Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A Case of Nerves

My An Arkie's Faith column from the October 27, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

The leaves on the trees along Highway 270 are glowing in the early morning sunlight, displaying muted colors of orange and gold. Autumn has begun painting the landscape with a slow grace, giving me a preview of the vibrant yellows, orange, and scarlets that will soon blanket the hillsides. I take some notice of the beauty surrounding me, but my mind is preoccupied. I am on my way to Hot Springs for a doctor’s appointment. 

For the past year, I have been suffering from leg pain. My orthopedic surgeon scheduled a nerve conduction study to try and find the cause of my symptoms, numbness, tingling, and pain. I am not looking forward to the procedure. A nerve conduction study measures how fast an electrical impulse moves through your nerves and can help identify nerve damage.

I researched the procedure on the internet and found that the doctor would stimulate my nerves with electrode patches attached to my skin during the test. He would do this by placing two electrodes on the skin over my nerve. One electrode would stimulate my nerve with an electrical impulse, and then the other electrode would record it. He would repeat this procedure for each nerve he tested. The doctor’s office told me that the study would take more than two hours. A friend of mine had experienced the procedure, and his description was not easing my mind. I am not fond of medical procedures, and everything about this one was outside of my comfort zone. 

When I arrived at the hospital, I found a parking spot, put on my mask, stepped out of the car, and headed towards the building. It took me a while to find the proper entrance to the St. Vincent Medical Building. I was nervous as I stepped into the elevator and pushed the button for the 5th floor. After finding my way to Suite 505, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and opened the door. I filled out all of the necessary paperwork, and then after taking my vitals, the nurse ushered me into a small room. In the corner was a computer station with a maze of wires connecting the equipment. 

When Dr. Kramer came into the room, he spoke with a calm, reassuring voice, explaining what would happen. I’m sure that many of his patients are nervous about the procedure. He told me that he would locate and mark the nerve to be studied. Then he would attach a recording electrode to the skin over my nerve, using a special paste. He would then place a stimulating electrode away from the recording electrode at a known distance. “A mild and brief electrical shock, given through the stimulating electrode, will stimulate your nerve. You may experience minor discomfort for a few seconds,” he explained. He also told me that we could take a break for a few minutes if it was ever too painful. That information didn’t make me feel any less nervous.

The first few “mild and brief electrical shocks” were unsettling, but I soon knew what to expect, and as we settled into a routine, I was able to relax a bit. But then the doctor told me that he would be applying the “mild and brief electrical shock” ten times in rapid succession. I was relieved when each series of ten shocks, referred to as repetitive nerve stimulation, ended. When the doctor had finished testing the nerves in both legs, he told me that we had one more procedure, which would only take fifteen minutes. “Almost done,” I thought. But then the doctor explained the procedure. “It is called electromyography,” he said. “It is more involved and may also be a little more uncomfortable. Electromyography uses an electrode on the skin. However, the test also uses a thin needle that penetrates the skin and goes into your muscles. I will ask you to relax and contract your muscles, giving you instructions on how and when to tighten the muscle I am studying.” 

“Great,” I thought, “he saved the best for last,” but I didn’t have any choice but to continue. My anxiety surfaced again as the doctor explained the procedure. I gritted my teeth as the doctor started inserting needles into my left leg. When he inserted each needle, I felt a small sting, but it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. After the tests on my leg, I rolled onto my side, and he began inserting needles into my lower back. I was very relieved when the doctor finally said, “all finished.” All of the tests were completed, and there was no longer a reason for me to be nervous. 

Dr. Kramer tried to explain what he had learned from the testing, but the only thing that I understood was that my nerves were damaged and not operating as they should. He told me that I should follow up with my orthopedic surgeon as soon as mutually convenient. As I walked out of the medical building and called my wife, I realized my anxiety hadn’t been warranted. I had imagined it to be much worse than it was.

I was filled with apprehension during my two-hour drive to get to my appointment. Psychologists use the term “Negative Anticipation” for these moments. I had forgotten the words of Paul found in Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

Paul didn’t tell us that when we pray, God will magically fix things. Instead, he tells us that God’s peace will flood our hearts and minds. Paul didn’t rebuke or criticize us for our anxiety. Paul is saying, instead of being anxious, ask God to give you peace.

