Love Never Fails

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.

1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

During World War 2, we had some great Generals leading fighting men to keep our freedom in this country. General Eisenhower became President of this country soon after he retired. This country will never forget Generals Patton and MacArthur.

There were two men they tried to get rid of at the start of the war. One was an Air Force Pilot. They turned him down for the Navy because he was too tall. When he went to the Air Force, he was turned down for being underweight. After he gained the weight, they finally waived his height and allowed him to fly. You can see the rest of James Stewart’s story in a movie called “Strategic Air Command.” What he has done for his country was not contained in the service. Jimmy Stewart dedicated his life to entertaining America.

The second man they didn’t want was a man who was too short and too weak. He was constantly sick and had only a fifth-grade education. This man was constantly risking his life for his friends. By the end of the war this man had more and higher decorations than any other man during World War 2. He then went on to dedicate his life to entertaining America. His name was Audie Murphy. You can see his story in the movie, “To Hell and Back.”

There was another man over 2000 years ago who was ridiculed and rejected by His own people. He came preaching salvation and they laughed at Him; His own people turned against Him. This man gave the ultimate sacrifice so undeserving people like you and I could be saved.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to demonstrate a love stronger than that shown by any other man ever. That love is still demonstrated every day.

Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to demonstrate that love, He paid the ultimate price for OUR sins and demonstrated the ultimate love.

These two men continued to show their love for their country through their acting. But in the end that acting came to a stop when they were old.

Christ, however, not only carried His love for all Christians to the grave with him; he also brought that love from the grave when he was resurrected. God’s (Christ’s) love continues today and will continue beyond the end of time. God’s love can never fail.

Without Love, I Am Nothing

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.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (NKJV)

Before I started this blog, I wrote a book called “Forgiveness, the prelude to love.” While I studied the scripture for answers, I found out that all things lead us to love. Although there is nothing to pay to get love, there is a definite set of paths that you must take to get to the point of loving.

Just think of all the different loves we have in our lifetime. As a child we love our parents, we love our siblings, we love other relatives that we may have.

How many times have I heard someone who claim they are a Christian say, “I will forgive what they did, but I won’t forget?” They may as well not waste their time.

Forgiving is only half the process. We must follow the example set by God. We must also forget what that person did.

        Paul makes it truly clear in Hebrew 10:11, how the repeated reminder of a sin is fruitless. To truly forgive someone, we must also remove it from our heart so our mind can never remember it.

            No one ever said being a Christian was easy. God has never told us we would understand all His ways, He only wants us to trust Him.

            We can’t have salvation on our terms. Salvation is on God’s terms. Remember, we turned our lives over to Him.

 We must follow the example set by God. We must also forget what that person did.

As we grow into teens, we have other classmates that we learn to love. If we are well liked, there will be teachers, preachers, and bible students at church we become fond of. Yet if we combined all that love together, it would be no more than a speck on a wall in comparison to God’s love just for us. Why?

God’s love has no conditions. God was willing to die for each one of us. Which one of those whom you love are you ready to die for?

Christian Word Definition: Patience

Patience is a Virtue: The ability to wait for something without frustration is a useful skill and a good aspect of one’s personality. The origin of “Patience is a Virtue” goes as far back as the fifth century.

The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

The Bible definition of patience.

The quality or virtue of patience is presented as either forbearance or endurance. In the former sense it is a quality of self-restraint or of not giving way to anger, even in the face of provocation; it is attributed to both God and man and is closely related to mercy and compassion.

The Bible says that hope is needed to be patience. For Christians it is our hope in Jesus Christ that brings patience. If we have no hope, we have no need for patience. Patience is also closely aligned with love as well as hope. Love is full of patience and hope.

The word translated “patience” in this verse means “endurance.” A Christian runs the race patiently by persevering through difficulties. In the Bible, patience is persevering towards a goal, enduring trials, or expectantly waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. Patience does not develop overnight.

