mess, but His plan for you is great. Go. Feed His sheep.

Davis, Katie J. (2011-10-04). Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption (pp. 40-42). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

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https://meandiam.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/revealed-chapter-1.m4aimages

Katie says, “Sometimes it hits me like a brick to the head. my life has been kinda insane.” That’s the way i feel when i come to the end of a year and begin to take one of these inventories of my life. As a kid i lived in 19 different places by the time i was 18. As an adult i’ve had 23 different addresses over 42 years. i’ve started a dozen or so different businesses. i have traveled frequently to beautiful places. i have done most of the things i have dreamed. i have more than the necessities of life. i have been and continue to live a very exciting and blessed life.

Katie goes on, “To me there is nothing spectacular about this everyday craziness, it is just the result of following Jesus into the impossible, doing the little i can and trusting Him to do the rest.” As i look back at all the moves, new businesses, serving in full-time ministry, and all the travel, much of it was following God into the impossible. The rest of the much of it… was due to pursuing position, titles, finances… all the things i felt i missed out on while growing up. All the things that i thought would make me different.

It is only in the past few years that i have realized that i can do nothing incredible, but i can follow God into impossible situations and He can do incredible things through me.

Without giving away to much of the book by sharing all the background for these next words there came a very important realization for me. The book says, “Before long her reluctance turned into anxious enthusiasm and she became excited to be the person who would share this dream with me.” Katie is speaking about her mother agreeing to go with her on her first trip to Uganda.

images-2These words caused me to remember the people, whom became excited to share my dreams with me. Ann Marie my wife, best friend and love has been my rock. She has shared every dream with me, supporting me all along the way. While it would be understandable if she wasn’t always excited about sharing my dreams she has never shown it. If she has ever been reluctant it has been hidden by her encouragement for me to pursue the life i dreamed.

Listening to chapter 1 again assured me that it was God’s plan for me to read this book as Katie shares, “I saw strength and depth of character in people’s eyes.” i immediately recalled my focus prayer for this year, “Lord teach my eyes to hear before they see.” You can learn a lot about a person and their life by looking into their eyes and just listening.

Chapter one is filled with many thoughts but one that stands out for me is where Katie shares about bed time with her children. It would last about an hour as the children would sing with all their hearts, laugh, cry and pray. She describes it as simply being with Jesus and that she could feel the presence of God there more strongly than ever before. This reminded her that she had one purpose in Uganda and in life, and that was to love. Her words reinforce in me the very same thoughts, although i am not in Uganda, but where ever i am, i have one purpose and that is to love. Love God with all my heart, mind soul and strength. To love others as myself and i sense that this is where God is working in me through this book. i feel like Peter when i say, “You know i love you Lord.” And i do in spite of falling short many times. But learning to love to myself so that i can share it with others… well there has been the rub.

Luke 12:48 says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” i have been given much.

Chapter 1 of this story about “Relentless Love and Redemption leaves me with this.

images-1God is making it clear that this is the place… here in Florida, for an unknown amount of time, is where i am supposed to follow Jesus, obey Him , and make my best effort, with His gracious help, to treat people with dignity and care for them unconditionally.

 

 

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Hello i’m dr. ed peterson the host of me and I Am. i will tell you ahead of time that today’s post feels very disjointed for me and i’ve rewritten it 5 times which by the way i never do. This has been difficult because while trying to share my personal experience i’m trying not to give away the story nor bore everyone. i’m finding it difficult to share this bundle of emotions, spiritual lessons, mental challenges, etc., etc. etc..

imagesMelissa my son’s wife had made a trip to Africa about the time they had met. Through the years they have often talked about going back as husband and wife. They also over the years have expressed their desire to possibly adopt a child. That possibility became more than that recently and they announced that they were going to start the long process of adopting a child from Africa and see what God would do. The short version of this is that after a few short months they not only found an agency that was willing to consider them but through a conversation in which they were asked, as a by the way, what were they looking for, revealed that there was possibly a three year old girl available. They had not even finished the paper work, taken the classes, jumped through the hoops, or put the finances in place. They had been told by everyone that it would be one to two years or more. But God! Things have moved very quickly and this little three year old girl is a very real possibility… enough so that the agency revealed her name and gave them a picture which they are not allowed to share at this time. Bt the way, the agency told them to pick a middle name for her and use that to refer to her as they are not allowed to use her name nor show her picture at this time. Papa will take this moment to reinforce his vote for Grace but i’m not holding my breath.

See how this ties in with the book? For me the book is not about the story of Katie… it’s much more. As i’ve said over and over it’s not a book to be read and then forget. Oh you may be able to do just that, but for me, well i’m on my third time through it and we have a small group of people who are going through it line by line and sharing how it is speaking to each of us individually.

images-1My first listen was all emotions. Every page, every chapter something would wreck me! My second listen was much more intent on hearing what i missed the first time through. Actually reading it is for highlighting. Multiple colors cover many of the pages from top to bottom.

During the second listen i received a paper from my son and wife. They told me that i needed to fill it out, get it notorized and send it back to them asap. What could be so important that i needed it notorized. The paper asked me if i would love this little girl as though she were my own. The question would have been simple but the importance placed on it by having to have it notorized meant that i couldn’t just say yes and send it off. This was more important than i had realized. God had just told me that i didn’t love people the way that Katie did and now i was being asked to put my name on a paper stating unconditionally that i would love this little girl… like Katie does.

For days the descriptions which Katie shared about the girls and their conditions raced through my mind. Prior to this it was easy to tell my children that it was a great idea and that they should go for it. They live in Reno Nevada and i live in Florida. We see each other about once a year. This is them, not me doing this, but of course i’ll support them. That’s when God revealed that everything He had revealed to me about my love had nothing to do with the past but everything to do with the present and the future.

images-3Will you love this little girl as though she were your own? my mind, will and emotions began putting my when, where, why and how into place and God said “Your mind, will and emotion have no place in this decision. Now what is your answer? Are you going to continue loving me, admiring me and worshipping me and not doing what i say?” As i listened to more and more of what God was saying through Katie and her book i began to realize more and more of what God wanted from me… and in spite of all my hesitations i wanted more of Him and what He was sharing with me.

Katie says she quit her life. i haven’t quit my whole life but i have begun to examine each piece of it more closely. While i was faced with the questions, the fears, of committing to loving this little girl which is still full of the unknown i realized that i am much more afraid of living life comfortably than i am of failing to surrender everything to God.

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Today i leave the forward and move to the introduction of Kisses From Katie. Here’s what stands out to me. In Katie’s world there are imagesno statistics. There are only people, and every life matters, something i am being urged to look at more closely regarding my own beliefs.

In the first paragraph of the introduction Katie shares that she is thankful that God’s plans do not seem to be affected much by her own. She explains further, “loving Jesus was beginning to interfere with the plans i once had for my life.” This is one area where my life and Katie’s are alike.

If there was any doubt that it was God’s plan for me to read this book it was removed completely as Katie says, “i have begun to grow in my desire to live intentionally, and be different from anyone i have ever known.” Different, intentional, familiar words.

Katie is different not because she loves Uganda, but she has an unquenchable love for the people. That unquenchable love makes her different from me and thus comes the most difficult portion of the book for me thus far. my love is sometimes very conditional, who, what, where, when, and why, too often play a part in my love.

images-1Now remember… i’m sharing the personal things God revealed to me as i listened to this book. Kisses From Katie is a confirmation, a reminder, an accountability to things that God has been speaking to me for some time.. As i’ve shared before God told me not so long ago, 7 or 8 years ago, that i was to start enjoying people and stop enduring them. Those were difficult words at the time, and while i believe i have made great strides… there was something about the words of this book that told me i had only scratched the surface and to get ready for much more.

i didn’t have to wait long. God had spoken to me twice prior regarding this next issue and i had treated it as a passing thought… both times. Most of the readers or listeners know that for the past eight years, until June 1st of this year Ann Marie and i were the founders and directors of a prayer center. In concept it was similar to IHOP in Kansas City. No not the breakfast place but the International House Of Prayer. Like Katie says, it was a great experience in most ways but very trying in others. This year i felt it was time to move on. Things seemed stagnate and i felt it was partially my fault. God had tried to speak to me twice through those passing thoughts. But now it was time to listen and hear what He was saying to me. He said, “the reason it was time for me to go and that the center had not accomplished all that it was meant to be, was because i didn’t love the people of Brandon the way Katie loved the people of Uganda.”

And with that i was a basket of emotions. Tears flooded down my face as i drove to work that morning. i had heard it before but as i said i treated it as a passing thought. As i arrived at work i could not stop the tears. Fortunately for me i always try to run ahead of time.

Unknown-1Katie says, “He began to grow in me a desire to live intentionally and different from anyone she had ever known.” Those words brought some comfort. Imagine… God had a young woman move to Uganda be a mother for 14 girls before the age of 21 and then write a book just so He could deliver a much-needed lesson to me.

i could not deny it, not even for a second. i did not love the people of Brandon anywhere near the way Katie loves the people of Uganda. He told me that i could not give what i did not possess. Katie possessed a much greater willingness to surrender her life to Him and was able to extend love in a way i was not sure i could. God didn’t let it go at that. Katie captures the essence of my thoughts with her words when she says, “Slowly but surely i was beginning to recognize the truth. i loved admired and worshiped God without doing what He said.”