Blessed Are the Tears~

You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
             You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8, NLT

Here in sunny southern New Mexico, the weather is usually, well…………..sunny! Not today, however. The skies are dark. Rain is falling and thunder is clapping in celebratory  fashion. And me, I’m applauding right along with the thunder! It’s been so long since we were blessed with rain, I am thrilled with the change in our weather.

The welcome moisture has not only cleaned the dust from the air, but filled it with a wonderfully fresh aroma. No more stale air, here! And surprisingly, despite the gloomy darkness, everyone I meet seems upbeat, revived and rejuvenated. It is as though the rain has left the whole town feeling new and alive again. It’s amazing what a few good raindrops can do!

The same can be said about tears. Yes, tears. So often we try to keep our life sunny – free of overcast skies and teardrops. We somehow feel tears will only ruin our day and get everything in our life soggy. How, like the rain, we should welcome the “rainy times” of our lives.

The song, Blessed are The Tears, by Christian recording artist Bryan Duncan, speaks so deeply to my heart, especially on rainy days. The chorus to the song is:

Blessed are the tears that fall

Clean the windows of the soul

And usher in a change of heart

And bring a joy that angels know

Blessed are the tears that fall

Wash the stains of life away

Forgiven and forgotten now

A new creation’s here to stay

Blessed are the tears that fall

Tears, like the rain, can do wonders to wash the dust, the hurt, and the stale air out of our life. They are also God’s way of bringing much-needed healing and refreshment to a heart that has become parched from the winds and heat of life.

Are you experiencing a rainy time in your life right now?  If so, don’t draw the curtains of your soul and hide inside until the storm passes.  Instead, walk out into the downpour, leaving your umbrella safely tucked in your hall closet.  Feel the drops. Let them soak all the way down to the deepest place of your heart.   As God waters your spirit with His forgiveness, His peace, His hope, His love and His joy, you will see new life start to sprout up where only despair and gloom once tried to take root.  Welcome this season into your life and allow it to renew you and revive you.

Heavenly Father,  Thank you for loving us enough to send the rain into our lives.  Thank you, too,  for tears…tears that cleanse and heal, tears that refresh and revive.  Help us not to miss the blessings you have lovingly placed into each and every tear. We praise you for your goodness.  We praise you for each and every shower of blessing.  In Jesus’ name, Amen~

Have You Seen My Joy?

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY [emphasis mine] set before him endured the cross Hebrews 12:2

As I child, I never really liked playing Hide-n-Seek. Well, that’s not entirely true. I thoroughly enjoyed hiding, but when it came my time to do the seeking, I would always suggest a game of Hopscotch. Don’t get me wrong. I’m more than willing to hold up my end of a game. If I hide, I need to take my turn seeking. I get that. But for some odd reason, not knowing where to look, made me feel anxious and uneasy.

Sherlock Holmes, I am not, and I don’t get the tiniest bit of pleasure out of a “good” mystery. If I am looking for something, or in this case, someone, I want to know exactly where to look. I want a map with a big, bright red “X” marking the spot. But, hide-n-seek doesn’t work that way. It’s all about the hunt; followed by the excitement you feel when you discover your friend hiding in the last place you would ever have thought to look.

Once I gave my heart to Christ and His precious Holy Spirit came to live inside me, I began to discover the fruit of the Spirit in my life. As I allowed the Spirit to take control, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control became evident at different times and places in my Christian walk. Joy, however, seemed to be hiding from me.

But how could this be? Wasn’t it supposed to be in my life, too? Although separate and unique, these characteristics of Christ are one. After all, they are known as the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruits of the spirit. So…where was my joy? Believe it or not, when I finally found it, it was in the last place I would ever have thought to look.