The Bible calls patience a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22), which means that patience adorns our bodies like a beautiful apple on a tree that is fed by living water. Because of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to use patience (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Bible Verses About Patience – Scripture Quotes on Being Patient. We all face moments where our patience wears thin – either with others, with ourselves, or to be honest, with God’s plan. According to Scripture, patience is a virtue and a fruit of the Spirit, a sign of someone who trusts in God. According to 1 Samuel “lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings.”

When my wife and I talk to people about our marriage, I always tell people that I have had some fun and my wife has had an abundance of patience. Patience can make your life more fun and it can also bring joy to others.

Christian Word Definition: Humility

A prominent Christian grace (Rom 12:3; Rom 15:17, 18; 1Co 3:5-7; 2Co 3:5; Php 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well-pleasing to God (1Pe 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquility (Ps 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22).

Christ has set us an example of humility (Php 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honor (Prov 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps 147:6; Isa 57:15; Isa 66:2; 1Pe 5:5). It is a “great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory.”

Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History

Humility is the quality of being humble. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In a religious context, humility can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity or deities, and subsequent submission to said deity as a member of that religion. Outside of a religious context, humility is defined as being “unselfish”, a liberation from the consciousness of self, a form of temperance that is neither having pride nor indulging in self-deprecation. Wikipedia

Definition of humility: freedom from pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble accepted the honor with humility, the ordeal taught her humility: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble: the quality of being humble She accepted the award with humility.

www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humility

How to Practice Humility

Mother Theresa once said, “Humility is the mother of all virtues, purity, charity, and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent.” These words ring true, but you don’t have to be Mother Theresa, or even religious at all, to make an effort to practice humility in your everyday life. Being humble means accepting your limitations and making an effort to make the world a better place without wanting to take all the credit.

Developing a More Humble Mindset

Don’t think you’re too good for everything you do. People who have big egos tend to think that they deserve to be working at a better place, to be dating someone better, or even to be hanging out with people who are interesting and cooler. But your life is your life, and if you want better things, then you have to work to reach for them, instead of assuming the attitude that you’re not getting treated fairly. To practice humility, work to accept the life you have while striving for more without complaining.

 If you adopt the attitude that you’re too cool for school, people will become allergic to you. Instead, work to be grateful for what you have and work to earn more if that’s what you want.

The One Who Loves Me will be Loved by My Father

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 14:21 (NIV2011)

Do you own a bible? If you do, then you have the commands of God and Christ. They are all written in the bible.

Are you automatically responsible for the commands, just because they are in the bible? No! You are responsible for the commands only after you have repented of your sin and have accepted Christ as your savior.

When a person repents of their sin, that sin is lifted and room is made for the salvation of Jesus Christ, the new convert is given a gift bible by the church. This action represents two different parts of that person’s salvation.

  1. The church has just fulfilled the first part of this verse of scripture and they have helped the person being converted get and hopefully keep the first part of the scripture represented here. The church gave them the commands of God.
  2. Which of the commands are we, as Christians, responsible for? We are responsible for every command given by God from the 10 commandments given on Mt. Sinai to the birth of Jesus.
  3. Although Christ never gave many commands for us to follow, He did give a few. The commands given by Christ are just as important as those given by God. We are responsible for both.

Just because we have the commands in the bible doesn’t mean that we know them enough to follow them. This is where the work comes in. Now we must study that bible to find out what those commands are and how they apply to us.

Most of the good churches will assign someone to disciple the new convert to teach them “how” to study the bible. This usually takes 2-3 weeks. Once the disciple releases the new convert, they are on their own.

The study given by the disciple, in no way prepares the convert to be a Christian. That preparation takes a lifetime.

God’s first command (Exodus 20:1) states that we shall have no other God’s before Him. That is not a command that can only be done on Sunday morning. To honor that command, you must make sure (on a daily basis) that you have not allowed any other thing, including money, to come before God.

That new position you were offered in the firm will come with a big promotion, a raise in salary, and more responsibility. If you accept a new position that keeps you from going to church, then you have broken the command and the love God has been giving you is in vain.

You have allowed money, pride, and self-conceit to come before God. That breaks the command, and you can’t allow that to happen.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12 (NKJV)

Christ said we must love one another. We must do this every minute of every day. If something happens to make us angry at someone, we must stop, forgive that person of whatever they did and love them. Notice that forgiveness comes first. Unforgiveness can block love and keep it from getting to the person it is directed toward.

