Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Gospel of Your Life

KJV:  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
NLT:  The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

The following post is from Pastor John Patterson's "Thought of the Day from God's Word," and is used with his permission. The emphasis on certain sentences are mine, because they stood out to me. After reading it, I have found myself dwelling on the questions he poses, especially the last one. I thought you might enjoy pondering it, too. 
Have you ever considered why the gospels written?  What was the intent of the human author?  Why did he include the information he shared?  
Many people have gone to school and have learned that each of the gospel writers presented Jesus differently.  Matthew presented Jesus as the King.  Mark showed Jesus as the Servant of God.  Luke portrayed Jesus as the Son of Man, while John revealed Jesus as the Son of God.  While all these descriptions and portrayals of Jesus are accurate that does not answer the opening question:  why were the gospels written?
In the passage above, John answers that question for his readers.  In reality he answers the question posed earlier.  Notice verse 31 again.  John writes,
 "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."
John wrote his gospel so that men and women might come to believe (trust, have faith in) Jesus the Messiah, who was none other that the Son of God, and that they might come to have life (eternal, spiritual, true, in essence the life which God always wanted them to have).  This was John's purpose in writing his gospel (good news) and it is God's purpose for His Word. 
This is also the reason we share Jesus with others. 
Not to get another notch on our spiritual belts.  Not to get slapped on the back by other people, but simply to see people come to know Jesus as their Savior and for them to gain eternal life.
Those who are God's children are writing a gospel.
 They do so by how they live their lives.  So the question before each of us today is this, how is your gospel writing coming along?  What is the purpose behind your writing?  Are you sharing Jesus?  Is your desire for them to know God and have eternal life?  The answer you give should help you to know how you should proceed in the days ahead!  
What does the writing of your life say about Jesus?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Love - Verse 13

We've reached the end of the LOVE verses today. Paul has explained how everything in this life, even our spiritual gifts, are completely useless and meaningless without LOVE. He completes the passage by assuring us of what will last forever:  


The greatest of all? It's LOVE, friends.

No matter what happens in your life, 
there will ALWAYS be LOVE waiting for you.

Grab hold of it, and then pass it on to someone who needs the LIFE-line. How do we/I accomplish that? We/I just remember to 

LOVE the Person Before Me

In closing out this series, I'd like to share my favorite recitation of 1 Corinthians 13. Take 3 minutes and soak up the passage as presented by The Backyard Bard. It will enrich your perspective of exactly what Paul was trying to tell the church of Corinth, as well as us in this present day.

How Will You LOVE Others Today?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Love - Verse 12

Today's reflection comes from David Guzik's commentary. It is so spot-on, I feel no need regurgitate it in my own words. Read on...

Paul is using this term to describe complete, unhindered fellowship with God. 1 John 3:2 tells us when we get to heaven, we shall see Him as He is. There will be no more barriers to our relationship with God.
For now we see in a mirror: This speaks again to the perfect fellowship with God we will have one day. Today, when we look in a good mirror, the image is clear. But in the ancient world, mirrors were made out of polished metal, and the image was always unclear and somewhat distorted. We see Jesus now only in a dim, unclear way, but one day we will see Him with perfect clarity. We will know just as I also am known.
When we get to heaven, we will have a really clear vision of the Lord.
We couldn't handle this greater knowledge on this side of eternity.
God knows everything about me; this is how I also am known. But in heaven, I will know God as perfectly as I can; I will know just as I also am known. It doesn't mean I will be all-knowing as God is, but it means I will know Him as perfectly as I can.

How does this verse pertain to love? We can share it and this hope with others! Today, let's all just take a moment to

Love the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Love - Verse 11

While studying these verses, I read somewhere that if you pick this chapter apart too much, it loses its beauty. Have I been too analytical? I certainly hope you don't think so! For me, I've found the verses to resonate within my spirit as I've soaked in His word. 

