Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

a lover’s leap — July 20, 2022

a lover’s leap

When my future wife Sharie, first saw me, I was a musician with thick, kinky, red hair that went down to the middle of my back and a beard that made me look like I had the mange.  She was not interested. 

Months later I had been groomed.  Then she was interested, but I was not.  I thought she might be attracted to a musician instead of me.

In the meantime, I had vainly dated several girls and we clashed.

One day, I thought, “The ancient Jewish culture had an advantage. Parents assisted in match making and they were equipped with an objective perspective of their kids.”

God had blessed me with a Christian couple, Les and Jacquie Zartman, who had been like parents to me – and knew me well.  Through the years, they only had but one comment to make about my dating life.  They told me I should get to know Sharie Scott. 

Oh my!  Sharie?  We happened to work at the same place.  So even though I didn’t feel it at the time, by faith, I asked her out.

We had dinner, then played board games with friends.  I was pleased with evening.

That Monday, work was slow, so the boss happened to assign just Sharie and me to remodel the break trailer. 

I was done playing the dating game, so I gave her the third degree, while we worked.

By Friday, my former indifference had morphed into a passionate desire to make her my wife.  She was the one I knew that I needed to marry.

God taught me a lot about love through this experience.

– Love is a decision

It was the counsel of friends that caused me to do a 180 with Sharie.  Love begins with a decision.  That’s why Jesus could say “Love your enemies.”  (Luke 6:27) He treated love as if it were a function of the will.  

Love is sustained by choices as well.   Every day and through every season of life – we must choose again to love that person to whom we are pledged.

– Love is a verb

Past experiences taught me that what I got out of a relationship was proportionate to what I put into it.  I had been putting next to nothing in – so the relationships were lame.

With Sharie, I engaged.  I took her to dinner and shared her company with my friends.  We talked non-stop for a week (a big stretch for me) I bought her a crock pot. (seriously).  I found ways to serve her, though my heart had not yet caught up.  (That took a whole week!)

In Luke 6:27, Jesus continued, “Do good (even) to those who hate you.”  Whether we feel it or not – we need to do the work of love.

– Love is a skill that needs to be learned

Paul instructed older women to teach younger women how to love their husbands and children. (Titus 2:4)

Love is a skill that needs to be learned.  As a 20 something, I knew I was ignorant, so I read my Bible and I watched my mentors and learned. 

– The feelings of love are the fruit of the work of love. 

I had decided to pursue Sharie and actively invest in and love her.  The emotions followed.  The feelings of love became the fruit of the work of love.

We married 6 months after that first date.  And recently celebrated 45 years together.  She is my best friend and the love of my life and there is no one I would rather be with.

Love is a decision.  Is there someone that you need to choose to love today?   Or maybe rechoose to love?   Love is a verb:  No time for coasting – reengage and serve that one you love. Love is a skill that needs to be learned.  Read a book.  Find a mentor.  Through every era of life, new skills will need to be learned.

A PRAYER: Lord continue to teach us how to love as You love.

This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 

Bible references from the NETBible ®

manatease! — June 27, 2019


Jim Johnson

The family was basking in the sultry waters off St. Petersburg Beach.  Our insatiably curious nine-year-old grandson was towing his Styrofoam boogie board through the surf.  His grandma was nearby to keep an eye on him.   

There was some commotion beyond him.  An aggregation of playful manatees had been spotted by some swimmers.  (An aggregation is manatee-speak for group – kind of like a congregation but better swimmers).  He began to furiously plow his way through the pounding waves, but then realized his grandma would love to see them too.  So, he yelled for her, “Mamo, there are some manatees.  Let’s go.”  He was all about manatees. 

On the drive to Florida we had talked about maybe seeing a manatee.  The family had fun exchanging original manatee jokes.  “How does a manatee start his car?”  With a manaKey!   “What does a manatee do for fun?”  ManaSki!  “What does a manatee do in the bathroom?  Wrong!  He takes a manaShower! 

A manatee really is something to see.  He is typically close to thirteen feet long and weighs about thirteen hundred lbs.  He has two flippers, a big paddle for a tail, folds of flesh, deep set eyes and a puffy forlorn looking face. 

An elephant, his closest relative, beats a manatee in the looks department hands down.   I sometimes wonder if the manatee was the last animal that God created.  Maybe He began with a big mass of grey flesh, shaped up its bulging form but then said, “I’m tired – that’s good enough.” 

One thing for sure, the boy was determined to see those creatures and to share the experience with his grandma.  She saw the people gathered near the manatees, but she also saw the relentless white capped waves that were coming her way.  She figured that they would be aggregating in Texas by the time she got out there. 

She tried anyway.  She pushed through the waves, wiping the salt from her eyes, while grandson bobbed around her like a cork on the water. But, it just wasn’t happening.   She stopped and began to turn in defeat when he pleaded, “Please Mamo, come on.  Please.  You can get on my boogie board and I will pull you.” 

Oh my! What a picture that conjures up?   An impossible task for him, to be sure. 

I wonder if that’s what Paul meant when he said, “love believes all things?”  (1 Cor. 13:7)  NET Bible® Out of his love for his mammo and the urge to share the moment with her, he believed he could and would tow her to the destination.   

An amazing love – the kind of love that may be the missing ingredient of life! 

Her husband was a hard man and she decided that she could not endure him any longer.  The marriage hung on for another 18 months, but it was really over the moment she failed to believe that things could change.  

He was a jerk!  He sure was, but what might happen if she were to possess a love that believed all things? 

What if she believed 1 Peter 3:1-2 which says that a wife can win a jerk of a husband over without nagging or coercion, but by the Christlike way in which she relates to him? 

What if she believed that the presence of Christ within her, could empower her to love him even though it felt impossible?

What if she were to accept by faith that God’s design for marriage is “till death do we part” and that God, the one who brought them together, would do His part to help them repair what was broken?    

What if she believed that her husband could become the husband and father he needed to be, once Christ took hold of his life? 

What if she were to believe the crazy idea that God could actually rekindle a fire in her heart for her husband? 

If only her love were to believe all things!

My grandson didn’t have the muscle, but he sure had the heart.  His grandma had a heart too and it melted before such devotion.  So, she turned and moved again toward the creatures but not before they began to move toward her.  And they met.  And they played together.  And then they moved on.  Texas was waiting.

His love prevailed.  Yours can too!

%d bloggers like this: