Archive | June 2009


I’m counting down the days! Exciting things are coming up in my future, the Lord willing, and I can hardly wait!

This week we’re going to Alabama to visit Julie, David and the kids! Bob has a three day weekend so he’s going to take Robbie and me down there on Friday, and come back home Sunday night to work. Then, the following weekend he’ll make another trip down there to get us. Pretty sweet, huh? As I write this, it is only 4 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds…no, 14…13…12…11 (well you get the picture!) until we leave! I know, because I have a countdown clock on my computer that takes it right down to the second as to when we are supposed to leave. (That is “supposed,” because we seldom get out on the road on time!) I’m looking forward to a wonderful time with the Sanchezes in their new home. Julie tells me the kids are counting down the days with excitement, too!

I have a second countdown clock on my computer, as well. This one says 145 days, 23 hours, and 16 minutes… It also says Countdown to Ecuador! That’s right—in only 145 days I am going to Ecuador! Bob surprised me with the big announcement last week. He had arranged to take some time off in November to stay home with Robbie so that I could have a break and go to visit the Naranjos in Cuenca, Ecuador! Between his remaining vacation days, the Thanksgiving holiday and the weekends I will have two full weeks! I’m leaving on November 21st and will return on December 5th so I will be celebrating my birthday, Thanksgiving and an early Christmas with the family down there. The kids are already planning all the activities we will do, getting the games we’ll play lined up and deciding between themselves with whom Grandma is sleeping each night! I get an e-mail every day from Gabi asking, “What’s the countdown now, Grandma?”

I have a pretty good hubby, wouldn’t you say? ☺

It is wonderful to have something to look forward to! We all eagerly anticipate that upcoming vacation…a wedding…the birth of a new baby…the arrival of a loved one…Christmas! Sometime in the fall we begin to be reminded “Only ___ Shopping Days until Christmas!” Hopefully, we are not so materially-minded that that is our sole focus where Christmas is concerned. (I have to admit, though, when my Countdown to Alabama! clock runs out I am going to replace it with a Countdown to Christmas clock because Julie’s family is planning to come here for Christmas this year! Whoo-Hoo! So many fun things to look forward to this year!)

Bob told me about my trip to Ecuador five months early, and left the planning and ticket-buying, etc up to me because he knew that was a big part of the fun for me. I bought the tickets the other day, and let me tell you—I was a nervous wreck buying them! I kept thinking, “What if Bob loses his job? What if Robbie gets sick? What if I get sick?” I called Bob at work several times while I was in the process because I was so nervous about it and having a hard time actually going through with it. Finally he said, to all my what-ifs, “Cindy, that’s life! Just order the tickets! If something happens, and we lose the money—well, God is in control!” So, I finally clicked that mouse, and voilá! I had my tickets, and at a very good price, too!

That is the thing with countdowns—all the best-laid plans of mice and men mean very little if the Lord has other plans for our lives. I had hoped to go to the Moon Pie and RC Festival in Bell Buckle, TN this month with my mom and sister, but Bob could not take a day off at that time to stay home with Robbie so I had to miss out. It was disappointing, of course, but I know the Lord had a reason for keeping me home that weekend.

This point was brought home to us this week once again in a very real way. The morning news on the television the other day told the tragic story of a family of five being killed out on I-65. They showed video of a burned out car and semi-truck. The report said a dad, mom, and their three children ranging in age from 13 months to 11 years old had perished in the accident. The pictures and story were horrifying and I remember shaking my head and thinking, “You never know what a day will bring forth…” Where was that family going that day? What were their plans? They had no idea when they got in the car that morning that it was to be their last minutes on earth.

A few hours later Bob called and asked if I had seen the story on TV. He then told me they had just received word that the family involved was the son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren of one of his co-workers. What had been terrible enough to begin with, now became personal and even more tragic because we could put a name and attach deep feelings to what had before been just another anonymous news story. (If you think of it, please pray for the Workman family as they deal with this terrible grief.)

God has His countdown clocks running, too! There is a countdown clock for each of our lives. Job 14:5 says, Seeing his [man’s] days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. I do not dread God’s countdown clock for my life. When the sand runs through the hourglass He will take me home to a Heaven that is beyond my wildest imaginations, to a beauty and peace and joy beyond compare. My days are numbered here on this earth, as are each of ours, and only He knows where the countdown began and when it will finally read 00:00:00:00.