Gentle Reader, when you are anxious and have a case of nerves, God wants to give you peace. When you look forward to something with “Negative Anticipation,” the answer is to “turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (GW) God tells you, “don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.” Isaiah 41:10 (NCV) When you have a case of nerves, claim God’s promise of peace. You can count on Him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Sky Pilot

My An Arkie's Faith column from the October 20, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

It was over ten years ago when I listened to my first podcast. While researching a history topic on my computer, I found some information I was looking for, but it wasn’t written. I had stumbled across the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class. I enjoyed listening to the podcast and was able to get some information relevant to my research. I didn’t think about podcasts again until I got an iPhone.

While I was learning about what I could do with my iPhone, I saw the podcast app. When I opened the app, I searched for Stuff You Missed in History because it was the only podcast I knew. I listened to the current episode and enjoyed it, but the back catalog intrigued me. I listened to every episode in a few weeks. During one episode, I heard the hosts mention another podcast, Sawbones. I started listening to Sawbones, and before long, I had caught up on their back catalog. I was hooked on listening to podcasts.

Since that time, I have listened to podcasts almost every day. I listen in the car, while I work, while I mow the yard, anytime I can. I am obsessed with this form of communication. Most of the podcasts I listen to are history-related, and I learn so much new information that my friends and family get tired of me sharing my newfound information with them.

One of my favorite podcasts is Ridiculous History. The show’s tagline is, history is beautiful, brutal, and often ridiculous. While listening to a recent episode while working, I heard the show’s hosts, Ben and Noel, talking about Frank Higgins. Something that they said made me stop what I was doing and listen closer. Had I heard correctly? Had they said that Frank Higgins was a sky pilot to the lumberjacks in Northern Minnesota in the 1890s? There were no airplanes in the 1890s, so how could he be a sky pilot?

As I listened, I found that In 1895, Frank was a student pastor in Barnum when a church member invited him out to a logging camp. The lumberjacks made fun of Frank, asking him to preach on demand. He did so, and his impromptu sermon impressed them. Frank kept ministering to lumberjacks and eventually resigned his pastorate to become the first full-time missionary to loggers. He moved to Bemidji, which had a reputation as one of the roughest towns in the North Woods. Bemidji was home to many saloons, brothels, and gambling joints, and Frank was determined to make a difference. For decades he traveled from his base in Bemidji to the frozen logging camps of Minnesota with his trademark pack of Bibles, hymnals, and Christian literature strapped to his back.

Life in logging camps was difficult. Logging was done during the winter so that the logs could be loaded onto frozen rivers and sent downstream during the spring thaw. Men huddled together in cold bunkrooms during logging season. Lice were a certainty, and illness and injury were likely. The work was demanding and very dangerous. Most of the men had lost contact with their parents and siblings as they traveled from state to state for work. Men who were married rarely, if ever, saw their wives and children.

The lumberjacks accepted Frank because he seemed like one of them. He was physically imposing, and his friends said he had no problem standing up to men who confronted him. He was well-prepared for the cold winters. At first, as he traveled across northern Minnesota from camp to camp, he used snowshoes or skies and carried a heavy pack on his back. He soon realized that a dogsled would make it easier to haul his materials. He also used his dogsled as an ambulance for taking injured lumberjacks and pregnant women to the hospital. Frank and his sled dogs became an iconic image in the North Woods.

But why was Frank Higgins referred to as a sky pilot? Frank claimed that the lumberjacks gave him the name sky pilot. The men were living a brutal existence, and Frank would come into the camp holding religious services and tending to the needs of the men. The lumberjacks asked, “what are you doing here, and why are you enduring such hardship coming out here?” Frank answered, “I want to pilot your souls to the sky.” So they started referring to him as a sky pilot. Soon the term was used for any clergyman ministering to the lumberjacks. 

The term sky pilot was already in use among seamen before Frank started his ministry in Minnesota. The Reverend Thomas Stanley Treanor prefaced his 1894 book “The Log of a Sky Pilot” in 1894 with these words. “The term ‘Sky Pilot’ is applied sometimes by sailors to clergymen. No doubt the expression is chiefly used in jest, but behind the jest, there lies a solemn conviction that a Sky Pilot is what he wants and just what the minister of Christ should be. History is full of expressions originally given in derision but adopted and glorified by the very persons to whom they were at first contemptuously applied. Surely it is our high calling to lead and help our fellow voyagers to the skies.”

