Wednesday, January 16, 2019

STOP FLAPPING OUR WINGS


You probably have figured this out by now, but did you know that you cannot hear very well, if at all, what someone is saying if you are speaking at the same time? First of all it is rude. Allow the person talking to you to have "the floor", then wait for your turn to interject or just make your comment. Some people simply have no Social Graces. Secondly, if you need to hear instruction from the one speaking and you beginning talking in response to their comments, you could miss some important information. 

Well-balanced conversation is a listening and speaking skill that needs to be developed more fully for some. Hearing is one of the five senses that means meaningful sound is being received by our ear. Listening is the reception and comprehension of those sounds into meaningful ideas that may lead to a verbal or non-verbal response. 

Some individuals start listening then they stop and just engage their hearing while their mouth begins to answer to the already formulated response. I would like to encourage those types of people to try another tactic.

Read this account in Ezekiel of the mysterious creatures around God's Throne.

"Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings." (Ezekiel 1:22-24)

Notice that their wings, just like our mouths, are vocal. Their wings and our mouths also communicate. But are we communicating at the proper time. Here, the beings are at first moving their wings in such a way that it sounds "like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army". Then when appropriate, "they stood still, they lowered their wings". After standing still, the mechanism by which they had been communicating God's swiftness and power - their wings - were lowered. We also need to be still and allow our mechanism, our mouth - to shut.

This practice comes with a beautiful promise in the very next verse of this passage. Ezekiel 1:25 says, "Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings." Again, take notice - the word "then" is there for a reason. It is a follow-up word. Once the Holy Creatures were still "Then" The Lord spoke. Does this not agree with other Scripture? Psalm 46:10 states, "He [God] says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.'”

Whether it is God showing Himself to be exalted among the nations or personally in our own lives by knowing Him more intimately - we need to take a lesson from the creatures in Ezekiel and Stop Flapping Our Wings.

Monday, January 14, 2019

HEDGED IN


Psalm 91:11-12

“For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

This verse is quoted by Satan when he was tempting Jesus to leap off a high place in the wilderness (Matthew 4:5-7). However, this verse is not just for the benefit of The Son of God. The original context is meant for all sons and daughters of God, through Christ Jesus.

The first key word we come to in this passage is “give”. Because of faith in Christ, the many different services angels provide for God become multiplied when the children of God are considered. Angelic care is part of the Benefit Package of Salvation through Christ Jesus. God “gives His angels”.

The second key word to observe is “charge”. In the original Hebrew the word is tsâvâh (tsaw-vaw'). This word denotes a command, an appointment, a purposeful sending out. According to Perry Stone’s study of this verse and particular word – the New Testament use of the Hebrew equivalent has a military authority to it and can be found in 1 Timothy 1:18. Christ is seen as the Captain of the Host that He is – giving out the commands, the appointments, and sending out His angels with this purpose – “to keep thee in all thy ways.”


This brings us to our next key word - "keep". The original Hebrew word is shâmar (shaw-mar'). This word means save, guard, protect, and the most descriptive - provide a hedge for. Ever been in a hedge? You are completely surrounded. Usually it is a reference to being in the middle of a bush or garden but can be a military term of no escape. But here it is a term of comfort and encouragement in God's protection. Remember the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:24 that reads - "The Lord bless you and keep you..."? Now, read it as - "The Lord bless you and Hedge You In...".

Next, it is interesting that the acronym for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA -  is the original Hebrew word for the phrase "bear you up" in this verse. The word means to lift, to hold up and to move out of the way. In this case, the angel is bearing the believer up and out of harms way, not removing the obstacle. Mr. Stone says, "Some Christians prefer not to use the term 'guardian angel', as the phrase is missing from Scripture. However, the phrase is an accurate term to identify the assignment of any angel, 'given charge to bear up' a child of God." (p.68, This Season of Angels, Perry Stone)

The time is long pass that believers in Christ should be declaring the promises of God out loud - to ourselves, to our blood family, our spiritual family and back to God as well. Within our declarations we should include the praise for God's omni-present Spirit in our lives (Hebrews 13:5) and that His angels encamp around us as part of His Faith Benefit Package (Psalm 34:7). "If the blood of earthly lambs could prevent the death angel from entering the Hebrew homes during the Exodus, then the word of our testimony and faith in the blood of Christ can form protective hedges." (pages 69-70, This Season of Angels, Stone) 

But remember this brothers and sisters in Christ - "...there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus," (1 Timothy 2:5) There is to be no prayer directed to angels. We know there is no worship that is to be directed to angels (Revelation 19:10). In addition, any additional action that would usurp God's Authority in our lives and replace it with anything, including that of angels, is prohibited. We pray to and through the Creator and Provider not the created and/or servant of God. The will of God is what we should seek out in any situation than our own or the possible knee-jerk command of an angel. Pray to Father God through Christ Jesus for your need or desire and trust God in the use of His angelic ministries.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

MISSION COMPLETE


My dear Mother always told me, "If you are going to do something, do it right the first time so you do not have to do it again." Christ Jesus does not have to Save the Universe every time it gets in a jam. He has Saved us. We have the Answer. We just have to accept Him and His ways to be Saved and Successful.  Hebrews 9:11-14 spells it out by saying,

"But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"

I have heard an idea that needs snuffing out. The idea is that we need to do something more to ensure or keep our Salvation once we are saved. This is deceptive, incorrect and a lie from the pit of Hell. If this did have any merit it would place value on our works aiding Christ's sacrifice and that flies in the face of Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

We must rest in His Completed Work or Project. His execution of our Redemption, His Completed Work is so mighty that it covers every situation, at any moment in time, of any life in the universe. His Grace keeps on giving and His Salvation keeps on Saving at The Cross and beyond - Rest Assured.

The Church, has been made holy, cleaned by the washing with water through The Word, radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but I'll say it again holy and blameless - due to the husband-like sacrifice of Christ's life for His wife (Pritchard Paraphrase of Ephesians 5:25-27). 

The actual passage reads -

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

When Christ declared, "It is finished." (John 19:30) on The Cross, Jesus left no room for doubt. I encourage you to rebuke the spirit of doubt because He did not include a "but", "however", "perhaps" or any other conditional phrasing about humanity's Salvation. Before The Cross, He unequivocally said - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Then after His wounds were made for our healing, "he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,...and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." - then He cried, "It is finished." Christ is not going to die for you or me again. His life-price was more than sufficient for all of humanity throughout all of history from beginning until The Judgement Day.

You see Christ has done it. He "loved" and "gave" (two active past verbs that keep on keeping on) Himself up for His whosoevers, His believers, His church, His Bride. Through His sacrifice Christ has made His Bride all those wonderful things listed that we could not be on our own. The sacrifice was once and for all AND His Love endures forever.

You and I were worth this extravagant love offering. We certainly do not deserve the Grace of God for the natural tendency of humanity is to disobey God at every thought. But God saw our potential through the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus - His Son. Father God thought everything through - creation, salvation, eternity, everything. Jesus confesses to this by His teaching of the idea. 

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. - Luke 14:28:33 

This passage says Father God "sat down", considered the cost, and decided the plan to give up everything to display the extent of His love - the life of His only begotten Son, Jesus - was worth it all. The last statement is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus says if you are not willing to "give up everything" as I have then that person"cannot be my disciple". With that kind of God - why not surrender everything to Him by believing in Christ and His free gift of salvation? The benefits are eternal and there are No Disadvantages to His Design - The Plan!

I want to encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ today. If you are hearing whispers or ideas like your Salvation has fallen or you must aide Christ in the effort that has already been secured - then rebuke that voice. The believer's works, service or deeds in response to our Salvation can always be improved, but according to Romans 10:9 a follower of Christ Jesus can rest in His Complete Work - Our Salvation.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

GUILD OF FISHERMEN: CRACKED POTS AND ALL


     The Disciples had occupations ranging from Fishermen, to Businessman, to Tax Collector, to Zealot or Political Revolutionalist and to Treasurer. The most common profession found among the majority of them was Fishermen. Andrew, Peter, James and John, the sons of Zebedee worked as fishermen according to Matthew 4:18-22. Thomas, Nathaniel and Philip were found fishing after Jesus’ resurrection when He appeared to them, so they also may be fishermen. (John 21:2-8) They at least knew how to fish. That is 7 out of 12 belonging to the Guild of Fishermen.

