Saturday, November 18, 2006


1 Corinthians 13:12 - 13 (NASB) 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Now our vision is cloudy, partial and limited because we DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING. We can’t know everything now. We have to accept that there are mysteries, deep mysteries that are beyond our comprehension now.

We can know everything that God has laid out in His Word, now. We can understand that when He says unity, peace, faith, love, hope, joy, etc. are qualities we should be exhibiting, that He means now…here on this earth.

It’s all practice for heaven. What’s the point in understanding deeper mysteries unless we can be obedient in what He has clearly laid out for us in His Word? So now, some things will be fuzzy. We accept, by faith, because of His incredible love demonstrated in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, that He has our best interest at heart, now.

NOW…faith, hope and love are here. They are our operating parameters. Of these, love, as laid out in 1 Corinthians 13 and demonstrated by Jesus Himself, is the greatest.

Believe His Word. Obey His Word. Love. NOW.


Friday, November 17, 2006


We live in a ‘me’ first world. Look out for ‘number one’ is the motto of the masses. I want it now. What’s true for me isn’t necessarily true for you. My needs are important. I am climbing the ladder of success. Look at me!

Paul was dealing with this very same problem in the church at Corinth. People wanted their own way. Some were bragging because they had a certain gift and others did not. The result was division in the church where unity in Christ was to be the rule. Paul proceeds to explain to the people of Corinth how important love is. In defining love for them, he gives not a simple definition, but a series of qualities. When examined closely these qualities all have a central theme. They are selfless.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5. does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered

1 Corinthians 13:4b-5 (NASB)

Listen to how Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:

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, 5. 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,

This theme runs throughout the Scriptures. When Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac, he had to think of what God wanted, not what he desired. When Jesus came to this earth, He thought not of Himself, but of you, me, and His Father in heaven.

Jesus could have exalted himself while on the earth. He could have simply wiped out the Pharisees for their wickedness. He could have snapped His fingers and eliminated the Roman soldiers sent to escort Him to the cross at Calvary. Instead, he chose to be obedient to His Father in heaven, to the point of death on the cross for your sins and mine. (Philippians 2:5-8)

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; Philippians 2:3 (NASB)

Love is something that we do. Most of us do not ‘feel’ like putting others first. It is a conscious choice that we must make in obedience to God.

1 John 4:8 - 11 (NLT) But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


When you were very young, you may have seen someone else get something that you wanted. You were jealous. As you grew older, you may have seen your boyfriend or girlfriend paying attention to someone else and you were jealous.

Perhaps, a friend had a higher paying job than you or a nicer car. You were jealous.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is NOT jealous

The Greek word, zēloō, is translated jealous in the King James Version and envious in other translations. It also has the meaning of covetous, which is mentioned as a negative action in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:17).

If you stop and think about this for even a second it makes sense. Why should love not be jealous, envious, or covetous?

The answer is because these are merely feelings or emotions. God’s kind of love is not based on feelings. God’s kind of love is an act of the will; it is something that you do.

God’s love for us is not conditional on how we behave, what we have, or even how much we love Him back.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NASB)

Now that is unconditional love!

Yes, He desires our love in return and He has shown us the way to peace and eternal life with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. However, when we misbehave He does not stop loving us. He may discipline us as any good parent would do, but He does not stop loving us.

Our love for others is not to be based on feelings. Our love is to be like God’s love. It is to be an unconditional act of our will, powered by the perfect love of God through His indwelling Holy Spirit.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Have you ever heard the expression “They have kind eyes” or “They look like a kind person”? What is your understanding of the word “kind”? I don’t think it is to be found in a look unless it is to simply see the potential for kindness.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is kind

When Paul speaks here of love being kind it is not to mean the way we look. Being kind is an action; it is something that we do. The Greek word, chrēsteuomai (don’t worry I can’t pronounce it either!) means

to show oneself useful, that is, act benevolently:—be kind

(Strong’s Greek Dictionary)

Being kind is being useful to someone. What a concept! Have you ever intentionally thought about being kind to someone? I’m sure you have noticed (or can recall if you try) when someone has been kind or useful to you.

Often we do something for someone else because of the benefit that we receive in return. The “You do something for me and I’ll do something for you” attitude. The difference with being kind to someone with God’s kind of love is not to expect anything in return.

We can usually get on board with being kind to someone that we know and like. But, how about being kind to a stranger? Or even still, what about being kind to someone that we dislike? Listen to these word of Jesus from Luke 6:35 (NASB)

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

God’s kind of love is intentional. God’s love is to flow from the person that we are in Christ Jesus in the power of His Spirit.