Following Christ, I soon discovered, is not an easy thing to do. This spiritual journey requires much from those who would choose to walk the walk, and not simply talk the talk. To be true followers of Christ, we must be willing to give Christ our all…and this requires sacrifice, and death. Yes, even death.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 (King James Version)

In order for Christ to live fully in and through me, I must die. You must die, too. As children of the Most High God, we are called upon to take up our cross daily, denying self and surrendering all to God. This process of becoming a new creature in Christ is excruciatingly painful. Death never comes without tears of sorrow.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5 (King James Version)

Tears. What an unlikely place to discover my joy, and yet, that is exactly where I keep finding it. As I surrender my will to the will of my Father, I pass through a valley of tears. Yet, on the other side of this dark place, I discover true joy.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory 1 Peter 1 6-8. (King James Version)

Unlike the game of Hide-n-Seek, God has been faithful to map out the way for us. The blood stained cross of Calvary clearly marks the spot where our joy is found. Imagine the thrill of my discovery when I finally found God’s precious gift of joy in my tears of surrender. Kneeling at the foot of the cross, I exchange my tears of sorrow for tears of joy. It is here, I find joy unspeakable.

Heavenly Father, You love us more than we can possibly even imagine or fully comprehend.  Your ways are not our ways, and yet they are perfectly perfect.  Thank you for looking beyond the cross to see the joy.  Fill us with your precious Holy Spirit that we may have the strength to take up our cross, too.  Help us to be willing to die for you, to surrender our pride, our self-reliance, our stubbornness, our  very self.  In our surrender, may we truly be crucified with you (Galatians 2:20), daily taking up our cross and following you.  Through our tears, may we always have a clear vision of you and your love, and the joy that is sure to follow. In Jesus’ name, Amen~

4 Year Olds, Santa, and the Desires of our Heart~

Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Several years ago, when God opened the door for me to be a nanny to a family with three young boys, I was looking through a Christmas catalog with my four-year old friend.  As he turned each page,  he would excitedly point to several pictures and exclaim, “Oh, I want that!  And look, Stacy!  I want that, too!  And, that!  Oh, wow!”   No wonder this catalog is so often referred to as a “wish book”.  This youngster was wishing with all of his heart.  With each page turned, his voice grew louder and his excitement uncontainable.

We finally reached the last page and to my companion’s surprise, I was now the one voicing a wish.

“Oh look, Walt!  A pink Barbie Mustang convertible!!!!!  That’s what I want for Christmas!”

“Stac”, came his quick reply, “We have a problem.  I’M not Santa!”

He was correct, of course.  He definitely wasn’t Santa.  But then again… neither is God.

As Walt and I sat on the couch, perusing the Christmas catalog, we weren’t thinking about Santa.  We were only thinking about our wants and wishes.  The only reason Santa had even been brought into the living room that day by way of  our conversation was because Santa was the one Walt was counting on to fulfill all his wishes.  Sadly, Walt’s thoughts of Santa had nothing to do with Santa at all and everything to do with what Santa could give him.

I have a feeling I don’t need to type another word.  Like me, you can already hear the Spirit of God whispering to your heart.

So often, we treat God as though He were Santa.  The only time we think of Him is when we are in need (or want!).  Our focus becomes consumed with the blessing, the healing, the answer, the need.  We only stop to think of God or stop to pray because we are hoping He will be the one to fulfill our desire.  We are only seeking His hand, the gifts He can give, and not His face, who He is.

Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Desires.  You and I have plenty of desires, but are these “desires” really what our heart is desperately seeking?  Are they really what will make us happy or fill the void deep down in the innermost part of our being?  Will they bring lasting  joy and happiness?

Walt didn’t need anything from that catalog and I certainly didn’t need a pink Barbie mustang convertible.  No doubt, these things would have brought us happiness,  for the  moment at least, but  before long, we both would  be  thumbing  our way through yet another catalog in search of new “desires”.

But….when we delight ourself in the Lord and love Him for who HE IS, and not what we can get from Him, something truly miraculous happens. 

As we seek Him and learn of His ways, we start to discover what we have been searching for all along.  The more His face comes into focus, the more our desires, the true desires of our heart, come into focus, too.

We discover ALL WE NEED and ALL WE WANT are found in Jesus.  He becomes our EVERYTHING.

