Modern culture tells us to be brave, be strong. “To cry 
suggests vulnerability and we are taught to hide our 
vulnerability,” explains Ron Bell, author of Four Promises:
 A Journey of Healing Past and Present. “We are not 
taught the importance of grief or sadness. Grief is an 
extension of love, it’s the love after the loss. And yet we 
aren’t taught to embrace that.”

Christians, especially, may be guilty of hiding our 
sorrow. “In the church, we see sadness or 
disappointment or grief as a sign that God failed, that 
God didn’t meet the mark,” Bell explains. “So, we throw 
scripture after scripture after scripture at the situation 
and the reality is that we’re just disappointed. God 
made you with all of these emotions. Why wouldn’t you 
hand them to God? God wants to walk with us through 
all our emotions, not just the good ones.”

The failure to be honest about how we feel interferes with having an authentic faith. “We see God as a task master that needs to be pleased and obeyed. That is head stuff. The distance from the head to the heart is a long and painful one. We often tell ourselves, ’If I were really a good Christian, I would be more accepting and trusting and above this.’”

“We go for information instead of transformation. We’ll take another class, read another book, go talk to someone who is smarter than we are,” Douty points out. “We don’t go inside ourselves and believe we have an inner compass that God put there.”

“God wants our authenticity, not our good behavior,” she says. “I think part of our transformation is a realization to who we really are rather than some copy or clone of someone else.”

The human body produces three types of tears: basal, reflex, and emotional. Basal tears keep our eyes lubricated, reflex tears are a reaction to irritants, such as onion chopping or smoke, and emotional tears are associated with emotions ranging from extreme happiness to stress, anger, pain, and sadness. Unlike basal and reflex tears, emotional tears can be held back and stopped.

It's the emotional tears that also release endorphins, chemicals that help ease both physical and emotional pain. Physiologically, when we don’t cry, we are inhibiting our bodies from the process of being healed. In many ways, we are dishonoring the way God made us by not letting us do the very thing God made us to do. When we are stuffing down our emotions in this temple that God gave us, how can we function fully in my faith? On the spiritual side, when we refuse to cry, what we’re saying is that there is a piece of us that doesn’t trust God with this.

“If you’re crying, let the tears come,” Bell says. “Stop wiping away your tears.”

Crystal Caviness, United Methodist Communications

Even Jesus Cried
"Tears are the soul speaking," says Linda Douty, a United Methodist spiritual director and author who shares they were taught in spiritual direction school to "always follow the tears." Pay attention, she says, to what makes you cry.

Although society encourages us to hide our weeping, we may discover that our tears are the most authentic indicators of who we are. And when we cry, we enter a space where we might best commune with our Creator. God created our body to give us clues as to who we are in our spirit, Douty teaches. “Think of how you smile when something delights you. The body reacts before you can even describe it,” she points out. “If we get tears in our eyes when we hear a beautiful symphony, there’s a message there that something in us is responding to that music. If we are really trying to grow spiritually, we would fan that flame,” she explains. “Somewhere inside of me there was a response that was unintentional. What we’re after is knowledge of that real, interior landscape.”

The Definition of Democracy
The Story of Louis Telcy, 
Divinity School Student
At the age of fifteen, in an act of enterprising civic engagement, Louis Telcy founded the Association des Jeunes Progressistes (the Association of Progressive Youth) in his hometown of Cayes, Haiti. The AJP's primary function was to provide the sanitation services that the government didn't.

"Cayes was very poor," says Telcy, now a fourth-year student in the Divinity School. "The government neglected us. So, we worked to keep the streets clean."

Soon after its creation, though, the AJP turned political. When a Catholic priest named Jean-Bertrand Aristide began campaigning for president in 1990, the progressive youths lent him their support, tacking up posters around town and encouraging people to vote.

Aristide won by a landslide, becoming the first democratically elected president of Haiti. But the victory was short-lived. Months later, the Haitian army staged a coup d’état, overthrowing the president and terrorizing his many supporters.

"It was a violent time for Haiti," says Telcy. "Hundreds of people died. But the evildoers were still claiming that there was democracy in Haiti."

One day in 1994, Raoul 
Cedras, the army general 
who ruled Haiti after the 
coup, gave a speech in 
which he asserted that he
 had returned democracy
 to the country.

"This caused my heart to 
tremble," says Telcy. "I 
could not remain silent any 
longer." Through a contact 
he had at the radio station 
in Cayes, Telcy broadcast 
a rebuttal. He asked his 
listeners to think about the
word "democracy" and what 
it truly means. "I said, 'Democracy is a form of government in which everyone has the right to speak out. If we do not know what the word means, then we should not use it.'"

Days later, Telcy received a call from a friend in the military, who told him that police were coming to arrest him. Telcy hung up the phone and started walking. "I didn't know where. I was just going." After three days, he could go no further. He went to sleep under some banana trees.

When Telcy woke up, a man was standing over him. "It was the owner of the property. He had a big knife. He asked me what I was doing there, and I told him about my problem. So, he contacted my parents, and they brought me some food."

Concerned for his safety, Telcy's parents called the headmaster of his school, who had a contact in the U.S. Embassy. "And right away, an agent came to get me," Telcy recalls. "They granted me political asylum and, two weeks later, I was in the U.S.A. This is how I survived."

Once in the U.S., though, he faced a new struggle. He couldn't speak English, and he didn't have a high-school diploma. "But," he says, "God had a plan for me, I knew."

Telcy took classes at a nearby high school to get his diploma. He worked the nightshift as a dishwasher at a Chili's. And, eventually, with the help of a United Methodist pastor in the area, he got into Warner Southern College, where he studied for the ministry and ran cross-country.

"God was calling me to be a preacher," he says. "But I wanted to go to seminary first. When I found out about Duke, I decided, okay, I will apply there, and I will get in."

"People ask me if I will run for president [of Haiti] one day," Telcy says. "I just want to save democracy there. A good leader doesn't say, 'I am going to run for president.' A good leader finds a way to help people. The people decide if he should be president."

Reprinted from the January-February, 2005 edition of Duke Magazine, Patrick Adams, Correspondent

On Bearing False Witness
Increasingly, dishonesty and “bearing false witness” seem to have become socially acceptable these days, perhaps more so than at any other time in history. However, lying is certainly not just a modern problem; since the days of Moses, there has been a commandment against it.

Bearing false witness has long been a tool that Satan is so fond of using. It is one of the devil’s key strategies to lure believers away from fellowship with God.

God is completely holy. Everything God says and does is completely true. Psalms 33:4 exclaims “For the word of the Lord is right; and all His works are done in truth.” Only truth can exist in God’s presence. Not only is God honest Himself—He clearly despises dishonesty in us! As Proverbs 12:22 puts it “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

In light of these facts, one of Satan’s greatest goals is to use dishonesty to distance us from God. John 4:44 exclaims that “Satan is the father of all lies!”

There are three aspects of Satan’s dishonesty campaign that we all susceptible to.

Making False Accusations.  Satan loves it when we falsely accuse or slander of neighbors. Often it is an attempt to keep ourselves from looking bad or getting into trouble. Remember how Adam did this to Eve in the Garden of Eden. We can witness this form of “bearing false witness” every day when we watch the news or our favorite reality TV show. False accusations are the stuff of office gossip or “holy hearsay” in the church.

We are also guilty of making false accusations whenever we silently allow things to be based on supposition or blown out of proportion without speaking the truth.

Enjoying False Inflation.  Think of all the Facebook posts that portrays our personal and family lives in a manner that is far from how they really are. Our what about the times we have padded our resumes or enhanced our kid’s college applications. Luke 16:16 warns us that if we are dishonest in the little things, we can be dishonest in the big things as well. Another way to look at this is “If we tell the truth all the time, we will be believed all of the time. If we only tell the truth some of the time, we will never be believed.”

Using False Adulation.  Satan laughs when we use flattery to gain approval for ourselves or to get an advantage over others. Proverbs 26:28 tells us “A lying mouth hates those it hurts, and a flattering moth works ruin.”

In Ephesians 4:25 Paul writes “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we all members of one body.”

Ed and Gwen Diaz
71:17 Ministries
Pastors Message
About Us

8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995

Fruits of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

In the world of agriculture, God created everything for its own season. Grapefruits, lemons, and oranges hit their peak in the winter. Strawberries, pineapples, and artichokes hit the shelves in the spring. Summer brings us blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes. And we can hardly wait for the apples, grapes, and pumpkins of the fall season. How wonderfully God created an agricultural calendar to give us ongoing nourishment.

There’s one fruit, however, that’s constantly in season—the fruit of the Spirit. These nine qualities (like grapes on one cluster) should be growing and continually bearing in our life. When we are rooted and grounded in Christ, the “sap” of the Holy Spirit takes the nourishment of the Word and transports it from the Vine (who is Jesus) to us, the “branches.”

Ask yourself: Am I more loving now than I was last year? More joyful? Do I have more peace? Am I more patient? Kinder? These qualities don’t suddenly appear. They must be grown. They should be constantly maturing in our lives

No one can get joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.

Henry Drummond, Turning Point Magazine