Love (part 3)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIV

Dear Heavenly Father – Please fill us with your love. Help us to love and forgive. Please help us to grow in knowledge and understanding of your love. – Amen

Love – This world still needs love.  We still need the power of love to transform, unite, heal, cast out demonic forces and accomplish the will of God. Just one thing: Love.

We studied how love has the power to save us. Love is the power. But what is love? Yesterday we studied verse 4 and part of verse 5. Now through grace let us learn about how love is not easily angered. So let us read verse 5 in a couple different translations:

“does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;”  1 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV

“It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]” 1 Corinthians 13:5 APMC

Love is not easily angered or provoked, and it is not touchy or fretful or resentful. Love keeps no record of wrongs; it thinks no evil; and it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. A friend of mine and I had a disagreement the other day and they said, “Well 4 years ago…”  I could not help but laugh.  Then I apologized for something (I thought was small and insignificant) I did 4 years ago which hurt them and they had kept record for all this time.  We talked it out and had a good laugh.  But here is the bigger picture – that was evidence of un-forgiveness towards me – so for 4 years any time they had asked God to forgive them, He could not because my friend held this against me. 4 years of keeping themselves separated from God (not from God’s love, but from His holiness and blessings). Un-forgiveness is a stronghold of evil. It must be unrooted from our lives. Do not hold grudges or keep a count of wrongs – forgive and move on. God only knows what my friend missed out on by harboring un-forgiveness.

God loves us; do we love God with understanding? When I lost my baby (miscarriage), I was so angry at God. I couldn’t understand why God would let something get so broken, even He couldn’t fix it – He could not bring that child back (the child was dead too long and had left the womb and I was in a sinful place and did not pray for life for the child – I just fell apart). Maybe you had a death, or a situation that seems beyond even God’s mercy. Can you relate? I was good and angry. Through grace, God revealed, ever so tenderly, His love for me and my anger was no longer at God – instead it was righteous indignation that pressed me in closer to God in retaliation against the enemies evil plans for my destruction and the destruction of my family.  Love was an amazing response to my anger and transformed me. God is tender and gentle and quiet – go to Him, he longs to comfort you. He is responding to your anger with healing love.
My sister is also angry at the Lord. She had a calling and promises from God that were not fulfilled as she lived a compromised life against what God had told her to do. At this point she has renounced her faith in God and any belief. She calls it all rubbish and chases the desires of her flesh. She is in bondage to selfishness to the point of destruction and I pray for her – Lord, continue to extend her grace and perform a miracle! She is in a deep dark place and stubbornly holding on to ways that aren’t just fleshly, but also demonic. She is intentionally trying to grieve God because she is mad at Him.

Two very different human reactions to the feeling of being mad with very different results.  I am healed and my sister is still hurting and heaping more pain on top of pain.
Anger is a feeling, and feelings are not right or wrong.  How you respond to those feelings are actions and actions can be right or wrong.  I (only by grace) responded in a way that lead me into the comforting arms of my savior. My sister responded with actions of destruction. (Seriously, please pray for her.)

God made us and loves us; do we love ourselves without anger and without keeping track of our own failures? Sometimes we are our biggest critic – beating ourselves up over failing against a temptation or struggles we face. Have you forgiven yourself??? Jesus said when we come before God, forgive so we may be forgiven – that DOES include self-forgiveness!  Forgive yourself for any impetuous acts. Forgive yourself for the foolish thing you said that embarrassed yourself. Forgive yourself for your sins. Forgive yourself for anger. Deliverance from a spirit of anger comes once you forgive yourself and others and let is go – Say a prayer declaring you are free and as an act of faith, exhale – blow that bondage right out of you! Blow a few times if you have to.  Let it go and be free. Shake it off you if you need to – just get free in the name of Jesus!

God has been working on us to understand and practice love – but sometime the bondage to sin and our fleshly desires prevents the growth. I found multiple list of sins in the Bible to help us know how not to act. I am sharing the one below because it was written to a church who was learning about love. (It is true, we aren’t the only ones who need lessons on love – the church in Corinth and multiple early churches needed lessons on love. As you read the passage below, you should be able to make the connections to the elements found in 1 Corinthians 13 that we are studing. I was going to put just verses 31 & 32 – but I did not want to remove them from context.

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:17-32 NLT

I have to repeat to make sure you got this: get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander and ALL TYPES OF EVIL BEHAVIOR! What is standing in the way of you and true love?? Sin!
God is love! He is our first true love – if you do not have that true love relationship with Him and aren’t practicing godly love with Him, how do you expect love with another person to work out well? 
How do you think you can obey the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) – to love everyone, including God and yourself, if you are all bound up with wounds and anger and sin??? It is time to pull your mess together!! (with God’s help and His grace of course)

Therefore, get yourself right with God so that you can love your neighbor, love your enemy, love yourself and even love God. Your relationship with others and God will improve, grow and even flourish.

If you don’t already, and today you would like to, have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ Love one another
~ Watch and Pray ~
Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

“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. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 NIV

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