Category Archives: First Fruit-Love

Fruit of the Spirit

Day 43 From Love to Joy-Love is Rooted in All

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

Today we reach day 43 of our yearlong devotional on fruit of the spirit.

We spent the first three days of the year establishing the framework for the fruit and 40 subsequent days of devotions on cultivating the “love fruit” in our lives.

Tomorrow we count it all joy!

But today as we prepare to move from love to joy, I want to remind you that love is foundational to all of the other fruits.

I do not masquerade as a horticulturist, however, I like to think of the love fruit as that taproot for all of the other fruits.  Taproots develop from the radicle of a seed, forming the primary root. It branches off to secondary roots, which in turn branch to form tertiary roots. These may further branch to form rootlets. For most plants species the radicle dies some time after seed germination, causing the development of a fibrous root system, which lacks a main downward-growing root. Most trees begin life with a taproot

If I was a talented illustrator, I would imagine a tree bearing all of the fruit of the spirit in the following way.  (An illustration my come soon if I can find someone to do it)

In the meantime, I hope you can picture it in your mind:

First, imagine the tree itself set in a rich, lush, green grove garden.  In the middle of the garden is our “fruit of the spirit tree.”  It’s got abundant green leaves and fragrant colorful fruit (9 varieties to be exact).  Each of the 9 fruits is a different and brilliant color.

Now that we can picture the tree, let’s step back and look at a diagram of the tree, including its root system under the ground.  Imagine that the tree trunk, branches and tap root are “love”. Then we see 9 differently colored roots springing out from the tap root.  Those are 8 other fruits.

So when you pick any one of the fruits, and take a bite, love is actually bred into ALL of the other fruits.

Imagine you are eating a hybrid fruit.

These actually exist and have names like nectoplum (nectarine and plum), grapple fruit (gala apples), aprium (apricot and plum) and limequat (kumquat and lime).

Have you ever eaten any of those fruits?

I cannot recall eating any but the gala apple, and the next time I do, I will taste it hard and carefully to see if I detect both apple and grape.

So going back to our spiritual fruit tree, we can choose to pick a love fruit, which I’ll imagine as an apple.  But if I choose a “joy fruit” i will taste the love along with the joy!  So if I picture joy as plum, when I eat the joy fruit I will taste both plum and apple!  The name of the fruit would be “lovejoy!”

This concept is perfectly summarized in  1 Corinithians 13:1-3

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Take a moment to visualize your own “fruit of the spirit tree” as you desire it to be!  Compare it to how it might look now!    Ask God to help you cultivate it, and realize that LOVE is the great tap root!

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

Fruit of the Spirit

Love Deposits the Check

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

How would you feel if you knew someone who was facing a mountain of debt, imminent foreclosure and bankruptcy-maybe even homelessness? Hopefully you would feel some compassion for him and try to help if you could.

But would your tune change if you found out that the person had a large check that he’d been given with no strings attached that would more than cover the debts but the he had been too lazy to get to the bank and deposit the check? You’d probably lose all sympathy for him and/or question his sanity!

He’s losing it all for no good reason at all!

He says “I don’t have the money,” yet he does!

But a check is only good for money if it’s cashed or deposited.

It’s worthless sitting in a drawer.

Let’s take the example further……

What if the check had been written by God Himself?

And instead of the check being written for an amount of money, it was written to you for a lifetime supply of “love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control?”

Is this a check you’d deposit into your spirit or one you’d let languish on the kitchen counter under some bills and junk mail?

The answer may seem obvious, that of course you’d want to deposit it and use it!  And the check is written by God Himself!  How dishonoring it would be to fail to deposit it.

But I’ve done that.

Every time I say or think something like, “I can’t love someone who treated me like that,” or “I am just writing her off!  I can’t forgive what she said behind my back,”  or “maybe I’m just not a very loving person,”  I am telling God I don’t want to deposit His check.  Maybe the truth is that my human (sin) nature just does not want to love or forgive that person.  I could do it, God says I can do it-but I choose not to!

This is actually the great weight exerted by the GIFT of the fruits of the spirit to the believer.  The Holy Spirit plants the seeds and gives us situations in our lives to cultivate them.  But often those situations are painful and we want to run away from the fruit.  Saying we don’t have enough love to cover a hurt all but guarantees that we probably never will.  Our love fruit will be small and puny.

