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Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

The difference between dying love and love that lasts is never letting yourself stop appreciating the things your loved one does for you. The picture I get of lasting love is the elderly couple I once knew. These grade school chums had been married for 68 years. He still called her ‘Buttercup’ and she still called him ‘Baby’.

They walked every day by my house until health issues kept them from doing so. I still see them in my minds eye walking hand in hand, talking with each other and laughing on occasion. They obviously enjoyed life. The obviously enjoyed each others company after all these years.

One day shortly after she died, I stopped by to visit my old friend. He was still mourning the loss of his ‘bride’ but even in his sadness there was a twinkle in his eye as he remembered all the little things that she did to make his life fulfilled.

Finally, I got up the courage to ask him the million dollar question, “So, what’s the secret? Is there any one thing you did as a couple to keep the flame going for almost three quarters of a century?”

He pondered for a moment. Then he leaned towards me as though he was about to share the golden nugget of truth for all eternity…which he was. “Buttercup and I made a decision early in life that we would never forget how much we appreciated each other for who we were and not for what we did. Oh, now, mind you. There were some tough times. But we always went back to that one thing. Appreciation of each other for who they were in spite of the blunders we might make.’

I smiled. We talked a few more minutes before I had to leave. Three months later my dear friend joined his ‘Buttercup’ in the arms of Jesus, but I never forgot the lesson learned that day, and as I’ve pondered his simple words I’ve reminded myself that that’s the kind of love Jesus has for us.

Jesus has a lasting love that says, “I appreciate you. Not for the things you’ve done, but for who you are.” Regardless of the mistakes I’ve made in my past. Regardless of the doubts I’ve had, the times I’ve mistreated people or the times I’ve ignored my time with him. He loves me. He appreciates me!

Everything good in life comes from a Heavenly Father who, through his Son, Jesus Christ appreciates you. He wants to walk with you every day. He wants to talk with you, to love you. To hold your hand when the path gets treacherous. His love never changes, never grows old. Sometimes I think of my old friend and I smile as I think that right now Jesus just may be calling me his ‘Buttercup.’

PRAYER: Jesus, I thank you today for the love you have for me. It’s so hard to imagine a love so great that you are willing forgive me and forget the times I’ve failed you and failed others around me. I pray that you would help me to live every day with the reminder of how much you love me and how much you appreciate me. Help me to show your love to others and apply it to my own life as well. In your name I pray, Amen.

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January 2011
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