The Lord has another countdown clock running, as well, and that is the countdown until He comes again, first for His Church in the Rapture, and then His Second Coming to rule here on earth. The Bible tells us that no one but the Father knows the day or the hour when He will turn to His Son and say, “It’s time to go!” Man cannot predict that time. The angels don’t know when it will be. Even Christ Himself waits for His Father’s signal! But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:32)
If we are children of God we do not have to fear that day and hour, but can look forward to it with eager anticipation. I can hardly wait for my trips to Alabama and Ecuador! I can hardly wait for Christmas! How much more should I be dancing up and down in joyful expectation at the thought of an all-expense paid trip to Paradise! If remembering His first coming brings such excitement, how much more should the countdown to His Return bring?
I’m not just counting the days, I am also planning and preparing for my trips, and soon I will be packing. That is part of the fun of it! How much more should we be preparing for the end of our countdown here on earth? The Bible tells us to look for Him! Matthew 25:13 says, Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. It should not just be a head-knowledge that He is coming again, but a true, eager expectation! When my kids are coming for a visit I am pacing the floor and looking out the window for sight of their car coming down the street. Look for Him for He is coming!
We should also be living for Him as we wait! Oh, sure I could pack my bags and sit out at the airport for the next 145 days as I wait for my flight, but that would be foolish, wouldn’t it? The Lord tells us over and over in His Word to be busy for Him, using our time wisely, reaching out to others, sharing the Gospel until He comes. If we could know that today was the last day of our lives, that we had only twenty-four hours left here on earth, I am sure we would spend those hours far differently than we normally do, wouldn’t we?
We won’t know when that final day has come, when God’s countdown clock has finally reached 00:00:00:00. Let us live as if it were today! Love your family as if it were the last time. Tell someone about Jesus before it is too late. Make sure that you are prepared for eternity—that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and are trusting in Him alone for your salvation. And if you are His child, don’t be caught by surprise when He comes for you doing or thinking or saying something for which you would be embarrassed and ashamed. Live each day as if the countdown is nearing zero! It is not something to fear, but something to embrace with joy, peace and eager expectation!


Today is Father’s Day, of course. For my family this week is also the sixth anniversary of when we lost my dad. Naturally, I’ve been thinking about Dad all week. I miss him. I picture him in Heaven, and I know he is rejoicing there beyond our greatest comprehension! I look forward to the day when I and all my family will be reunited with him there. Perhaps the Lord will say, “Carl, why don’t you show your family around the glories of Heaven?” I can just hear his laugh and see his smile as he proudly takes on a tour of our new home! I hear him saying to me, “Cindy, look, here’s Grandma and Grandpa Ward! And meet your twin brothers, and Julie’s baby—your grandbaby! And here are the rest of our loved ones… We’ve all been waiting for you!” What a wonderful day of rejoicing that will be!

I miss his laughter and smile. I very seldom watch home videos of him because it just makes me miss him so much more. The last years that we had with him were fun. Dad had the time and desire to be with his children and grandchildren then, and enjoyed each one of them as individuals.

My father worked hard when I was younger. He worked two jobs for many years—at the post office and on the railroad. He was not around as much as he would have liked to have been, I am sure. There are things, though, that like mental snapshots, remain in my memory (poor as it is) of my dad and me. Memories of my father running alongside as he taught me to ride a bike. *** Building me a pair of stilts and showing me how to walk on them. *** Helping me make a robot costume out of cardboard boxes, silver spray paint and dryer tubing. *** Watching hockey on TV and eating sardines (!) together. *** Taking me fishing. *** Finally making me bait my own hook. (It didn’t work. When green yucky stuff squirted out of the bug as I put it on the hook, I refused to do it again. I fished all day with an empty hook and didn’t tell him. He probably knew, anyway.) *** Rowing a boat alongside me when I wanted to try swimming across a small lake. *** Sitting next to me at the lunch counter at Walgreen’s after school every day when we’d go out for coffee and a coke. *** Walking a couple miles together through two and a half feet of snow when we were snowed in and had to go for groceries.*** Going to football games with me at Hammond High on Friday nights. *** Teaching me to drive. *** Handing me the car keys the night I got my license and allowing me to go out as long as I replaced the gas I used. (No one was more shocked than I! Oh, and that was back in the day when gasoline was about 33 cents a gallon! I would put in a dollar or two at a time.) *** Not yelling at me when I scratched up the new paint job on his car. (Well, actually, he didn’t speak to me for three days, but at least he didn’t yell, and he never took the car keys away!) Hmm, I just realized that in so many of those memories he was right there by my side…