What would happen instead if we said, “God, you know how I’m feeling right now.   I do not really want to love this person right now.  I am angry with this person.  In fact, I FEEL contempt for them.  But I know that you have given me the capacity to love this person so I am asking you right now to let me respond with love even though I don’t want to.  I step out on faith that you will give me a loving action to take. Help me to see myself as a loving individual.”

This doesn’t mean that we embrace the person, capitulate to them, or be with them at that moment.

Take space and time if that’s what you need to get to a place where you are strong enough to be able to respond with love-or at least NOT respond in a way that is angry or mean-spirited.

If you habitually think of yourself as an “unloving” person, ask God to help remove whatever is preventing you from being a clear channel for his love to flow through you to others.

Redeem his check as He has redeemed you.

All the best in 2013,

Julie

Peace Fruit

Love Prays A Lot!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

A person with an abundance of “love fruit” of the spirit most likely spends a great deal of time praying because he or she realizes that without prayer it’s impossible to love in the way described in the verse above.

This person may be getting up before dawn every morning to pray for an hour.

This person may keep a detailed prayer journal.

Or, this person might be like you and me struggling with time commitments and balance.

But one thing is probably consistently true of all people walking in an abundance of God’s love: they are praying for others consistently-even if it is just to send up “bullet” prayers in the middle of a workday or long commute.

There are some people here on earth who have never been prayed for by another human being.

Take a minute to let that churn around in your heart and mind.  There are people who have no one in their lives praying for them.  To make it worse, many of those same people see no value in prayer because they do not know God or have consciously rejected Him.

I think about my small daughter.  I was praying for her from the moment I found out I was pregnant and I have prayed for her and with her (almost) every day of her life so far.  There are some children without a praying parent, relative or friend. There are elderly people alone near the end of their lives with no one praying for them.

Just as we feel burdened to help the economically disadvantaged, we should also feel a burden for those with no one praying for them.

Does this mean that we locate a stranger in outer Mongolia to pray for by name every day?

I don’t know.

Maybe that is what it means for YOU.

Be sensitive to promptings when you think of a person you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

You hear a news story that rocks you to the core,

Pray for the survivors and families of victims.

Pray for the perpetrators of the violence.

You are frustrated with local, state or national government leaders.

Pray for them.

You have to pull over for an emergency vehicle.

Pray for the responders and people waiting for them to arrive

What if our “first response” to encountering frustration, stress or anxiety over people was to send up a quick prayer asking God to send His love into the person’s heart or into the center of the situation?

Be a zealous advocate before God for the people in your life-even those who just cross your path for a moment.

“Oh that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor.”  Job 16:21.

All the Best in 2013,

Julie

Love Fruit is Cultivated Through Loving God’s Wisdom

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

Hopefully you’ve been thinking over the last month or so about the significant challenges but immeasurable benefits of spending time cultivating the fruit of love in our lives.

Indeed, I’ve gone as far as to say that love is the “superfruit” that feeds itself into all the other fruits of the spirit.

Are you still wondering what practical steps you can take to nurture the love fruit of the spirit?

Begin with realizing that it’s not like a recipe or a formula that works the same way all of the time for every person.

However, the closest thing I can find to an owner’s manual for life is the book of Proverbs. An often-recommended daily devotional is simply to see the date on the calendar and read the Proverb for that day.  That takes you through almost every Proverb almost every month.  When people are new to bible reading, I’ve recommended this as a starting point because it’s as if you are getting specific instructions and “tips” each day.  Note the presence of the word “verb” in Proverbs!  We know verbs requires action!  So you are actually given things to do to get you closer to your goal of living   in a way that pleases God.

A theme that runs through the book of Proverbs is wisdom!  More than anything else, Solomon, the author of Proverbs, wanted wisdom.  It was given to him and he passed it along.

To love more, start pursuing the things God loves.

God loves to instill wisdom in His followers, and rewards the person who runs after wisdom.

He promises this.

“I love them that love me and those that seem me early shall find me.”  Proverbs 8:17.

This verse seems to imply to me that we should try and seek God’s wisdom early in our day before the world can barge in.  Even if I am rushed in the morning, I can usually read a Proverb on my phone or laptop and know I have gotten some strength for the day.  The verse also speaks to the importance of pointing children to God early in their lives.  One way we demonstrate love to our children is to teach them about Jesus.

We are later told in Proverbs 8 that those that love God’s wisdom “will inherit substance” and they shall have their fill of treasure  (Proverbs 8: 21).  This may not mean we become wealthy in material goods and money, but it does promise spiritual abundance and eternal rewards.