     God calls us to be fishers of men and women just as we are – cracked pots and all. Notice Jesus did not go and call a Pharisee, Saducee or religious leader to be fishers of men? Perhaps that is a reason why they were Sad-U-See (insert groaning here). Jesus summoned those that knew they were imperfect. Paul mentions a quality that Jesus loves to capitalize on – weakness. In Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth, he says, “But He [Jesus] said to me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’"(2 Cor. 12:9) And Matthew records Jesus teaching that – “Blessed are the meek (or humble), for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

     Jesus did not desire to pass along His Fisher of Men Technique to the big wheeler and dealers of the day. The only one that was a perfect fisher of humanity taught the likes of Blue Collar job workers how to reach out in love to others. Why would Jesus do that? Perhaps the Fishermen Motif fits perfectly. You do not see a farmer or planter as a profession listed amongst the Disciples resumes. Yet, the farmer illustration is used as how believers should go and witness - planting a seed, allowing others to water and the Holy Spirit to grow the seed. So, the Guild of Fishermen, made up of Cracked Pots, is what Jesus was going for as a strong statement of Lifestyle Analogy or analogous lifestyle.


     Remember the Lord’s calling of Simon and Andrew in Matthew 4:18-20?
  • “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him.”
     
     Notice two things – (1) Jesus changed their mode of operation - fishing for people now, in addition to the scaly things - and (2) they made the decision to follow Jesus immediately. It all hinged on the going and following Him. Jesus of Nazareth made an awesome impression because these and the rest of the Disciples were captivated by His call to join Him.

     If you are a believer in Christ, do you remember when you decided to give your life to Him and start following in the lifestyle of Jesus? Do you recall the draw, the transformation from what kind of person you were before to the person you were after you started walking with The Lord? It is always healthy to revisit this memory. It brings appreciation, thankfulness and praise to God.

     However, whatever drew us to Him should drive us to share with others. We have got to find a way to fish more men and women for the Lord with our lives. Now that we have Christ in our lives and we are allowing Him to lead us, His heart has always been for the next person that does not know Him in an intimate fashion.

     
     Similar to the motif of the Planter, Waterer, and Reaper - some can carry the fishing pole. Some can carry the bait. Some can bait the hook. Some can cast the line into the waters. Some can scoop up the fish in the net. But we all have a role to play in being in the Guild of Fishermen: Cracked Pots And All.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

ATTITUDE OF APPRECIATION

I believe appreciation of all your blessings keeps the right attitude. This focus on the affirmative is contagious as it forms a positive cloud around you. The challenge in this world is entering and sustaining that atmosphere of appreciation. Some steps that have helped me and perhaps they will help others are -

(1) Enter into prayer with God by thanking Him first for your many blessings, then move into a time of praising Him for who He is in your life. (Psalm 100:4)

(2) Sow what you desire to reap. If you want the attitude of appreciation then appreciate someone in person who has blessed your life. (Matthew 13)

(3) And hang out with those individuals who are also positive, realistic and appreciative. (Proverbs 13:20)

So, practice this attitude with God, sow it with others to reap it in your own life and in the meantime surround yourself with those that already have an Attitude of Appreciation.

GOD'S WORD IN FLESH - THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Jesus has always existed. Humankind knew Him as Jesus when He was born. That is the name Mary was instructed by the angel Gabriel to give her supernatural baby. However, He has always been and forever will be The Word of God.

Father God's Word has always been with Him. 
  • "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." (John 1:1-2)
The Father, Word, and Spirit of God all live in harmony within the mind and heart of Father God. Anytime Father God speaks, God's Word performs Father God's thoughts perfectly as He, The Word, is uttered from Father God's lips.
  • "'Let there be light' and there was light..." - Genesis 1:3
  • "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:3).
The first question I come to is - Why God? Why create this grand story to begin with? The only answer I keep coming back to is His display of Love. John tells us, 
  • "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever would believe in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
The second question I arrive at is - God, when did you consider The Plan? And God answers in His Word - Before the creation of the Cosmos.
  • 1 Peter 1:20 - "He [Jesus] was chosen before the creation of the world,..."
  • Revelation 13:8 - "...the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."
  • Ephesians 1:4 - "For he [Father God] chose us in him [Christ Jesus] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight."
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Two-thousand plus years ago, Christ Jesus is a physical miracle of Father God; the manifestation of Father God's Word in flesh for us. Jesus is God With Us - Emanuel. The apostle Paul wrote about it in Philippians 2:6 and 7, where he said, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”

JESUS HAS ETERNALLY EXISTED

"The word “being” is a translation of the Greek word huparcho, a compound of the words hupo and arche. In this case, the word hupo means from, and the word arche means the firstoriginal, or ancient. When it becomes the word huparcho, it depicts something that has always existed.