Frank Higgins became respected among those he ministered to. Although he was adamant in denouncing sin, he wrote that “the woodsman was sinned against as well as sinning.” He continued, “months pass by every year, and many of these men do not even get a letter or a paper to read. Is it any wonder when they come down in the spring that they feel that nobody cares for them and at once go to the saloon where they are made welcome as long as their money lasts?” He described his own experiences with the lumberjacks, stressing the warm welcome he invariably received. He fought for better working conditions for the men. He fulfilled the directive of Jesus; “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23 (ESV)

Frank realized that the wild excesses of the lumberjacks reflected their barren lives. He told his fellow ministers that “reform could not come through exhortation alone; these rootless men needed worthwhile interests and normal emotional outlets.” The woodsmen liked and respected Frank not only for what he did but for what he was. He fulfilled the words of Jesus; “You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do. Live so that they will praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (ICB)

Gentle Reader, as Christians, we are all called to be sky pilots. In Mark 16:15 (NLV), Jesus tells us, “you are to go to all the world and preach the Good News to every person.” God may not call you to be a missionary to the lumberjacks of Minnesota or the sailors on the ocean. But he has called you to be a sky pilot to someone. The best sky pilots are not the ones who stand on a stage and give instructions. The best lead by example. In the process of their faithfulness, they set an example for others to follow. Be a sky pilot today.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Roxie Moll Memorial Service

When I was growing up, I attended a small church with my family. The small church shared a pastor with another church. Sometimes when the pastor wasn’t there for the mid-week prayer service, those in attendance would be asked to recite a favorite text. Being somewhat of a smart alec, I thought it was amusing to say that my favorite verse was the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.”

As an adult, it has become a favorite verse of mine. I believe the simple words, “Jesus wept,” may reveal as much about Jesus as any other words ever said about him.

I’m sure that you remember the story of Lazarus. When he became ill, his sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, the one you love is very sick.” Jesus chose to wait until Lazarus had died before he came. “When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.”

Let me ask you a question? Why did Jesus weep? Was it because of his love for Lazarus? He knew Lazarus would be alive in a few minutes. Jesus was crying because his friends were sad. Their sorrow moved him. Jesus is painfully aware of your grief. He knows why we are here today. He knows that we are saying goodbye to someone we love. When we cry, He is aware. Psalms 56:8 tells us, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

I want you to know that it is appropriate to grieve. Jesus understands our grief, and I believe that just as He cried at the tomb of Lazarus, He cries with us here today. But even as He grieves with us, Jesus holds out hope. When Martha confronted Jesus, telling Him that if He had been there, her brother would not have died, Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus holds out the same hope to us today.

Paul wrote some of the most comforting words found in the Bible in Romans 8:37-39. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I want you to know for sure today that nothing can separate you from the love of God. Nothing can keep God from loving you. Nothing can keep God from loving Roxie. I want to read that scripture again and personalize it for Roxie.

Roxie is more than a conqueror through Him who loved her. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate Roxie from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In 1 John, the Bible says, “we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Let’s remember how much Roxie is valued in God’s eyes! We are here today to remember Roxie because we love her. But it is also essential to understand how much God loves her. The Apostle John continues, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

I love that equation. God = love

One of the most beautiful descriptions of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.”

I know that no one is here today to hear an algebra lecture, but we have the rule of symmetry in algebra: If a = b,  then b = a. So if God = love, then love = God.

Since love = God, if we were to replace love in the passage with God, it would read like this.

God is patient and kind. He is not jealous, does not brag, and is not proud. God is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. God does not count up wrongs that have been done. He takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. God patiently accepts all things. He always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.” What a beautiful picture of God this paints.  I hope that it makes an impact on you like it did me.

We want to make sense of suffering. Why does a loving God allow such pain to continue in this world? I know that while there are no words that can stop the pain today, there are words that give us hope. In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul tells us that “we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.”

Even if I only understand a little about God now, there is comfort in realizing that God loves Roxie, and He loves you. There is comfort in remembering how Roxie touched our lives and made them better. And there is comfort in the words Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. “I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Harris Creek Trail

My An Arkie's Faith column from the October 13, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

The warm Indian summer sun lit up the countryside as we headed out in my cousin’s new Jeep for an outdoor adventure. We made plans to eat lunch at Baja Rios and then continue to the Cossatot River State Park. I had hiked the Harris Creek Trail at the State Park several times and wanted to do the hike again. The trail is a 3 1/2 mile loop that follows along Baker Creek and Harris Creek and has a breathtaking overlook of the Cossatot River.