If we are continually focusing our attention on the mundane details of our daily lives, we miss out on the “big picture” of where it all fits within God’s framework.

The more wisdom you obtain from God, the more you will want and once you’ve established this cycle in your life, the fruit of love cannot help but flourish and flow into your activities and interactions each day.

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

Peace Fruit

Warm Puppy Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

We are getting close to Valentine’s Day.

From my read of the stores, we were getting close to Valentine’s Day on December 26th!  No sooner had the candy-canes been discounted by 75% than out came the red-heart=shaped boxes of chocolate, teddy bears and valentine-shaped cards galore.

It’s fun getting my 5 year-old daughter ready for Valentine’s Day.  We will fill little plastic heart-shaped boxes with Starburst, sign tiny cards for everyone in the class and tie the boxes and cards into little gift bags.  Each year the school has been careful to remind us that we should bring Valentines for all our friends so that no one feels left out!

At some point, teachers stop carrying that message and Valentine’s becomes a day when we think of having someone special.  Those awkward years where some people have dates and others stay home, or hang out with friends, telling each other how stupid the holiday is anyway.  We’ll take our conversation hearts at 1/2 off, please!

For many people, the measure of a successful Valentines day is whether they are in the company of someone special or alone.

Are they married or single?

And if they are attached, then the measure of success for Valentine’s day is is what their loved one does for them on that day.  We also want that loved one to appreciate whatever we do for them.

The day seems a little dicey to me.  It sounds like there is a great deal of pressure on everyone (men especially I think) to somehow “get it right.”  Nothing is funnier (Or more desperate…I can’t decide) than dazed looking men wandering around the supermarket after work on February 14, looking over the wilted leftover roses and picked-over candy.  They are probably in a heap of trouble.

And the day is no real measure of how much love we have for people in our lives.

If only love was as easy as buying a card or gift or planning a special outing or evening.

That’s a piece of red velvet-cake!

It’s nice to have and enjoy the holiday-to celebrate “love.”  The butterflies-in-your-chest fluttery love.  The fun kind of love.

But it doesn’t really come close to the “love” that we’ve been exploring in our examination of fruits of the spirit!

The “fruit-of-the-spirit” love  isn’t warm puppy love.

It’s down-in-the-dirt love.

It also does not depend on the presence of another human being.

The love we all have and experience as believers in Christ is a perpetual Valentine that should beat daily in our hearts and move us forward to love God and others more.

The best way to love others is by serving them…so if you don’t have big plans on February 14, perhaps think about serving someone that day who needs encouragement or assistance with the details of their life.

May the servant heart of Christ move us that day and every day to love more!

All the Best In 2013,

Julie

 

Patience

Love Is-Always Persevering

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

Love Perseveres Through Roadblocks

Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere and been confronted by an unanticipated detour or roadblock?

How did you feel?

What did you do?

Did you give up, turn around and go home?

Or did you keep going?

How much did you struggle with the choice whether to turn around or keep going?

I think that part of our decision process depends on a few things:

1.  How important is the destination?

2.  How close are we to “making it” to where we are going?

If the destination isn’t that important, or if we really don’t want to go where we are headed (such as going to have a difficult personal conversation with someone or maybe headed to a job we hate) we are more likely to call, make an excuse and turn around.  Some of us would even consider it some kind of “divine message” that we ran into obstacles.  (Nothing like a divine excuse for avoiding that dental appointment!)

If we are “almost” to our destination, chances are we’ll keep going-however if we are close to home, the more likely we might be to turn around.

Assuming our destination is important and assuming we are close to the finish line we are probably going to solider on even if we are kicking, screaming, grumbling or complaining.

But if we fail to see the importance of the trip and feel far removed from the destination, the more likely we are to retreat back home.

When we’re told that love perseveres I can’t help but notice the word “severe” in persevere.  The word doesn’t imply an easy journey at our leisure.  It implies a long, hard, punishing endurance race which promises us ultimate victory.

I have a personal example here.

In the last weeks of my dad’s life he was in a hospice home.  I spent a lot of time there-as much time as I could given geographical distance, a job and young child.  I had returned home for about a week and had a plan to go back and “wait until the end” however long it took.

But he began slipping away faster than anticipated so I got a call saying I needed to “get there now.”

I was at least five hours away so I threw things in the car, told my boss, said goodbye to my family and started driving…well…more like “flying”…all the time praying “God please let me make it there in time” over and over and over and over.  And I felt He heard me. It was like He was driving the car.

