At the time you receive this I (Bobbie Craig) will be attending the 55th Annual LWMS Convention in Green Bay, WI. What an awesome adventure worshiping our Lord with more than 1,000 women singing praises to His holy name! I will provide snipits in the coming weeks of all I learned while representing our congregation at this uplifting, spiritually rewarding convention.
We thank Pastor Bill Gabb for last week's service as he serves as our vacancy pastor. He announced that he has offered to serves our day-to-day needs in place of Pastor Blumer. Pastor Gabb may be contacted by phone at 972-897-5610 or by email at email@example.com.
Please continue to keep Pastor Jeremiah Gumm in your prayers. If you wish to contact him you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He would love to hear from as many of us as possible.
I know this is short notice, but Saturday (tomorrow) will be a church workday beginning at 8 am. The parsonage needs to be painted as well as other repairs. Also, the PreK and computer rooms need to have all furniture and other items removed so new carpeting may be installed the week of July 1st. Many hands are needed to accomplish the work to be done so please come if you are able to, even if only for an hour or two.
Then plan to have a fun evening with friends for Game Night Saturday! The fun starts at 6:00 pm in the Family Life Center. All ages are invited, bring your favorite game, bring a snack to share! Good times to be had by all.
Now, here’s today’s devotion:
“Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
Always speaking the truth in love might sound easy, especially for Christians. But is it? Often we’re inclined to sugar coat the truth, especially if it’s a harsh one, or to share a truth through gossip that is no one else’s business, or to hide the truth if it will be met with ridicule or confrontation.
But God’s instruction to us is clear - speak the truth in love. This goes for everything we say. What good does it do to share all the truth in the world if no one will listen because they think we don’t care about them? Or what good does it do to passionately love everyone, but have nothing of value to share with them? When it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus, both a deep, encompassing love for the lost and the treasured truth that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus alone are vital.
Let’s look at what Jesus did. He loved. He loved so much that he gave up his home in heaven, he emptied himself of his divine glory, and he did what was needed to save us. His life on earth was not easy or comfortable. His suffering at the hands of God and his death on the cross were even worse. Yet he lived perfectly and died unjustly because he loves you and me and all lost souls. Jesus has the perfect, all-encompassing love.
He also has the truth; in fact, he is the Truth. He preached a message of repentance to all, then won forgiveness for all by suffering hell for all the world! Is there any greater combination of truth coupled with love than this? NO. That is the true love of our Savior Jesus.
In Chapter 4, verse 19 of his first letter the Apostle John writes the simple passage we learned as children, “We love because he first loved us.” Seven easy little words that mean so much! Consider his love—incomprehensible though it is—which turned the certainty of hell for us, his enemies, into the sure hope of joy and peace now and for all eternity in his presence.
Now consider our love: how stingy, jealous, self-serving, judgmental, and half-hearted it often is. Sometimes it’s easy to love others, truly love them. Sometimes it’s very difficult. No matter - we are to love all people just as Jesus does. He is the one who lived the example of genuine love, who’s salvation drives that love in our attitudes, who’s Word shows us how to enact that love, and who forgives us when we often fail.
What a beautiful truth that is! That is the truth our missionaries share with the lost souls around them and with those whose faith needs training and strengthening. We, too, are missionaries where God places us, and Jesus wants us to share and to model his love to those we meet: family members, church family, co-workers and neighbors, and the people we casually meet along our daily path.
Lord of truth and love, make us aware of our frequent lovelessness and forgive us for Jesus’ sake. Open our eyes to see the abundance of your love in Jesus, and give us genuine love for all, especially those living in spiritual darkness. Give us courage to speak to them truthfully of your love, and move us to pray for, encourage, and support our church’s called missionaries. Keep all our missionaries faithful to your Word, safe in all situations, and courageous to reach all the lost with the true love of Jesus. Amen.