The four of us happily chatted, as we hadn’t seen much of each other for quite a while. While we were driving down Highway 71 into Potter, the SUV in front of us started behaving erratically, moving across the centerline into the oncoming lane and then suddenly correcting back into its lane. Just as we got to the bridge coming into Potter, there was a tremendous bang as the SUV crashed into the guardrail, then spun around and slammed into the guardrail on the other side.

As soon as the Jeep stopped, my wife jumped out of the car and rushed to the scene. The SUV was severely damaged, but a woman got out and was able to walk over to the guardrail and lean against it. I reached for my phone to call 911, but the call did not go through. I kept trying, and on the third try, the call went through. I explained what had happened, and the 911 operator assured me that someone would be right there. While I was making the 911 call, my cousin was clearing debris from the accident off of the road. The entire suspension had been ripped out from under the SUV and blocked the road.

My wife talked calmly and quietly to the woman. She said that she was OK but appeared to be injured. My wife tried to get her to sit down, as she seemed to be going into shock. As vehicles made their way around the accident scene, my wife shouted at several cars, asking if they had a blanket or towels, but no one stopped.

In just a few minutes, law enforcement and the ambulance were on the scene. My wife talked to the sheriff’s deputy and the ambulance driver and told them everything she knew. As my wife got back into the car and we headed south, everyone was visibly shaken, and the mood in the Jeep had gone from cheerful to somber. A short while later, we saw a car driving too fast down a side road, and we weren’t sure that they were going to stop at the highway. After you have witnessed an accident, you are on high alert and notice everything about your surroundings. Before the accident, we had been carefree, visiting and having a great time. But the accident changed the mood in the Jeep

The conversation turned to stories of close calls that each one had experienced. When you have a close call or you witness an accident, it sticks in your mind. It’s not something that you soon forget. By the time we pulled into the Baja Rios parking lot, our nerves had settled a bit, and our hearts weren’t racing quite as fast, but the accident we had witnessed but still on our minds.

We had a wonderful meal at Baja Rios. Their chile relleno covered in white queso with a side of hot green salsa is one of my all-time favorite meals. The daughter of an old friend of mine sat at the table next to us and recognized me. We reminisced about my friend, and I remembered how we could have deep discussions about things we didn’t necessarily agree on and remained good friends. 

After a great meal, we needed to work off some calories, so we headed down to the Cossatot River State Park to hike the Harris Creek trail. After finding a shady spot to park the Jeep, we started our hike. The trail begins in an old shale pit. There are areas covered in moss, and the color contrast between the light green mosses and black shale is stunning. As the trail begins to climb, you get views of Baker Creek. Once you get to the top of the hill, after an elevation gain of over 300 feet, the trail takes you through an open stand of hardwoods with glimpses of Baker Creek to your left.

Further down the trail, Baker Creek runs into Harris Creek, and there are some fantastic overlooks. The views along the trail are breathtaking. Some sections are steep and rugged, but the trail is well maintained and well marked. The day was hot, but there was usually a breeze to help cool us. By the time we made it back to the Jeep, we were tired and sweaty. 

After our hike, we drove the Jeep on many back roads between Highway 278 and Highway 246 before making our way home. It had been a wonderful afternoon filled with good food, family, and experiencing the natural beauty of our area. But we couldn’t help but wonder about the woman in the accident. How badly had she been injured? We had experienced a lovely day, but the accident had ruined her day. 

God wants us to have beautiful experiences like we had hiking the Harris Creek Trail. Jesus tells us, “I came to give life with joy and abundance.” John 10:10 (VOICE) But we all know that life has its ups and downs, and every day isn’t filled with joy. Some days are difficult. God wants us to help each other through those difficult times. We are to “show kindness and compassion toward each other.” Zechariah 7:9 (NABRE) Compassion is simply a kind, friendly presence in the face of a difficult time. Compassion starts with the understanding that everyone you meet is fighting their own battles. That frame of mind makes it easier to treat others with love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. We are all facing challenges.

Gentle Reader, we can’t heal the world today, but we can begin by showing compassion. So many of the problems in our world stem from a lack of compassion. If we would show kindness to others even when we disagree with them, it could help change our world, one compassionate act at a time. In 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV), Paul gives God this title, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” I love that description of God; “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” And Paul goes on to say, in verse 4, that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Do you have compassion for others? Who do you need to comfort today?

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Buffalo Point

My An Arkie's Faith column from the October 6, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

“Wake up, wake up,” my sister-in-law hollered up the stairs to the loft. “I hate to wake you, but you have to see this.” I sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. Looking out the windows that stretched across the entire end of the cabin, I saw an incredible sight. 

