January 2019   
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Kissing your brother
Now to the other reason I celebrate July.  My older brother, Johnny was born on the 19th, two and a half years before me.  He became my best friend—his friends were my friends, those he accepted, I accepted, those he didn't trust, I didn't trust.  But that doesn't mean we got along together at all times.  As a matter of fact, when we were younger, many of our spankings from Dad came because we were fighting… and got caught.  I don't know what it is that makes brothers who love each other get to the point where they will "duke it out" but it would occur occasionally in our relationship.  The results?  Most times, discipline from our parents as they tried to teach us how to disagree without resorting to violence.  One of the horrible things Momma would do for punishment was make us "kiss and make up"…YUCK!  Kissing your brother was the worst!  Then she would remind us that if we didn't, Dad would use the belt on our behinds instead.  That nasty kiss was much more tolerable than the belt.  But, regardless of how or even whether we were punished, our love for each other and our joy of playing together never diminished.  That love was greater than our aggravations or angers.  I learned through the friendship and joy of sharing my life with my brother the Biblical truth "love never fails".  Isn't this how it is supposed to be in the Kingdom of God?  We become brothers and sisters in Christ by adoption through Jesus Christ.  So… when we get aggravated or hurt by a brother or sister in Christ, shouldn't we "kiss and make up"?  If not, we may find ourselves the recipient of our Father's discipline.  "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."  Hebrews 12:5-6