Love is essential to our lives. I think of my stepdad, Dennis O’Connor, who recently passed away. He loved life.

His life was full of friends and family. Dennis and my mom communicated long distance before he took a trip to the D. R. to meet her. At the end of that week he proposed to my mother. Dennis was a man who knew what he wanted. He was a man of strong Christian faith. Dennis was passionate about photography and taking care of his home and gardens. He loved his dog Buddy (a Border Collie) and his horse named Annie. He found Buddy as a stray dog and rescued him. When Dennis stopped his pickup truck and whistled, the dog jumped into the front seat with him.

Everyone has hopes and dreams. However, we must remain resolute with our devotion to our faith and family. 

Yes, we can lose our loved ones. We see families separated and not speaking to one another. What if all that we loved was threatened or taken away from us? We would quickly have an awakened love for those people. We can easily take our loved ones and our faith in God for granted. Everyone has hopes and dreams. However, we must remain resolute with our devotion to our faith and family.  

I am believing and trusting God for a good year in 2016. I want to be like a young 16-year-old kid—full of love and worry-free. I want to slow down my pace this year and have a greater impact in the lives of others—focusing upon what is noble and lovely and true. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)  I want to be a better steward of my time. A friend of mine once told me, “We all have 24 four hours in each day.”  It’s up to us to decide how to use those hours.

Romans 8:39 tell us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God has a marvelous plan to restore mankind to Himself. We need to be faithful to God and seek after Him every day. God sought us; we need to also seek Him. We are to be soldiers of the cross, and should have our bodies and minds disciplined.   

Dennis ran his race and he finished well. We each need to run our own race. Because of Christ, our death on this earth is not the end of our lives. We took Dennis home to rural Minnesota and we watched the casket being lowered and buried in the ground. It was a tiny cemetery on a little hill, and there was snow on the ground. But, that was Dennis’ earthly body. We need to keep our eyes upon the reward of heaven. Heaven is eternal, and there will be no more tears. In this life, there is no wholeness without God. We have two choices in this world: we can either choose to live the way the world lives, or follow after Christ. Jesus is the only way to inherit eternal life. 

Although God did not heal Dennis of his cancer, I still very much believe in His healing power. We need to seek God and put Him first in our lives. 


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