Wednesday 9/30/15 Jesus NEVER fails

I Corinthians 13:8-10
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

Love never fails– Jesus never fails, Jesus never runs out. Jesus never fails to come through. Jesus is ALWAYS sufficient, ALWAYS abundant and ALWAYS victorious in every situation. Jesus NEVER fails you, if you TRUST Him/BELIEVE in Him with your feelings, your thoughts, your will, your actions, your rights, your body, your money, your attitude, your motives, your disappointments, your fears, your stress, your doubts, your anger, your rights- your life in every situation.

What circumstances make you FEEL like Jesus is failing you?
What can you do when you are in the midst of those circumstances?
For we know in part and we prophesy in part- We only have SOME knowledge and insight. We don’t see the full picture. We don’t see the next hour let alone the next day, week or year. But we know Him who KNOWS all things, at all times and in every situation. We KNOW He has secured our future. We KNOW we will finish in His presence.
We KNOW He will wipe away every tear and suffering, but do we KNOW Him/TRUST Him/ BELIEVE in the midst of our every tear and pain.

Even though The Spirit gives us the spiritual gifts, they are limited. They are merely maps, markers, and tools that point us, direct us and help us towards Him who is PERFECT. So when you THINK you KNOW it ALL- and we all have a tendency to think that at times- you do NOT. Humility comes from the awareness that we do NOT know it all. But, it IS true that you DO know Him who does know it all. And because of that knowledge you can walk in Humility and Courage at the same time.

What changes if you realize YOU don’t KNOW it All, but you KNOW Him who does know it all?

but when the perfect comes– When the fullness of Christ is revealed, when the veil of this world is removed, when we are ushered into the presence of Christ- THE PERFECT ONE; we will KNOW perfectly Him who is Perfect. We are always striving to make our lives perfect, but apart from Him we cannot. He is the perfection we seek.

When we are united with Him we will have no need for the gifts of the Spirit because we will fully possess Him from whom the gifts come.

How do you primarily strive to bring perfection to your life?

What do you falsely believe would make your life perfect if you possessed it? (Money, Fame, Power, Respect, Love of others, Praise, Beauty, Friends, Health, etc.)

How can you help others into the presence of Him who is The Perfection they ultimately seek?

Tuesday 9/29/15 A Love that never fails is Foolish, Radical, Extreme and Absurd

I Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails; …

Love never fails– Love never runs out, Love is never exhausted, Love is never used up, and you can never come to the end of loves supply. For Christ is love and HE never fails. If your loves fails, you are trying to manufacture a love that is not of God. God’s love is not a limited resource. You never have to give others a rain check, because His love is always in stock if we will draw from His endless inventory. If love is lacking you are looking for it in the wrong place.

How do we draw from the endless inventory of God’s love?

We look to the reservoir of God’s love; not at what is lacking in us or the person we are dealing with. We pour out our lives before Christ, that HE may fill us with His love. We must be willing to be wasted. We must being willing to lose, to not get what we think we deserve, to not get a fair shake, to be rejected, to not have the upper hand. We must be willing to serve, to yield, to submit, to not get our way. And there is only ONE WAY- We must submit continuously to the Love of Christ- THE WAY and trust Him with our lives in every situation. He is our hope, not others. We can trust Him with our lives when we can’t trust others.

We have a tendency to explain away the passages we don’t like (and I don’t like the following passage) and that seem hard, but it is impossible to explain away the weight and reality of what Jesus says love looks like in practical out workings in the following passage-

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:39-48

Re-read the above passage, meditate on it (think about it, feel the weight of it) and record what the Lord is saying to you through it-

I don’t know about you, but there is NOTHING about this passage that makes earthly sense or that is pleasing to my flesh. I have RIGHTS and I demand that others treat me the way that I WANT TO BE TREATED. That is what I think and that is how I live. But the truth is I surrendered my rights to my Savior and Lord when I received Him as my King. I have entered a heavenly kingdom and its rules are the exact opposite of the worlds and often opposite of what we have learned in AMERICAN Christianity. God’s love is foolish, radical, extreme and absurd. But it is the LOVE of GOD alone that will transfer this world if we are willing to trust Him with our whole life even when we don’t want to.

Are you willing to give a love that is not of this world? Are you willing to give the never failing love of Christ even in the most absurd situations to the most ridiculous people? I guarantee you we will all have opportunities this week. What will we do with them?

Monday 9/28/15 We are not in Kansas anymore

I Corinthians 13:7-13
Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, ENDURES all things.

Love- Christ- Christ in us- Us in Christ- endures ALL things. We cannot endure ANYthing on our own and we don’t have to. But as we look to and depend on Christ in ALL of life we can by His love remain under duress, undergo stress and have fortitude to withstand the assault of an unloving person because while we experience their assaults we allow Christ to take the blows.

Many times we cannot endure in love, because we are taken by surprise by the first blow. We are happily going along our own way and then someone does something that is totally unexpected, perhaps even unkind, seemingly aggressive and totally self-centered. Then we find ourselves REACTING to their assault out of our emotions and weakness instead of out of Christ steadfast love and strength.

Ephesians 6:10-13
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Keys to enduring Love-
1. Be strong IN the Lord and in the strength OF HIS MIGHT- His strength is always available and always sufficient
2. Put on the FULL Armor OF God- He supplies all that we need to protect us- But we must Put it on. We must recognize that we ARE in a battle, not a garden. We are not in Kansas anymore.
3. SO THAT you will be able to Stand Firm against the schemes of THE DEVIL. Our battle is never against people, it is always a spiritual battle against the assaults of the devil. Satan uses the lives of people as his disposable pawns.
4. Recognize that we live on a battle field- For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. We are surprised when we live like innocent bystanders, only to find we are actually in the ring of battle.
5. Therefore, take up the full armor of God-
Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17
Notice that God supplies all that we need for battle and most of what He supplies is defensive, protective in nature.
The one offensive weapon is the Gospel of Peace, the Good News and it brings not more war, but PEACE.
6. Stand Firm. Take on a posture of strength in Christ by always being prepared for the assaults of Satan through the circumstances of life and people. A football player does not stroll around the field like he is walking through a garden. He takes a strong stand and is poised for the next hit.

Stand Firm- ENDURE the onslaught of Satan in the Love of Christ and you will bring love and peace to the pawns of life who are being used and abused by the devil and you will set the captives free and Christ will reign supreme.

We can ENDURE in love every time, if we put on His armor and stand firm in His love.

Who is our battle against?

How long can a fight go on with others if we stop fighting with them and instead intentionally love them?