As we turn the pages of His Word, we find our self getting more and more excited with each new revelation of His character.  Each page finds us shouting, “Look!  I want to be like that!   Oh, and, look!  I want to shine like that! Wow!  Take a look at that!  That’s what I want in my life.  I want to be just like YOU, Lord!”

And guess what? 

Jesus…in His awesome love,  wondrous mercy and amazing grace,  grants us the desires of our heart. 

As we seek His face, our entire life, our entire being is filled to overflowing with HIM.

He’s not Santa, and I am so glad He isn’t. 

He is SO MUCH MORE. 

 He is our ALL in ALL!

It is Jesus that is the desire of my heart~

Heavenly Father, Thank you that you love us the way that you do. You know us inside out, backwards and forwards. You know what we truly need. Help us to turn our eyes upon you. Help us to gaze upon your wondrous face. Let us not seek you for selfish gain, but rather may we seek you to gain our real self….the self you created us to be, the self you created in your very own image. As we turn the pages of your Word, may we always be filled with excitement and wonder at who you are. May our desire always be…to be just like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen~


The Voice of My Father~

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

My father passed away over six years ago, and yet, at times, it seems as though time has stood still since I saw him last.  In my mind’s eye, I can still see him sitting out on the back porch.  His legs are crossed:  one leg resting atop one knee.  And of course, punctuating those long legs of his, cowboy boots. One arm is resting on the arm rest, while the other one, bent at the elbow, is providing his head with a bit of rest, too. 

While I vividly recall his mannerisms and gentle ways, it is the words he spoke to me that I remember most.  I think this is because he was a man of few words.  Even now,  I hear his voice of instruction, guidance, humor and spunk.

In winter:  Don’t forget to pack a sleeping bag in the trunk of your car.

In summer:  If you get a flat tire, make sure when you pull over you aren’t parking on tall, dry grass.  You wouldn’t want to start a fire.  Oh….and watch for snakes.

In fall:  Isn’t that the prettiest harvest moon you have ever seen?

In spring:  Watch for snakes. (Snakes seemed to be on his mind a lot).  The weather is getting warm and they’ll be coming out.

In conversation in our home:  Talk nice.

When traveling:  Don’t drive too fast.

After dinner:  How about warming us a piece of that peach cobbler and putting a little shot of ice cream on it?

When shopping:  Let’s just pop in here for a minute and see what they have.

When someone in our family was angry:  Why are you mad at me?  I didn’t throw any rocks at your dog.

When referring to me:  How’s Daddy’s Darlin’?

It is these phrases, these words, that now give me comfort, keep me packing a sleeping bag in my trunk during the cold months of winter, and smiling. 

It is no different with my Heavenly Father.  Every day, in my heart, I hear his voice speaking to me, too.

In relationships:  Love another as I have loved you.

In trials:  Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

In decision-making: Acknowledge me and I will direct your paths.

In my mistakes:  Confess your sins to me and I will forgive you.

In my fears:  I didn’t give you a spirit of fear.  I gave you love, power and a sound mind.

In my day-to-day life:  I am with you always.

I am so thankful for the gift God gave me in my earthly father.  His wisdom and love guide me still.  Yet, I am most thankful for my Heavenly Father, the giver of all good gifts, the one who knows me better than I know myself.  It is HIS voice that leads me into the paths of righteousness.  It is his voice that will lead me to my eternal home.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of fathers.  How blessed I was to have such an extraordinary man to call “Daddy”.  Thank you that his words and his memory are still alive in my heart.  As I strive to live my life in a way that would make him proud, may I follow your words and listen to your commands.  You alone can save me.  You alone can lead me in the way you have prepared for me before the foundation of the world.  Thank you that I hear your voice.  Help me to always listen and follow.  I love you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen~

Beyond Frustration~

But He giveth more grace; therefore He saith, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. James 4:6-8

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out. 

As the confrontation heated up, I kept telling myself to simply breathe in and breathe out.  And remarkably, I was able to stay calm and in control through all of it. 

Well, on the outside at least. 