Be kind to someone this week. Be intentional. Let God’s love flow through you.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


As a child, our concept of being patient was waiting until mom and dad got up on Christmas morning so we could open our presents. Making a little extra noise that morning was just an accident!

As we grew older, we learned that being patient is waiting 5 minutes for our hamburger at the drive through window. After all, it should have been ready in 2 minutes tops!

Our patience is also demonstrated when we listen to someone talking about their problems to us. After all, we have problems of our own.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient

Moses went up on Mount Sinai and waited 40 days and nights to receive the 10 commandments from the Lord. When he came down off the mountain and found the people partying and worshiping a golden calf he broke those tablets. He went back up the mountain and waited another 40 days to receive new tablets (Ex 24:18, 34:28)

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah…

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15And indeed, if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13 - 16 (NASB).

They did what was right in God’s eyes waiting patiently for their heavenly reward.

2 Peter 3:9 (NASB) The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

How long has God been patient with you? Now that is love!

How long do we have to be patient?

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:7 - 8 (NASB)

Monday, November 13, 2006

If only I had more money, I could have everything I need.

If only I could get that raise then I could buy her that present.

If only my boss would overlook my faults then I could get that raise.

If only my teacher would quit giving me so much homework then I could probably get good grades.

“If” is such an interesting word. Paul is talking to the church at Corinth where there were apparently many different problems causing division. Some were aligning behind different leaders. The gift of tongues had become a much sought after “prize” because it was so different.

Paul addresses these issues one at a time but then lumps it all together in this introduction to chapter 13. Remember at the end of chapter 12 he had said he was going to show them a “more excellent way.”

Paul uses the first person to describe what it would be like if he had all of these spiritual gifts in abundance:

  • the ability to speak in ALL languages, both of men and angels
  • the ability to understand ALL God’s mysteries
  • the possession of ALL knowledge
  • the faith that could literally move a mountain
  • the gift of giving EVERYTHING HE OWNED to the poor

Then he comes in with the big one…

All of those over-the-top gifts and abilities mean NOTHING

without the LOVE of GOD operating in His life…in my life…in your life.

1 Corinthians 13:1 - 3 (NLT) 1If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3If 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.


Sunday, November 12, 2006


When we go to buy something, whether it be clothes, a CD, a car or a bicycle, don’t we want to get the best that we can? Often we'll seek the advice of friends or a rating by a consumer advocate company. Here's some advice on how we can get the best out of our spiritual lives.

Paul has been trying to get the people in the church of Corinth to understand that unity and peace in the body of Christ is of primary importance. It doesn’t matter who you are, who you like better, or what someone’s function is in the body. What matters is we are ONE in Christ.

We see the same thing in churches today. The governing body of the church thinks they’re more important than the pastor (contrary to this verse I might add) and there is a split. Someone hears about the gift of tongues and thinks that would be really cool to speak in a different language, and yet, it’s at the bottom of the prioritized list that Paul lays out here. Even “miracles” and “healing” are down the page a bit!

God is a God of order. He says desire the best. He then tells us that these gifts aren’t even the best way He has for us. He points to something better. But before we talk about that, check out the spiritual gifts that Paul lays out for us:

1 Corinthians 12:28 - 31 (Young’s Literal Translation) And some, indeed, did God set in the assembly, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, afterwards powers, afterwards gifts of healings, helpings, governings, divers kinds of tongues; 29. are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all powers? 30. have all gifts of healings? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31. and desire earnestly the better gifts; and yet a far excelling way do I shew to you:


Apostle – “one that is sent” a “commissioner of the Gospel”

Missionary, church planter/preacher


Prophet – “an interpreter of oracles or hidden things” i.e.; the scriptures



Teacher – way too obvious! However, specifically God’s Word


Miracles – actually the Greek word dunamis – translated “power” 71 times versus 8 times for “miracles” and 1 for “miracle”. The Young’s Literal Translation uses the word “powers.” Thayer’s Greek Dictionary gives the following definition,

1) strength, power, ability

1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth

1b) power for performing miracles

1c) moral power and excellence of soul

1d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth

1e) power and resources arising from numbers

1f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

Healing – also the word for medicine, remedy

Helps – helpers, to give aid

Administrations – government

Various tongues (languages)

Paul says, “Earnestly desire the better gifts”

  1. that you would be a missionary or church planter
  2. that you would be able to interpret scripture
  3. that you would be able to teach

Paul then tells us he is going to show us a far better way even than those wonderful things. He is referring to “agape”, God’s kind of love which he will explain in chapter 13.