If we follow the commands of God and Christ daily, then it makes being a Christian easy.

The most satisfying compliment I have ever gotten was when a man looked at me and said, “I see Christ in you.”

People are supposed to see Christ in you. Why? Because you, as a Christian, have the Holy Spirit in you (John 14:17).

Remember, Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a way of life. You must walk beside God all day every day.

And I Will Pray the Father

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:15-16 (NKJV)

Tom Brewster was in his mid-20’s when he surrendered to God. It happened at a Sunday night service one summer. The pastor immediately assigned someone to disciple Tom and help him on his path to being a good Christian.

There are many who believe that a person who surrenders to God is automatically a self-sufficient Christian and can go out in the community and preach to the multitudes. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are also some church congregations that believe a person receives the Holy Spirit when they are saved. The bible proves all this wrong and teaches us a vastly different truth. It is a lot of hard work and spiritual expectation to become a Christian.

When the pastor assigned one of the deacons to tutor Tom about the bible, he made a very profound statement, he said, “Becoming a Christian is not automatic. Becoming a Christian is hard work and patience. It’s not about how much you know about the bible; it is more about how much you show concerning your walk with God.”

Tom was confused. When the pastor saw his confusion, he changed his method of teaching. The pastor looked at Tom and stated, “In versed 15-16, there are 5 statements of things you as a believer must do to achieve just the firs level of belief.”

The pastor then broke down the verses in this manner.

  1. If you love me:  What does it mean to love Crist? To love Christ is to have the same love He had for us. We must remember that Christ loved us so much; He was willing to be hanged on a cross because he loved us. That type of love must be returned in kind.
  2. Keep My Commandments: God has given us a set of commandments that we must follow. These commandments are for our benefit and are non-negotiable.
  3. And I Will Pray the Father. Christ took it upon Himself to ask the Father to help us. Christ asked for nothing for Himself, He asked for help for the Believers that have turned their lives over to Him. Not physical help, but spiritual help.
  4. And He will give you another helper. Just think about how much God loves us.
    1. He Created us to be our friend
    2. He gave us a physical helper (a wife)
    3. He gave his only son to die for us
    4. Then He gave us another helper (The Holy Spirit our spiritual helper). The Spirit lives in us and is there whenever we need him.
    5. And through all this, He gave us each other to love.

There are many people who promote the idea that God has a magic wand that he uses when we need something. Nothing could not be farther from the truth.

When God gave us the church, it wasn’t to get together each Sunday and sing songs. He gave us a meeting place that we could gather and praise God for loving us enough to give us the opportunity to help each other.

When Christ was feeding the multitudes, He furnished the fish and bread, but it did not rain down from above, it was handed out by the disciples.

When we need it, God will always give us money or physical things through the church. God doesn’t use a magic wand, He uses His disciples

If you want to become a Christian, you must love God with all your heart. You must walk with God, work for God, and give your testimony by the way you live your life.

A Christian is Christ like; therefore, everyone must see Christ in you. AMEN!!

As I Have Loved You

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

One Sunday morning not too long ago, a preacher from the mid-west stood up in church one Sunday morning and asked how many loved the lord as much as He had loved them. Over three quarters of the church raised their hands.

The preacher then asked that ten of those who raised their hand come forward and stand in front of the podium. There were many who came forward and the preacher had to select ten of them and asked that the remainder of them be seated.

Suddenly the county sheriff and 5 deputies came into the room and asked the ten people selected to turn around and be cuffed. They refused. They wanted to know what was going on.

The preacher looked at them and stated that one of the members of the church was to be executed the next day and the judge said he would let him go if ten people would die in his place.

One of the church members stood and asked why ten had to die to save just one person. One of the deputies answered, to show that you have 10 Christians in this church. The person standing stated that they were all Christians. They had demonstrated that by coming forward. The preacher re-read the scripture and stated that you only demonstrated that you were a Christian if you were willing to die.

