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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Love does...not....


Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things  I Corinthians 13:4-7

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth.

 This aspect of love is not referring to our actions but instead calls up our relationship with others.  This description reveals that when we lack love, we are guilty of an attitude which is glad (secretly or otherwise) over the faults, failures, or misfortunes of others.  Love, on the other hand, is grieved by such and rather rejoices when others walk in truth and enjoy the blessings of that.

One commentator described it this way:  “…the malicious pleasure which comes to most of us when we hear something derogatory about someone else.”  Ouch.  Does that prick your heart like it does mine?  It brings to mind I Peter 4:8 – Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another because love covers a multitude of sins.  Love does not want to expose the sins of others – it longs rather to protect, to shield, to redeem.  When confrontation is necessary (Galatians 6:1, Matthew 18:15-17), it is done gently, privately, with restoration as the goal, not exposure.  The “covering” is not a denial of sin but rather a protection, a desire to see the person walk uprightly and avoid the consequences of sin.

Love is glad for another’s righteousness and finds pleasure in the blessings that brings.  This reminds us of the basic nature of love – that of unselfishness.  Of delighting in the highest good of others.

Let’s pause for a moment and let the light of His truth penetrate our hearts.  Is it shining on any dark spots of wrongly rejoicing?  Take a few moments and confess this, knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive us when we do.

Then ask Him for the gift of repentance so that we can walk forward in truth.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Love keeps no record of wrongs


Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things  I Corinthians 13:4-7

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.

Before diving into this verse, let’s look at another verse that will set the stage for us.  Romans 10:8 says Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another. So basically, we owe love to everyone.  Anything less than love means that we are in debt to them. 

The Greek word used here in the Corinthians passage (logizomai) is a bookkeeper’s term, the word used for entering an item into a ledger so that it can be accounted for and not forgotten.  What great imagery!  Is that not an accurate picture of how we respond to the offenses committed against us?  We “write down” the debit transaction incurred by another so that we might deal with it later.  Perhaps we do not react immediately to a trepasss against us but we store it up in our heart, stew over it, take revenge or at least complain about – uh, “share” – it with others so that they, too, might make an entry in their ledger. 

But that’s not what LOVE does.  Love does not ignore or deny the wrongdoing but, instead of recording it as a debt owed, love erases the debt…by paying it oneself.  That’s right.  Love does not take revenge but rather love forgives.  That does not mean that we pretend the wrong never occurred.  That would actually be foolish and unhealthy!  But love does not hold the offender responsible for paying the debt.  Love releases the offender and refuses to keep a record of their action.  But since the lack of love resulted in a debt owed, love pays the debt for the offender.  Just like Jesus did at Calvary.

How do we pay the debt that another person owes us? In God’s amazing economy, that payment can be made in a thousand different ways.  It can be the absence of wrong action (as in not “telling your story” or not treating them as they well deserve) and it can be the presence of right action (blessing the offender in some way, praying for them, showing kindness to them).  And, what a delight that God’s economy works just fine with the installment plan!  He allows us to make these payments for others’ debts a little at a time if we need to!

As you read through this today, did your heart remember a debt that you are owed?  Are you willing to not take it into account…will you forgive that debt and pay it yourself?

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Praying for results


James 5:16 says The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The King James version is so rich.  It’s an oft quoted verse that rolls off our tongue but do we really grasp what I it means?  Let’s unpack it…

“Effectual” – this means “effective”.  Well, duh, of course we want effective prayers!  The question is – how to do that?  How can we pray effectively?   How do we pray so that He will answer with “yes”?  How do we pray “according to His will”?

We pray His Word!  His Word is His Will!  So when we pray His Word, we can know He says Yes!  How do we do that?  We will see in just a second.  Let’s unpack the rest of the verse first…

“Prayer of a righteous man(woman)” – you might think, there’s the catch, I’m not righteous enough! Thankfully, the effectiveness and the much availing of our prayers does not depend on our righteousness!  If we are in Christ, then His righteousness is counted as ours.  Hallelujah!  Our fellowship with the Father can be affected by our sin (Psalm 66:18) but  our right standing before Him – and His hearing of our prayers – is not based on our ability to be righteous.

“Availeth much” – brings about great and mighty work! The work of our powerful and loving Heavenly Father.  Working good in the lives of people.  Granting good gifts.  Changing the hearts of those in authority.  Bringing light into darkness.  Guidance and direction for us to follow. Provision for our lack. Yes, that is the “much” we desire!

All this is the work of God.  What is our part?

“Fervent”.  Showing great intensity and perseverance.  That is our part.  Persistent praying.  Faithful faith. Deep desire.  Although even this is possible because God grants us His grace, this is where we have a part in seeing our prayers answered.  God is looking for women who are willing to pray (Ezekiel 22:30) so that He might answer.  He wants women who will not give up but will persevere in praying.

Will you be one?

Here are some effectual prayers we righteous women can pray fervently…and watch Him avail much!

For joy (Philippians 3:1) 
For no bitterness (Hebrews 12:15)  
For Godly friends (Proverbs 13:20)     
 For diligence (Romans 12:11)      
 To not be critical (Romans 14:13) 
 To have a servant’s heart (Philippians 2:3)

 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Love is not...prickly!


Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things  I Corinthians 13:4-7
 Some versions say “love is not irritable or resentful”.  While that is true and accurate, I like this one that says “love is not provoked”. As my husband says, "love is not prickly!" What a great concept!
A wise friend of mine shared with me that he and his wife pray to “not be offended”.  That gave me so much to ponder – I had not ever thought to pray that before, but what a wonderful thing to do!  LOVE is not easily offended, does not get provoked, does not become irritable or resentful.  Let’s unpack it further…
The Greek word that we translate as “provoked” or “irritable” or “offended” is paroxuno. It is defined as “sharpness of spirit, to be irritated or incensed”.  From this we see that love cannot be sharpened to react towards others with an irritation of spirit.  In other words, love would never say “She makes me so mad!” or “He annoys me!”.  A characteristic of love is to be good-natured and peaceful, even when being mistreated.  No spewing of temper, no outburst of exasperation, no hyper-sensitivity, no taking offense, no resentment,  no temper tantrum…regardless of the action of others.
When we are controlled by the Spirit, we will not be quick to take offense, to be “prickly”.  Instead, the disruptions and disappointments and disturbances of life are met with a confidence that God is always at work, causing all things to work together for His glory and for the good of those who love Him.  This assurance enables us to meet all circumstances (and all peoples) with a sweetness of temper, a gentleness of attitude, and a genuinely optimistic outlook.
Love.  It is not easily provoked.  It does not anger easily nor react with irritability nor take offense.  Let’s ask the Lord to produce that maturity of love within us as well.