In verse eleven, Paul is not telling us we have little use for the spiritual gifts upon spiritual maturity. He is making us aware that love is permanent, while the gifts are temporary. 

Commentary from David Guzik:
Childish things are appropriate for children, and the gifts are appropriate for our present time. But the gifts of the Holy Spirit will not be appropriate forever.

The time to use our spiritual gifts is now. The time to love is now and forever. Today, I challenge you and me to 

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love - Verses 9 & 10

I'm dwelling on the 'time of perfection' today. I interpret this to mean Jesus. He is the Perfect One.
The time will come for His return, and it is soon. He is the epitome of LOVE. He shows me how to 

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Friday, February 12, 2016

LOVE - Verse 8

The things of this earth, and even the gifts of the Spirit are temporary. This earth will one day be no longer. At some point, the gift of prophecy will be unnecessary, because the prophecies will be fulfilled at Christ's Return. Even unknown languages (speaking in tongues) and special knowledge will be fruitless, and not needed. But love...

LOVE will last forever!

LOVE - it is more valuable, more durable than any gift, any language, any knowledge, any thing. Love will be here when all else is gone. Remember when I asked you to replace the word 'LOVE' with 'JESUS' in our last post? Do that again, here.

JESUS will last forever!

That exclamation point not only tells us this is important to understand; it also gives us reason to shout it out and be happy! Jesus will be here when all else is gone. When life has you down, dwell on this thought. He is forever...and He is here now.

I find this verse invigorating. It encourages me to remember today I am going to:

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

LOVE - Verse 7

Verse 7 is the one which makes my heart swell and my spirit soar. When my life feels at its breaking point, this is the verse to which I cling, because I can easily replace the word 'LOVE' for 'JESUS.'

JESUS never gives up on me.
JESUS never loses faith in me.
JESUS is always hopeful of me.
JESUS endures through every circumstance for me.

This verse gives me strength of spirit to keep moving forward. But what if I were to replace 'LOVE' with my name? Replace it with your name. Does the verse then speak truth? 

Charles Spurgeon has quite a few gems to glean from his commentary of 1 Corinthians 13. 
"Love does not ask to have an easy life of it: self-love makes that her aim. Love denies herself, sacrifices herself, that she may win victories for God, and hers shall be no tinsel crown."
He also likened the love qualities of verse seven to 'soldiers against evil.'

Evil is such a strong enemy, it comes at us again and again. First, we face evil with patience, for love bears all things. "Let the injury be inflicted, we will forgive it, and not be provoked: even seventy times seven will we bear in silence." If this isn't enough, we battle evil with faith, for love believes all things. We look to God and His promises and we believe them. If this is not enough, we overcome a third time by hope, for love hopes all things. "We rest in expectation that gentleness will win, and that long-suffering will wear out malice, for we look for the ultimate victory of everything that is true and gracious." Finally, we finish the battle with perseverance, for love endures all things. "We abide faithful to our resolve to love, we will not be irritated unto unkindness, we will not be perverted from generous, all-forgiving affection, and so we win the battle by steadfast non-resistance. Yes, brethren, and love conquers on all four sides.... What a brave mode of battle this is! Is not love a man of war? Is it not invincible?"

It's a daily battle to love, isn't it? There are going to be stumbling blocks each and every day; however, we have One who will never give up, never lose faith, will always be hopeful. 


He has shown us the way. He has given us reason to hope. He has shown us how to  

LOVE the Person Before Me

That we might point others to Him. Just for today, dwell on this:  
love (Jesus) is all we need.

How will you LOVE others today?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love - Verse 6

Have you ever had a snarky thought enter your mind when you've learned someone you didn't like has fallen from grace? You may have thought, "He got what he deserved," or "That knocked the wind out of her sails!" 

Paul makes it very clear in verse 6, we are not to celebrate another's iniquity, or adikia.

This is not LOVE. 