On the inside, it was an entirely different scene altogether.  Inside I felt tight, tense and totally frustrated!  Not frustrated with the person on the other end of this trying conversation, but frustrated with myself for being frustrated!!!  AGAIN!  You see, this isn’t my first trip around this mountain.  Been here.  Done this.  Not once.  Not twice.  But, close to a bazillion times!  And each time it happens, I feel all the more frustrated.

God has given us everything we need to stay in control.  After all, isn’t self-control one of the fruit of the Spirit?  Yes, indeed.  Unfortunately, my self-control was only thinking about self and leaving me totally out of control. 

Later that evening as I tried to wash the day away, God spoke to my heart.

It’s a pride issue, Stacy.

And, of course, as always, He was right. 

If you stop and think about it, almost every single argument, confrontation or conflict stems from a prideful heart.  Whether we want to admit that or not, it is true. If we have nothing to prove, it doesn’t matter what anyone says to us.  If we aren’t worried about our feelings, it doesn’t matter how harsh the words or how bitter the tone.  If we aren’t worried about self, self has nothing to worry about.

P-R-I-D-E

As a Christian, with the spirit of the living God living inside me, I have been given the fruit of the spirit.  BUT, and this is a HUGE BUT, ……it is up to me to yield to this precious fruit.

Look at the verse for today one more time:

But He giveth more grace; therefore He saith, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.

Instead of  breathing in and breathing out, I should have been breathing in the Spirit of God.  When I started to feel pride taking over and self-control slipping through my fingers, I should have submitted my heart to God.  I should have prayed for His Spirit to take control.  I should have…but I didn’t.

If I would have surrendered to the Holy Spirit, the devil would have had no other chose but to flee.  My inner man would have been infused with the Spirit of God and the fruit of the Spirit would have been evident in my life.  My peace, on the outside and as well as deep inside, would have been genuine. 

God’s ways are always best.  Pride does nothing but cause us to fall (Proverbs 16:18)! Pride does nothing but frustrate us beyond words!

When conflict comes, when confrontation shows up at our heart’s door, when an argument is heading our way looking for a place to happen, we have a choice to make.We can stand proud and hold our head up high or we can humble ourself before God.  We can try to handle the heat all on our own or we can wisely submit our will to the will of our Father and draw near to God.

anger, frustration, hurt feelings, tense muscles and restless sleep

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control

The choice is ours.

Heavenly Father,Thank you for searching my heart and revealing to me (once again!) the pride that seeks to take up permanent residence there.  How often I stumble and fall.  Thank you that you are always there to catch me.  Father God, I am tired of making the same mistakes. I am tired of going around this same mountain.  Help me to choose wisely.  Help me to choose you.  Help me to win the battle of pride by daily choosing to humble myself and to draw near to you.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Thank you for the gift of your precious Holy Spirit. Thank you for loving me enough to lead me in your paths of righteousness and true joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen~

Waiting For My Father~

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. Luke 12:37a

When I was four years old, my father moved our family out of the city and out into the country.  Our house, completely surrounded by acres of open pasture, was miles away from our nearest neighbor.  Here, there were no paved roads, only long, dusty dirt roads.           

My father still worked in the nearby city and I missed him while he was away.  Each evening, he would return home from work to find me waiting outside in our front yard, anxious to greet him, as he pulled off the dirt road and into our driveway.

“How is it that you are always here waiting for me?” he asked one day. “Every night I come home at a different time. How do you always know when I’m coming?”              

“Oh, that’s easy,” I replied.  “All day long, I watch for your dust.” 

“My dust?” he questioned. 

“Yep!” I answered. “When I see a cloud of dust across the pasture, I know you are coming down the road and I run out to meet you!”

 Just as my father was faithful to return each evening, our Heavenly Father will be faithful to return one day, too. Soon, with power and great glory, surrounded by a cloud of angels, He will appear. How I long for the day when I will see my precious Jesus coming and will be able to run to meet Him.                                                            

Heavenly Father, Thank you for blessing my life with such a wonderful earthly Father.  Just like I couldn’t wait for my Daddy to get home each night, I can’t wait for you, my Abba Father, to come back and take us all home to Heaven with you.  Please come soon, Father.  Until then… I’ve got my eye on the Eastern sky and I’ll keep on watching for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen~

God Is Real~

If you have spent any time at all reading my posts, you know that children are near and dear to my heart. I have often commented that I have probably learned more from these precious little hearts than I have ever hoped to teach them. 