There are fun childhood memories of Dad that we have as a family, as well, such as begging him to sing “My Mommy Said” or “Mansion Over the Hilltop” at the dinner table when we had finished eating. *** Carving pumpkins with us. *** Wandering around a Christmas tree lot on a cold winter’s night looking for the perfect tree. *** Bringing home a big bag of White Castles for a special treat. *** Taking us to Wisconsin for a family vacation in a fishing cabin. (It was rainy and cold every time.) *** Pedaling a pontoon boat with us. *** Listening to him play “Red River Valley” on the harmonica. (Sometimes when I feel lonely for him, I will stand in front of his picture on my bookcase and get out my harmonica and play “Red River Valley” like he used to play for us.) *** Helping us do sparklers on the Fourth of July. *** Telling us, “It’ll feel better when it stops hurting!” when we’d get a bump or bruise. (We’d get ticked at that and he would laugh!) *** Taking us to the Lake County Fair and buying us corn dogs and cotton candy. *** His “regular” look. (You know that look dads get when they are a little cranky? Well, he claimed that was he was not being cranky—that was his “regular” look.) *** The drama (funny!!!) when he stubbed his toe. *** His favorite saying, “Of all the things I’ve ever lost, I miss my mind the most!” *** Sitting on the back patio with him, identifying the planes and birds that flew overhead. *** His Archie Bunker chair. (To be fair, after Archie Bunker came out, Dad no longer kicked us out of his chair but would say, “No, no, just stay there!) *** His favorite verse, Romans 8:28, and his favorite hymn, “Victory in Jesus.” *** I’m sure my siblings have a thousand other things they could add about their childhood memories of Dad. They are precious little things that are treasures to us now.

Dad loved his kids when we were little, but he was working long hours and I think he could really enjoy and appreciate us even more as we started growing up. He was proud of each of us (even as teenagers!) and let us know it. Then, as we began to marry, have children and careers of our own, not only was he proud of his kids, but he really delighted in us. I’m so glad he took an early retirement. It meant that he could relax and enjoy his family. He had fun with each grandchild and great-grandchild in ways that he could not do so much when he was a young hard-working father trying to provide for his family. Walking at the mall, or in a park, or going out for lunch with them, attending “grandparents day” at the elementary school or the children’s programs at church, taking them out for ice cream, checking out the progress of his tomato plants or roses with them or trailing them in the toy store—those will always be special memories these kids will have of Grandpa (or “Grampy,” as the great-grandkids called him.)

My father loved my mother. Someone has said that that is the greatest gift a father can give his children. We never saw them fight. In fact the one memory I have of them having an argument will probably always stick with me simply because it was the only one I can remember ever hearing when I was a child. Oh, I know they had their ups and downs, as every couple does, but in the end they had a good life together despite the tests and trials along life’s pathway. I still smile when I think of him painting my mother’s toenails bright red in those last years, and taking care of her when she broke him arm, and laughing when she would try to get in the wrong car in a parking lot simply because it was the same color as theirs.

Dad’s body lingered here for three days after his final massive heart attack. God was so gracious to us during that time. We do not believe he suffered at all, but the Lord allowed us that time to adjust to the fact that he was leaving us and to welcome his home-going as the far, far better choice for him than a life confined to a hospital bed for the rest of his time here on earth. There were so many blessings during those days that made Dad’s passing into eternal life a time of rejoicing in the midst of our grief. The final memory of being with my father is of the family gathered around his bed in the hospital as he breathed his last breaths. We held hands and sang some of Dad’s favorite hymns and the childhood songs he had sung to us so many years before. We prayed together and told him that we loved him and that we would see him again in Heaven. There was peace and comfort in that room, and great thankfulness for the father God had given us.

