“Love Never Fails”

8 Love never fails. — 1 Cor. 13:8​a NIV

God’s Love

“Love never fails.” When I read these three words, I am at once convicted, confused and totally devoid of understanding what they mean. In a world where the divorce rate of the general population is at or higher than 50 percent and parents abuse their children, where does “love never fails” fit in?  In a world filled with violence and wars over religions, how do we reconcile the fact that “love never fails”?  Is it possible that what we, as humans, think of as love, isn’t love at all?  Is it possible that what we have come to know as “love” is nothing but an emotion or a word we use so we can have a close association with others? Have our fears of rejection and loneliness caused us to settle for something that is far less than what God intended and demonstrated to us?  Do we “love” to get or to give? It seems that humans love to get what they want and/or need and God loves to give us more than we could possibly ever need. As a human, I am not capable of love that never fails, but my GOD IS LOVE THAT NEVER FAILS. We are saved by grace through faith that gives us the hope of eternal life and full understanding one day. All of this because the greatest of all things is the love of God that has never failed and it never will. So, I cling to God and cry out to Him, “teach me God how to love in the truest sense of what You mean by love.”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Is Always Hopeful”

7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.– 1 Cor. 13:7 NLT

The Standard for Love 

What if our every thought had to pass a test before it could be converted to spoken words or to actions?
Does this thought show others that I have patience?
Does it show kindness?
Is it truthful?
Does it show concern?
Does it reflect my trust in God?
Does it show the hope I have in Jesus?
Will it help me or those around me to endure trials and persevere?


All the above should be answered with a “Yes”
All the below should be answered with a “No” 

Is it boastful? Does it make me appear to be envious?
Does it disrespect or harm others?
Is it just for my benefit?
Is it a knee jerk response to something that has angered me?
If it fails in any area, we need to reconsider before we speak or act
.

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ​ –​- Matt. 19:26 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“But If I Didn’t Love”

3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. – 1 Cor. 13:3 NLT 

1 Cor.13:1-3 NLT

Anyone can do good works and have good intentions. You can help people without getting involved in their lives. It seems that in today’s society, that is the preferred way to help. If we just throw some money at the issue, maybe it will go away. But, our example, Jesus, got involved. He knew and we are learning that money is not the cure for a sinful world. We can take vows of poverty and give away all we have, but if we don’t love, it is a useless endeavor. Our churches can exercise all the God-given gifts, but if we don’t show love, it will not bring others to Jesus. We tend to show others “love” when it is convenient and costs us very little in terms of investing time and touch. Before anyone can really show love, they must have the love of God in their hearts. True love comes only from God.

16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.​ God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. ​ – 1 John 4:16-17 NLT​

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Desire the Greater Gifts”

31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.​ ​1 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.–1 Cor. 1​2:3​1-​1​3​:1 NIV

​In chapter 12, Paul has been explaining the importance of each individual in being part of the body of Christ. He ends chapter 12 with the instructions to desire the greater gifts. Before the translators came up with  divisions of chapters and verses, this would have been a continuation of Paul’s words without an interruption. Paul immediately launches into an elongated definition of love, giving us the “love” chapter of Corinthians 13. This is a pretty strong hint in what Paul considers to be the most important aspect of Christianity. Unless our words are backed up with actions of love, we are just making noise and creating much ado about nothing. Then Paul starts chapter 14 with this verse

Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy   –1 Cor. 14:1 NLT

Paul continues his letter with a discussion of gifts and their use in  the church.  Remember that Paul wrote these two letters to the Corinthians because they were having issues in the church about gifts and who was the most important. So, right in the middle of this discourse on the body of Christ and the gifts God has given us, he pauses to emphasize that none of this is about us.  It is about serving God in love and unity. Use your gift in love to edify others, but don’t think that it makes you any more important than anyone else in the congregation.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“All of You Together”

27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. – 1 Cor.12:27 NLT

1 Cor. 12:27-31 NLT

Paul, using the comparison of the physical body to the Spiritual body of Christ, continues to emphasize over and over, the importance of each part. The parts of the Spiritual body are the gifts that the Holy Spirit has placed in each of us. Each smaller body of Christ, the individual congregations, must have the parts to function in unity. All of the gifts are given to edify the complete body.  Each congregation must have those with gifts of leadership. But not everyone can be a leader, so there are other positions to fill. God has given each of us a specific gift that is necessary for the body.

