I Love That! I Hate That!

hate loveGaylon Benton and I were married on Saturday evening, June 26, 1971.  We will soon celebrate forty-three years of marriage. Through both good times, bad times, hard times and joyous times, we have truly learned who each other is.  I know a lot about my husband!  My husband knows a lot about me!

These are a few of the things that I know Gaylon loves:

  • Alabama football
  • Key lime pie
  • His family
  • Khaki pants
  • Alabama football
  • Bread
  • Tools
  • Strawberries
  • Assisting others
  • Alabama football
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • A sloppy, wet kiss

I could add plenty more of what Gaylon loves.  I have also learned the things he hates and that is just as important.

These are a few of the things that I know Gaylon hates:

  • Bread that is too crispy
  • Alabama losing a game
  • Yard work (I second that!)
  • Too much cover on the bed
  • Alabama losing a game
  • Strife
  • Tools not being put away properly
  • Beets
  • Death
  • Green beans
  • Chocolate ice cream (what is his problem)
  • A perfunctory, unemotional kiss
  • Alabama losing a game

Though I’ve made light of my husband’s loves and hates, the fact is that it is important for me to know the desires of the one I love.  I don’t serve him green beans.  I try not to pull the heavy comforter up on his side of the bed.  I am sensitive to his “pain” when Alabama loses a game.  I try to watch the bread closely so it’s just like he likes it.  I try to kiss just right!  My desire is to please him.  I love to honor him.  I love to put a smile on his face.

There is so much talk about the love of God, and worship, and Bible study, and the goodness of God, and on and on.  Rightfully so!  God is good.  God is love.  Have we given just as much consideration to the things that God says he hates?   At times it seems, we in the church have failed to remind this generation that while God is love, He also has the capacity to hate.

Proverbs chapter six gives us a list of some things God hates:

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

  • A proud look
  • A lying tongue
  • Hands that shed innocent blood
  • A heart that devises wicked plans
  • Feet that are swift in running to evil
  • A false witness who speaks lies
  • And one who sows discord among brethren”

Gaylon loves me whether the bread is too brown or just right.  Gaylon loves me even when I pull the comforter up during the night, and he gets too hot.  Gaylon loves me when there is no vanilla ice cream in the house.  I never doubt that his love for me is eternal, but our relationship has matured.  I want to please the one I love.  It brings me great joy to bring a smile to his face.

It’s time for God’s people to mature beyond just knowing only what God loves. There are things God hates, but He does not hate YOU!  He did make it a point to list in His word what He does hate.  It is my joy to avoid what my Beloved hates.

Lord, I want to love what you love, and hate what you hate.


Be Careful Where You Park

Be carefulBe careful where you park!

When parking my car, I always look for the end parking space, even if it’s far from the store.  My car has been dented by car doors more than once, and it has been scratched pretty badly.  I finally made a decision to look for the end space and pull close to the edge, far away from other cars.  I have been doing this for years.  That means there are times I have to walk a long way, but the effort is worth it, because I am avoiding a lot of unnecessary damage.  I want to park in the easy place, but I have learned that can be damaging.

Often in talking with people, I am surprised where they park their lives – right in the line of damage.  Some do it over and over and over.

  • Some park at wrong relationships
  • Some park at church/pastor disappointment
  • Some park at procrastination
  • Some park at grudge city
  • Some park at laziness
  • Some park at past spiritual experiences
  • Some park at self-pity

There is a story in scripture where God’s people parked too long in a place.  They went in circles, but always wound up parked in the same old place.  God addressed it:

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough.  It is time to break camp and move on… Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it…” – Deuteronomy 1:6-8

God’s people had become comfortable to park at a place that God never intended them to stay.  God said to them, it’s time to leave this parking place.  God said, “Look, there is so much beyond this parking place.”

If we stay in the wrong parking place too long, something inside of us can die.  If we stay in the wrong parking place too long, wrong becomes right.  If we stay in the wrong parking place too long, we start making excuses.  If we stay in the wrong parking place too long, we never reach fulfillment and destiny.

Can you name your mountain, that place that you have parked far too long?   It’s time to get up and move toward the promised land.  God has so much promise for us.  He has so much in store as we journey with Him.  While it’s not always easy to move from that parking place, it is so worth it!

Today is the time to stop driving in circles, and end up parking in the wrong place.  It’s time to leave the mountain where you have become comfortable.   God has so much more! The Lord is saying the same thing to you and me today that He said to the children of Israel: “You have dwelt long enough on this mountain.” It’s time for us to abandon the parking place!

Finishing Well

FinishTwo great men of God, Jeff McFalls and Steve Hill, left this earth this week to meet their Savior face-to-face.  Some said that their cause of death was cancer, but I think God might have simply said, “It’s time for you to come home, my sons.  You fought the good fight, you finished the race, you remained faithful.”

I have read comment after comment of the lives these two men of God affected.  What struck me was how many of the comments were testimonies of their life-changing influence.  The comments were not filled with flowery speech about these men, but about what great influencers for God they were.

I have followed Pastor Jeff’s story closely for a while.  Jeff’s name was not a household word around the nation.  He did not pastor one of the largest churches.  He did not have a program on national television.  He did not write a best-seller.  He did not pastor in a large city.  He was simply a man of God whose legacy is phenomenal.  Read a few of the comments left by the folks:

“Pastor, friend, spiritual father…this man has left such an incredible mark on my life.  A man who truly gave his all to serve God.  His heart for God and love for people was inspiring!  What an honor and privilege to have had this man in my life for the past 10+ years!” 

I looooove you and will miss u so much …what a smile he had.  I wonder if that’s the same smile he now has.  I am proud to have been blessed by his love.” 

“Heaven gained another angel today.  Pastor Jeff McFalls was one of my favorite people; he was a God fearing, encouraging, faithful, inspiring, amazing man with a heart of gold.  I love you.  You will forever hold a special place in my heart.” 

“This man brought my family closer to God and that is something I could never thank him enough for.  We love you so much.”

I could go on and on.  In addition to all the comments, many changed their Facebook profile pictures to pictures of Pastor Jeff, or posted a picture of him on their page.

What is my point?

In his book, Nearing Home, Billy Graham said, “God doesn’t want us to waste our latter years or spend them in superficial, meaningless pursuits.  Instead, He wants us to use them in whatever ways we can to influence those who will come after us. God wants us to finish well…”

One day God is going to call me home, and I wonder what will be written about my life.  I pray that I will live in such a way, minister in such a way and love in such a way that it will be said of me, “She changed my life.”  Like Jeff McFalls and Steve Hill, I want to finish well.