I never thought I would be one to visit the cemetery after my loved ones had passed away. I know my dad is not there. He is in Heaven, just as alive—no, even more alive—than he ever was when he walked with us. There is something about standing beside his grave, though, that makes me feel close to him again. It is a feeling of honoring him and the memories I hold dear; of remembering with a smile the good times; of feeling thankful that I had him in my life, running, walking, sitting, standing beside me. I will visit the cemetery today and leave some flowers in memory of my dad and to honor him. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the wonderful earthly father you gave me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ephesians 6:2, 3 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth


We live in a changing neighborhood. Our block is now approximately one-third white, one-third black and one-third Hispanic. There are times on the weekends when the boomboxes next door are blasting out rap music and the car stereos down the block are trying to drown them out with mariachi music. American flags fly proudly from two or three homes, while just as proudly a few Mexican flags fly down the block. Folks sit out on their front steps or oversee their yard sales, while their little ones play around them in their tiny yards. Others lean on cars that have stopped in the middle of the street to have a leisurely chat. Most of the time it’s a peaceful neighborhood, but there have been a few occasions when the police have shown up to break up a domestic disturbance. The homes here are older (ours is eighty years old) but most of them are in fairly good shape and quite a few of them have been fixed up with new siding and windows, etc. Bob gets frustrated sometimes because some of our neighbors leave trash around, but for the most part, it’s a decent neighborhood.

We considered moving a couple years ago. We were afraid home values were going down, but more than that, I began to feel unsafe when I was home alone. We had been having trouble with our new next-door neighbors and they had actually shot out our satellite dish just to be ornery. There were several incidents that made me nervous, including finding an eyeball in a plastic baggie in our mail slot. We had never had trouble with any of our neighbors in the forty-four years (at that time) our family had lived in this house, and now suddenly I was afraid and eager to leave. Just about the time we were going to put our house up for sale, though, a half-dozen other For Sale signs went up in yards on the block and the bottom dropped out of the housing market. We decided to wait.

Here we are, still, two years later. Many of the big old trees that used to grace the neighborhood were taken out by a tornado years ago, or had fallen to disease or old age. The city put in new trees a few years ago. I noticed just the other day how those young trees, and ours in particular, are maturing and casting a lot more shade on the lawns than they did just last year. Time passes; trees grow; neighborhoods change.

The problem we were having with our combative new neighbors disappeared when we returned good for evil. They needed a favor from us right after treating us so badly, and when we graciously (and prayerfully) helped them, they changed their tune, and it wasn’t long until they fully apologized and began to turn to us for advice or help. Many of the neighbors know that Bob is always there to loan tools or give a helping hand, show them how to fix something or give them a ride somewhere. They know our testimony, too. In a time of trouble, we pray they will come to us and we will be able to point them to the Lord.

Some of those little ones are growing up now and we are seeing a little group of kids playing outside together every day. They range in age from four or five to maybe nine or ten and among them are blonde-headed white children, Mexican kids and black-as-can-be children. They seem to be a tight little group and enjoy each other without noticing the differences in the color of their skin. Bob’s a friendly guy and when he comes and goes, if the kids are around, he greets them and stops to talk for a minute.

Last week he had to take Robbie to the lab at the hospital for some tests. As he lowered Robbie on the wheelchair lift and started to load him into the car, here came the kids. Robbie doesn’t get out much, so although these children may have seen him from a distance, they didn’t really know anything about him and they were curious. Oh, they were full of questions! Bob stood out there for twenty minutes answering their questions about Robbie and telling them some of the wonderful things about our special guy. Robbie was thrilled with their attention and grinned from ear to ear.

When they got home from the hospital the kids came a-runnin’ again. Robbie was pretty doped up by then, so couldn’t quite respond the way he had before, but again Bob talked with them for another twenty minutes before bringing Robbie in. Now he can’t step outside or work in the yard without the kids gathering around. The other day he handed them a couple buckets and put them all to work picking up trash in the neighborhood! They loved it—and so did he!

Friday night the door bell rang. You guessed it. It was our mini-neighbors. They wanted to see Robbie—and they had a present for him. Robbie was asleep, but Bob told them they could come in and take a peek. One of the little girls ran home to ask permission, and when she came back they all trooped in. Robbie woke up as they came in and struggled to sit up with a big grin. They had an old Etch-A-Sketch for him. They had taped a scrap of paper to it on which they had written “For Robby” and each scrawled their names. We took some pictures of the kids with Robbie and plan to print them and put them in little frames for the kids.