ἀδικία is the Greek word for 'unrighteousness of heart and life.' It is rooted in two words which combined mean 'one who violates justice' (adikos) and 'Christ' (Alpha). 

When we delight in a person's failure, we are glorifying sin. We are revelling in the violation against Christ and rejoicing in what He died for on that cross. 


Does this eye-opener step on your toes and bruise your heart as much as it does mine? I have good news. The GOOD NEWS...


No matter how long the fall, what is true in any matter under consideration...His LOVE, will always win out. His LOVE will always cover it. His LOVE will always be waiting to catch you. 

Now that, my friends, is something to rejoice. Today, let's celebrate Truth. Find someone to share the Truth. When life has beaten them down, remind them there is a fall-back plan for their life. Remember it's a new day to

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love - Verse 5

Again, we're faced with the bluntness of Paul's words as he personifies love. Have you noticed the traits of love (and what love is not) are exactly those of the One who loves you most? 

For someone who lived in the same time as Jesus,
yet never followed Him before His death at the cross; 
Paul certainly knew Jesus and His love. 

Let's dig in to today's verses, and continue learning about what love is not:

Does not demand its own way - Self-centered or Others-centered is a choice. We either look out for others, or choose to put our own interests first. 

Is not irritable - The King Jimmy translation replaces irritable with 'easily provoked;' however, 'easily' is not in the original Greek context. Adam Clarke's commentary gives further explanation:
"When the man who possesses this love gives way to provocation, he loses the balance of his soul, and grieves the Spirit of God… surely if he get embittered against his neighbour, he does not love him as himself"

Keeps no record of being wronged - We're talking grudges here, friends. Instead of clinging to the past, and the wrongs committed against us, we are to put those hurts away. Let it go. Let God. Let Love cover it. 

Today, I challenge you (and myself) to put others first, and to be genuinely pleasant, letting the minutia of life roll off and roll on, not holding any of it in our memory banks. Today, I choose to 

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Love - Verse 4

Last post, we examined the beginning of this chapter, and why Paul needed to address the church of Corinth. There was dissension among the people. Pride was standing in the way of shining Christ's light. That never happens in this day and age. <insert sarcasm> 

While the spiritual gifts we've been given are important, they are meaningless without love.

The next verses in chapter 13 will show us exactly what love looks like. 

Patientmakrothyméō is 'to be of long spirit; not to lose heart; persevere bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles.'  As a parent, I can relate to this word on so many levels! I'm sure Paul purposely wrote this as the first description of love with good reason. 
Kindchrésteuomai is this long Greek word derived from a root word meaning 'by the help of anyone.' We know when kindness is given to us. Kindness from others makes the recipient and the bestower feel good.

Without mincing words, Paul describes what love is. He follows up with what love is not. 

Not Jealouszēloō - this Greek word meaning 'to burn with zeal' is rooted in a base word meaning 'to boil.' Jealousy, or envy, does make us burn with desire or boil over in anger when someone has what we want. This is not love.
Not Boastfulperpereuomai - means 'a self display, employing rhetorical embellishments in extolling one's self excessively.' We've all been around braggarts. They are annoying, boorish, and obnoxious. To boast one's self, does nothing more than to push others away. This is not love.
Not Proud physioō - is Greek for 'to be puffed up, or to bear one's self loftily,' I personally feel this is the most important of  the 'not love' attributes. Pride is also Satan's ultimate tool for keeping us separated from God. We simply cannot hold ourselves in higher esteem than one beside us. We are all equal in God's eyes. This is not love.
Not Rude - aschēmoneō - first, this word is actually tacked onto the beginning of verse 5; however, in my little Type-A brain it fits better here, because it completes the sentence. This Greek word means 'to act unbecomingly.' Digging a little deeper, it means 'to prepare disgrace.' It is an intentional act meant to hurt another. This is not love.

