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Archive for January, 2015

January 15th marks the second anniversary of the passing of my spiritual dad, Royal A. Cutler, Jr….

FullSizeRender copy 21This piece of paper is on my desk. As you can see from the photo, Royal’s exercises well into his nineties would tire many people of a lesser age. I can’t remember if he showed all of them to me. But what I do remember is the vigor and determination with which he went through them.

And part of what spurred him on was his heart attack in his sixties and the physician who told him he’d be lucky to get another 10 years out of his life. The doc only missed that one by a couple of decades.

Exercise can be thought of in a lot of ways and the particular one that Royal helped me learn was exercising love. Like his arm twirls or knee bends, loving stronger was something he practiced over the years. I can recall asking him about the last time he really lost his temper. He thought long and hard and humbly said, “Probably 15 or 20 years ago.” Even his memory was sketchy, that kind of “exercising” is what is reminiscent of another elderly man who just happened to pen The First Epistle of John.

The Apostle John must have exercised this type of love for many decades before he could stuff the word “love” thirty-four times into roughly one chapter. I implore you to read it for yourself.

So if you’re wondering, “Why this scrap of paper is on my desk?” Let’s just say I’m one of those guys who has trouble getting his workout in even when it’s right in front of me.

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IMG_1949These are frigid times but we have to keep the fires of our hearts going just as we double-check our heating systems during these cold snaps.

Jesus said, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:12

So feed your furnace with The Word; remain in The Vine. Figuratively and literally, stay close to the brethren (and your spouse if you are married): “If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:11

As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual: “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 15:46

David Mathis wrote:

“When you memorize a ‘gospel verse,’ and keep it warm, you have hidden in your heart a divinely inspired and inerrant expression, in human language, of the very point of the whole Bible and all of history. You carry with you the sword of the Spirit in its strongest alloy. One-sentence encapsulations of the Bible’s central message strengthen our spiritual backbone and solidify our core, rooting us deep down in the bedrock of God’s heart and the nature of the world he made, and sending us into confident combat with unbelief, whether our own or someone’s else. ‘Gospel verses’ are invaluable in both evangelism and discipleship.”

See his keen insight on this subject at http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/ten-gospel-verses-to-keep-warm

We were made to fight or minister in the opposite spirit. Sometimes this feels like a rough assignment. The end of the matter is this: we are not alone. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

BELOW: IT’S WARM INSIDE AS LONG AS YOUR HUGGING YOUR SIS AND SHE’S HUGGING A STUFFED WHATEVER…’THE BRETHREN:” HOME GROUP SHOTS OF LINDA SERVING MY WIFE’S CAKE WITH SUE DROOLING, MIKE DISPLAYING HIS LATEST CIGAR BOX GUITAR AND ME AND LAVINA WARMING UP AND THERE WAS FINE TEACHING AND SHARING THAT KEPT THE FIRES BURNING ALL ON A HOME-GROUP NIGHT.

 

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The recent ordeal of my mother-in-law’s extended critical-status at the hospital solidified my belief in prayer and boosted my appreciation for the care and competency of medical personnel and hospitals in general.

But another thing I got out of her “close call” was how much love can be squeezed around a bedside.

Today is the shared birthday of my twin brother-in-laws, Michael and Anthony Cavaleri. Hopefully, they will get the best birthday present they have ever received. It seems only appropriate that Mom will come home from the hospital on their big day.

Throughout this past month, they have alternated sleeping at the hospital, talking to the medical staff, making decisions and keeping everyone in the loop. If you’ve been through such a crisis, you are well aware of how sleep deprivation only adds to the anxiety and long hours of watching your loved one suffer.

Through blood-shot eyes, they kept close watch over “Mother Theresa” and their disheveled hair and general “grunge” sensation didn’t dissuade them in the least.

It reminds me of the love that Jesus had for His mother through the last command of His life when He said to John, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:27)

I don’t know how many birthday presents Michael and Anthony actually remember receiving over the years. I pray this is one they’ll never forget.

BELOW: THE PARTY GOES WHERE MOM GOES.

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