When I was growing up I always wanted to go to the foreign mission field. God’s plan for my life was on a different path, though. Nevertheless, I have always had a love for missions and believe that God calls all of us to be missionaries in our own Jerusalem and Judea if He does not send us out into the uttermost parts of the earth. Acts 1:8b says, “ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We have our own mission field right here at home, in our neighborhoods, on the job and at school.

I don’t get out of the house much, even in my own neighborhood, but I am asking myself now what I can do to reach these little kids for the Lord if they are going to continue coming around to my door. The relationships we’ve been building with our neighbors are for a purpose. I may not be able to reach Spanish-speaking people in Ecuador like Laurie and Fernando do, but I have plenty of Spanish-speaking people here on my own block to whom I can be friendly, and in my limited Spanish let them know that Jesus loves them, as the Lord gives me opportunity. I will most likely never go to Africa’s shores to reach children there, but the little black kids here on my street are just as precious to Him and just as lost. The white kids on my street need Jesus just as much as any child on a foreign mission field. I have always prayed for our missionaries and had a heart for their ministries, but am I just as concerned for the mission field right outside my own front door?

I don’t know if we’ll ever move. The Lord may keep us here on Madison Avenue for the rest of our lives, or maybe someday He will lead us elsewhere. I pray that the Lord will help me to be content wherever He wants us, and that He will open my eyes and especially my heart to the mission field all around me. I’ve been pretty complacent sitting in my house, insulated from my changing neighborhood, wrapped up in my family and small circle of friends, and all but ignoring the white fields of the harvest in my neighborhood. We all ought to be convicted about that. The Bible tells us in Matthew 9:36-38 that “when He [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”

I am praying now that the Lord will show me how I can reach out to these children for Him. May He give me a love for them and a burden for their souls, and perhaps through them someday I might even be able to reach out to their parents, as well. I am ashamed that it has taken me so long to open my eyes to the harvest fields all around me. Jesus loves them, and so must I.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.


We celebrated Bob’s birthday this week. He turned fifty-eight. It’s hard to believe that he is only two years away from sixty, and that we have been together for almost forty years! Where have the years gone? It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were young-marrieds with three little ones in tow, and now here we are, the grandparents of eight!

I miss our girls and their families all the time, but it is even more difficult when it comes to celebrating birthdays and holidays without them here. Bob probably didn’t notice it as much as I did because he did get to celebrate his birthday a few days earlier with Julie’s family down in Alabama. On his actual day, though, it was just Robbie and me. I fixed a fancy dinner, complete with the special dishes and silverware that I use for special occasions, but it was just a little lonely sitting there at the table where normally our large family would be gathered. I presented him with a big brownie sundae with a candle on top and sang a solo rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Robbie “helped” by pulling the tissue paper and present out of Daddy’s gift bag for him. I tried to make it nice for Bob, and I know he appreciated and enjoyed it, even if we were all by ourselves.

The birthday present in that bag was a CD by Steve Green, a Christian artist we have enjoyed since back in the 70’s and 80’s. Several of the songs on that CD were ones we used to sing, back in the days when we still sang special numbers in church. Among them was one that Bob and I sang as a duet, Cherish the Treasure. The words (written by Jon Mohr) say in part:

I cherish the treasure,

The treasure of you.
Lifelong companion,
I give myself to you.
God has enabled me
To walk with you faithfully,
And cherish the treasure,
The treasure of you.

After forty years together it would be easy to take one another for granted. Sometimes we even focus on the little things that drive us crazy. When I started thinking about the good things about my husband this week, though, I came up with The Top Ten Things I Love About Bob list in about thirty seconds flat. In no particular order, here they are:

1. He makes me laugh – What a goof! Whether it’s slapstick, “punny,” or stand-up comedy, those wheels are always turning in his head to somehow make me laugh!

2. He protects me – Oh, there are times I feel over-protected, but I always know he is looking out for my best and simply wants to be sure I am safe and well.

3. He’s my problem solver – All I have to do is open my mouth with the slightest hint of a question or problem and he jumps right in, trying to take care of it for me. Sometimes all I’m really looking for is a little sympathy, but he’ll find a solution, nevertheless, if he can!

4. He’s a faithful husband – Bob is 100% a family man. When he took those wedding vows, he meant them for life. I know without a doubt he would never do anything to jeopardize our family or marriage. As the song says, he is my lifelong companion who walks with me faithfully.