There are a lot of churches that run around calling each other brothers and sisters, but if you told them they had to die for one of them to prove their love, I wonder how many of them would fall short of being a Christian. I have heard several people state; well, you don’t have to be willing to die for someone to be a Christian. Read that scripture again. Jesus loved us enough to die for us on the cross and the scripture states “as I have loved you.”

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 15:9-10 (NKJV)

If we aren’t willing to die for one another, we can’t even abide in the love of God. We aren’t even keeping the commands of God. I’m not talking about the Jewish law; I’m talking about the commandments given by God.

Many people have a problem distinguishing between the Jewish Law and the Commandments of God. The difference is simple. The Jewish Law was given for the people to live by; The Commandments of God were given for us to live for.

It is up to each individual to search their own soul and find out whether they love God enough to die for their brother or sister. As Christ stated, that’s how you can tell they are Christians.

Honor Your Father and Mother

“Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 19:19 (NKJV)

I grew up in the state of Arkansas.  My dad was a farmer turned factory worker. He worked for a garment factory in their warehouse where they picked and shipped the product.

My dad commuted 70 miles (one way) every day and still raised a large garden and I had to help even though my interest was on the ranch that lay behind our house. I did everything from hauling hay to rounding up the cattle for the annual shots and branding.

I guess I blamed the differencing in farming and ranching for my inability to get along with my parents. We fought like cats and dogs. Every time my dad and mom tried to get me to do something for the community or for a family, I rebelled. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the people in the community, it was because I was forced by circumstance to do things I didn’t want to do.

I guess you could say that I never respected or honored my family, although I really didn’t know what respect and honor at that age. All I wanted to do was to work the cattle and ride my horse while doing it.

It was a catch 22. I was trying to live a life I couldn’t have, and I needed to live a life that I didn’t want.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So, the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So, she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Exodus 2:9-10 (NKJV)

Moses had a decision to make the same as I did. His was a bit more difficult, because he was deciding whether he wanted to be royalty or lead a people who didn’t consider him worth the time it would take to kill him.

These people were in bondage and needed to get to a land that God had promised their ancestor. They needed to get to the promised land. God had chosen Moses to lead them to their new home, their salvation.

Just as I wanted to do my work from the back of a horse, I’m sure Moses would have rather stayed in Egypt and lived his life as the grandson of the Pharaoh. However, God had other plans for Moses.

When I look at my life, I realize that God also had other plans for me as well. I have heard many other ministers say the same thing. It’s not that being a minister is hard work or pays nothing; it’s that the life God wanted me to live was not what I wanted.

I look back now at my mom and dad and I wonder what they thought. There is one thing I have never doubted. I have never doubted their love for their family. Even though I was hard on them, yelled at them, told them I wanted more than they could offer, and many other things I should be ashamed of; I know they still loved me.

Even though I was unkind and dishonorable toward my parents, I know they were still proud of my accomplishments and were never ashamed of my actions.

I guess you could say that my life is proof positive that God knows more than we do. How many people have been saved and how many people have been helped, because I followed the path God laid out for me and not the one I wanted.

You Shall Love Your Neighbor

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Matthew 5:43-46 (NKJV)

Ned Seivers was a corporate banker and he and his family enjoyed many of the comforts of life.

One morning as Ned was on his way to work, He came upon an auto accident. It seemed to be minor at first, but in reality, it was pretty bad. The cars weren’t damaged that much, however, there were injuries in both cars.

The young lady who was driving the older car was injured badly. The young lady suffered a compound fracture in her right arm. As she was loaded into the ambulance, she kept telling them she had no insurance.

Ned followed the ambulance to the emergency room and went into the hospital. Once inside, Ned saw a doctor friend of his and asked him to take care of the young lady. After he had talked to the doctor, he turned to the young lady and gave her his business card. He informed the young lady that his friend would care for her and make sure everything was healed properly.

About a month later, Ned ran into his doctor friend and asked him about the young lady. She had made a good recovery and was released to the Salvation Army because she had no other place to go.

When Ned checked with the Salvation Army, he found that she was only allowed to stay for one week and was released.

Ned continued to look for her but had no luck. It was like she had just vanished into the night.

