LOVE NEVER FAILS
Love never fails… – 1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV
We all have people in our lives that are difficult at times. Maybe it’s someone you work with, a family member, or even your spouse. Relationships can be complicated, but always remember: love never fails.
The Word of God clearly defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. It says that love is patient and kind. It doesn’t seek its own way. It keeps no record of wrongs. And most importantly, love never fails. Notice that this chapter on love doesn’t talk at all about how you feel. God’s love isn’t about feelings. It’s a choice. You can choose to be patient, even when you don’t feel like being patient. You can choose to be kind, even when you don’t feel like being kind.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, you can choose love. You are never more like God than when you are walking in love. When you are walking in love, you will never fail because love never fails. Open your heart and receive God’s love today!
A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood. —Proverbs 26:21
Scroll to the bottom of many online news sites and you’ll find the “Comments” section where readers can leave their observations. Even the most reputable sites have no shortage of rude rants, uninformed insults, and name-calling.
The book of Proverbs was collected about 3,000 years ago, but its timeless wisdom is as up-to-date as today’s breaking news. Two proverbs in chapter 26 seem at first glance to contradict each other, yet they apply perfectly to social media. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him” (v. 4). And then, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (v. 5).
The balance in those statements is in the “according to”: Don’t answer in the way a fool would answer. But respond so that foolishness is not considered wisdom.
My problem is that the foolishness I encounter is often my own. I have at times posted a sarcastic comment or turned someone else’s statement back on them. God hates it when I treat my fellow human beings with such disrespect, even when they’re also being foolish.
God gives us an amazing range of freedoms. We are free to choose what we will say, and when and how we say it. And we are always free to ask Him for wisdom.
Let love be your highest goal.
VENGEANCE IS GOD’S …
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about is neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. – Luke 17:2
God takes the persecution of His children personally. In Acts 9:4 when Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus and spoke to him about his persecution of the saints, Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul was not directly persecuting Jesus but he was persecuting His saints. Yet Jesus said, “Why are you persecuting me?” Judgment against those who persecute God’s children will not always come in time to prevent their harm but as this warning makes very clear, God will avenge His own (Rom. 12:19).
Letting God be the one who defends us is a matter of faith. If there is no God who will bring men into account for their actions, then turning the other cheek would be the worst thing we could do. But if there is a God who promises that vengeance is His, and He will repay, then taking matters into our own hands shows a lack of faith in God and His integrity.
We are not to take matters into our own hands and defend ourselves.
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (from Dt. 32:35-36; Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30). Striving to vindicate self actually shows a lack of faith in God keeping this promise. It also indicates spiritual “nearsightedness” which is only looking at the present moment instead of seeing things in view of eternity.
Even as Christ did not come to condemn the world and is not holding men’s sins against them, even so, we have been given the same ministry of reconciliation. For those who do not receive the love we extend to them but rather take advantage of us because of our “turning the other cheek,” God will repay.
GOD CAN QUALIFY THE DISQUALIFIED
Psalm 103:4 – …who [the Lord] redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Four women are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. (Matthew 1:1–16) Interestingly, they are not Sarah, Rebekah, Leah or Rachel, wives of the patriarchs of the Old Testament. Instead, they are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, women who had morally questionable backgrounds.
Tamar resorted to deception and prostitution to produce children through her father-in-law. Yet, it was from her line, the tribe of Judah, that the Messiah came. (Genesis 38) Rahab was a Gentile and a prostitute in Jericho, who became a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Joshua 2:1–21) She also became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth. (Ruth 4:13)
Ruth was morally upright. But as a Moabitess, she was a Gentile and therefore considered unclean. Yet, she became the grandmother of David (Ruth 4:13–17), whom the Jews regard as their greatest king. Bathsheba committed adultery with David. (2 Samuel 11:4) Later, she gave birth to King Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24), from whose royal line Jesus descended.
So what is God saying to us here?
He is saying that He is greater than our sins—where sin abounds, His grace abounds much more. (Romans 5:20) His grace is greater than our sins, so that even when the world disqualifies us, He can qualify us to receive His blessings!
God is also saying that He is a God of many chances. These women’s stories show us that even when our troubles are of our own making, they are neither final nor fatal. When we turn to Him, He will turn our situations around until we see His glory upon us!
Finally, God is saying that He is a God of supernatural positioning. Even when all our earthly connections are gone, the moment we turn to Him, He will find ways to turn our captivity into blessings.
My friend, don’t look at your natural circumstances and be discouraged. Trust the One “who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies”. Trust Him who qualifies the disqualified!
IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD (2)
When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.’ Hosea 13:6 NIV
Paul writes: ‘Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.’ (1 Timothy 6:17–18 NKJV) Are you ‘rich in this present age’? Almost half the world—more than three billion people—lives on less than $4 a day. So if your income is more than that, you’re rich by comparison. But prosperity comes with a warning: don’t be arrogant. ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.’ (Proverbs16:18 NIV) The Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle wrote, ‘Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man. But for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.’ God wants you to enjoy things without becoming obsessed with them. Accumulating possessions has a way of eclipsing God, no matter how meagre they may be. There’s a predictable progression from poverty to pride. The poor man prays and works; God hears and blesses. The humble man becomes rich and forgets God. The faithful poor man becomes the proud rich man. As God said through Hosea, ‘When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.’ How can you avoid this trap? Remember that everything you own comes from God, and He’s the source of everything you’ll need in the future. So live with a grateful heart, and in total dependence on Him.
ON THE EDGE
Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. —John 8:34
There’s an underground lava tube south of Kuna, Idaho, that has gained a certain amount of local notoriety. The only entrance, as far as I know, is a yawning shaft that plunges straight down into darkness.
Some years ago I stood at the edge of that shaft and looked down. I was drawn to venture closer and almost lost my balance. I felt a moment of heart-pounding terror and stepped away from the opening.
Sin is like that: Curiosity can draw us toward the darkness. How often have men and women gotten too close to the edge, lost their balance, and fallen into the darkness? They’ve destroyed their families, reputations, and careers through adulterous affairs that began with a “mere” flirtation but then progressed to thoughts and actions. Looking back they almost always say, “I never thought it would come to this.”
We think we can flirt with temptation, get very close to the edge, and walk away, but that’s a fool’s dream. We know an action is wrong and yet we toy with it. Then, inescapably, we are drawn into deeper and darker perversions. Jesus put it simply: “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).
And so, seeing our own need for God’s help, we pray as David did in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back Your servant also from [deliberate] sins; let them not have dominion over me.”
Heavenly Father, whether we are being tempted now, or have fallen, we thank You that You are always there, and You love us with relentless love. We have nowhere to turn but to You.
A big fall begins with a little stumble.
COMFORT IN ETERNITY …
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; – Luke 16:19-31
This story clearly teaches that there is life after death. It shows that there is no “soul sleep” where our souls are awaiting the resurrection of our bodies, but we go into a conscious eternity immediately. It also shows that there are only two destinations possible after death. We either go to a place of torment for the wicked or a place of blessing for the righteous. There is no “limbo” or “purgatory” and there is no second chance, illustrating the finality of our eternal destiny once we die.
Abraham’s bosom is a symbolic term designating a place of comfort for the righteous dead. It was located in the heart of the earth, in the same region as hell, where the ungodly dead go. The rich man’s body was in the grave and yet this scripture speaks of him lifting up his eyes and seeing Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. Our soul mirrors our physical shape so closely that it is recognizable. It is probable that one’s soulish body is an exact duplicate of their physical body.
Part of this man’s torment was from the flames. However, he was also tormented by the thought of his loved ones’ lives on earth and their eternal destiny. Surely his helplessness to warn them would make his misery worse.
Also, the fact that he could see Lazarus and Abraham in a place of total blessing and comfort would keep him from ever adjusting to his situation.
In the light of Jesus’ words, we can see that hell will be much more than just a place of physical torment. Those who are consigned to that place will also be tormented with the thoughts of what could have been if they had trusted Jesus. The greatest witness that anyone could ever receive is the witness from God’s Word. The gospel is the “power of God unto salvation”.
TREASURES WITHIN …
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels… – 2 Corinthians 4:7, NKJV
You have treasures deep inside of you! As a believer in Jesus, the greatest treasure of all is within you—the Spirit of God. You carry the most valuable treasure in the universe inside of you! He has also deposited many other treasures on the inside of you as well. You may not even see these treasures yet, but God has given you gifts and abilities that are tied to your purpose. He has fully equipped you to succeed in life.
What do you need today to move forward? What do you need to break out of your comfort zone? It’s on the inside of you. Proverbs says that understanding is like a well within and the wise person draws it out.
Today, draw out those treasures inside of you by speaking words of faith. Connect to the heart of Almighty God. Stir up the gift inside of you by praying in the Spirit and thanking Him in worship. As you seek the Lord and submit yourself to His leading, you will discover the great treasures within!
MOST CHRISTIANS IGNORE AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE ABOUT FAITH THAT YOU ONLY GET IN LIFE WHAT YOU BELIEVE FOR