Lack of Love Causes Sins – 6-2-22

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of First Corinthians chapter 13 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Greatest Gift

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is [d]perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:3 NU so I may boast
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:4 arrogant
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:5 keeps no accounts of evil
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:10 complete

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

When you have entire chapters memorized, sometimes you MUST make yourself read it again. But I know it – Read it again. Last night I was watching this young man of God preach and he rolled it out like this: Do we come to the Lord’s Table HUNGRY?! Not hungry, but HUNGRY (cap locks intended for yelling and emphasis)! But I have had this mea so many times, I even know how to make it. I’ve eaten so much over my life, I can imagine its taste. And the Lord says, I know, eat it again. And if you’re hungry – you will eat up every drop and crumb.
I love that metaphor – because I am HUNGRY! I used to skip the actually reading of passages I have memorized. SO much I lose out on if I do! Everyday lately God shows me a verse in a new and exciting way. And it’s funny because usually it has been right there before our eyes the whole time, but a slight indescribable shift happens and God takes you deeper, with the same word.

SO today we come hungry with a very familiar, if not memorized, passage – usually read at weddings. So let us rewind and place it back in the first century church of Corinth, in this letter from Paul rebuking their divisions and pride – encouraging them to move in the gifts and rebuking the pride in that area too. And then looking at ourselves and see our fragile egos letting pride sneak into our churches the same way.

After yesterday’s full on rebuke of pride in The Body and proof that all members are needed and equally important in their own way – today’s reading continues. Remember Paul did not break his letter out into chapters – this all goes together. And as Paul pulls up the sin of divisions, he pulls up pride. And as he pulls up pride he discovers a loveless disregard for fellow brethren and therefore Paul sums up the gifts and body section with himself as an example to explain and point out their lovelessness and gives them an exhortation on love.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

This is not about marriage love (although love is love). This is not even about that fact that we love some people in our lives (we got that right) and it is not a rebuke on struggling to love, some people make it very hard. For a second though, let’s imagine our self alone and without other people to love. Are you still filled with love?
Let me suggest that in 2022 it is difficult to have a soft loving heart – we build our own shields instead of trusting in the shield of faith. And our own shields and protection is a hardening of our hearts in certain areas where we have been hurt. Look – you are alone right now with these words on a screen. Get honest with yourself.
Let me admit, as much as I LOVE, it is the hardest area for me. I was abused as a child with every type and definition of abuse. From my earliest days people are inconsistent and do not love you unless you are providing something or doing what they demand. Most of you have some experience with being abused in some way. If not you’ve experienced a broken heart. All of us had hardened our hearts in one way or another at some point, or maybe even now.
I know a few of you are in full time ministries, in other countries, because you have reached out and told me. I know you love your flocks. But wow does loving humans hurt! They can even abuse you. (Just look what flocks did to Jesus; and the apostles!) They are lovable monsters. Yes, they are lovable – Jesus loves them and we must pray for the heart of Jesus. Yes, they are monsters, kind of, depraved, evil bend sinners is a better description, but that is why we teach them about Jesus. AND WE ARE THEM TOO! We NEED to be saved! From evil, from flesh, and from a hardened heart.
We can still be effective Christians, with hearts that are hardening. We can speak in tongues, prophesy, have effective faith filled prayers, read the word and get the deep and meaningful downloads – all without being filled with genuine godly love.
The enemy and the world have offered us a counterfeit for so long real love is uncomfortable, even a little humbling. Why is love under attack so much? Why, if we are all honest, have we all struggled with different aspects of love.
Many of us when we got saved had an experience with grace that lead us right into LOVE. We loved Jesus so much for His love for us that we told everyone. We were foolhardy lovers with all the feeling and compulsion to shout it from the roof tops.
“JESUS LOVES ME! AND JESUS LOVES YOU!”
We call that our first love, when we first loved him. But like people have let us down and hurt us, maybe you feel God has let you down. It is ok to feel that way – and if you take it to him and seek him, you will learn – HE HAS NEVER LET YOU DOWN. The answer to your prayers may have been “Later.” Or “No.” But He still loves you and is working all things for your good. You may be on the other side of an argument as another believer, like these believers divided in Corinth – but Jesus loves BOTH of you and is working things for the good of BOTH of you. As people, we like the idea of a bad guy and a good guy. But not everything is so black and white. I am sure the early church hated Paul when he loved God by killing Christians. God corrected him because God loves him. So when we look at the “bad guys” in our lives – they may be a type of ‘Paul’ in the eyes and plans of God.