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. — 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

​Each of us should study, meditate and pray so that we might know our gift and use it effectively. The gifts are not given to us for our own possession, but for the benefit of the whole body. Unless we share the gift, it is of no value to us or to our congregation. The gifts are given to each of us to share with others.

33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. — Luke 11:33 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Who Are You Looking For?”

 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” – John 20:15a NLT

John 20:11-18 NLT

Resurrection morning! Ain’t no grave could hold Him down!! The cross is a necessary step for Jesus to get back to His glory. He carried His cross, died to Himself for us and now He is alive forevermore! Do you see the example here? The cross Jesus asks us to bear is a necessary step for us to get to glory. We carry the cross, we die to ourselves for Jesus and we have life everlasting!! As Paul tells us we must be willing to share in the sufferings of Jesus. But wait, read the next verse. There is good news!

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.–2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NIV)

When we die to ourselves and bury the flesh, we can sing along with Jesus, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold Me Down”!!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“I Will Not Let You Go…”

​​24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”—Gen. 32:24-26 NIV

There are people who pray and then there are people who really, really pray. Which one of these are we?  God is concerned about the biggest and the least little problem or issue that bothers us. He stands ready to send in a thousand angels to protect us, if that is necessary. But He wants us to ask and keep on asking until the answer comes. We may not get the answer we want, but He will always answer us. Jesus is our example and He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane until He sweat great drops of blood. Jacob refused to turn loose until He got His blessing. The woman with the issue of blood pressed through a  crowd of people just to be able to touch His garment. We, too, can really get serious about prayer when lives are at stake. What would happen if we just asked God every moment to take care of the little things? At His Mother’s request, Jesus turned the water into wine. Couldn’t we all use that kind of miracle in our daily lives?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Greatness of God’s Power”

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. – Ephesians 1:19 NLT 

Incredible Power

It is impossible for the human mind to grasp the power that is available to each of us through Jesus Christ our Lord. The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power that assures us of our hope of eternal life. If our hearts were totally in sync with God’s heart that we might see through His eyes and hear through His ears, the difference we could make in this age would be immeasurable. This is the truth that Jesus wanted us to get hold of when He said:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.–John 14:12 -14 NIV

We can grasp a part of the truth of this statement when we realize that it is still God doing the works and miracles today. . When our only motive becomes to glorify God and His Son, Jesus and we believe that the dunamis power of God, His Holy Spirit, resides in us, then I believe that we will begin to see those miracles occurring today, just as they did when Jesus and the disciples walked the earth.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Think About Such Things”

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Phil 4:8 NIV

Rejoice!


Some of the things that Paul wrote are hard for us to understand. “rejoice in the Lord always” and “pray without ceasing” come to mind. In our busy society how does one spend 15 minutes a day rejoicing and praying, much less continually, and still get everything accomplished. I believe that what seems impossible is the key to how we accomplish Paul’s admonitions. Happiness is caused by externals and is temporary. We sometimes confuse that with joy, which is internal and eternal because it is given to us by God. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  What God gives to us cannot be taken away from us. We can lose our focus on the joy but it is still there all the time. Praying is a gift from God as well as an attitude, not a body position. we can mentally pray while doing anything else. Verse 8 is the key to being prayerful and joyful all the time. We need to change our thought patterns so that they focus on the goodness and mercies of God instead of the sin in the world around us.  Then we can enjoy the joy and thank God for it.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Things That Please the Spirit”

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. – Romans 8:5 NLT 

Romans 8:3-5 NLT

The Law was given as a  teacher. Its purpose was to teach us that we could not live perfect lives while in this flesh.  Since the forgiveness of sin required a perfect sacrifice, God supplied that for us. He sent His Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect, spotless life. Those who choose to live under the Law are still condemned by that Law. Their only hope, our only hope is to accept the gift of salvation bought and paid for by our kinsman Redeemer, Jesus Christ. When we do that, God places His Spirit inside us to convict, correct, and direct us in how we should live. Now, we are living in accordance with what the Spirit desires.  And the Spirit desires only what Jesus and the Father desire for us. The Spirit is perfect in His communications between us and God.  When God speaks to us through other Christians, we might question the message.  But, when the Messenger is the Holy Spirit, we must walk humbly before our God and deliver the message exactly as it is given to us by the Holy Spirit.

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.–John 15:26-27 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous