Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 13 (day six)
“Pursue love…”-Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:1
That just might be the best summary of 1 Corinthians, pursue love. The Corinthian church was so preoccupied with chasing other things, it had left love behind, with heartbreaking results. Even making a big deal out of good things, like Spiritual gifts, or Bible knowledge can hurt a church rather than build one. That’s why Paul wrote pursue love. Essentially Paul is asking them to get back to loving God and loving their neighbor; start making a big deal out of love again.
We all have the tendency to make big deals out of lesser things, and if we let them they can get in the way of love. What can those things be for you? That might be a great question to ask God. I promise He will show you if you do.
Re:verse–Hosea 1,3,14 (day six)
God didn’t use a vision, or a dream to reveal the heart of his message to Hosea; he used real life. God commanded Hosea to marry, only to rescue his wife years later from a life of rampant adultery. The message was clear. It was not lost on Hosea just how devastating and painful sin could be, nor the cost of covenant keeping love.
The real life of Hosea spoke volumes about the ugliness of sin and the extraordinary love of God. I wonder what our real lives have to teach us?
Re:Verse reading–Genesis 22:1-19 (day six)
This is a hard story for some. Seeing redemption through God’s baffling ask of Abraham leaves some with a sour taste in their mouth. “Why would God even ask him to do that?” Understanding historical and cultural context certainly helps, but knowing the spiritual context helps even more.
Here’s the spiritual truth, God would have remained just if he had allowed Abraham to follow through. His glory, infinitely displayed through his holiness would have remained untarnished. Because of his sin, Isaac was worthy of the fullness of God’s wrath. The wages of Isaac’s sin is death. The miracle of redemption in this story is not the just-in-the-nick-of-time replacement for Isaac, but rather, even though he was a despicable sinner, God provided a sacrificial lamb to die in his place.
We can never fully understand God’s extravagant love for us (rescue and redemption)until we understand his terrible wrath against our sin, even Isaac’s.
Re:Verse reading–Joshua 23; Joshua 24:14-15 (day six)
Joshua implored his people to commit to “love” God. The covenant between God and the Israelites was not a business contract; their obedience to God was not payment for services rendered, nor is it an attempt to repay Him out of indebtedness. That’s not the arrangement. Joshua told them to obey, worship, and love because the God of the universe first loved them, made himself know to them, rescued them out of idolatry, and in His love was great reward.
Stop doing business with God; love him with all your heart!
Re:Verse reading–Romans 14:1-21 (day six)
In Romans 14, Paul encourages the strong to “walk in love.” Walking in love tends to change a lot of things, mainly how you relate to others. You are less inclined to think of yourself, and more inclined to think about your neighbor. Your rights, or personal liberties take a back seat to their physical and spiritual needs. You are less likely to say, “grow up,” or “get over it,” and more likely to say things like, “let me help you,” or “I can show you the way.” When you walk in love you are willing to “become all things to all people;” you will slow down rather than speed up, you will remove obstacles along the way, you will serve rather than be served, you may even lay down your life all for the sake of love.
Will you be strong and walk in love today?
Re:Verse reading–Romans 1:18-32 (day one)
“For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men.”—v 18.
Can the LOVE of God be reconciled with His WRATH? Does the Eternal One have two perfectly balanced, internally consistent aspects to His nature? “Yes”, say the Apostles.
Wrath is the other side of God’s love. Protective. Strong.
None of us is surprised, or offended, to see a Father rage against an enemy who threatens the daughter he loves. So, God rages against sin and its terrible consequences. Except, He doesn’t rage. His wrath is not a burst of anger. (wrong word in Greek). Wrath is a settled, fierce, eternal opposition toward evil. Dangerously calm it is.
Two attitudes are desirable from us toward this Great Mind, Great Power. “You shall LOVE the Lord with all your heart.”—Deuteronomy 6:5.
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, He is to be FEARED.”—Psalm 96:4
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:45-52; John 19:25-27 (day six)
Not sure if this is the case for everyone, but the word Obedience often has a negative connotation. In our culture, it can have the meaning of less then, subservient, or demeaned. “Subjecting yourself” is the very antithesis of the American Dream; we are told to “be true to yourself,” “do what you please,” “be subject to no one.”
The call to obedience is not a call to oppression and servitude. We don’t know much about Jesus’ childhood, but the Scriptures make one thing clear, he obeyed his parents. Of all kids, Jesus alone has the grounds to say, “no, dad.” He is the Son of God, he didn’t need Mary and Joseph bossing him around, and yet he “continued” to obey them.
The Scripture connects two truths when it comes to obeying parents, wisdom and love. Both the commandment and Jesus’ growth in wisdom teach us that it is not only right to obey parents, but there is wisdom to be had in it. Obedience is also an expression of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me.”
Jesus obeyed his Father in heaven, by obeying Mary and Joseph. The call to obedience is not a call to be “less than who you are,” but rather by design to fulfill who you are to become.
When Jesus told us to “LOVE our enemies”(Matthew 5:44), He added “PRAY for those who persecute you”. If you love someone, you pray for them. That’s what Jesus believed. I wonder what would happen if we really did? If not only my friends and family, but also my enemies were included in my daily prayers. If big enemies and small, Islamic terrorists and “friends” who have been critical all got the same treatment– prayer? C. S. Lewis prayed every night for the people he was most tempted to hate. His list included Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. What if we did the same? What if we prayed, as Jesus did on the cross, “Father forgive them” and transferred the burden of this wearisome task to His broad shoulders? What if we prayed “Forgive US” (both our enemies and ourselves in one foul package)? When Jesus told us to love our enemies, He knew that we would need to pray for them.