“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.”
–James 3:17 (NLT)

I used to see a friend who had a lot of great qualities. Let’s just call him Bill. Although he did a lot of great things for others, his singing voice didn’t match his enthusiasm. Bill just couldn’t seem to hear the key that we were singing in, and I have to admit I cringed.

But while Bill wasn’t the best singer, his love for God made up for it. Instead of listening to his physical voice, I had to try and learn to listen to his heart.

We often listen to a perceived tone in God’s  Word, in the same way I used to listen to Bill. We inwardly cringe when reading a passage like, “Be holy, for I am holy.” We react in this way because we think we have to live that way in our own strength.

But I have good news for you. At times like these, we have the wrong concept of God. We sometimes hear the tone of an angry police officer, instead of the soft voice of a loving father. While reading God’s text, I may think I hear Him say, “Okay Tim, straighten up and fly right.”

We think God’s love is something we have to earn, but a relationship with our loving Father isn’t like earning points in a community service program. The Bible says that no matter how good we are, we are unable to earn God’s love on our own.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had an ulterior motive when doing something for someone else? Well, we all have, and that is why Christ had to die. In contrast to tainted love, God’s love is pure, and He only wants the best for us. You may think you are a pretty good person, but because of hidden agendas and outright wickedness, the Bible describes all of our works as filthy rags.

In order to hear correctly, we need to put on love’s hearing aid, and we can do this only by taking a fresh look at the cross. Rather than being a piece of costly jewelry, the cross was an instrument of  cruel torture and death. But God loved you so much that He agonized and gave His one and only son for you on it.

So now our holiness as well as everything else we need is found in Christ. On the cross, He became the bridge between sinful man and a loving Father, who loves you more than you could ever know.

So instead of hearing strict or angry tones while reading from God’s Word, I hope you will hear our Father’s tender voice. He may have to rebuke or correct you sometimes, but no matter what happens in your life, God’s voice will always be filled with tender love for you, if you decide to believe in Him and follow Him.

Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!

If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.