Living By Faith
THREE ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM THE LORD
My most recent YouTube message: Three prophetic words of encouragement and instruction from the Lord. Be blessed.
DAILY PROMPT 1866 — WHAT ARE 3 THINGS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Three things I absolutely could not live without are my Bible, Something to Write With, and Something to Paint With.
Well, that’s one way of looking at it. But actually, there’s an alternate list. The prompt didn’t ask us to list THE ONLY 3 things we couldn’t live without. The first list is definitely true. But so is my second list: My Bible, Coffee, & Chocolate.
There’s no question that my Bible comes first on either list. I live by God’s Word in every aspect of my life, and it gives me guidance, healing, and sanity in a very disturbed world. But those other two choices — well — they sort of ebb and flow.
There are days when I really do need to write. And my art helps release all the creative energy inside as well as relieve stress. So on some days, I couldn’t stand not being able to write or paint.
But then there are those days when all I need is to feel comforted and cozy and convinced that everything is going to be all right. On those days, numbers 2 and3 are definitely coffee and chocolate — preferably at the same time. 🙂
ST. PATRICK’S TRUE STORY
ST. PATRICK’S DAY is almost upon us. If you haven’t read the TRUE story of this man’s life, you are missing a great blessing.
The little-known, but true, story of one of the most amazing soul-winners in the history of the Kingdom of God. St. Patrick of Ireland’s life of ministry is replete with astounding miracles and spiritual experiences that rival those reported in the chapters of God’s Word. And Patrick is credited with bringing at least 70,000 people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ — without the use of any transportation except his feet and his horse, and without the help of electricity or modern technology on any level.
The story related in this booklet is taken from Patrick’s own writings and sidesteps vague legends to give the reader powerful truth that will encourage and inspire the faith of everyone who wants to serve God.
The book makes a perfect gift. In fact, this past month, it has been my best seller — bar none — so I think a lot of people must be giving copies as gifts. Its short and easy to read, and is available in paperback or digital.
You can find it on Amazon.
You can also find it on Barnes&Noble.
(B&N has the paperback version only. But the Nook version should be available by next week.)
GOD’S LOOKING FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE
So many people feel that they would be willing to serve the Lord and be used to tell others about His love and mercy, but they believe that God can’t use them. They have the idea that He uses only people who have some special talents or gifts — or people who are particularly strong in faith and never have any fears or flaws to get in the way.
But that idea simply isn’t true. The Lord isn’t looking for people who are perfect, or who have developed some kind of talent or ability before He calls them to share the truth about Jesus and His redemption with others. God’s just looking for people who are willing. That’s it. If we are willing to listen when He calls; if we’re willing to spend time in His Word so that He can give us revelation concerning it; and if we’re willing to obey His call when we hear it, then we are exactly the people He’s looking for.
Two friends of mine, Bud and Maretta Hall, from a small town in Southern Illinois, USA, are exactly that kind of people. They fit the description of “ordinary people” perfectly. They didn’t see themselves as having any particular gifts or accomplishments that would have destined them to be used internationally to spread the Gospel. But they loved the Lord. And when He tapped them on the shoulder and beckoned them to believe Him and just obey His instructions — one step at a time — one day at a time — they found themselves in the midst of a life of service that wasn’t ordinary in the least.
Through decades of following the leading of the Holy Spirit, they constantly experienced God’s unchanging love, His timely provision, and His abiding peace.
This past year, Maretta was led to share much of their experience in a memoir that recounts the story of how an extraordinary God can take two very ordinary people and do miraculous, life-changing things that affect lives, both in this world and in eternity.
So if you’d like to be thrilled, challenged and inspired by such a story, take a look at the trailer for her book and then hop over to Amazon and order a copy for yourself — and another copy for someone you love.
Check out THE CALL OF AN AWESOME GOD TO TWO ORDINARY PEOPLE.
Available in Paperback, Hardcover, or Digital HERE.
An Important Stragegy for this new year
As we embark on this new year of 2023, there are some strategies that can make our process more successful. One of those strategies is learning to make our plans — and live them out — based on the infallible information we receive from the Word of God. Let this short video message encourage you to trust God’s Word to take you though every journey of your life with a good outcome.
LOOKING FOR FAITH-CHALLENGING CHRISTIAN FICTION ON A SUPER SALE?
A story of faith, temptation, and sacrifice.
I just discovered today that Amazon has put this book on a super sale at 52% off. The paperback normally sells for $7.99, but right now is on sale for $3.81. Amazon has their own funny way of figuring prices, but I don’t ask questions. I just take advantage of them when they do it.
The E-book edition is $0.99.
FREE TO ANY U. S. PASTOR — ‘THE TRUTH ABOUT ST. PAUL’S THORN’
LEARNING MADE EASY — VIDEO LESSON
IT IS FINISHED
He was wounded for my transgressions.
For my sin He was beaten and scourged.
His pure blood it did flow
For my lost, helpless soul
Until all of my sin it had purged.
MY CADILAC FOR YOUR CAMEL – RERUN
It’s been a long time since I first shared this video, so I thought I’d give it a fresh airing, along with an invitation to visit my ministry YouTube channel if you haven’t yet done so. If you’d like to be notified each time we post a new video, just click the “Subscribe” button, and click on the little bell symbol to control the setting for your notifications.
Now enjoy this encouraging message.
THE SAME GOD TODAY
I was thinking today about the prophet Ezekiel and his experience in the valley of dry bones, when the Lord told him He would give those bones new life. So I thought I’d share a poem the Lord inspired on the subject. The Scripture reference is Ezekiel, chapter 37.
THE SAME GOD TODAY
Bones in the valley,
Worthless and dry,
Bleached by the sun and
The wind blowing by.
God to the prophet
Did speak and did ask,
“Can these bones still live?
Is it too big a task?”
“Lord,” said the prophet,
“Only You know.”
“I’ll show you, Ezekiel;
My Spirit will blow.
“And cause them to live
And give flesh and skin;
They’ll rise like an army,
Give Me glory again.”
When our problems seem hopeless,
Too dead to restore,
We can look to Ezekiel
And his word from the Lord.
For the God who breathed life
Into bones dry and dead
Is the same God for us
If we’ll trust what He’s said.
‘EVERYTHING’S JAKE’ — chapter 9
© 2013 Sandra Pavloff Conner
The following day was Mariah’s Saturday off, so Neil had time to mull over the things he and his dad had talked about before he saw her again. The work load was fairly light, and even while he worked, he replayed in his mind the conversation with Mariah and the one with his dad. There was no escaping his guilt and remorse concerning the first conversation, and there was no denying that his dad’s words in the second one made complete sense – now that Neil was in slightly less emotional turmoil. But what to do about it was the question of the day – or maybe – more realistically – the big question of his life.
By mid-afternoon, he had decided that he owed it to Mariah to apologize for his insinuations and his generally unChristian attitude over the past few weeks. But he knew in his heart that if he faced her with those feelings, he would also need to be ready to tell her the truth about the rest of what he felt. He couldn’t keep living with this merry-go-round of emotions, and now that he had blurted out the truth – a truth his own heart had kept hidden until last night – he should tell her the truth as well: he was in love with Mariah Jacoby, and he wanted her in his life from now on.
He got his last customer off for the day, and went to the phone. He realized that he had left the decision a little late. She was probably preparing to go out with Sanford. But if he just surmised that scenario and didn’t bother to find out for sure, he’d just prolong his own agony. She answered on the second ring.
“Mariah, it’s Neil.”
He heard her sigh. “Neil, I’d rather not talk right now.”
He hastened to butt in before she could hang up. “I know, Mariah, and you have every right to feel that way. I owe you a huge apology, and … well … the real reason I called was to see if you were going to be home a while this evening, and if you’d let me come and apologize in person.”
There was silence on the other end of the line. Neil held his breath. Finally, Mariah sighed again and answered. “Neil, I accept your apology. You don’t have to come over here in person.”
She didn’t even want to see his face! This really was bad. He probably had lost her forever, but his dad’s words still rang in his ears: “Go ahead, Son. Stick our neck out. You know she’s worth it.”
He cleared his throat and tried again. “Well, the truth is that I’d like to do more than just apologize. I’d also like to tell you something about what’s going on in my own heart. If you’ll just hear me out; then if you don’t want to talk to me anymore I’ll respect that.”
He could hear hardness in her voice when she answered. “Is it more about Carter Sanford?”
“No!” He wanted to make that crystal clear. “No, Mariah, I don’t have anything else to say to you about Carter. I was way out of line yesterday, and I won’t ever bring up that subject again.” He paused for quite a while, but Mariah stayed quiet, and – more importantly – stayed on the line.
“I want to talk to you about you, Mariah – and about how much you mean to me.”
He heard her utter a small gasp of surprise. “I … I’m not sure I understand.”
Neil was getting frustrated. “Mariah, all of it is hard to explain over the phone. Will you please let me come and see you for a while this evening – that is – if you aren’t already going out?”
She took another moment to answer. “No … I’m not going any place important tonight – just the grocery store, but it can wait. Come over if you feel you really need to.”
The truth was that Mariah was feeling so defeated by all of the emotional upheaval of the past week that she felt resigned to whatever happened now. “When do you want to come?”
“Give me an hour to get home and shower and get over there.”
“Fine,” she said, and waited another moment. “I’ll see you then.”
“Thank you, Mariah. I’ll be with you shortly.”
After hanging up the phone, Mariah took a look at what she was wearing. An old pair of jeans and a tee shirt that said, “I’ve got a good arm, a ball, and an attitude. Don’t mess with me.” She had to laugh at the thought of wearing it when facing Neil tonight. She knew she looked a little sloppy, though, and one part of her wanted to change into something pretty. But the other part – the part that was tired of trying to be the “right” woman for the “right” man to love – just felt too exhausted to care.
She opted for leaving on the outfit and using the time she had to straighten up the apartment a little. She’d never been the most organized housekeeper. Her home was never dirty, but it definitely wasn’t the neat, well-organized home her mother kept.
She then decided she could force herself to be hospitable enough to put on a pot of coffee and open a package of cookies. Holding a coffee cup would at least give her something to do with her hands while they talked, and drinking the warm liquid might help her stay calm.
Her clock said fifty-five minutes since the phone call when her doorbell rang. Neil stood there in a dark blue polo shirt and jeans, his hair still damp around the edges. It made her smile to think he really had been in a hurry to get over here. “Come in,” she said and motioned him toward the living room. “Sit down anywhere. I made coffee. Would you like some.”
“That would be great,” he said, as he walked to a chair arranged beside the sofa and sat down.
“I’ll be right back with it,” she said, already turning toward the kitchen. Five minutes later, she returned with a tray bearing two steaming mugs, cream and sugar, and the plate of cookies. Sitting it down on the table next to the chair, she took a seat on the close end of the sofa.
“Mmmm, the coffee smells good,” Neil said and reached for a cup. Mariah took hers as well and curled her feet up onto the cushion. She sipped the hot liquid and looked at Neil. He cleared his throat.
“I like the apartment,” he said, smiling. “The colors of cheerful.”
“Thank you. I agree. I like a lot of color in a home.” She knew she should probably say something that would break the ice and help him get started with what he needed to say, but she just didn’t seem to be able to do it.
Finally, he cleared his throat again and sat his cup back onto the tray. He looked right at her. “Mariah, first of all I sincerely want to apologize for what I said to you last night. I was completely out of line, and I’ve been out of line ever since you started dating Carter Sanford.”
“When did you decide all of this?”
“Well … to be totally honest, I knew when the words were coming out of my mouth last night that I didn’t have any right to say them – and actually I knew that I didn’t really mean them the way I said them.”
She just looked at him a moment and then asked. “Then … why did you say them?”
Neil cleared his throat again. He’d never felt a need to work at keeping his throat clear and his voice strong before, but this whole experience was a first for him, so ….
He finally answered. “Well, the answer to that question is actually the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. And I’m going to ask that you hear me out, and then when I’m done, if you don’t want to talk to me anymore – or even work for me anymore – I’ll understand. But, I’m hoping, of course, that you won’t feel that way.”
Mariah’s curiosity was aroused enough by this time that she did help him. “Say anything you feel you need to say, Neil, and I promise not to interrupt. I’ll let you finish.”
He nodded his head in acknowledgment and scooted forward in his chair to be closer to her. “Mariah, I said all of those things because I was jealous.” He searched her eyes to see if she was shocked, but he couldn’t tell. He knew she was surprised he’d said it, but that was all. “I knew I had antagonistic feelings toward Sanford, but I wouldn’t consciously admit it to myself – or the reason for it. I tried to convince myself that my feelings were because we had become great friends, and I was just looking out for your welfare, but that isn’t the truth.” At that, her eyes did get wide, and her eyebrows went up.
He unconsciously reached out a hand and laid it on hers as it rested on the arm of the sofa. “Oh, I was trying to look out for you, but not just because we were friends. I realized last night – after it was too late – that what I really feel for you goes much deeper than friendship.” He squeezed her hand. His eyes were so intense that Mariah couldn’t have looked away if she’d wanted to, but, of course, she didn’t want to. Neil continued.
“Mariah, I … I’m in love with you, and … and I’ve never said that to another woman in my life.”
Mariah’s gasp was audible, and a light flickered to life in her own eyes. Neil took hope from that tiny light and continued. “I don’t know for sure what you feel for me, but I’d like to ask you to give me a chance to show you how much I love you and how valuable you are to me – not as an employee – but as a woman – as the woman I want in my life from now on.”
As he spoke the words, Neil slipped from the chair to his knees in front of Mariah, who sat there with her mouth open and the light in her eyes even brighter. He gently took the cup from her other hand, sat it down, and then took both hands in his. She didn’t resist, but finally spoke, “Neil … I … I don’t understand. You’ve never said anything before.”
“I know. I’ve been too dense to realize myself what I was feeling – that is until last night. But I also realize that you may have strong feelings for someone else, and I don’t have any right to make you feel pressured by what I’m saying. I’m trying not to pressure you. I hope you know that. But I just had to at least tell you the truth.”
“Oh, Neil!” was all she said, but she lifted her hands and placed them gently on either side of his face.
“You’re not angry that I’ve said all this?”
She smiled widely. “My darling Neil, since when does a woman become angry because a man declares his love for her – especially when he does it so beautifully?”
Neil let out the breath he’d been holding and smiled for the first time since he’d started his explanation. He reached both hands up and laid them over hers. He then took each one and pressed the palm to his lips. “I love you, Mariah. I think I’ve loved you almost from the first day. You’ve been like my second self from the first week we worked together.
“I’ve never felt so comfortable with any other woman that I can remember, yet I’ve never felt to challenged to be the best man I could be. It made my day complete every time you were pleased with what I said and what I did, or how I ran my business or lived my life. I came to work every day with a new kind of expectation of vitality and beauty somehow – all because you were there. Oh, I couldn’t have put it into those words a week ago. But I finally recognize it for what it is.”
He paused and kissed the palms of her hands again. “Oh, Neil,” was still all she could say.
“And if you already have deep feelings for Carter Sanford, then I will accept that fact and not bring up my own feelings again. But I had to at least tell you the whole truth – at least once. You deserve that.”
