The Love Chapter V – “Characteristics Of Love”

So, what does love look like?

TLC

Bless you this auspicious day! I hope you are found loving God and seeking Him. If not, well, think about it. It’s a great way to be found…

Love…does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
1 Corinthians 13:5

I think it’s important you know at this juncture I am a work in progress. I have many failings. Many. But God shows stuff to me anyway. I guess it goes without saying that we all have the potential to do amazing things for God even if we are in a tough place. I say all this to let you know that though I am teaching and writing about love, I am not the perfect lover. Jesus is the only one who ever taught from the place of “fully versed.”

So, Love does not:

  • Behave rudely
  • Seek it’s own
  • Become provoked
  • Think evil

We’re going to focus on rudeness and work our way along the others as we can.

Rude behavior in this life is, unfortunately, common place. Nearly everywhere we go, we find rude people. There are many causes for this and quite often, it is displayed without purpose or even knowledge. Someone cuts you off in traffic, steps in the line ahead of you at the grocery store, takes your parking space you were waiting for. Rudeness can happen at work, in the park or even in church.

Yes, even in church. Although it is the one place you would think could move along in life without rudeness, the church does indeed, suffer from this painful malady. And, in this world, it is also the one place that rudeness should never be found. In the church, rudeness damages the Kingdom of God the most. No one comes to church very long if they find rudeness in the “Saints.” As a Christian, you will answer for the way you treat others.

We define rudeness as someone doing something to us because of their “could care less” attitude. They are not necessarily out to do us harm or be mean, they just simply do not care enough to take the time to realize we are there and are also important. This is a clear lack of love according to this passage. It is NOT something love displays. But, how do we respond?

The toughest lover was Jesus. He showed love until the end. And towards people that were doing far more hurt to him that being rude. I believe love via relationship can do more to impede rudeness than anything else. Maybe engage?

When you engage someone over a rude actions they have committed, you are likely in for a fight. Which is more a confrontation than connection. But maybe if you engage that person to know them. To love them? After all, we cannot combat evil with evil and expect to win, can we?

I don’t believe Paul was trying to just point out the short comings of a life that lacks love as much as he was trying to teach us that love is substance that we need to take in daily. As we do, we are able to give it out. Lessons in love teach us what not to do, but they also teach what to look for in others. We aren’t meant to recognize it so that we can point to that person and say, “You are rude. You have no love.” We are meant, I believe, to see it and do something about it. What? Well, that’s where your relationship with Jesus comes into play. He has that answer and every case will be different. Yeah, becoming a Christian was the easy part. “Being” a Christian can be really tough. The reward, of course, being worth it.

Working on my rudeness…
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The Love Chapter IV – “Love Suffers Long”

What does it mean when we say “Love suffers long?”

TLC

Good morning! Bless your day today! Come journey some more with me on the great ship, The Love Chapter! Haha…corny, huh?

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up   1 Corinthians 13:4

We change up somewhat on this verse. To this point we have read about the need for love and not fame. Paul has told us that regardless of our abilities, our sacrifices, our talents, our gifting, our spiritual prowess, we are useless without love. It might seem harsh the way that Paul has presented this all, but the truth is that God has no patience for those who are in search of the spotlight for the sake of the spotlight. He will not tolerate those using the Christian life to become important in the eyes of man. Now, we get to read about what love itself is and is not.

First what love is. This is so we can grasp direction. Direction to go and not go.

Love suffers long! If you have children of your own, you may get this quickly. You see, you will not find anything in this chapter that God Himself has not personally exemplified. Suffers long! The Message translation says, “Love never gives up.” Love for our children demands that no matter what they end up doing with their life, our love never changes. No matter if they turn their back on God, walk a very sinful life, become mean and hateful, our love never alters. If they are successful in business, become a minister or a missionary, the world’s most famous actor, our love never alters. This is the first lesson of what love is. This is where we start because it is where God’s love for us started here.

For us to truly know God, we must learn His characteristics. Then, as we learn them, we learn to duplicate them in our lives. As we grow in the spiritual things, we must become lovers of people. Because we cannot show God’s Gospel to the world (Mark 16:15) without purified love. Love that will suffer long. Love that presents a Savior that is real and powerful. This kind of love will indeed change the world. It will make the lost to see that this isn’t just about trying to convert people to our way of thinking. I’m not trying to win Liberals to Conservatism. I’m not trying to convert Buddhists to Christianity. I’m trying to show the world (everyone) that Jesus’ love for them is real.

Love that suffers long is love that has confidence in itself. “I will love you, whether you believe me or not. I will love you no matter what you believe. I will love you as Christ does, forever! You cannot stop me from loving you!”

Well, I think this might be a long subject. More to come!

Learning to suffer long,
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Words & Music By Jesus

Life is Full of Trials & Tribulations!

Blessings! This is a blog from back in January!

“…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45

Oh there’s nothing more frustrating than to not save yourwhere work and accidentally delete it…hahaha.. Here we go again, from memory!