By using this key word that means to eternally exist, Paul declares that Jesus has always existed. Philippians 2:6 could be translated, “Who, eternally existing in the form of God.…”In other words, Jesus’ human birth in Bethlehem was not His beginning, but merely His physical manifestation to man, which was actually a very brief appearance in the scope of His eternal existence.

Paul tells us that Jesus always existed in the “form” of God. The word “form” is the Greek word morphe, a word that describes an outward form. This means that in Jesus’ preexistence, He looked just like God. He was not just a component of God, nor a symbol of God. In reality, He was God. And Jesus possessed the very shape and outward appearance of God — a form that includes great splendor, glory, power, and a Presence so strong that no flesh can endure it.

THE TRUE STORY OF CHRISTMAS

God existed in glory more wonderful than the human mind can comprehend and more powerful than human flesh can endure. Yet He desired to come to earth to purchase redemption for man. Therefore, God had no choice but to re-clothe Himself in a manner that could be tolerated by man. This is why He “…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” This is the true story of Christmas!

The phrase “made himself of no reputation” comes from the Greek word kenos, which means to make empty, to evacuate, to vacate, to deprive, to divest, or to relinquish. Because it was impossible for God to appear to man as God, He had to change His outward form.

The only way Jesus could make this appearance as a man was to deliberately and temporarily let go of all the attributes we usually think of when we consider the characteristics of God. For 33 years on this earth, God divested Himself of His heavenly glory and “…took upon him the form of a servant.…”

The phrase “took upon him” perfectly describes that marvelous moment when God reached out to lay hold of human flesh and take it upon Himself so that He might appear on the earth as a man. The words “took upon him” are from the Greek word lambano, which means to take, to seize, to catch, to latch on to, to clutch, or to grasp. This word lets us know that God reached out from His eternal existence, reached into the material world He had created, and took human flesh upon Himself in “the form of a servant.”

The word “form” in this phrase is exactly the same word that describes Jesus in the form of God. It is the Greek word morphe. This means that just as Jesus in His pre-existent form had all the outward appearance of God, now Jesus existed in the exact form of a man — appearing and living on this earth in exactly the same way as any other man. For a brief time in His eternal existence, Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity and literally became a man.

Then Jesus took upon Himself the form of a “servant.” This is the Greek word doulos, which refers to a slave. Paul used this word to picture the vast difference between Jesus’ pre-existent state and His earthly life. Paul went on to say that Jesus “…was made in the likeness of men.” The phrase “was made” is the Greek word ginomai, which in this context means to become, indicating that this was not Jesus’ original form, but it became His new form. This clearly describes the miracle that occurred when God became a man. Jesus had always existed in the form of God, not the form of man. But taking upon Himself human flesh, He was formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary and became a man.

Paul also declared that God took upon Himself the “likeness” of a man. The word “likeness” is the Greek word homoioma, which refers to a form or resemblance. This refers not only to Jesus’ being made in the visible likeness of men, but also in the human likeness of men. In other words, when Jesus appeared on this earth, He came in the actual form of a man and was just like man.

JESUS COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDS US

Jesus was so completely made in the “likeness” of men that Hebrews 4:15 declares He was even tempted in every way that men are tempted. It says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

So we see that Jesus left His heavenly home and took upon Himself human flesh. And because of this great exchange, He has stood in our place; He has felt what we feel; He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities; and He intercedes for us with great compassion as our High Priest. Because He walked where we walk and lived where we live, He completely understands us.

At this time of the year, we are prone to think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger in a Bethlehem stable. Certainly this was true, but we should never forget that Bethlehem was not Jesus’ beginning. His coming to the earth as a human being was merely a brief appearance in His eternal existence.

Out of His deep love for you and me, Jesus was willing to leave His majestic realms of glory to enter the realm of humanity. Shedding all His visible attributes that were too much for man’s flesh to endure, He dressed Himself in the clothing of a human being and was manifested in the flesh. That little baby in Bethlehem was the eternal, ever-existent God Almighty, who dressed Himself in human flesh so that He could dwell among men and purchase our salvation.

God’s great love for us drove Him to come down to our level to redeem us and later become an effective High Priest on our behalf. Think how wonderful it is that God loves us to such an extent!"
(https://renner.org/the-real-christmas-story/)
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THE PLAN

"But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards." (From the book - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)


The story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe explain that victory in life comes from a "Deep Magic" not foreseen by the Witch. However, according to the Scriptures above (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; Ephesians 1:4) there was a time before the creation of the "world" or in the Greek, Kosmos, (ordered systems, solar system, universe, society, governments, kingdoms, etc..) when Father God's thoughts turned to The Plan. A design, that when pictured in God's mind saw His Word becoming flesh, wounds appearing upon His body, nail-scars emerging on His hands and feet, grooves on His brow from the Crown of Thorns, and the divot of flesh from His pierced side.

Father God decided long before anything that all humanity is who He loved by sending His Word in flesh, Christ Jesus, to die for our fallen/broken relationship with Himself.
  • "he chose in Him [Christ Jesus] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight." (Ephesians 1:4) 
The Choice to accept Jesus as God's sacrificial gift of restoration was placed in our hands. However, Father God, The Word of God, and The Holy Spirit all viewed and considered the idea of Yeshua (Jesus) defeating Satan before there even was a Lucifer or at least a created world by the imagery of a slain lamb in the mind of God (Revelation 13:8).

Father God's thoughts of love and sacrifice became reality and manifested in the man Yeshua Messiah or translated for today - Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament Law (Law of Moses) was created to show the severity of our condition.  However, Christ came as that ultimate, perfect sacrifice which would usher all who believe in God's gift into a restored relationship by grace through faith.  
  • "For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." - Hebrews 9:24-26
Love is the made-up mind of The God from everlasting to everlasting (Nehemiah 9:5; Psalm 90:2; Habakkuk 1:12). In three places, (Revelation 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13) God refers to Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the one who is the beginning and who is the end. He is before all, through it all, at the end of it all, and beyond it all. However, before the creation of the world, God had The perfect sacrifice in mind to display His perfect love - The Logos, His Word.

You see Father God thought everything through - creation, salvation, eternity, everything. Jesus confesses to this by His teaching of the idea. 
  • "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. - Luke 14:28:33  
This passage says Father God "sat down", considered the cost, and decided the plan to give up everything - His Word manifested as Jesus - to display the extent of His love, was worth it all. The last statement is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus says if you are not willing to "give up everything" as I have then that person "cannot be my disciple". With that kind of God - why not surrender everything to Him by believing in Christ and His free gift of salvation? The benefits are eternal and there are No Disadvantages to His Design - The Plan!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

OPERATING IN HIS LOVE


1 Corinthians 13

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (verses 1-3)

The effort or energy that we bring to all situations has to be motivated by compassion if life is to be meaningful. Not only is the lesson - what wolf do you feed within yourself, but does that wolf contribute to The Pack and beyond? What source do you operate from - Love, Hate or Indifference. Jesus does not like the middle-ground. Jesus said to the believers in Laodicea and those whom would take on lukewarmness, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)

This first section of 1 Corinthians 13 is saying - How I "speak", how I "prophesy", how I "give", and how I "display my faith" is vitally important. For the attitude and the heart of the effort COMES WITH the words or things being submitted. Recipients are sensitive to the How It Is Delivered. So, all of us should be sensitive and considerate when displaying our skills, talents and helps toward others.

In addition, the Blesser, with the appropriate mindset and attitude, receives a blessing. Love is a two-way street. In Loving someone, chances are great that Love will be returned - if not by that person, then through another. Loving someone in anyway, even unconditionally, is its own reward. However, we must sincerely plant or display the seed of love.  

How do we do this? The next part of 1 Corinthians 13 tells us.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (verses 4-8)

Therefore, we must show patience, kindness, rid ourselves of envy, of boasting and show humility. We must drop slandering, seek out others, watch our temper and forgive as you have been forgiven. We must not indulge in sinful or rebellious behavior but get and keep excited about God's Truth. We must Always play the role of Protector, Truster of/in God, Creator of Hope and one who continually Endures.

When we look at the three words - "Love never fails." - we may get a little intimidated. I know, I could never love perfectly enough all the time that my love would never fail. This is why it is so important to consider - What source do you operate from? If you and I operate from God's unlimited and perfect-for-every-situation storehouse of love, then we have no worries. If we feed ourselves and operate only from our own reservoir of love, we empty fast and the love may not last because we do not have the best love displayed - Christ's Love. It is all a matter of Operating In His Love.