Payh Blog
Smoking Marijuana From A Pipe
Aug 30, 2013

Do I have a child using drugs?

Do I have a child using drugs?  It is a question that no parent really wants to entertain.  But all parents need to ask the question, because the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCAS) states that:

  • 97% of high school students say that classmates drink, use drugs, or smoke
  • 86% percent (almost 9 out of 10) said that some of their classmates were drinking, smoking and using drugs during school
  • 75% of youth over the age of 12 say that pictures of teens drinking, smoking or doing drugs on social networking sites encourages them to do the same

With these numbers, shouldn’t all parents ask is my child using drugs?  Youth, like adults, are relationship oriented, so most youth are doing things with their friends, not because of them.
What used to be deviant behavior is accepted and endorsed by the current culture, and every parent needs to take stock.  Since youth are using drugs at earlier and earlier ages, asking the question is a preventative step that parents have to take.
Research supports that one of the most important reasons why a youth would choose not to do drugs is parental expectations.  To make sure that children have clear expectations, parents have to be engaged in their children’s lives.  But engagement is still no guarantee.  So, here are some signs that your child may be using drugs:

  • Losing interest in activities that used to be important to them
  • A new set of friends that are vastly different than before
  • Unclear about where they are going to be
  • Losing their phone or personal items
  • Change in eating habits and sleep patterns
  • Unusual odors on their clothes
  • Mood swings that are outside the norm of adolescence
  • Consistent negative attitude, argumentative, or highly defensive
  • Missing valuables from the home

No single sign indicates that your child is using drugs. But when you look at many of these in combination, or simply just have a sense that something is going on, then don’t simply ignore it or assume; “not my child!  Why not your child?  Youth in today’s culture see drugs as merely a form of entertainment and an escape from boredom.  Every child and situation is different but do not use that as a reason to not follow your instincts or warning signs.  Pay attention to the signs in your son or daughters life and be aware of what is going on with their friends and the culture around them.

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Beautiful burning candles and fairy lights at windowsill on rainy day
Aug 29, 2013

Between Nothing and Everything

What do you do when you want something or someone to be, or change, or something good to happen, and you realize you do not have the power or wherewithal to bring it to pass? We have all been in situations like this throughout our lives. We have agonized when we could not save a loved one, or change a child who has grown into a rebellious adult, or alter circumstances we desperately want to see positively different. Men and women of faith turn to the One who alone has the power and authority to speak and remedy the situation for our good.
In the beginning of all that is visible to the human eye and beyond our capacity to see, of the entire universe, of all creation, which we observe and live in and have our being, God spoke and this universe was from nothing. Nothing! Evolutionists can come up with no answer for the “beginning. They flail all over, jumping from one porous answer to another, which is never an answer which ever holds water. All their answers fail to find scientific rationale which fits what is and what has been from the beginning. One famous atheist-evolutionist came up with the irrational answer that aliens brought life to earth billions of years ago. So where did the earth come from to which the aliens came, from where did the aliens originate? His “answer is no answer at all. They make themselves foolish in their denial of God as the creator of all things material and all things spiritual, that is, except Himself, the triune God who is infinite. Faith is essential to our believing and understanding of God as the speaker whose word and power and authority actually caused all things to be, and then sustains them by His power.
Jesus during his ministry on earth learned of a person, not a Jew, and said of him that he had never observed such faith in any man or woman, not in all of Israel. Think of all those greats in the annals of Biblical Israel. He was a Roman centurion, and sent messengers to Jesus asking for the healing of his dearly loved servant who was about to die. He said it was not even necessary for Jesus to come to where he and his servant were. He said, “Just speak the word and he will be healed. He said he understood authority in his capacity as a centurion, and that Jesus had far greater authority, and could just speak the word and it would be done.
God, the Father, has said He has given all authority to His Son. We know that His Son was at the creation at the Father’s side, and in His own capacity as God brought all things into being. (Colossians 1:16) As the centurion understood authority so must we; the authority of God, the authority of Jesus, the authority of His Word! We have no authority in ourselves except when we believe and act in accordance with His Word. Our own solutions are fraught with failure when their source is not the Word of God. It is so difficult to learn this critical lesson, because we are so keen on our own authority and our own solutions.
You want change in yourself and your situation; change in your family; change in your community? Change starts with one, true. But that one must go to the source of all authority, and submit to Him and His Word and believe Jesus has the authority to speak and bring something out of nothing. God’s Word, Jesus’ Word, stands between you and change for your good, the good of your family, and the good of your community. Ask Him for change, hunger for His Word, read it and show you believe it by doing it. No lip service! This is where change receives power and where things begin to happen in the right direction. But you need to understand what this centurion understood about where real authority lies. Not with you, but with God and with His Son. Nothing good or permanent will happen apart from Him speaking it into being.