Mariah chuckled softly and shook her head. He squeezed her hands in his. “I don’t even care if you laugh at me, Honey. I feel so much better knowing I’ve told you what’s in my heart.”
At those words, Mariah slipped from the sofa to her knees as well, facing Neil, and without thinking, she put her arms around his neck. “No, Darling. I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at myself – and maybe at the idea that I could have deep feelings for Carter Sanford.”
“What?” Neil’s confusion was obvious. “Do you mean you don’t ….” His voice trailed off because it was just too much to hope for.
Mariah inched closer to him and shook her head. “No … I do not have deep feelings for Carter. I don’t really want to talk about him right now, but you can rest assured that what I do feel for him is not positive enough to cause you any jealously.”
“But you said last night that you wanted his attention — ”
Mariah slipped one hand over his lips to stop his words. “What I said last night was born out of the same thing that brought forth most of your words. I was reacting to feelings that I hadn’t recognized or learned to deal with yet. I had been hurt by Carter, and then I was being hurt by you. But the hurt caused by you was so much more painful and damaging —”
“Oh, Sweetheart!” Neil interrupted her and wrapped his arms around her completely, holding her against him. “I’m so sorry! … so sorry!”
Mariah pulled back enough to look at his face. “No … it’s all right now. What I was going to say is that what you did hurt me more than what Carter did because I don’t love Carter, but I do love you.”
He lifted his hand to caress one side of her face, “You … you do love me?” Mariah nodded her head. “You’re sure?” She nodded again.
“Very sure!” she said.
“And all this time … we’ve wasted …. when we could have been ….” He just couldn’t seem to find the words, so he finally gave up and pulled her even closer, taking possession of her lips in a kiss that conveyed the message much more clearly than any words could have done anyway. And Mariah’s response was equally as satisfying. So satisfying, in fact, that it was several moments before either of them took a breath or thought reasonably about anything at all.
As their lips finally parted, Neil wrapped her even tighter to him, and she buried her head against his neck, but several seconds later, Neil spoke. “Mariah, I think we’d be more comfortable if we got up from the floor, don’t you?”
Mariah laughed out loud. For the first time she realized that her own knees hurt from being on the floor in that embrace for so long. “Of course, Honey. Come on,” she said and began to get up. Neil did the same, but as they stood facing each other, he couldn’t resist kissing her again. Mariah was very willing, and, once more, it was quite a while before they had breath to speak. When they did, Mariah settled her arms more comfortably around Neil’s neck and grinned at him. “So, Boss, would you say that everything’s Jake again?”
Neil tightened his hold on her and looked at her solemnly, shaking his head in the negative. “No, Sweetheart. You have that backwards.”
Her eyes clouded. “What?”
“You asked me if everything’s Jake again. But you have it backwards … because from now on … in my world … everything isn’t Jake. In my world, Jake is everything!”
Thank you so much for reading. I’ll leave the story on this site for one more week, in case a few people haven’t had time to get to the end yet. But after next Saturday, I’ll remove it. You can find the book, as well as most of my other inspirational fiction, on Amazon at this link.
Or visit my Amazon Author’s page for more information.
‘EVERYTHING’S JAKE’ — chapter 8
© 2013 Sandra Pavloff Conner
Neil grabbed up the pizza box. Letting out a long groan, he wadded it up with his bare hands and slammed it into the waste can. That action wasn’t enough to release his feelings, so he slammed his hand on the counter so hard the pain caused him to groan again. There … maybe that would at least be some self-punishment for having been so stupid – and so unkind to the one person he’d come to care more about than any other human being in his life.
“Stupid idiot! You stupid idiot!” He ranted at himself as he ran his hands furiously through his hair, and finally, feeling spent from the pain of his estrangement from Mariah – and from his own remorse – he collapsed into his desk chair and buried his face in his hands.
