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‘The thing we need the most’

It’s free and one of the most precious gifts we’ll ever give or receive.

Love.

When I was very young — probably less than 2 years old — my biological parents divorced. I vaguely remember my natural father, but I do remember our mother working hard as a minimum-wage waitress worker in a café in southwest Little Rock trying to support my two older sisters and me.

She finally reached the point where she didn’t feel like she could take care of us any longer, so she left us with an aunt. And, later on we were adopted by a couple who couldn’t have any children. Sadly, ours was a pretty dysfunctional home, so I felt very lonely and unloved during those early years.

But, one night during a revival service at a little church in central Arkansas something happened. I don’t remember the evangelist’s name; I just remember that something happened — and that “something” was realizing for the first time how much God loved me.

“Me? A little 7-year-old boy whose parents didn’t want him and being raised in a home where true love was pretty scarce?”

I don’t remember walking down the aisle. But, I do remember praying with the pastor and asking Jesus to come into my heart that night. And, I remember walking out the door and telling someone that I knew Jesus was alive because He came to live within me that night.

That’s been some 53 years ago now. And, my Journey has been an interesting one to say the least. Lots of ups and downs, joys and sorrows. Years of battling depression, highs-and-lows and even suicidal thoughts.

But, through it all it was knowing Jesus loved me and promised to never leave me that sustained me. I guess that’s one reason He called me to preach when I was 15 years old and literally sent me all around the world these past 45 years.

He knew folks everywhere … regardless of their race, creed or color … need to know that someone, somewhere, loves them.

Yes, regardless of who you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you still need to know that someone loves you and your life is worthwhile. How sad to be told at a young age you’re an “accident” or “no good and will never amount to anything.”

How thankful I am God doesn’t feel that way. In fact, from the Cross Jesus says “I think you’re to die for.” Wow!

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and it’ll be a special time. For some, it’ll be a tough time since their mother’s no longer with them. But, hopefully there’ll still be some fond memories and thanksgiving even among the tears.

God knew what He was doing when He created mothers. Even though we dads try to show our children we love them, there’s still something special about a mother’s tender love. There’s healing in her kisses and comfort/assurance in her arms.

And even if you, like me, didn’t have that, you can still find Love in the Heavenly Father’s arms. Even as a boy I found great comfort in Psalm 27:10, which says “Even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.”

I don’t know what you’re going through, but God does. I don’t know what things you’re needing, but God does. But, I do know this: You need to know you’re loved, forgiven and accepted.

And, that’s the real Message of the Cross.

Here’s praying that you’ve experienced God’s Love that accepts you just as you are and then changes you from the inside out. He’ll calm your fears and catch your tears — and what more do you need?

It’s all about trust. Childlike trust. Why don’t you stop right now and let Him love on you? You’ll be surprised at the difference it’ll make. God bless you.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com.

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