Life is full of trials and tribulations. Crazy moments that cause undue hardship and pain. Many of our trials are the results of our very own mistakes. We say or do the wrong thing because we weren’t paying attention. Or, we simply just make the decision to do what we want and get hit square in the face with a big cream pie called consequences. Well, that’s not what I am talking about. I want to chat about those nasty little monsters that come along courtesy of someone who made the bad decision for you. That someone may or may not be the pig satan. It could just be someone who really is wrapped and fully immersed in their own world.

So, we move on. We fight and struggle. We come to our knees in tears. We wake up in the morning and get up, dress and go to work. We smile, we laugh and suddenly, alone again, we weep. And the cycle continues until we heal. And that never comes as quickly as we are promised by the well meaning morons in our lives. Okay, moron might be a little harsh. The well meaning “loved morons” in our lives. No really, the promises of a better day come from many directions during this time. And it’s true, things will get better. Time does not heal all wounds, but it does make them bearable.

My one, single, most important point I am waddling towards is this: God will never change how He feels about you in the midst of this long, desperate, DESOLATE, trial. The rain will fall. Or the sun never sets. Which ever one it is, eventually, the rain begins to subside. The heat begins to cool.

What we endure no one else understands except the ones who go through the middle of it with us. And that, my friend, is exactly where He is. In the middle of it with you! My site theme scripture is one of the greatest in God’s amazing Word. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so who ever believes in Him will not die…EVER!” (John 3:16) God truly loves His creation in a fashion we can barely perceive. It’s that amazing. You will understand a little if you have children. He gave His up His only One…

God will never leave your side. His love will never falter. He’s got you!

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The Love Chapter III – “Generosity & Death”

Can you die for Christ without love for man?

TLC

Blessed, good morning! Gotcha coffee and cumpets? Ok, bearclaw? There we are! Let us continue on the awesome chapter of love in 1 Corinthians 13!

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

Generosity is a very important aspect of God’s love inside of us. In fact, if we have problems giving of ourselves or of our possessions (monetary or otherwise), we should seriously consider who we are in Christ. It is one of the greatest characteristic of Jesus and His people. Blessings abound as we give of ourselves. That includes, but is not limited to, our labors.

But we cannot claim that our connection with Christ is proven by that generosity. “I give, therefore I am a Christian” mentality just doesn’t work. James teaches us that faith without works isn’t faith at all (James 2:20). But to think that those works are who we are destroys anything that Jesus teaches about love. Your hard work and generosity proves that you can work hard and give, it does not prove that you love anyone. When we are struggling to love, we will often do “things” to conceal it. To make people think we love when it’s really just empty labor and fruitless giving proves nothing, for God knows the heart (Romans 8:27)

In the same light, the saddest thing we could ever do is to give to the point of death in a hollow sacrifice. This is meant for more than just actual martyrdom. But can you imagine someone dying for Christ, without love? I’m not even sure it’s possible to go that far without love. You might think that a person can do for Christ because of their love for Christ, not for their love for other people. But…

Jesus made the greatest statement about love in Matthew 22:37-40:

“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

In reading the entire statement, we see that loving God only cannot be done. You cannot love God without loving mankind. So, if you give yourself to die in Jesus’ name, but have failed to love God’s creation (people) you have failed God in what appears to be the biggest way possible.

Paul was trying to make a point here about what you cannot do without love. Without love, you will never choose death for Christ. It just cannot be done. Prove me wrong!

In Love With God’s Creation,
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The Love Chapter II – “Useless Giftings”

The Love Chapter Series Number 2, Useless Giftings

 

TLC

Goooooood Morning Everyone! Sit back and let’s talk about love!

In the previous blog for 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, “The Love Chapter,” we just barely got started. We talked about how being able to say all the most wonderful things and having the most wonderful voice was just loud noise if it didn’t come out packed in love. Verse two puts a spiritual twist to it.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)

I think what first blows my mind by this statement is that Paul is saying a person can be great in the Kingdom and still be without love. And, sadly, it’s true. The Word teaches us that giftings are without repentance. They are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). God gives a gift to someone, that gift cannot be taken back. That’s God’s policy. That means a person can be gifted in Prophecy (or any gift) and use it for the good of the Kingdom their whole life but it end up worthless all because they could not grasp how to love.

It’s been said that there is no stronger force in the Universe than Love. I believe that is true because if you can do what a person that is described in this scripture can do, but are “nothing” without love, then that one thing alone can overcome anything! Re-read that. I want to make sure you get it.

So, think about that. Love can overcome anything!

I can speak the prophetic. Tell you your future, your present and your past. I can explain anything to you. Anything! I have such a belief in God that I can walk on water. Better yet, I can command the mountains to move. Sounds like a pretty impressive person, huh? Nope, just more schmutz without love. Yeah, that’s a real word….

Love goes beyond all of that!

With smuch love,

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The Love Chapter I – “Making Noise”

The Love Chapter Series Begins Here…

TLC

Good morning and welcome aboard! The Love Chapter Series Begins today!