5. He’s an awesome dad – I know there has never been a better dad to his children! He’s always done his best and been there for the girls to help them in any way he could; and as a daddy to Robbie—well, let’s just say thirty-three years of willingly changing diapers, cheerfully bathing, dressing, feeding and caring for Robbie, and lovingly standing beside him through all the testings and trials, and being his best pal says it all.

6. He’s a man of faith – From the moment of his salvation forty years ago. Bob has loved and served the Lord with his whole heart. His faith in God is unshakeable and he does not waver or worry because he trusts in Him. He’s a godly leader in our family and a faithful witness for the Lord at every opportunity.

7. He’s does the “little things” – Making my coffee in the morning, bringing me flowers or chocolates for no reason, getting the car washed for me when I’m going out, making sure I get those nights out from time to time…

8. He is like a rock – He stands up for his convictions whether they be spiritual, political or philosophical. He is dependable, responsible and steady. I know he will always be there, doing his best.

9. He is generous and caring to others, loyal and gives his all – I have literally seen him give the coat off his back and boots off his feet to a homeless man. He’ll drop everything if a neighbor needs help. He is loyal to his employers and gives everything he’s got on the job.

10. He loves me – He accepts me the way I am, despite my shortcomings. He supports and encourages me in all my endeavors and many times put me first before his own desires. I couldn’t ask for a better husband and am thankful to God for giving him to me.

Having said all this, I’ll admit Bob is not perfect! Shock! He’s a typical male is some areas (you women will understand this) and there are things about him that drive me crazy, often on a daily basis! I know he could say the same about me. When I focus on the good things about him, though, it helps me to look past the shortcomings and faults and helps me to forgive and live in harmony with him. I don’t want to take my husband for granted, but to cherish him and our life together.

That is what I want to address today—focusing on the good in others and cherishing our close bonds with them. So far, I’ve related this to marriage and my spouse, but we need to be careful to truly treasure the relationships we have with others in our lives, as well—our children and other family members, and even our friends. It takes dedicated resolution to break the habit of fault-finding and focus on the good, instead. It takes thought and effort to truly cherish that sometimes unlovable person. It takes selfless love to treasure the other above ourselves. Here are some things we can do to cherish the ‘Treasures” in our lives:

First of all, write you own “Top Ten Things I Love About _____________” list. It might come easily, or you might have to think long and hard, but I’ll bet there are at least ten things you can come up with for just about anyone in your life—even if it’s only “He doesn’t stink!”

Second, take a look at what the Bible has to say about relationships with others in our lives. Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 5, 6 and Colossians 3 are just a few of the passages that speak to marriage, parent-child relationships, how to relate to employers and employees and how to get along within the church. The book of Proverbs speaks often of friendship. When you are struggling with a relationship, do a study on what the Word of God has to say about it. His answers and help are there for us to draw upon!

Third, I’ve taken the letters of the word CHERISH and put together some other things we can do to show those we love just how much we treasure them in our lives:

Compliment – We are often quick to criticize. Let us rather find something good to say, and instead of tearing down, build the other up. Proverbs 16:24 tells us that Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Help – Putting feet to our words shows that we really care. We must be willing to put the other’s needs before our own and unselfishly give of our time and strength to be there for that one. Galatians 6:9, 10 says, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Encourage – Sometimes all a person needs to be all that he can be, or to reach for his dreams, or to simply try his best is someone standing behind him giving him the support, counsel and faith in him that he might not have for himself. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. (Proverbs 27:9)

Respond – Respond correctly and in love, not in anger. Respond patiently, humbly, cheerfully. Respond with kindness and forgiveness. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:2-3, 31-32)

Inspire – Be the kind of person you want the other to be. You cannot ask more of someone else than you are willing to be or do yourself. …be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)

Submit – The Bible tells us that we are to submit to one another, each esteeming the other to be better than himself. This means putting aside pride, selfishness, competitiveness, envy, having to have the last word… Ephesians 5:21 says, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. and Philippians 2:3 adds, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Honor – God has given you a great gift in that spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend. He or she is not perfect, but when we honor that person we are recognizing and thanking God for that gift to us, and telling the other—and everyone around us—that we truly do cherish the precious treasure we have in that relationship. Romans 12:10 says, Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

Take the time this week to cherish someone in your life! It will not only be a blessing to the other person, but you will find yourself tremendously blessed, as well!