Wanted: Hugs and Kisses

We can endure the journey God has placed us on, when we rely upon the resources He provides. I have been blogging about the various items in our “782 gear bag” ~ the USMC term for a survival kit. All of our help (“equipment”) can be found in God’s Word.

Today’s item for the survival kit would not survive too long in my gear bag.
A chocolate candy kiss reminds us that everyone needs a kiss or a hug.hershey kiss

I can’t remember when I first sampled a piece of chocolate; it had to be quite some time ago. But, I have acquired a taste for it! If I had to admit to an addiction, I would have to confess, that I am a chocoholic! Eating chocolate does bring me great pleasure, so it seems quite fitting to associate the name and shape of a chocolate candy as a “Kiss,” the popular trademark of The Hershey Company.

First John 4:7 says “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” Our love for one another should show. How else can we display to others that we have a personal relationship with a God Who unconditionally cares for us? Our testimony can be sweet to others, when we remember to be kind, gracious and loving.

We can show our affection and concern for one another by physical touch. Years ago, I used to go to a nursing home and visit some of the residents there. I would bring my small children along with me. They were more of a blessing to the residents than I was! Why? Because they could fit real nicely on an older person’s lap and allow them to hug and cuddle. A hug or a kiss does feel good–almost as good as the chocolate kind!

I have an older friend named Audrey who hugs everyone she comes into contact with. Her smile is broad, and her demeanor is sincere and heart-felt. When she opens her arms for a hug, people (friends and strangers alike) respond without hesitation. Audrey’s hugs have touched so many lives because that is how she shares the joy that is bubbling up inside of her!

Down here in the South, hugs are as natural as fried chicken and sweet tea! Everyone hugs! The truly sincere hugs are accompanied by a hardy pat on the back (men) or a warm handshake and a peck on the cheek (women). I think that most Southerners’ survival kits are loaded up with Hershey’s candies! 🙂 Good ol’ Southern Hospitality!

Completing the course is much less difficult if we have our backpack filled with promises of safety, security and stamina. Oh! And lots of sugar!

Finish the Course

finish the courseAre you equipped today with your survival kit?

This journey we are on called “life” is filled with seemingly-impassable roads, unexpected detours and numerous obstacles. Fatigue and despair will slow us down. The challenges are too great at times, tempting us to quit. Are you using the Word of God to sustain you? It’s the survival kit you can utilize for every issue that arises!

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” These are Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:7. Paul’s desire was to endure, finish strong and be faithful as a follower of Jesus Christ. His comparison is one which we can all easily understand. The Christian life is often represented as race to be run. We might not all actually be trained marathon runners, but we can possess similar stamina on the mission assigned to us!

A few weeks ago, while cleaning out our attic, I came across a rather large military backpack. It was issued to my husband, Ted, in 1977, when he enlisted with the US Marine Corps. It’s called a “782 Gear” bag; a recruit would sign the standard USMC Form 782 when they took custody of and responsibility for their equipment.

The 782 bag was filled with all the essentials needed to sustain them while out on the field: canteen, first aid kit, food rations, flashlight, blanket, etc. They needed to be prepared for anything, but the goal was to survive. A Marine would never leave his 782 gear bag behind-it was crucial for his very existence.

Our spiritual lives are similar to this boot camp training and its survival tactics. God wants us to endure the hardships, conquer the enemies and ultimately, finish the course faithfully. We are not alone on this journey. God has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit to equip us for the oppositions and afflictions we face. All of the tools we need can be found in the Scriptures, providing us with strength, determination and purpose. If we are faithful and committed to finishing our course, God will bless us and reward us. I like to think that He is at the finish line, awaiting our arrival!

Philippians 4:13 states “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.” Jesus knows all about struggles-He endured the long, agonizing road to Calvary in order to accomplish His Father’s Will. He was beaten and bruised, spat upon, whipped and rejected as being the Son of God. He could have stopped, quit, refused to finish the course. Yet, His love for mankind was so great and His desire to fulfill His Father’s Plan of salvation exceeded the temporary pain and chastisement from the crowds. We can celebrate Jesus’ victory over death because He endured!

(Subsequent blogs will elaborate on the “equipment” in God’s Survival Kit!)