Today’s devotion is one of those “teachable moments”.  I will forever be thankful for the student who opened my heart to a deeper understanding of a spiritual truth. To read today’s devotion, simply click the link below:

GOD IS REAL

May God bless your week with His sweetest blessings as you walk in the knowledge that God IS real!

Are You A Victim or A Victor?~

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Romans 8:37

Which word best describes you?

Victim –

 a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency

 a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency

Victor-

 a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary; conqueror. 

 a winner in any struggle or contest

Unfortunately, I have to admit I have lived most of my life as a victim.

So often, we think of a victim as someone who has fallen prey to someone else.  We think of the elderly lady who had her pursed snatched from her arm while Christmas shopping.  We think of the wife who is battered by her abusive husband.  We think of the child who was abandoned by his parents.  These are victims. 

But…what about you?  What about me? 

Notice one of the definitions for victim describes this as a person who is deceived or cheated by his or her OWN emotions or ignorance!

Have you ever fallen prey to your own emotions or ignorance?  For me, the answer is a resounding YES!

Time after time after time!

I’m not good enough.  I’m not able.  I’m so……  

The list could go and on and on….

Could….but won’t.  It stops here and it stops now. 

Take a look at these two words.  Victim.  Victor.  The only difference is the last two letters at the end of each word.  But, oh my!  What a difference these two letters make.  And the ending of these two words is directly related to what I choose to believe.

When I choose to focus on me, I fall prey to the “I’m” syndrome. I’m so (fill in the blank). 

 I become a victim.

But when I change my way of thinking and choose to focus on God, I become victorious through Him.

I can think:

I’m not able to do this (victim) 

OR

With Christ, I can do all things. (VICTOR)

I’m in need of ..(victim)

OR

My God shall supply all my needs.  (VICTOR)

I’m too weak to…(victim)

OR 

In my weakness HIS strength is made perfect. (VICTOR)

Victim: a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance

The difference between being a victim or becoming a victor is trading our deception, our ignorance for the truth found in God’s word.

In order to stand on the truth, we must first hide the truth in our heart. 

We have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. But if we do wear it, if it lives within us, what mighty warriors we can be!
John Piper

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Notice how conquerors ends in “or”, too!)

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your Word.  Thank you for opening our eyes and our hearts to the truth. YOU are the way, the truth and the life.  Sadly, it is so easy to believe the lies of the enemy.  Help us to be firmly planted in your Word.  May our roots run deep and hold us steady when we are tempted to dwell on our inadequacies, our weaknesses, our needs.  Keep our focus ever on you and your truth.  Thank you, that in and through you, we are indeed more than conquerors.  Free us once and for all from our victim mentality and let us walk in the victory we have in YOU. In Jesus’ name, Amen~

There’s No Fooling God~

You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds. Matthew 23:27-28, The Message

The other night, my husband was craving pistachios.  Fortunately, he still had a few left in the bag he had purchased earlier in the week.  Unfortunately, these pistachios had been left behind for a reason.  Most pistachios have a crack in their shell, making it a cinch to get to the delicious nut waiting inside. No struggles.  Just pry open the shell and enjoy!

This poor, rejected handful of pistachios was “crack-less”.  Getting to the nut inside was going to require some work.  And so, my husband set out to “divide and conquer”.

“Hey, Honey,” he asked from the living room. “Do we have a nutcracker?”

“Ummm…I don’t think so,” I replied. 

Thus the struggle began.

I watched as he looked here and there trying to find just the right tool for the job at hand.  Finally, he spotted it: a small axe resting on the hearth. With axe in hand, he went to work.  And, it was obvious, by the look of determination on my dear husband’s face, he thought all of this hard work was going to pay off.

WRONG!

