Giving thanks for Eternity and for the hope we are given to spend it with family and friends. Considering the transient time we all have on earth, we are wise to give thanks for all the opportunities we are presented to “love well” as we live. In the short five years that we have lived in Mexico, we have enjoyed close friendships with people from across the globe! We have laughed, cried, dined and supported one another through the good, the bad, and the ugly. In this reflective Thanksgiving day post, this PAUSE is purposed to REMEMBER those who have loved well. Let us aspire to major in the most important gift of LIFE, and that is to LOVE. Paul clearly affirmed that the most excellent way to live in obedience…is to simply LOVE in times of joy, grief, blessings and trouble. “Be quick to listen and be slow to speak.” We have two ears and one mouth 👄 for good reason. Insert the name of Jesus in the LOVE chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 – Jesus is always, patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish. Jesus is not easily angered and He keeps no records of wrongs. Jesus never gloated over the way people mess up as He remained without sin, but He took great delight in the truth. Jesus took on the burdens of others and He wept with those who mourned. Jesus always trusted His Father, He never lost hope, and He endured rejection, mockery and slander that we may be encouraged to hold onto the faith God has given us. With His love, we were forgiven all things, and by His Spirit we too can also bear all things. Before any of us encountered Jesus and His eternal LOVE for us, we whined like a child, our thoughts were selfish, and we argued to have our way. However, as we mature “in Christ” we lay aside our selfish-all-about-me ways. For now, what we see in the mirror is a blurry portrait of Jesus, but He sees us clearly and He loves us as the Holy Spirit is always at work refining us. The day will come when we meet Jesus face to face. What we NOW know in part, on that day, we will know fully. All our questions will be instantly answered as we step into eternity. In between explaining all the various gifts of the Spirit in chapter 12, suddenly Paul reminds all those paying attention…that not all people are prophets, teachers, miracle workers. Not all the saints have the gift of healing, nor can all people perfectly discern things, speak in tongues, or interpret. These Holy Spirit inspired words of Paul prompted him to say “Eagerly seek the better gifts and now I will show you the best way of all.” Paul cuts through all the wandering hearts with what is most important! God warns us in this chapter about HIS WAY OF LOVE. Given that our words may be most eloquent, if we lack love — when we speak, we sound abrasive and our words clang in the ears of the people we try to impress. If we claim the gift of prophecy, and by our faith we know all of what is to come, the truth is — what we speak with such confidence has zero impact without love. Perhaps we are extremely generous as we give all that we have, and yet without love, we do so in vain and gain zero points with our Father who knows all. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13-14 our Creator reminds us of what to focus on. “Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, all knowledge will pass. For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy is partial; but when the Perfect One comes, the partial will pass. For now, three things last – trust, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love. Pursue Love!” 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) Therefore, pause in the face of passing irritations and rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to remain … quick to listen … and slow to speak. When we do utter words, our words will then be regulated to the highest standard of LOVE! Think about the following: Has Jesus ever been rude? Has He ever been impatient with you? Has Jesus ever interrupted your complaining with a mean spirited correction? Does Jesus maintain a record of our wrongs? Hmmmm, to forgive is to forget, to listen is to care, to be patient, is to be kind. Each one pictured in this loving collage has left their mark. Some have moved back home to be with family, and some have moved in with Jesus. Before the 2019 season passes on, this post savors all the LOVE that each one of these souls poured into me, by their patience, kindness and mercies extended. My emotions are stilled by the One who holds us all close. Simply click any picture to enlarge and view a slideshow of LOVE passing through.