He was still sitting in the chair, staring with unseeing eyes at his computer, when the office door opened, and his dad walked in. “Hi, son. I saw the light, and I thought maybe I’d catch you and Mariah here and invite you both to dinner at the house tomorrow night.” He stopped talking and looked around. He didn’t see Mariah, and something told him that the place was totally empty except for Neil, who, now that he looked at him more closely, was looking a little worse for wear.
Neil didn’t answer for a moment. He just sat there and stared at his computer screen. Finally he heaved a sigh and said in a monotone voice. “You could say that.”
Adam leaned on the counter, praying for the Lord to give him the right words. He didn’t want to interfere in his grown son’s life, but he knew enough from his own experience to realize that sometimes being grown up in age didn’t mean a man didn’t feel hurt as painfully as a little boy. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Neil ran his hands through his hair again.
Adam watched and waited. He realized for the first time that there was quite a bit of gray showing in Neil’s dark brown hair. And for the first time, he actually noticed that his waistline was bulging more than it used to. Adam didn’t feel old enough to have two sons about to reach middle age themselves. But the clock didn’t quit ticking, and sure enough, they were just about there.
Nathan, his elder son, had a great wife, though, and a baby to love. Neil had nothing but this business. He should have Mariah. Adam and Elizabeth both knew Mariah was the right one for Neil. And they were pretty sure he knew it too. But Neil had always been super cautious about decisions – considering them from every single angle – over and over again – until he worked them over so many times he was worn out before he came to the point. Elizabeth had said something the other night about Mariah not waiting forever.
Adam cleared his throat. He wasn’t much of a counselor in the area of romance, but he could at least share his heart if Neil wanted him to. “Is it Mariah – or am I out of line?”
At those words, Neil looked up at Adam. “How did you know?”
Adam chuckled. “Well,” he said, as he walked around the counter and pulled a second chair up close to Neil’s desk. “I guess you could say I’ve been through some situations in the romance department that caused me to look about like you do right now.”
“I’m losing her, Dad.”
“Losing her how?”
Neil shrugged his shoulders. “I thought we were becoming the best of friends. I could open up to her in a way I’ve never done with anyone else. And she did the same with me. We feel the same about our spiritual lives and about the purpose and meaning of life. We want the same kinds of things. And we can sit and talk for five and six hours at a time and never run out of anything to say to each other.”
“Well, that doesn’t sound like you’re losing her to me.”
Neil waved his hand in a dismissive manner. “No … that’s not what makes me think that. It’s … It’s because she’s started dating Carter Sanford, and now she doesn’t seem to want to sit and talk with me and share things like she used to.” Neil looked at his father now. “And I worry about her with him. Oh, I don’t mean he’d hurt her physically. But I know enough about him to know he’s just playing around with Jake because she’s a mechanic.”
“Oh … you know … he’s a playboy, and because she’s so different from most of the women he associates with, he finds it fun to date her for a while. But he won’t stick with her. If she’s feeling something serious for him, he’ll break her heart, and I just couldn’t bear that.”
“And why do you think that is?”
“Well … she’s become such a great friend, and friends look out for each other. And … tonight … I tried to warn her about him —”
“Oh, I see,” Adam interrupted him.
“What do you mean, you see?”
Adam sighed. “I’m guessing you told her how he didn’t really care for her and how she was being foolish to let herself get taken in by him.”
Adam let out another sigh. So did Neil.
“Well, I realized about halfway into the conversation that I was making a mistake, but for some reason I just couldn’t seem to stop myself. And … well … the conversation deteriorated so much that she threatened to quit.”
“Yeah.” Neil leaned back in his chair and just shook his head sadly.
“Well … have you thought that maybe Mariah can tell that Carter really does care about her?”
“But he doesn’t!”
“How can you be so sure?”
“What? Are you on his side now?”
“Whoa, Son.” Adam held up his hands to ward off any more accusation. “I’m just trying to help you think this thing through here.”