It's amazing to me how one sentence can give me so much to chew on for not just a day, but a lifetime. All these love attributes can be achieved, though not on my own. I cannot endure without God. Keeping my eyes on Him reminds me where my focus belongs. 

When my heart is full of Him, 
I can spill the overflow &

LOVE the person before me.

How will you love others today?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Love - Verse 3

SIDENOTE:  Though my WordArt reflects the NLT, I personally prefer the King Jimmy translation of this verse, as I feel it is more descriptive. If you hover over the verse notation at the top of the page, it will take you to a side-by-side comparison of the NLT and the KJV translations via 

Paul is getting down to brass tacks in this third verse of 1st Corinthians. He's addressed some of the spiritual gifts held in high esteem by the church of Corinth in the first two verses, and now he's expounding on the gift of giving.

We can give it all away, all our earthly possessions, all our money, EVERYTHING...and it will still mean NOTHING if we didn't love others. The endowments, the offerings, the supplying to those in need...the heroics or self-satisfaction of those actions are blotted out in worthlessness without love.

And then Paul really spells it out for us...

You could give your body up for sacrificial death
& you would gain nothing ~ because you didn't LOVE.

I can scarcely imagine giving up my life for someone, only to find my death meant nothing. Why did Paul use such imagery? I think he wanted to impress upon us just how temporary and meaningless those gifts and even enduring death are without LOVE. Truly, it's difficult for me to wrap my head around that, because in this world, giving to others and good deeds are typically held in high esteem. If love is this important, how do we achieve showing it to others? 

The next verses will explain love. We'll begin studying those on Monday. Until then, I encourage you as you are out and about this weekend, with the hustle and bustle of people hurrying to accomplish their errands and to-do lists, remember to take a deep breath and: 

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love - Verse 2

The plain speak of Paul's writing to us in 1st Corinthians 13 resonates with me. I much prefer the blunt words rather than some of the more cryptic passages of the Bible. It doesn't get much simpler to understand than these words. 

We hold in high esteem those who have great knowledge. We praise our children for being 'smart' in school and earning high marks. Yet Paul is telling us, these things, these possessions of head-smarts and working knowledge, even being able to foretell future events mean absolutely nothing if we don't love others. 

We are nothing...without LOVE.

Those adored qualities and spiritual gifts, when not put to use to glorify God, as well as following Jesus' command to 'Love as I have loved you,' are useless. Even if we had the faith that could move a mountain, unless it was wrapped in love, that faith would be baseless. 

The spiritual gifts are the tools He's given us to show others not our glory, but His. The LOVE is what truly connects us and points others to Him. Today, let's remember to 

LOVE the Person Before Me

How will you LOVE others today?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The 'LOVE' Verses


Agape is translated as:  affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love

This word, agape, was a new word for love in the Bible. It wasn't found in classical Greek. Paul used it to help the church of Corinth understand all those spiritual gifts they'd received from the Holy Spirit were completely useless if they didn't put love first. (It would benefit to read chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians to gain understanding of chapter 13.)

Today (and perhaps even back in biblical days), we toss around the word love so much, it has lost its importance, its value. It doesn't matter how many languages we speak. If there is not love in those words, they become meaningless. 

We live in a noisy world.
I don't want to add my clatter to it.

What I want most is to simply...

Love the Person Before Me

How will you love others today?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Focus on Prayer - Wrap Up

Well, I was away from my computer for several days while traveling. I wanted to give you the opportunity to finish up this series for yourself by taking a look at the last few verses all together. 

Day 29

Day 30

Day 31
Matthew 5:44

Be sure to use the links in the sidebar to help you study the root words and context of the verses. Both and are tremendous resources.
NOTE:  Jesus was speaking to His disciples, teaching them how to pray, in the verse from Luke. The verse from Matthew was from Jesus' longest recorded words, "Sermon on the Mount." 

Dig in and let me know what you find! 
I'd love to know if you understand what the Bible says about prayer 
as we finish this series.

What do these verses speak to you?