Friends. We must continue – especially as the love of this world waxes cold – we must fight for love. Or we will find ourselves standing in from of Jesus saying we did all these things in his name and the right people liked us and the wrong people were mad at us and we have these credentials and we could have done all these things, but we did what we thought was your will. We did our best. And Jesus will reply “I never knew you.” And that is NOT the kind of knowledge that comes from reading the book and praying. That is the kind of knowledge that comes from a deep, marriage, intimate relationship based on mutual love.  Do you LOVE Jesus? Really Love Him? Or do you need to have that fire rekindled inside of you?

Sometimes as our hearts harden, we become duty focused and do. We need to abandon duty and be compelled by love again. Not just for our own sakes – but for God himself, who sacrificed His son to restore the ability to be intimate with his creation again, and made you for such a time as this, so he can have that with you.

Here – let me back up my claims with more than just the first three verses of today’s reading:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4: 7-11 NKJV

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV

So John says the “Knew You” in Matthew was pure love and 1 Corinthians 13 says without this pure love it profits me nothing – not heaven.
But also in First John, written by the disciple of love, we see something PROFOUND in application to the rest of today’s reading. “God is LOVE”. Boom! No wonder there is such an attack on love!

So it is vital we grasp today’s reading on every level as the love of many is waxing cold, lest we also harden our hearts.  Lord, please continue to open eye to see and ears to hear and our understanding. Help this get in us and fill us over flowing with YOUR love! In the name of Jesus ~amen

God is love. So in verses 4-8 we are going to take the word love out and replace it with GOD! So let us take a moment to look at who God really is:

God suffers long and is kind; God does not envy; God does not parade Himself, He’s not puffed up; does not behave rudely, He’s not provoked in corrupted sin, He thinks no evil; He does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
God never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. God’s own will is a perfect plan to bring about good for us. God doesn’t seek his own selfishness – God seeks His own will and it is our good.

Dear Heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus please fill me [insert you name] with you! I want to love you and cannot without your love, or you within me. Fill me, please. Soften my heart and fill the soften area’s too. Heal my love. Please heal my ability to give and receive love and heal it into the YOU kind of LOVE that this world needs, moreover, the kind I need to have the right kind of relationship with you. The kind that this is actually all about. So I will not reach eternity running from hell – instead running into your arms. Lord, please pour out revelation and fill us with you! In the name of Jesus ~amen

Once I am healed and full of God, let it be said about me that:
I suffers long and I am kind;  I do not envy; I do not parade myself, I’m not puffed up; I don’t behave rudely, nor seek my own, I am not provoked, I think no evil (all thoughts brought into captivity); I don’t rejoice in iniquity, but I rejoice in the truth; Ibear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. In love I never fails. But whether there are prophecies, I can fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 

That is a tall order. We cannot reach it on our own. But with the Lord inside of us filling us and loving through us – it is possible.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

I love that this piece of information is bathed in LOVE. How many times have I presented you multiple ideas on something in the Bible – but all speculator and I say: well, we only know in part. Well that part is bathed in love! It also comes with the promise that someday we will understand.
I love learning, as a child I struggled with conventional teaching techniques and methodologies and struggled behaviorally, and was very much unable to do homework in that level of repetition. But I scored high on all my tests. In college with my Disability Plan – I had a few teachers who worked with me and let me explore other ways of learning that they knew of but I didn’t.  Until then I hated reading and was terrible at it – now I love it. Until then I hated learning – now I am a total nerd! I want to know it all! But I am still a child compared to some and an old lady compared to others. Right in the middle and have a long way still to go.  Even Paul knew he didn’t know everything.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Corrie Ten-Boom’s father explained this kind of growth with understanding and how children know in part and as they get older they know more and more in whole.

“And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sexsin?”
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.
“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
“It’s too heavy,” I said.
“Yes,” he said, “and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom

Now apply it to spiritual growth. When you first meet your husband or wife you do not know everything about them instantly. You need to get to know them. Same with God.

“13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

We ask God to come into us – but do we abide in Him?
Now abide faith, hope, and GOD; but the greatest of these is in God and His love.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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