“Oh, I know, Dad. I’m sorry.” He got up from his chair and started pacing the floor. “But I know I’m right. I feel it in every part of me. Carter Sanford will never – could never – love Mariah the way I —” He stopped mid-sentence, shocked by the words that he heard coming from his mouth. Suddenly he turned and looked at Adam, the surprise all over his face.
Adam nodded his head. “I heard. I think you have part of your answer right there, Son. You are in love with Mariah, but if you didn’t even recognize it, then you’ve obviously never told her. Maybe that’s what she needs to hear from you rather than how she’s making a fool of herself with Carter.”
“Well, I can’t tell her that now! Not while she’s dating another man!”
“What? You’d let her go out of your life just because she’s going out to dinner once in a while with some other man? She might drop him like a hot branding iron if she knew how much you cared, Neil.”
Heaving another sigh, Neil looked Adam in the eye. “Let’s face it dad, in spite of having my name on this business, in reality I’m still just a struggling mechanic. I can’t drive her around in expensive cars or send her bouquets of roses every week the way he does – or even the way a lot of other men can.”
Adam chuckled. “You know, Neil, before your mom and I were married I gave her flowers only one time. I just didn’t have a lot of money back then, and I tried to save what I did have so that we could go out every week. But one time, shortly before the wedding, I asked her if she ever felt cheated because I hadn’t given her more flowers and valuable gifts, and I’ll never – as long as I live – I’ll never forget her answer.
She said, ‘My darling Adam, if I were to receive a thousand roses at a time, they could never give me the joy and the thrill that I get from the look in your eyes every time you take me into your arms and tell me how much you love me.’” Adam leaned forward to emphasize his next words. “Neil, it’s communication that rules the day – before the wedding – and it’s still communication that makes the difference afterward – for the rest of your life.”
“But if she’s serious about Carter, I could also end up looking like a fool myself.”
“And does that really matter? Didn’t you feel a little foolish tonight after your argument?
“Neil, you’ve always tried to live your life based on what God’s Word says. But, up to now, you’ve never had to deal with loving a woman and functioning in that capacity according to God’s Word. But think about it. Love comes from God. He is love, and He’s the creator of the love that develops between a man and a woman. Furthermore, He tells us that love always leads us to prefer the other person as more important than ourselves. Love is patient, kind; love serves; it isn’t jealous or easily provoked … am I right?”
“Sure, you know you are.”
“So … if you love this woman, then you have to begin to deal with her according to the demands of love the way God defines it – not according to the world’s definition. The world will tell you to consider how foolish you might end up looking, or how someone could take advantage of you if you let your guard down by letting them know you love them. But those philosophies are not from the Lord.”
He leaned forward and laid his hand on Neil’s shoulder. “No, I think it’s time you were honest with yourself and with Mariah and started speaking and acting toward her the way the Word of God tells you to. Stop talking to her about Carter Sanford, and start talking to her about her – and how valuable and precious she is to you.”
He gave Neil’s shoulder an encouraging pat and stood to his feet. “And just remember: roses always die, and a fancy car made out of cold steel can’t keep a woman warm at night.”
Neil snorted – although it was almost a chuckle. “If it were Mariah’s car, she’d tear it down and work on the heating system until it did keep her warm.”
Adam laughed out loud and gently slapped his son on the back. “Good! You’ve got your sense of humor back. I think you’ll survive this.” With those words he headed for the door. As he opened it, he turned back. “And unless I miss my guess, that little girl already feels the same way about you.”
A flicker of hope flashed through Neil’s eyes, and Adam smiled. “Go ahead, Son. Stick your neck out. You know she’s worth it.”
Adam closed the door and headed for his car with a jaunty step. He tossed his keys into the air and caught them, grinning. “Adam, old boy, you’re not too bad at counseling the lovelorn after all. Elizabeth will be downright proud of you.”
Final chapter tomorrow.