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Communication technology for internet business. Global world network and telecommunication on earth cryptocurrency and blockchain and IoT. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Aug 28, 2013

Changing My Community


Community is a word often used to describe camaraderie and togetherness, kinship that isn’t limited to blood relations. Community is the places we live, the people we see at high school ballgames and Fourth of July picnics, the schools where our children learn. We are connected and identify with each other. It gives us a sense of home and belonging.
Across the country, our community is in trouble.
Many young people today have no sense of boundaries or consequence. They are not being taught to be responsible citizens. They quit when things get tough. The media reinforces an apathetic approach to living. If we tire of something, we move on. Be it school, job, family, or even life itself. The problem is deep seated and widespread. In fact, it is all consuming and it impacts everyone, regardless of social, economic, religious, or racial background.

How Did This Happen

As adults, we have to recognize that youth did not create this culture. We did. Government, schools, churches, families, and individuals have all contributed to this problem, often by simply remaining silent and doing nothing. In many ways, we’ve been a silent generation while the generation coming behind us runs headlong toward a cliff.
It is a common problem to overlook issues that do not show up on your door step and assume they have no bearing on you. The drug problem isn’t my drug problem so long as my son or daughter doesn’t abuse them. The crisis involving youth committing suicide, though devastating to the families affected, has no relevance to me unless it is a young person I know. The epidemic of juvenile arrests and incarceration is simply bad news on TV.
The problem with that kind of thinking is that, as a community, what happens to one of us affects all of us. Youth issues invade every school system, public and private. The issues of sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol experimentation, teen depression and suicide are not limited to those suffering from physical abuse, poverty or other social, economic, or racial stigmas. These issues are not just affecting a fringe group of youth today: its impacting all of our children.
We have become a culture of individuals that hide behind closed doors and pretend to not know about the horrors happening just outside. We cringe when we hear about a school shooting, all the while completely underestimating the exact same kind of damage that is being done slowly, over time, in every school in our country simply because we as parents and leaders are failing to engage our young people in meaningful, transparent relationships. This is not an overstatement. It is actually that bad.

How Do We Correct The Problem?

It is time we recognize that this is going to take an across the board community approach.  The education system alone cannot fix this problem.  Government agencies cannot resolve the challenges by themselves.  Businesses are not designed to handle the issues but they cannot survive without a workforce.   We, as a community of individuals and families are creating the issues that are thrown at all sectors of society, and then expecting them to fix it.  Governments, schools, businesses, churches, are simply ill-equipped to handle the enormity of the problems that have come due to decades of neglect.  The issues are destroying all of us, individuals, families, and communities alike, from the inside out.
Ironically, we often think that by making more noise we can make change happen, so we rail against the problems we see, acting as trumpets of judgment. We call out the wrongdoers and condemn them to suffer the consequences of their reprehensible behavior. And that, somehow, is what we believe it will take to change the state of things. The truth is love changes things: not hate. By being the voice that shouts against a youth culture that threatens us with their insensible clothing and deplorable music, we have further alienated the very ones we believe need help. We have driven them away, deeper into their despondency and lack of respect. Then we wonder why they do not listen to what we say or take our morals seriously. Perhaps it is because we have failed to do the same for them.
So since we have created this mud puddle, it means, we have to be the ones to take action.  This starts as individuals, families, and then ultimately, as a community.  Mother Teresa said; “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
John Donne in his poem, No Man Is An Island, made this point when he wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.  Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.  And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls’ it tolls for thee.
His words, like that of Mother Teresa are a call to action.  No man is an island, and alone, we cannot change the world, but we can make a change in the life of one.  It is not always someone else who is going to take action in the neighborhood, at some point, that someone has to be me.
This is our community. These are our children. This is our problem.
The good news is, as a community we can make a difference. The problem’s aren’t simply going to go away, but we have what we need to make change happen. We have each other. We have a cultural history of coming together to overcome the odds, to embrace justice, to proclaim liberty. And there’s never been a more promising or worthwhile cause to fight for than our youth.