And then the wall of traffic hit.

BOOM.

From breaking the speed limit to a complete stop.  Interstate parking lot. Nowhere to go.  About 80 miles away from my dad.

Phone going off with the nurse updating me and asking for my location.  “How close are you?”

I remember the bitter frustration and ANGER at God that I’d be brought this far-through years of walking though the valley- to miss it because of a traffic jam.  Never mind if others had been injured in whatever caused the slowdown  .

I kept inching forward through tears.

What choice was there?

None.

It seemed like I was stuck there for an hour.  At one point, the hospice nurse was going to dispatch the Highway Patrol to meet me and escort me in the emergency lane all the way there.

And all of a sudden things opened up and as soon as the wall of traffic was there it was gone and I was flying again-making it in time to be at his side with many hours to spare.

To this day I don’t know what caused that horrible delay.

The analysis of our life journey of faith is a bit more complex than a simple road trip with roadblocks and detours.  It seems to mirror my drive to hospice more than a drive to Disneyland.

As we move through our relationships with our loved ones, we are often called upon to persevere.

When we persevere  we are committed to finishing what we started, no matter what happens!  We persist in spite of opposition, negativity, discouragement, attack or exhaustion. 

Sometimes we don’t even know the importance of the journey we are on!  God has shown us a path, but we don’t know why and aren’t quite sure what’s at the end of a particular road.  And if we give in to external forces, we might end up stopping just short of a great victory.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  

Galatians 6:9.

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

Peace Fruit

Love-Is Always Hoping

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love Is Always Hoping!

Hope and trust are key elements to cultivating the fruit of Love in our lives.,

Just as trust has within it an element of hope that the object of our is dependable–one who hopes trusts that the outcome hoped for is coming soon!  These elements are knitted very closely together.

Love’s Hope!

As we focus on the hope element, it’s important to clarify what we mean by hope in the context of love.  Hope conveys an expectation or desire of receiving something. A hopeful individual believes that there will be a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.  It is not necessarily that you always see the glass as half full, it’s just you hope with certainty that more water will come out of the well when you need it.

The opposite of hope is despair and giving up.

We all know people who have given up hope and often there is nothing more distrubing to see.  Perhaps if we are external to the person’s life we see possible solutions to their problems and may try to help.  However, the individual has gotten so low that they cannot accept hope.

Maybe there have been times in your life when you have lost hope as well.  You are tired, frustrated, broke, discouraged, defeated, deserted or sick.

It is during those times that we need to remember the words of David

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  Psalm 43:5

When we hope in God, He opens our eyes to the great possibilities in our lives removes, our blinders of fear and despair and gives us glimpses, and sometimes even bigger pictures of where we are destined to go-here on earth and eternally.

Don’t you wish that there was a “hope” station-something like a gas station-where you could go get pumped full of hope when you need it?

Well, the Church, God’s word and christian friends are our our “Hope Station.”  Let us love people who are in despair by helping them re-frame despair into hope.  Likewise, when we are discouraged, allow others to minister to you, but, above all, keep hoping in God!  How much sweeter the fruit will taste when we have waited for it!  In Proverbs 13:12 it says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  If we give up too soon, we miss the fruit from the tree!

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Thomas O. Chisholm

All the Best in 2013,

Julie

Patience

Love Always Trusts

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

Love Always Trusts!

 

Trust me!

How do you respond when someone says that?

If someone asks for your trust, does this make you automatically suspicious of them?

We live in a time of cynicism.

It is not without justification.

It seems as if daily there are news items about “trustworthy” people blowing it and being exposed to public and painful “falls from grace.”

Yet,  in the face of all of that we know that to truly love we must trust.

Love trusts in the person loved.

Often our relationships break down because someone does something to betray our trust.  Or maybe we break the trust someone has placed in us.  Then we often have a period of rebuilding in the relationship and with grace and forgiveness trust can often be restored and love endures.

But, what if the people in our lives continue to betray our trust?  The person promises to change and the change never materializes.  Promises continue to be broken. Do we then try and distance ourselves from that person?

These are complex issues that require much prayer, counsel and consideration.

I’d like to frame the trust here as the trust we have in GOD to handle all our relationships and to be in control of them. This takes much of the pressure off of the people in our lives.

