Morning by Morning, February 26 - Holding Fast to Truth in Love
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Put Your thoughts in my mind and Your desires in my heart. Help me start my day embraced by my Father, centered in Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. ...
"Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, 'You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow Me.' When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions" (Mark 10:21-23).
Lord Jesus, You look at us with the eyes of love even as You speak to us to Your words of truth. You know our hearts, You know our sins, You know our struggles and fears, our strongholds and failures. But You love us just the same. You love us no matter what, even though Your love does not excuse or condone what is less than Your truth.
Come, Holy Spirit. You are the Spirit of Truth, just as much as You are the Spirit of Love (John 14:17; 1 John 4:8). Search my heart and show me what are the "many possessions" that I hold so dearly that I would walk away "grieving" from the challenges of Your Truth and Your Love. Show me whatever may be holding onto me that would keep me from fully surrendering, fully trusting, and fully obeying Your leading into all Truth. That's what You do because You're my Comforter but also my Teacher who leads me into all Truth and reminds my of the ways and will of God revealed through the life of Christ (John 14:26).
My Father, I am Your child and I am loved, despite all that's in me that's not yet like You. You love me as I am and love me enough to never leave me as I am on my life-long journey to grow in maturity, to grow in Christ-likeness, to grow into the full measure of the stature of Christ (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 4:13). "For this is the will of God, (my) sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Lord Jesus, just like You looked at the rich, young ruler and loved him, even as You spoke the truth in love to him, You did the same with the woman who was exposed by her sexual immorality and sin. You looked at her and loved her; You didn't condemn her but spoke the truth in love to convict her of her need to repent and sin no more (John 8:11). In Your unfailing love for us, You convict us and speak Your truth to us -- not to shame us or condemn us, but to forgive us and free us. Who the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36).
To grow up into all You've created us and called us to be, we must learn how to be full of love and full of truth -- "speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 4:15). And the love of Christ is not a counterfeit love, not a worldly love, but the very love of God in our hearts that does not walk away from Your truth, but humbly embraces it to allow it to lead and change us into Your image, more and more every day. As You said long ago, You're still saying today: "Those who love me will keep My word, and My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word that you hear is not Mine, but is from the Father who sent Me" (John 14:23-24).
As I search my heart, as I let You search my heart, to see if there's something wrong with me or my understanding of Your Word and Your will and Your ways in relation to all the talk of "love" and "hate" and "harm" and "injustice" I hear in these days, what comes to me in all honesty is this: "Hold fast to what is true." ...
Yes, Lord. Your Word says, "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do this" (1 Thessalonians 5:19-24). And Your Word encourages us, "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).
So despite what hurtful names I may be called and hurtful ways my faith and hope may be judged, I'm choosing by the power of Your grace, as best as I can, to hold fast to what is true. If I'm mistaken, please convict me and change me. But in all honesty, what I sense in my heart is not conviction of sin or correction of my understanding of Your Word and Your Truth, but rather the courage of conviction to stand firm in my faith and the hope You've put in my heart "without wavering." As You said in Your Word: "My righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.' But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved" (Hebrews 10:38-39).
So by the power of Your grace, as far as Your grace will go, may I live in love, speak the truth in love, hear the truth spoken in love, and keep growing in love every day. "Love rejoices in truth" and "Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). "And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
My friend, may you hold fast to truth in love, as you grow in the grace and love of God, becoming more like Jesus every day -- embraced by our Father, centered in Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. And please continue to join with me in prayer for the Holy Spirit to lead every momentous decision being made by the delegates about truth and about love at the special called session of General Conference for the world-wide body of the United Methodist Church currently taking place in St. Louis. God bless you, my friend!
Ministry in England this Week.
Friends, please keep us in prayer as my wife, Rocio and I, travel to England in the morning where I'm excited and honored to be the keynote speaker at the annual European Conference of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries on Spirit-filled Living in the Wesleyan Tradition. They've asked me to speak on the theme of "Release for the Captives!" May we experience a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit's power and love, igniting revival and awakening in our hearts and our land, in Jesus' name! God bless you and thank you so much for all your prayers and encouragement, as we journey together in prayer Morning by Morning!
Due to our travel and ministry schedule, I may not always be able to write and send out these morning devotionals every each day from my morning prayer time. But may we continue to hold each other up in prayer every day. God bless you!