It was the last week of September 2020, and we were staying at the Wildwood Cabin high atop a mountain north of Ponca, Arkansas. Perched on a hillside, so high up on stilts that the deck is in the treetops, the cabin seems straight out of a fairy tale. Oversized windows provide a sweeping view of the upper Buffalo River wilderness. 

As I lay in bed looking out over the Buffalo River valley, the sun was coming up. The orange glow created a canopy over the valley that stretched out below the cabin. White clouds filled the valleys, and it looked like a white ocean stretching out as far as my eyes could see. The wispy tops of the clouds added to the illusion of looking out over a body of water. I quickly dressed and went down the stairs and out onto the deck. I tried to soak in all the incredible beauty in front of me.

After a difficult spring and summer, we were on our first out-of-town trip since the Covid-19 outbreak. We visited our favorite place in Arkansas, the Ponca – Jasper area of the Buffalo River. With the beautiful sunrise and the otherworldly view from our cabin, I knew that it was going to be a great day. Today we were going somewhere we had never been before, the lower section of the Buffalo River. 

After spending a couple of hours at the old, abandoned mining town of Rush, we headed to Buffalo Point. When we arrived, we pulled into a parking spot and got out of the car. The views of the river and bluffs were terrific. The large bluff at Buffalo Point is named Painted Bluff. It gets its name from the water seeping over the top portion of the bluff that darkens the rock giving it a painted look.

After taking in the spectacular view, I started walking down the steep path to the water’s edge to get a better look at the bluff. After taking only a few steps, my phone buzzed, alerting me that I had received a text message. I was surprised because there was no cell service, but I had a new message. As I read the text, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It said, “Hey there! You might not remember me, but I was the editor at the Star a couple of years ago. I’ve moved back to town, and the Pulse offered me a job as editor. I’ve been here for about two months now. In that time, I’ve noticed your column is no longer in the Star. I was really disappointed with that because I really enjoyed your column. I’d be thrilled, as I know readers would, if your thoughts were circulating again. I hope you’ll consider sharing your thoughts with the Pulse and let me know if it is a possibility.”

It had been over six months since I had written anything. I had gone from writing every time I had a chance to writing almost nothing. When Covid sent the world into a tailspin in March of 2020, the Star significantly reduced the size of the paper. The column that I had been writing for over four years was one of the casualties. Like many other people, the pandemic turned my world upside down. I felt like nothing would ever be right again. It seemed like I was trying to swim upstream through molasses. This trip to the Buffalo River was starting to give me a new lease on life. 

When I told my wife about the text message, she said, “that is an answer to my prayers.” “What do you mean,” I replied. “I have been praying that you would be inspired to write again,” she answered. I immediately knew what I should do and quickly sent a text message back that said, “I would love to write for you.” With a new reason to write, I had an article finished in a couple of days, and my column An Arkie’s Faith debuted in the next week’s issue of the Pulse.

Writing again lifted me out of a dark place filled with lethargy and depression. With a reason to write and a weekly deadline, I started looking for the positive things around me instead of focusing on the craziness that still flooded the world. We can never know what might have been if something in our lives had never happened, but I am sure that the text message that I received while looking at the breathtakingly picturesque Painted Bluff changed my life for the better. I know that fifty-plus articles, 60,000 words, and a new book exist because of that text.

Most people don’t feel that they can make a difference. What can just one person do? But we never know the difference our actions may make in someone’s life. Jude 1:22 (NKJV) says, “And on some have compassion, making a difference.” You can make a difference. You can have compassion. You may not be able to change the world, but you can make a difference to someone. John F. Kennedy said, “one person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” In Zechariah 7:9 (GW), God tells us to “be compassionate and kind to each other.” Imagine what a difference you could make by simply being kind and compassionate to others.

Look for opportunities to help others and thank those who have helped you. Your gratitude is an act of kindness toward others and can have a profound impact. Paul understood this when he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV), “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” Paul’s words made me wonder about the words I say. Do I say kind, encouraging, inspiring words to others?

Gentle Reader, I want to publicly thank Jeri for sending that text and the Pulse for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. I want to thank everyone who reads An Arkie’s Faith, especially those who have contacted me and encouraged me. When we encourage and help others, we are showing God’s love. What about you? Is there someone in your life who needs to know how much you care for them? Is there someone who would benefit from kindness, encouragement, and a thank you? Why don’t you make sure to do it today?