I was speaking with an old friend the other day who is also in the ministry. Like the rests of us in this field, he is quite busy and it was good to catch up on what the Lord has been doing through his life. As we started to wind down the conversation, he said two things I would like to bring into one and urge you to consider: he asked for prayer for a missionary and his family who are in great danger with Muslims in the area, who despite all their talk about being a religion of peace are anything but that as they seek to kill anyone not sympathetic to their views. Sad, but also wicked !   He said he “fell in love” with this godly missionary when meeting him seeing his desire for the Lord. Then he said this to me, as his friend, just prior to saying goodbye, “I appreciate you” !

One of the indications we are not only in Christ but growing in our faith is a genuine, godly love for one another.  John said it well since he was inspired to write this verse: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1Jn.3:14).   The “apostle of love”, John, actually made this love a test case or evidence of us truly being saved !!   How do you feel about the folks you worship alongside of in your church?  It’s true at times, they get under our skin because they are still sinners, as we get under their’s !!!  We tend to take them for granted when we ought to be always really noticing them  (in godly ways) and nurturing them like: You know, I really appreciate your faithfulness !”.  So what about those who are seriously committed to Christ? They are always at church barring some good reason to not be there, they are growing, they pray, they bring folks out to church, they care for their pastor and refuse to tear him and his family down and they are a spiritual example to you. Do you find yourself gravitating towards them? Wanting not only to be more like them as they become more like Jesus but to spend time with them? That’s a good sign in you, if so !

But also,  when is the last time you endearingly told another brother or sister in Christ that you truly appreciate them? And I mean from the heart. I try, as a pastor, to take note of what others in our church do for Him and how they are growing and say something positive to uplift their spirits, though I know in my humanity I can do much better.  But how much harmony and godly intimacy can be fostered through your life in your church by a simple heartfelt word of thanks that we take the time to express.  Who knows how God may use that, for on the surface things may appear just fine but underneath there may be discouragement, despair, a contemplation of just giving up, or some other thought that a simple encouraging comment may reverse  from YOU !

I love it when Maggie, our kids’ dog, gives a high five for a treat. God loves it when you give a verbal high five to others, so give a verbal high five to someone today, it sure beats complaining, and it builds up our family in the Lord (including YOU) !!!

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