About a year later, there was a radical group who began a lawsuit against Ned’s bank. About a month into the suit, Ned was sent to court to testify.

While he was waiting, He sat in on some other testimony, and one of the people testifying was the young girl from the accident.

The night of the accident, as it turns out, the girl was transporting all she owned to a storage locker. She was really tired and was not paying complete attention to her driving.

What was the whole story behind the young girl losing everything at one time?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

When Ned asked the banks counsel to see him, the lawyer replied that it would hurt the case if they talked at the present time. Ned told the lawyer to see him now and they would deal with the consequences.

What Ned had found was that all the young ladies had been fired for missing too much time because their children had been sick. Why?

No one from the banks corporate office had bothered to look at the case from the community standpoint. The lawyers were looking only at the money they could save if they won this case.

Unfortunately to save a few thousand now and win the case would cost them three times as much in future revenue.

Ned decided to talk to the corporate office and impress upon them the damage it would do to the bank to win this case.

Beside all the revenue lost, they would have to spend money to train new people to take the place of those that were fired.

Instead of pursuing this case further, Ned decided to concede the court case and rehire all the ladies and give them a raise. Ned also promoted the young lady from the auto accident and retrain her to oversee the interest of the bank in all future lawsuits. Over the next 5 years, this young lady could save the bank millions of dollars.

What we sometimes overlook as humans is that God knows all and sees all. As humans, we see what is in front of us, what makes us famous and the money we can make.

God also sees the hurt endured by those involved in these legal and domestic situations.

God knows what is best for us as well as all others involved. In this instance it turned out that it would have benefited all parties to have just done what the bible told us to do.

Oh, and the doctors were able to figure out that the children were getting sick because of sone mold in the nursery walls. By removing the mold, they were able to make the nursery a safer place for the children and they saved millions in future law suits.

Listen to God. You will save money and be happier doing it.

And to Walk Humbly with Your God

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago, I told you about the doubt our friends had when my wife and I got married. The thought because we met at school in the military, our marriage couldn’t possibly last more than 2 years. They were wrong. We have been happily married for 44 years.

It occurs to me that I neglected to tell you why it lasted. It lasted for several reasons.

  1. We didn’t allow a piece of paper to dictate our feelings and trust for each other. Our marriage wasn’t the next logical step toward a married life. Our marriage was based on getting to know one another by talking daily and telling each other honestly how we felt. By talking instead of partying, we were able to come to an honest understanding of how each of us wanted our marriage to be. In other words, we had to have faith in each other just as we must have faith in God that He will love us more than we love Him.
  2. Our love for each other must be loyal. Marriage is a two-way street. The Husband and Wife can’t both be the same way. Each person must have their own personality and they must use that personality to help guide the marriage in the way it should go. If both parties have the same exact personality, marriage would be boring. You would be doing the same things all the time and that would get old. By being different, there is enough diversity to make the marriage interesting and fun.
  3. The same is true with our relationship to God. We don’t have a ritualistic relationship with God where we go to church on Sunday and put money in an offering plate to impress someone. We don’t run to the alter every time there is an alter call. After I surrendered my life to God, everything after that is between, he and I. I don’t need to put on a show so others can see that I have faith in God. If I humbly walk in the manner described in the bible for me to walk, people can see Christ in me.
  4. One of the hardest things for me to learn over the years was modesty in our marriage. I keep trying to impress my wife and show her that I can run things and keep our marriage running smooth. My wife has a subtlety about her that very gently smacks me back in my place when it is needed. One person can’t run a marriage, it takes a combined effort. Both sides of the couple must use all modesty in their dealings with each other; just as we must use modesty in our dealings with God.

To sum up what I have just said. To have a happy marriage you must both have faith in each other, you must both learn to act justly toward each other and help each other always. You must both have a “loyal love” toward each other just as Micah instructed the Children of Israel that they must do toward God. That is a love that will recognize the mercy that your spouse is showing you and learn to appreciate it. And finally, you must walk humbly with your spouse and allow your spouse to be a great influence in your life.

If we can learn to live together the way we should live with God, we will always have a long and happy marriage.