Monday, July 6, 2015

July 7, 2015

"It (love) does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs." I Corinthians 13:5

Perhaps you have heard the old story of the young man who professed his love for his beau with this passionate pledge, "My Love, I would climb the highest mountain to be with you! I would swim the deepest ocean to be by your side! A pack of wild beasts could not keep me from you! And, my Dear, I'll be over tonight if it doesn't rain."

In I Corinthians 13 it is clear that Paul understood love is not best expressed in large dramatic acts like giving your body to be burned or giving all your possessions to the poor. If love isn't expressed through your daily behavior, your love will not ring true.

So far in our study we have learned about patience and kindness. If you have the "agape" love of God active in your life you will demonstrate patience and kindness in your daily living. Our tag line for this loving virtue is "Love takes grief and gives grace". 

If you aren't patient and kind with people in your daily living you don't have God's love active in your life. 

We also learns that "Love completes, it doesn't compete". When God is active in your life you will not be envious, boastful or arrogant.

Today's third truth about "agape" love is this "Love behaves like it believes".

What a difference it would make for the Gospel if God's people would just be well-mannered and polite in every day life!

When a Christ-follower acts rudely toward a store clerk or a server at a restaurant it makes a bad impression for the cause of Christ. When a Christian with a Christian bumper sticker and a "Follow Me to FredWes" car magnet rudely cuts people off in traffic he is not behaving like someone who possesses of love of Christ. 

Love is not rude. Were you rude to someone today?

Love is not self-seeking. Was your rudeness a result of your self-centeredness?

Love is not easily angered. Were you rude because you lost your temper?

Love forgives quickly. Were you rude because someone was toward you?

Love behaves like it believes!

Will you surrender to God's love today to keep you from behaving rudely?

July 6, 2015

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. 7 The law of the Lord is perfect,  refreshing the soul. 8The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  9The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.  10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.  Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19 

What causes you to praise?

That's a pretty good question to consider, isn't it?

Do you know how to answer it?

Let me offer a suggestion how you should answer it. This answer is not original to me, I am taking it from the Psalmist. Who knew how to praise better than he did?

What should inspire you to praise? Here's what caused King David to praise:

The first six verses make it clear that he was thrilled by the creation he saw around him.

Dozens of times during a typical day you are confronted by the amazing beauty of nature. Whether it is a dazzling sunrise, a clear blue sky, the songs of birds serenading you in the morning, the power of a thunderstorm, or a huge harvest moon at night, God's handiwork is hard to ignore.

Will you vow to take notice of how inspiring nature is from now on? Will you begin with your waking moments tomorrow and then consciously enjoy His interacting with your world through out they rest of the day? See how that affects your spirit.

That is reason for praise!

In the next verses, 7 through 11, the Psalmist was thrilled by what God was creating in him.

Unlike many who seem to thing the Bible is restrictive and negative in its tone, the Psalmist felt exactly the opposite. Look at the sense of excitement he expresses for the Word of God. Consider these phrases:

"Life for the soul", wisdom for the simple", "joy for the heart", "giving light to the eyes", "pure", "more precious than gold", and "sweeter than honey".

The stories, the truths, the wisdom, and the practical teachings of the Word of God give deeper insights into the heart and mind of God. Though His Word you can get to know Him intimately and not just from a distance. It is good to know nature but it is far better to get to know His nature!

That is reason for praise!

Finally, verses 12-14 give one more reason to praise, he was thrilled not only by what God had created and what God was creating in him through His Word, but he was also praising God for what He was creating through him. II Corinthians 5:17 declares he is a "new creation".

The Word of God is pure and powerful and active in the life of one who receives it gladly with obedience. As it recreates the person from the inside out, that person begins to have a positive impact on the world around him.

That is reason for praise!

Why do you praise?

You praise Him for what He has created! 

You praise Him for what He is creating in you! 

You praise Him for what He is creating through you!