Love comes first; keeping God’s word flows out of that love. Loving God and loving others—those closest to us as well as strangers—is the first measure of faith. With this love as the source, we naturally follow God’s word.
Putting love first is important for my family to remember after a tough day at work for the adults and a long day at school for the young people. We all feel pretty out of sorts when we first walk in the door, and there is a rush to get dinner ready quickly. Our attitudes usually get better after we eat, but tempers may flare later as fatigue sets in just before bedtime.
At times like these, I think about the fact that how I say something is as important as what I say. I try to lead with love, whether I am at home, work, or church. I know that when I speak lovingly my words will more likely be heard and taken to heart. But I often fail—I get hungry and tired like everyone else, and my tone becomes sharp.
I remember a pastor friend who used to introduce the Lord’s Prayer in worship by saying, “When we don’t have words of our own, we pray the words that Jesus gave us.” When we don’t seem to have love of our own, we lean on God’s word to guide us back to love and invite God to be at home with us.
More than anything else as a parent, I want my children to love God and to know that they are loved by God. I want God to be at home with my family and for my family to be at home with God. By remembering to put love first—and leaning on God’s word to find a way back to love when we don’t feel loving—God comes to us, transforms us, and makes God’s home with us.

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. Make our home your home. Amen.

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