Where Do I Start?

Change starts with one. That means change starts with you. It starts with me. Change starts when we choose to not be blind but instead to look at the truth, no matter how ugly or hateful, so that we understand exactly what it is we are up against. It starts when one person takes the hand of another person, and one becomes two, two becomes a few, a few become many, and many become a force that cannot be denied. Change starts as we act together, putting aside differences, and joining together in unity to make change happen.
Unless we are willing to invest the time and energy needed to build a relationship with a family, a child – even our own – we will not see long term success.
If everyone of us found one life to invest in, one family or child in which to truly commit to being a present source of encouragement and strength to, imagine the difference that would make. You cannot save the world. You cannot even save your own local community, but you can help one other person. That’s how change happens. That’s how it has always happened. It starts with one. The question is who is your one?
Transformation is Kingdom work.  For the Glory of God, we are seeking to minister hope and life so to have influenced the world when we leave.  Let the legacy of this generation be that we were a group of individuals, families, and communities that made a lasting change.

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Internet technology concept
Aug 27, 2013

Real Teens Talk: Technology

Where do you think your children are doing the most learning? Is it from you? Their teachers? Or are they learning from the internet? While the internet is a great tool that has allowed us clear off our book shelves from those 26 volumes of the encyclopedia that we used to have to dig through to write an essay for school, it has also opened up a world of limitless knowledge that is not always beneficial.
Hear how one young man learned some skills on the internet that led him down a path that neither he nor his parents could have ever imagined.

Tips for keeping your child safe online and on their phone

  1. Just because every 7, 8, or 9 year old on the block has a cell phone does not entitle your child to one. Wait until they have demonstrated that they have the maturity to handle the technology in their hands.
  2. Check, check, check the browsing history on your home computer and cell phones that your child uses to ensure that they are not viewing inappropriate content. (HINT If the history has been cleared, then your child is probably trying to hide something. This is a HUGE red flag!)
  3. Read your child’s text messages and browse through their photos. Build a relationship that allows your child to understand and embrace transparency.
  4. Have “unplugged” time as a family. Walk away from the computers, collect the cell phones and iPads and put them in a drawer. Take some time as a family to do activities that do not require electronic devices.
  5. Become an expert at any electronic device that your child uses. It seems as if children are born with an innate ability to operate any electronic device that we put in front of them today. (You’ve seen them, the 2 year old in the stroller playing games on an iPad or iPhone.) If you don’t understand how to use a device or the potential dangers that they possess, don’t allow your child to use it.

What tips do you have for keeping your child safe on computers, cell phones, or other devices?

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Tropical Sunset
Aug 22, 2013

Freedom Unappreciated

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

As I stand looking over the mournful sand beaches of Normandy, I tear up at the very thought of what transpired on these beaches 57 years ago, Not many miles even yards inland are many cemeteries where the fallen martyrs of the righteous cause of freedom are interred with hundreds of rows of crosses marking where their bodies have been taken from the shallow waters, sand, cliffs, and hedgerows of Normandy. As a soldier who has served in battle and war I have a sense of camaraderie with these valiant, fallen young warriors. And I mourn even more for the young generations in America and around the world that know nothing about the sacrifice, and simply do not care that they have and enjoy freedom, while  not appreciating how they got it. They won’t until it is taken from them!
The experts of education have chosen not to dwell on the bloody cost of freedom in the past which allows us so much to treasure today, even while it is dribbling through our hands like so much sand in a sieve. Hence millions are growing up with no genuine knowledge of what took place here in Normandy, and in other wars required to pay the cost of freedom and the releasing of captives from oppression, a command and desire of our Lord. There are so many heart rending stories connected to the destruction and defeat of fascism and its evil perpetrators all across Europe, Asia and the Pacific that they are still being written a half century later. But the young do not read them; their minds and hearts are in the pit of despair, which they call by their illusionary names, fun and entertainment with no accountability, until it reaches up and grabs them by the throat. It is not that we do not enjoy the fruits of freedom, but we must do so with a gratefulness and appreciation for what it cost, and the awareness and vigilance to preserve it. Such does not really exist today, so we are well on the way to losing it.
As I walk these beaches and ridges and stare up at the cliffs, climbed with supreme bravery by American Rangers in the face of withering fire from the German enemy and death for most, I realize that others may see them only as beaches and hills with little significance.  A few miles up the coast at Deauville and La Cote Fleurie the sunbathers and sun-worshippers enjoy the good life, never appreciating the blood spilled on these beaches a few miles west which has made their free life possible. Read of the stories of life under oppression before freedom was bought back and captives were set free; especially those of Jewish descent who faced horrors unimaginable and those complicit to their incarceration built up guilt upon guilt for their silence. These beaches mean so much more to me than the many who see nothing but sand and sea. Because of my knowledge of what took place here I read a wholly different story into the view spread before me. The knowledge of the past causes a gratefulness to spring up in my heart for what I and millions of others today have been given by those who sacrificed their life at such a young age for the precious treasure of freedom. I deeply appreciate what happened here and the cost that was paid. Such appreciation is what is required to hang on to it. It simply is not there today and this younger generation is poorer for the lack of it. They will likely see in their lifetime its loss.
Physical freedom is a marvelous benefit for any life; who can deny it. But spiritual freedom is far greater than one can possibly imagine, and it can never be taken away once one possesses it. This too cost blood as the blood spilt into the sands of Normandy. The blood shed on the cross of Calvary by the Savior extends to people from every tribe, language, race, and nation and never loses its power as Normandy has. Thank God that while the memory of Normandy quickly fades the cross of Christ after 2000 years still shines gloriously in the hearts upon whom God has set his penetrating sights. Normandy touches my heart, but Calvary cleanses it and preserves it forever!

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Aug 21, 2013

What has gone wrong with us as men?

What has gone wrong with us as men? The list of horrific events done by men, from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Newton, is becoming too long.  At the hands of boys we see unthinkable acts.  Which begs the question, what has gone wrong?
An article in the Washington Times titled, Fathers disappear from households across America highlighted these points:

  • 1 in 3 children live without a father (that’s 15 million children)
  • Vincent DiCaro, Vice President of the National Fatherhood Initiate summed up a number of societal woes by saying this:
    • “Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.  People look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do, is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’  And the answer is often it’s because the child lacks a responsible and involved father.”

The connections are self-evident to the honest observer of the data.  The connection between our nature and what is nurture is undeniable.  Human beings crave relationship.  Relationship comes from intimacy.  So our natural human desire for intimacy is nurtured through relationships.  Intimacy implies many things but at the most basic level, it is the foundation for security and protection.  It is in the home, the family, that we develop an identity.  Families provide us with moral, social, and economic support.  And whether you have a good or bad family, an intact or broken home, we share this in common: we all have parents.  It seems however that we have forgotten that a critical part of being a parent is actually being there and engaging in a relationship.
There are many reasons we are not engaged at home as men.  We can blame depictions on TV and in other areas that show us to be buffoons, but we all know that is not who men really are.  Men can even say that we are confused about our role: are we the provider, a nurturer, or simply a knucklehead?  But is that truly honest.  The result of the confusion, criticism, and depictions is that men, like all people, distance themselves from what they are insecure about.
Men provide may reasons for distancing ourselves.  They sound like this:

  • I’m tired when I come home from work.
  • I work so hard to try and help my family get ahead that I simply don’t have the time.
  • I don’t know how to connect with my child; we are so different.
  • I watch TV so I can escape the pressure.

Whatever the reason or excuse, men are distancing themselves from the family, and the consequences are dire.  We could cite endless statistics that support the cultural consequences of disengaged fathers.  So, whether it is weariness, selfishness, exhaustion, laziness, or simply escapism, ultimately the role of the father cannot be one of being unengaged.  So what is the role of the father in the home?

  1. To provide an example:
    • To initially understand the importance of this, it is important to know that son means example of.  So when we hear someone say John is the son of Henry, we are saying that John is the example of Henry.  Men are the examples of their fathers.  For wives then it is important to understand that husbands are merely the examples of their fathers.
    • So men set an example to their children, families, and others in the community.
  2. To be a provider:
    • This is not solely financial.
    • It is also a moral and social provider.
    • Time is one of the most important things you can provide your child.
  3. To be involved:
    • This does not simply mean attending a baseball game or a trip to Disneyland.
    • Involvement requires intentional relationship and interaction.  It is more than the cursory question of “How was your day?”  Intentional involvement requires time, looking through schoolwork, engaging with your child’s teachers, communicating with your spouse on what each other is seeing in your child.
  4. To praise:
    • A father needs to not just praise success.  Praise effort, not just success.  If all a child hears is praise when they succeed and silence when they don’t, then their effort in both situations is ignored.
    • Don’t simply tell them all the time how good they are.  Goodness is overrated.  Praise the positive qualities you see in them.  Tell your son or daughter what makes them unique.  Each child has their own unique talents so learn your child’s talents.

A closing comment was once made at the end of a familySTRONG conference we held by a mother of 3 and what she said was this: “You can talk till you’re blue in the face about how to do it, but ultimately, you just have to do it.”

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Aug 20, 2013

What is Influence?

Simply put, influence is something you do. Words are not enough. If communication and information truly changed us, we would be the most changed generation in the history of mankind. It is not enough for us to instruct our children and assume that they are going to “do it right. Something else must compel them.
So what is compelling youth today? Is it a strong work ethic or is it the culture. What compels youth today is what they see around them.  The world around them screams of instant gratification. It is not the world they created. This culture was created by others before them.  They are merely walking out what they have seen and been given.
So, when we as adults say we want to teach youth the value of work, how can they possibly find it compelling when they have been given everything they want, have decisions made for them, are taught little responsibility, and offered no clear example of what is expected? Simply saying I want to teach my child the value of work is not enough.
If a parent is a hard worker but gives everything to their child, what has the bigger influence? Do they learn by experience or by what they see? It is a combination of our words, our actions, and what they experience. This is what influences them.
When Jesus was being questioned regarding eternal life, his accuser asked Him about the law and how He interpreted it. Christ’s response is known as the Golden Rule as He answered by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. The answer to the question is compelling. The standard of behavior is clear, which leads to accountability. That accountability is our personal responsibility. The choice in how we act will influence others. That is how it works in life. It is how it takes shape in parenting.

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apocalyptic sunset.
Aug 15, 2013

Is This Community?

What does community look like? Clearly we are not living in a day in which we can say “All is well.”  Currently there are 6.5 million teens and adults not in school or working. By 2020, America will not have enough qualified workers to fill the demands of the workforce. These problems affect all of us, and can only be solved if we work together!The value of a changed life is priceless, but we need your help to make change possible! Share this video and help us spread the word that Change Starts With One!
Signup to keep up to date on how you can how you can make an impact in your community!

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Back to school
Aug 15, 2013

Parenting Tips for Heading Back to School

Are your children heading back to school after summer?  Here are some parenting tips that are good at anytime but with a new school year upon us, here is some advice on setting up new routines for heading back to school:
Make time for breakfast

We’ve all heard it; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It’s not just the energy breakfast provides for the day but it helps our focus.  In addition, it gives a time to sit together and create a positive expectation for the day.  Our mood is impacted not only by our nutrition but by the tone with how we start the day.  If we are hurried from the moment our feet hit the floor, it impacts everyone else around us as well.

Plan ahead

Teach your children that everything has a place.  By having a spot where there backpacks, school books, and other items go establishes order.  It also makes life easier if at the end of every day, your son or daughter prepares everything they will need for the next day.  Having them put away and prepare their own belongings teaches them that they are responsible and accountable for what they need.  Plus, it takes one less stress off the next morning.

Be deliberate in choosing after school activities

This is not just for your children, but also for parents who need to avoid overload.  Don’t sacrifice quality time together for keeping your son or daughter involved in activities that cause you to compromise time you could invest in their lives and in your family.

Laugh together

Just laugh and have fun.  Being able to laugh in life is not only a stress reliever, it is simply good medicine.  “A joyful heart is good medicine.  But a broken spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

Create some space for you

Alleviate your own stress by making sure you have some time just for you.  Make time for your devotional.  Grab a cup of coffee.  Exercise.  Go somewhere in the house where you can read.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself!

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Women holding and playing their sacred drums outdoors in the wintertime
Aug 15, 2013

First Love

“To the church in Ephesus write: ‘Yet, I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

The church in Ephesus is no slouch as a church. Read Revelation 2 and see the commendations Jesus gives this church.  Actually quite impressive! So what does it mean when Jesus tells them they have left their first love? This is a complaint the Lord must have against many well-meaning Christians; hard workers in the church’s mission, which cause them to think all is right in their Christian walk. So the whole concept of leaving your first love needs examination and evaluation in all of us. In using this phraseology in some recent email conversations, I have had Christian friends get angry with my using these words of Jesus to describe some other Christians. They said I had no right to do that. Such judgment is reserved for Jesus alone, and they took the words to mean that Christians so accused of this had actually left the faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus’ words are written to serious minded Christians who according to God’s Word cannot lose their salvation if they have once been regenerated. Jesus is about purifying His church. And this criticism he speaks is truly worth your and my attention.
Forsaking your first love means that God and your love for Him and His commandments have been supplanted by some other “love. He may be second or even third, but He is not first! The other “love in your actions receives higher approbation. You accede to that choice rather than giving the highest priority and obedience to the Lord. As a citizen a Christian may vote for a political figure whose announced policies and actions are in direct denial of God’s commandments; and continue to support that elected official even when he doubles down on those evil policies. The “first love that such Christians exercise is that something about that candidate is more important to them than God’s commandments. They may say, “Oh, I believe in God’s commandments personally, but I still must vote for someone for a reason I hold dear even when he egregiously promotes those policies and makes them the law of the land; so that the general public is led to disobey God’s commandments as well; but still that is not my personal belief. This is truly disingenuous and the criticism of such Christians holds: they have left their first love, while not the faith. Still grievous damage is done to others and to the testimony of God’s church by their choices.
We leave our first love when our time, verbal and personal action support, resources, and talents are not devoted to the Lord and His Word as first priority. The Holy Spirit sends us many tests in creating situations in which we must make decisions. God knows our heart and the thinking process we put into arriving at our choices. Make no doubt about it, God is not mocked, we cannot pull the wool over his eyes. He knows what goes into our decisions and individual choices. It is here our first love is tested and proved for what it truly is. And it is in these decisions and choices that we are most liable to leave our first love for another. Each must evaluate in light of God’s Holy Word where he or she stands in their decision making. Believe me when I say that every Christian is given situations to prove or disprove where their first love lies.
There is always a solution for every child of God.  Jesus tells us in this letter to the Ephesian church: repent, that is acknowledge your poor choice and turn from it. Do again what you should have done before; do the righteous thing whatever the personal cost. This is returning to our first and highest love and letting the chips fall where they may; chips of popularity, exclusion by others, sacrifices, whatever it takes to show our first love is our Savior, and we are willing to bear that cost. Love is a costly thing in any relationship. It requires sacrifice and priorities. It is not without meaning that the term “labor of love fits in love relationships.  We may well have many loves, but as a disciple of Christ one’s intent and striving is to rise above them all. Who is genuinely your first love, not just in words but in the decisions and actions of your life?

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