1 Corinthians Chapter 13 is often referred to as the “Love Chapter” because it describes what love is. You can read the entire chapter click here. I would like to talk a bit about it. This might become an ongoing blog with many parts. Sort of an in depth study on this passage. So, we’ll go in an “expository” manner. Verse by verse.

If you get a chance, read 1 Corinthians chapter 1 through 12. It will give you a little more to go on than starting just in chapter 13. In fact, we’re not actually going to start with chapter 13. We’ll pick it up in the last part of chapter 12. A little bit of setting the stage, you might say.

One of the lesson’s I am learning is to remember is to ask the Holy Spirit to open my understanding. Ephesians 1:17 and 18 says that Paul, the author, prays regularly that God will grant the Church (the people of God) the “spirit of wisdom and revelation that the eyes of your understanding be opened.” So, it is a very healthy habit to ask God to give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation each time we read God’s Word, so we might understand it better. Trust me, there is nothing like reading something and God’s Spirit revealing a truth in it that no one else has shown you! Very powerful and faith building. Anyway, it will never fail you to ask God’s assistance.

The Love Chapter Preface

Now, let’s get going. Start at chapter 12, verse 27.

27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”

Paul begins his discourse on love by highlighting some very important areas of leadership, gifts and supernatural activities. He speaks of the variety of positions in the church. How that different giftings rest on different people. And then states that we should always desire to have greater things happening in us. But he ends it all by saying that there is even a more “excellent” way. What does that mean?

Some have said that Paul would have intended his letter to continue here and not pause in a chapter break. But I actually think there could not have been a better place. He brings us into this great conversation about the supernatural things that can happen in and through people and in the middle of it, he says, “But wait. There’s something even better than all of this.” Then, he delves into the great treatise that will be forever the best exposition on love that man has ever written or heard. And since that’s what we’re all about, let’s delve with him!

We’ll begin with just the first verse. I want to bring this fully to us. You know, kinda melt it down and rebuild it piece by piece.

Chapter 13

Verse 1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

I can’t help but think of politicians when I read this first verse. Even actors and famous motivational speakers. Dare I say, famous preachers? Love has nothing to do with with what you can say to persuade, to inspire, to explain. To convince. What you say, the words from your mouth, means nothing. Whether you are singing a song that the world sings along with you or one that praises God to the point of goose bump insanity.

Your words may inspire a generation to go to the moon. It may become the anthem for a nation. It might change one life or one million. You might be a Shakespeare. An Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King, Jr. Your words might be quoted by Presidents or Kings. You might be invited to open Congress, speak to the Assembly or present at the Oscars. Heads of State from around the globe might want you to come and speak. Maybe your voice is so that Pavarotti is jealous. The classics all hope you will record them. If what you emit causes repentance, tears, breathlessness. If the mobs scream and beg for more. When you read words, the minds swirl with vision. Your concerts are packed stadiums with billions watching on TV and internet. Your records stay at the top of the charts for months. When you preach, everyone is healed. When you lead worship, souls are saved and lives are forever changed.

Your ability is nothing but noise if love is not the focus… “crickets”…

In God’s noisy love,
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Grace & Beyond

Grace: The Subject of the Ages

graceGrace has been compared to many things. It can be harder to put in a box that nailing jello to the wall. The word “grace” is used 145 times in the Bible. 159 if you use the old King James. I usually use the New King James. Semantics, it be.

What is grace? Ephesians 2:8-9 says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

So grace is what brings us to salvation. Faith finishes the job. And, as Paul pointed out here, not because of anything we have done.

Grace is extended unto us through the love of God. Not by requirement. He is not obligated to us in any way. His love and character is why He does what He does.

“…Okay, I see what the Bible says. But there’s more. After all, it’s spoken of over a hundred times.” Many times, it’s in reference to having favor. But grace is so much more. More than a few words typed here can fully exhaust. But, hey we made it this far, let’s go on.

graceGrace is that place we exist in between sin and the doorstep of Heaven. It’s kind of like this: the law displays our sin, and if we don’t ignore it, then we seek a way to rid ourselves of the sin. That’s how the law points us to Jesus. We see our sin and Jesus offers the only way out of it.

He brings us into His grace. He puts His righteousness on us so we can then have a relationship with the One Who remains without sin, God. Faith is the part where we accept it even though we cannot see it with our physical eyes.

Grace is our residence from then until we are with Him in Heaven.

Okay, Paul again talks about this in Romans 5. He basically says that God is SOOOO incredibly good, that regardless of our sin, grace trumps it. But, he adds in chapter 6 that we can abuse it. Yeah, leave it to man to find a way to abuse even grace! That’s what he meant when he said,

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (6:1-2)

We are taught that first we must understand we are covered by the power of grace. But also, that we move forward. So many times, we get the understanding of grace so well, we forget it’s not meant to be a static existence. We live in grace until Heaven, but we are to strive for the place where we no longer need grace.

Okay, something to think about, that last one….

In His Ridiculously Wonderful grace,
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