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Frank Hay

Frank Hay

John 3:16 (HCSB) -- 16) “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

I grew up with a workaholic father; he was kind and a good provider, but not too much a father. I did not mind that too much. I could do pretty much like I wanted. He did spank, though, when something went wrong. I was not abused and lived like most other children in the neighborhood. In my neighborhood, we were raised by all the parents.

Love was a word we heard in church, but knowing what it was escaped our understanding. I just thought all was OK and normal. As we all know, we learn so much as we grow up. Love became more important when I began to see girls as being more than just those who had pigtails I could pull.

I do not remember hearing "I love you” very much. I believed I was loved, but it meant very little to me at that time. I have learned that love is an action item. Most of us know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." I had a friend who asked me what “so loved” meant. I never could satisfy his question. A more up-to-date Bible version says it this way -- John 3:16 (HCSB), “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." As we might think, to give one’s life for someone is a definite action of good - in this case, love.

In marriage counseling sessions, I always ask, “WHY do you want to get married?" Most often the answer is, “We love each other." The next question I ask is, “What is love." Often, I have asked, “What would cause you to consider divorce?” I get a variety of answers, such as "if I don’t love her/him anymore."

No one can fall OUT of love. Love is a conscious decision of one’s mind. We do not fall in and out of love. I cannot believe even the vilest sinner is not loved by God; from time to time, I’ve been that sinner. Today, with gratitude and a thankful heart, I'm glad that Jesus loved me even while I was a sinner. How about you? (Romans 5:8)

I did get to hear my father say “I love you” many times later in life. The time I remember most is the day he died. I had spent the night with him, and we had talked a little. He was so sick, but he thanked me for staying and told me that he loved me.

Folks, love will turn the world around. Knowing God’s love and following His lead will be the most joyful life one could ever live.

Being made in God’s likeness means we shall BE forever. Our spirit will continue. The decisions we make now while on earth will determine our final destiny. Friend, I urge you to seek God’s Love and accept it. You will never regret this decision.

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J. Frank Hay Jr. is an Orangeburg pastor and chaplain.

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