1 Corinthians 13The Message (MSG)
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. Eugene Peterson from the Message Bible
I remember well the times when my parents disciple me for my disobedience. It was never easy or enjoyable, even when they told me it was for my own good. I also remember how often God has administered His correcting rod. His”good swift kick” have left a lasting impression. As painful and uncomfortable as those my parents gave me, I endured His with a higher degree of discomfort and unease. And although I complained in both instances, the truth is those “kicks” were necessary for my “own good.”
As today’s meditation from Spurgeon points out, God uses chastening with love to help his us regain their balance in righteousness, so we can shine and operate brightly as one of His own. The warning, though is not to succumb to murmuring or complaining. Take the instruction, learn from it and then share those valuable lessons, we all need with someone else.
“And all the children of Israel murmured.”—Numbers 14:2.
HERE are murmurers amongst Christians now, as there were in the camp of Israel of old. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, “Why am I thus afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?” A word with thee, O murmurer! Why shouldst thou murmur against the dispensations of thy heavenly Father? Can He treat thee more hardly than thou deservest? Consider what a rebel thou wast once, but He has pardoned thee! Surely, if He in His wisdom sees fit now to chasten thee, thou shouldst not complain. After all, art thou smitten as hardly as thy sins deserve? Consider the corruption which is in thy breast, and then wilt thou wonder that there needs so much of the rod to fetch it out? Weigh thyself, and discern how much dross is mingled with thy gold; and dost thou think the fire too hot to purge away so much dross as thou hast? Does not that proud rebellious spirit of thine prove that thy heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Are not those murmuring words contrary to the holy submissive nature of God’s children? Is not the correction needed? But if thou wilt murmur against the chastening, take heed, for it will go hard with murmurers. God always chastises His children twice, if they do not bear the first stroke patiently. But know one thing—”He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” All His corrections are sent in love, to purify thee, and to draw thee nearer to Himself. Surely it must help thee to bear the chastening with resignation if thou art able to recognize thy Father’s hand. For “whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.” “Murmur not as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer.”
Amid the winter storms ravaging the eastern sea board and coastal areas of New England, and some midwestern states, Valentine’s Day came and went. Although, Massachusetts Governor has declared a Valentine’s Week to encourage those impacted by the bad weather to celebrate next week. Valentine’s Day is a million dollar day that focuses on sharing love by giving flowers, a box of chocolates, special gifts, and dining out.
As I awoke this morning, I began thinking about the love that came wrapped in the form of a baby over 2000 years ago. God loved the world so much that gave…not a box of chocolates, flowers, or jewels, but His precious son. And Christ’s gifts would open blind eyes, heal wounded hearts and bodies. Gifts filled with the warm centers of joy, peace, power, patience and love can only be appreciated by those, whose lives amid storms and the drifting seas of life, reach out and touch the hem of his garment. Whether a day or week, this love, HIS LOVE never, ever fails. It is constant, sustaining, invincible, and available to all. Wrapped up in a bright, shiny,sweet package that is oh so good. A love that bears all things, no matter what.
So while the box of chocolates may be pictured on Instagram, the real meaning of Valentine’s Day is captured in the meaning of real, divine love. It is the embodiment of God and of His love for us.
During these 22 days of praise, let this beautiful prayer of Saint Francis remind us of our holy calling.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
I’m reading verses from 1 Kings 8, where Solomon dedicated the temple to the God. He thanked God for remembering his covenant, and asked Him to remember their prayers when they sinned and repented. This building divinely ordained and designed stood as a reminder of God’s pledge of His presence, provision and his name. The Lord told them I am God, maker of heaven and earth, and my name shall always be there.
That got me thinking about his name being present in all situations and circumstances. With all the wrong in the world, there is comfort in knowing that God’s name; his holy and righteous name is there. There is no other name in heaven or on earth like his. His name brings healing, power, deliverance, and love. My name shall be there. What a wonderful way to start the day; to remember His name shall be there.
“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” G.K. Chesterton
“Whoever loves much, does much.” Thomas A. Kempis
“Our God is not made of stone. His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eyes of God. God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude.” Richard J. Foster
“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” Mother Theresa
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life: love illuminates it” Martin Luther King, Jr.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
Dear God, help us this day to love you with all our hearts, minds and souls, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen
“Love penetrates the defenses that have been built up to protect against rejection and scorn and belittlement, and it sees life created by God for love.” Eugene H. Peterson
Our lives were created by God for love – that’s right, you and me created for love. Pretty amazing when you consider it. Our Creator designed us to be love. Love is an action word, although some think it is a feeling. However, love creates an atmosphere where the unlovable is now the object of profound love. Love drives us to save the lost and hurting. Love expends everything to build homes for the homeless, provide food for the hungry, and give water to the thirsty. Love demonstrates patience when dealing with a rebellious child. Love shows compassion for each sinner. Love delivers kindness, forgiveness, joy, goodness when the darkness of the world creeps in. Love means to sacrifice, to give, to cherish, to show mercy, and to correct injustice. Love is God, who loved this world so much that he gave is only begotten Son for us. God loved and created us in His image. Love is action.
Lyrics from a song made popular by Dionne Warwick, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…it’s the only thing that there is just too little of..” If there is too little love in the world on this day, and during this month, then show the world what we were made of-love. All of the faith, and hope in this world, love is the greatest.
Show your love this day.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the marvelous manifestations of love.