When my pistachio loving man was finally able to get to the heart of the first pistachio, he discovered it had no heart at all.  Inside, he found nothing but the remnants of a dried up nut. 

To say he was disappointed doesn’t do it justice. He just looked at me and shook his head.  Immediately, I thought of today’s scripture.

“Nothing but a whited sepulchre,” I said.

Looks great on the outside, but the inside is full of death and decay.  This is how Jesus described the Pharisees.  Through their actions and their pompous ways they gave the appearance of being spiritual. Unfortunately, their religious experience was only skin-deep.  Their heart still remained untouched, unchanged, and lifeless. To quote Jesus, they were “frauds”.

When it comes to our walk with the Lord, the heart of the matter is the matter of our heart.  Until we have surrendered our heart to Jesus, it remains untouched. Jesus desires to change us, to make us new, to re-create us, but this change must begin in our heart.  He wants to take out our stony, dead heart and replace it with a heart like His.

When others look at me, it’s not my outward appearance I long for them to see.  I don’t want to be praised for regular church attendance.  I don’t want to be known for my religious ways.  No.  I want the world to see Jesus in me.

This is what the world is in search of and so desperately in need of, yet sadly, all to often, seeking souls are disappointed and disillusioned by discovering some Christians are nothing but a whited sepulchre. 

Heavenly Father, You are looking for authentic Christians and so are those who have yet to come to know you.  Lip service is not what you desire.  You desire our heart.  Pour out your Spirit and give us a heart like yours.  Remove the death and decay, the sin and self-righteousness, and fill our hearts to overflowing with YOU. May our identity, who we are, be lost in WHO YOU ARE.  When others come to us in search of you, may they not be disappointed.  May they find in us, the true lover of their soul, YOU.  In Jesus’ name, Amen~

Faithful Friends~

 You can trust a friend

   who corrects you,

   but kisses from an enemy

   are nothing but lies. Proverbs 27:6, CEV

Funny thing is, if I was ‘fake’ and ‘two faced’ I would have told you what you wanted to hear, instead of the truth. It’s not my fault you couldn’t handle it.

A few weeks ago,  a former student of mine, who is now “officially” a high school graduate, posted this as her Facebook status.

The truth.  It’s what we long for, and yet, don’t always want to hear.  The truth hurts.  It’s hard to take because it forces us to take off our blinders and see the real us. 

And yet, ultimately, the truth is what sets us free. It’s why we invest in friendships. It’s why family is so important.  We need people in our life who aren’t afraid to tell us like it is…the good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s why I try to never go clothes shopping without my sister.  She has no problem telling me if what I’m wearing makes me look fat. I count on her to be honest.  And because I know she loves me and has only my best interest in mind, the truth is a little easier to take.

As Christians, we are called to tell the truth.  But, we must also remember we are called to love.  If the truth is to be received, it must be accompanied by love.  In other words, what is the motive behind our words? 

So often, we use truth as an excuse to point our finger and judge those around us.  I don’t think this is what God had in mind when He called us to be instruments of His truth.  In all things, love should be the motive. In all our actions and all our words, love should lead the way. 

 Before truth will be heard, love must be felt.

Think about it.  We love Jesus because He first loved us.  He loved us with a love that was willing to die.  His love is what opens our heart to receive the truth found in His Word. 

Truth without love will only be met with bitterness and resistance. If we are to share the truth of God’s love with those in our world, we must first share with them the love of God.  They must first feel the love of God flowing through us.  We must love first, then speak the truth.  

It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

It is the best and truest friend who honestly tells us the truth about ourselves even when he knows we shall not like it. False friends are the ones who hide such truth from us and do so in order to remain in our favor. ~ R.C.H. Lenski

Heavenly Father, We long to be instruments of you, vessels of honor to be used by you, but first Father God, fill us with your love. May we always be willing to speak the truth, but may our words be infused with your love. Love is the key that will open the door of the heart to not only hear your words of truth, but to receive them.  GIve us boldness to love like you loved.  Give us wisdom to speak the truth.  Grant that through us, others may be set free by the truth we have in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen~