What a difference a year makes

The final earthly hours of Jesus’ life are laid out in the Book of John. It is in these passages where the Lord gives a pair of new commandments that form the basis of the Christian faith.

1.     You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and greatest commandment.

2.     [39] And the second is like unto it, you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Before we go further, we want all of you to know one thing. We get it. We do. We know the struggles you have daily. We know because we have them, too.

We are human. We are weak. We fail. We fail daily. Hourly in some cases. But at the base of everything we do as humans (those of us trying to do better in a world that only wants our rot and ruin) we must continue to remember these two passages and commands from the Prince of Peace.

Our lives can change drastically in an instant. The change can be good, but many times we think of it as terrible. People don’t like change because they fear the unknown and don’t consider the opportunity. Change presents opportunities that can be terrifying but also wonderful if we just search for their purpose.

Chris would now like to share the rest of this month’s message. As you read, please take note of the chances change can bring to you. Look where you’d never look before. Consider what you’ve never considered before.

What a Difference a Year Makes:

Over the course of a year, my Christian life has drastically changed for the better. I have truly become a non-apologetic, unabashed Christian man that only says “Yes Sir” to whatever the Lord tells me to do. I no longer consider the cost, the stress, the persecution, what people think. All I say is “Yes Sir.”

I had a “Yes Sir” moment a couple weeks ago when I was stacking lumber with a man who was in a work-release program. It was about 187 degrees, and he didn’t look happy and was soaking wet from sweat.

Something told me to ask this man if he would like a Bible. I don’t argue anymore about these sometimes very hard hitting and aggressive assignments that God gives me, but I still get butterflies from time to time.

I asked and he thought for a few seconds.

“I had a Bible at my mom’s house in Alexandria,” he told me and went back to loading boards.

We worked in silence and the sweat was pouring. A bit later, he said in a reflective tone, “I may never see that Bible again. Can I still get one from you?”

I went to my truck and brought back one of our nice, leather-bound Givem Jesus Bibles. It’s emblazoned with Webster Parish Men of Courage imprinted in gold. He looked at the Bible and asked me if my name was Chris Plants.

Turns out I had already given the man’s cellmate a copy. Since I gave that first copy, the cellmate had done nothing but sit and study the Word. My new friend said he had seen a change in his cell mate and that he wanted to make reading the Bible part of his own life.

God placed two different men in my path. Both men are incarcerated and cellmates. I met them in different ways, but I was able to speak to them just the same. This wasn’t a coincidence.

The Lord is always there. He’s always whispering to us. We just have to say, “yes sir.” And after we do that, we must love others the same way He loved us.

(Chris Plants is a founding member of Webster Parish Men of Courage. Their mission is to encourage, equip, and empower the Men of God to become spiritual leaders in their home, local church, community, and workplace. Webster Parish is now home to a Women of Courage chapter as well as Families of Courage.)

(Josh Beavers is an award-winning journalist who has five times been recognized for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association. At one time, he was editor of The Good News, a weekly publication that shared information about local churches and men and women of God.)

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