Likewise, if we are trusting in a particular person in our life to keep us safe, supported and satisfied at all times, we are expecting too much.  That person has limits and a finite life span.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
(Psalm 118:8-9 ESV)

What love requires is the trust in a better tomorrow-trusting that God can make the a change, restore what is lost and move us past the hurt.

“Whoso puts his trust in the lord shall be safe.”  Proverbs 29:25  

If we trust Him first and place Him at the center of our relationships,  He will guide and direct us through times when humans disappoint. We know He is imminently trustworthy!

All the Best in 2013,

Julie

Peace Fruit

Love Is-Always Protecting

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

Love Always Protects

Love is supposed to be the ultimate sanctuary, right?

Flowerly love songs and princess movies certainly depict that, right?

Girlsl oppressed by mean people (usually stepmothers) are rescued by princes and set for life in pretty castles.

Holidays look like Norman Rockwell paintings.

For many of us, perhaps our experience of love has not reflected those traditional images.

Evil is going to seep through every human protective barrier we may have and attempt to use.

We may pray and use every means imaginable to “protect” our children from harm and harm comes anyway.

We may exercise, eat right, sleep enough and manage our stress and we may still get seriously ill at a young age.

We try every treatment money can buy to purchase a cure for a loved one’s illness and nothing works.

Does this mean we give up?

Absolutely not.

As Christians, we continue to strengthen the weak, shield the vulnerable, and forgive the provokers.

But humans efforts can only do so much.

This is a pretty big downer today, isn’t it?

No, not really.

Because the REST of the story is that God’s love protects.

It does not throw to the wolves.

Through identification with Christ we have ultimate eternal protection.

However, just like the fruit of the spirit are just for Christians, so is the ultimate eternal protection.

In Psalm 41, David complains to God about the people that have let him down, betrayed him and turned against him.  Yet, he recognizes that although he’s been assailed with difficulty God is still protecting him. He acknowledges to God that “you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.”  Psalm 41:12.

In Psalm 91:14, David quotes God as saying,  “Because he [David} loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”  The emphasis is mine.  If we live our entire lives never acknowledging Christ, we are not afforded that protection.

As Christians cultivating the fruit of love as we interact with others, let us have in mind protecting the name of Christ in those interactions and offering the gift of Christ to the seekers in our lives.  This is the ultimate manifestation of protection.  The eternal and loving kind. 

All the Best in 2013,

Julie

Love Is-Rejoicing With The Truth

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

Love Rejoices With the Truth

Think of the last time someone told you “the truth” about something.

Did it hurt?

If the well-worn phrase “the truth hurts” is accurate at least some of the time, perhaps you left the exchange with the other person feeling like they didn’t love you very much.  Maybe you were angry or defensive or discouraged.

Maybe you didn’t feel like “rejoicing” after hearing the truth.

Does that mean love was lacking in the exchange?

Now think of a time when you told someone “the truth,” either because they asked you for an honest evaluation or because you felt it was something the other person “needed to hear” for their own good?

It seems like honest and straightforward communication seldom leaves people “rejoicing.”  Instead, this type of encounter tends to lead to discomfort, distance and awkwardness.

I think one reason for this is the lack of security we often feel in our human relationships and within ourselves.

If you are asking “does this dress make me look fat?” you probably already know the answer and you are setting up the person on the receiving end of the question.

And no I am not going to tell you specifically how to answer that question if someone asks you.

Although I bet I could come up with an easy list of what NOT to say.

What I know for sure is what it says in Ephesians 4:15…that we should be “speaking the truth in love.”

So if it’s possible for you to stop and consider your MOTIVES in telling someone a particular truth at a particular time, you can often step back from the precipice of disaster.

“Am I coming to this person out of (Christ-like) love or am I trying to hurt, manipulate or control the other person?  Do I have a selfish motive in saying this?”

Look at your own heart and orientation before speaking.

Likewise, when you receive truth from another, before raising hackles and defenses, perhaps simply receive it with graciousness and evaluate the “source” of the statement and ask God if it’s something He thinks you need to apply to your life.  If not, you can let it roll off like water off a duck’s back.

Also keep in mind that sometimes what people call the “truth” is simply their own opinion!

God’s Truth is what matters.  So if what someone is telling you is contrary to His word, you know immediately it is NOT true and you can disregard it.

The ultimate Truth that should govern our communication is when Jesus said  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. That’s Truth with a capital “T.”

If that ultimate loving Truth pervades our communications, it will produce eternal rejoicing and less pain along the way.

All the Best in 2013,

Julie