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Posted By Harolene

In 1967 Aretha Franklin belted out a song, written by Otis Redding, which asked for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T,  "All I'm askin' you is for a little respect when you get home!" The Founding Fathers of our nation, in the Declaration of Independence stated, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  We should be able to expect respect from our fellow man, each and every one of us. When we infringe on each other's rights to be happy, we are very wrong. How can we forgive a terrible infringement on our person, and do we need to do that? I spoke with a person who took pity on the person that stole their virginity, in a brutal way, at the early age of six. The abuse continued for years without any recourse of action on the victims' part. When this person learned the perpetrator, and horror of their young, life was suffering from a stroke, and had been placed in a facility for indigents, a place where, they were basically, just put in a bed, and left to rot in their own feces, they were taken out of that place and put in a rehab home with nurses, which fed, cleaned and cared for their every need. I just received a call that this person would not live through the night.  The person, so violated, had spoken to them and led them in the sinner's prayer. With this act there was forgiveness, not just a flesh kind, but also a love that only God can give. To me, that is showing ultimate respect for another human and divine forgiveness. I'm not sure I could have done the same in this situation. The dictionary defines respect as meaning admiration, high opinion, esteem, value, reverence and regard. The opposite is disrespect, disregard, and contempt. In the Bible, the phrase is often used, "Fear God", when you know the meaning of "fear" in that particular sense, it means, "respect God". God is love; His command is for us to love one another, that means showing proper respect. I was asked to offer an explanation of "Respecter of men", here it is: We know that God made us in His own image, it means He wants us to be like Him, right? As I already mentioned, He is love, so we should show love, but does He show respect to us? Romans 2:9 KJV For there is no respect of persons with God. 2:9-11 in the Message translation explains it this way: "If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you're from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won't give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind. Acts 10:34 Peter fairly exploded with his good news: "It's God's own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you're from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. KJV Then Peter said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

When we were kids we used to chant "Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor." God is no respecter of persons, honoring one person more than another because of his wealth or occupation, He loves you, just the way you are. It's not what we do, but whom we are that earns respect in the eyes of man; with God, we're just His children and He loves us all the same! 

Posted By Harolene

This could be about the faithful companionship of our furry family members as it was yesterday, but no, it is about us, you and me. There comes a point in your life when you realize who it is that really matters, who never did, and who always will. Stop and think, how many true hearts have you walked on to get to transient relationships? How has that worked out for you?

There is a friend that sticks closer than a is Jesus. Forgiveness and faithfulness are two words that have gotten lost in the world of unfaithful friends and lovers. There are those of us who are willing to give our love and devotion and then find that we have put our trust in the wrong place. Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD.

Maybe you don't trust God because you don't KNOW that you can lean on the Lord for help, or know that the only way we can truly forgive is to learn from the One Who forgave US! Lack of forgiveness and hatred in your heart and mind, is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick, or die. Chances are they don't know how you feel, and if they do, they simply do not care! So why burden yourself with hating or not forgiving them, it means they are actually controlling your life! There is only One who completely, continually, forgives, and that is God Almighty.

My parents were married for 70 years and were still “sweethearts” until the day he died! In today's world when a movie star says they have been married 5 years, everyone applauds and cheers for such a long-lived marriage. I have watched more than one star hiding from the paparazzi in their multi-thousand dollar dress at their multi-million dollar wedding, only to see them getting a divorce a few months (weeks even) later. It seems like things such as loyalty to vows and people, whether romantic connections or just friends, don't count anymore.

GOD is faithful, you can't get so old that he is looking for someone YOUNGER to convert, or too ugly or fat or better yet, He doesn't get bored with you! He joined Himself to us. In the wedding ceremony, the minister says "What do you give as a token of your love and fidelity", the normal answer is "A ring", which symbolizes the never-ending circle of love. God did not give a ring; He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ as the covenant offering, His promise of love and fidelity toward His Bride.

I used to say that when you get married you have to "quit dating other people"; looks to me like too many Christians give their heart to the Lord and then flirt with the devil on a daily basis. They put their feet under Satan's table and dine with him and then expect God to "understand". We shouldn't do it in the flesh and we can't do it in the Spirit. Lamentations 3:22 God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I've got left.


Posted By Harolene

Those beautiful words from the Bible remind me of one of my favorite hymns: Great Is Thy Faithfulness Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

We are taking this journey together, so come on, get on board and let's see where the road takes us as we are blessed, forgive, and remain faithful to the Lord and to each other, He is faithful to you!  

Posted By Harolene

A dear friend and reader sent a poem to me entitled "Rainbow Bridge" which tells of a happy place where the pets we have loved so much during life are waiting for us, I loved it and was reminded of another poem that Rudyard Kipling wrote titled, The Power of the Dog, about man’s best friend, the faithful dog. You have to read it with a Kleenex in your hand for you will very surely shed some tears. The first verse prepares the reader with: "There is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; And when we are certain of sorrow in store, Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware of giving your heart to a dog to tear."

I remember our first dog, a sad eyed cocker spaniel that we named "Lucky" because we felt he was lucky that we chose him and we were very lucky to have him. As the years passed there were other dogs but one Sunday, which was the last Sunday my dad was to serve as the associate in a beautiful downtown Atlanta church, a small puppy wandered in off the street and someone handed her to the pastor as he was closing the morning service and having the congregation say goodbye to our family, he quickly turned and handed the small puff of fur into the giant, gentle hands of my dad. We named her "Cricket" and as she grew older so did we until the day seventeen years later that the doctor told us there was no hope for her and we had to let them put her peacefully to sleep. It was near Christmas, December 17, 1971 and as long as it has been we still cannot talk about her without crying.

I decided I would never love another dog, just couldn't break my own heart that way ever again, but then along came a five-week-old mixed black lab named Reuben and we all fell in love again. I put Reuben into the hands of my 10-year-old son on April 1, 1991 and they loved each other with all the passion a little boy and his dog can share. It ended the day he came running into the house when he was a freshman at Georgia Tech his face white and his eyes huge with terror, "Mom I think Reuben is dying". Oh my God the rushed trip to the vet, sure enough Reuben, our wonderful and faithful friend had suffered a stroke and died.

Again I swore off having another canine friend, but then a teacup poodle named P'nut lit up the blue eyes of my granddaughter the Christmas she was 5, then a foundling that we called Ruby because she was the female image of our beloved Reuben came into our home, another opportunity to love and wait for the inevitable heartache that will come.


Posted By Harolene

Last December 16, our sweet P’Nut died and a few days ago I went with my sister as she said goodbye to her little one who had bladder cancer, we still have our Ruby and my sister has her Sophie and we know their love to us is unconditional which reminds us of the love our Father God has for each one of us. 

Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them.

I think about the time when we are living in a new heaven and a new earth that all the animals will be at peace with each other and with us, and yes I expect to see all the pets we have loved waiting there at the "Rainbow Bridge" greeting us with wagging tale and many wet kisses!