Love is a very complicated thing (II)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 584 • November 18, 2020

LOVE IS A VERY COMPLICATED THING – Part Two
SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE (AGAPE).

Love EVALUATES the other person. It does not objectify. This is not an attempt to assign a value, but rather the recognition of the inherent worth and value of the person (and all persons). This requires seeing one as a person, not an object or thing. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #love

Love is a very complicated thing (I)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 583 • November 15, 2020

LOVE IS A VERY COMPLICATED THING – Part One
1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Romans 13:7-10

INTRODUCTION: “Love is the greatest” – sounds so good, sounds so simple, sounds so easy doesn’t it? We should change our statement to read “love is the best.” It certainly is not simple, and you will come to understand that there’s really nothing easy about it. If you were trying to define or explain “love” to someone who did not know our language, how would you go about it? Chances are you would end up trying to define love in terms of what it does, or how it makes you feel. English is sometimes a poor language, in spite of more than 400,000 words in the vocabulary (how many do you know?). That is especially true with the word LOVE, one of our most ambiguous words, one that resists easy or precise definition. One does not love mate, mother, brother, sister, friend, country and apple pie, or a pet in the same way. And how is “Christian love” different from the other kinds of love? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #love

Hugh’s News & Views (Love Finally…)

LOVE FINALLY BROKE OUT

(Note: For this week’s edition of Hugh’s News & Views I am indebted to my friend, Jefferson DAVID Tant, son of Fanning Yater Tant, and grandson of the grand old Texas pioneer preacher, Jefferson DAVIS Tant. After decades in the Atlanta area, David and Flora have moved to Hendersonville, TN to be nearer their children and where he is now my neighbor. Under the above title David wrote as follow):

Spencer Tracy is acclaimed by many to have been the greatest of all American actors. While much is known concerning his public life, little is known about his private life. A story from his private life is both touching and edifying at once, and I would like to share it with you. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #love

God is Awesome

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The Lord is near all who cry out to him, all who cry out to him sincerely. Psalm 145.18

This psalm, written by David, is a hymn of praise to God. It talks about the greatness of God. It extols his mighty acts and amazing deeds. It recognizes God’s mercy, compassion, patience, and love. It states that the Lord is just in all his actions and exhibits love in all that he does. He is there to help those who cry out to him in truth.

Many of the same ideas are stated in the New Testament. In Matthew 6, Jesus taught that God takes care of his creation. He feeds the birds as an example. He certainly loves mankind and has shown that love in an amazing way. John 3.16 states that he gave his own Son to die for us. Romans 8.28 states that all things work together for good for those who love God.

God is near and his love for us is real. In return, he asks that we love him and show that love through obedience to the truth.

#risingjoy #Psalms #love

Characteristics of love

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. 1 Corinthians 13.4-5

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul dealt with many problems that the church was experiencing. There was a wide range of problems that included division within the church, tolerance of an immoral situation, abuse of the Lord’s supper, and difficulties with the use of the spiritual gifts that the church had been given.

Paul showed the Corinthians in chapter 13 the importance of love in the church. Whatever was done in the church, had to be done in love. If it was not, then it was of little value. Paul listed some of the characteristics of love. Love enabled the church to serve one another instead of thinking more of oneself that they should have.

The same is true of the church today. Christians must serve others with love and the characteristics that Paul described are also true and valid today.

There is an exercise that is sometimes suggested while reading this chapter. Read the chapter inserting your name in place of the word “love”. Does the reading describe you as a person? If not, perhaps you need to do an inventory on your ability to love others.

#risingjoy #1-Corinthians #love

What being a Christian means

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12.13-15

Love in action. The Christian is a person who is aware of what is going on around them. When they see another Christian who is in need, they contribute to helping them. They open their home to others in hospitality.

Being a Christian means that you will be persecuted. How you react to it is important. Paul emphasized that you should bless those who persecute you. Treat them in a kind manner. Do not return their actions with a curse.

The Christian is also sympathetic and understanding. You are willing to share in the happiness of others when good things occur in their lives. You rejoice with them in their triumphs and victories.

However, the opposite is also true. You share in carrying the burden of sadness when negative things happen. You pray for those who are not able, perhaps, at that moment to pray. Giving hugs of support can be of great encouragement.

Love in action. Be aware!

#risingjoy #Romans #Love

How to practice our faith

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Romans 12.9-10

In the first part of the book of Romans, Paul demonstrated that both Jews and Gentiles were in need of the gospel. Beginning with chapter 12, he explained how to practice our faith.

Paul wrote to the Romans regarding love and hypocrisy. In the Greek, the word for love in this verse is “agape”, which is love that is inclusive and selfless in its qualities. Christians should treat all men with this type of love, whether they are Christians or not.

Hypocrisy is a vice that is one of the worst for the Christian to be addicted. In Matthew 23, Jesus was vehement in his assessment of the experts of the law and the Pharisees. People have used hypocrisy, of others and their own, as an excuse to be disobedient to God. There will be consequences for their actions.

Christians are to abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. The words “abhor” and “cling” are strong terms that at first would appear to be opposites. Charles Hodge, in his commentary on Romans, explains that they are two sides of the same coin. You cannot abhor evil without clinging to what is good.

Christians should be devoted to each other. The ties of the spiritual family of God should be stronger than that of our earthly family. Jesus taught in Matthew 10.37 that our love for him must come before our love for family.

Christians should honor one another. We should be alert to situations where we can encourage others and show respect to them. Lead the way in showing honor to others instead of waiting to receive the honor from others!

#risingjoy #Romans #love

A decision to seek what is good for others

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1.22-23

As Christians, we are called to love one another. This is not the love known by the world for it is not an emotion. It is a decision to seek what is good for others. Imagine for a moment how that would change our world.

But it is hard for mankind to think in such a manner for we are selfish creatures. We are unable within ourselves to love this way. However, our souls have been purified by obeying the truth that is found in God’s word, making it possible to love one another earnestly.

If we have obeyed the truth, we have been born anew. God’s word is compared to a seed in the parable of the sower, Luke 8.11. Here Peter describes it as imperishable. God’s word is living and enduring. This seed planted in our hearts will give us the ability to love one another from a pure heart.

#risingjoy #1-Peter #love

I’ve never seen, I’ve never been

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4.12-13

How is it possible to believe in something that I have never seen? I believe what I have been told. I have never been to Europe, but I know that it exists. I have never seen God, but I know that he exists. I know because he has given me of his Spirit. John tells us in verse 16 of this same chapter that God is love. We see his love demonstrated through the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of mankind. That same love is perfected, completed, matured in us. When does this happen? This love is matured in me and in you when we love one another. Not the mushy emotion of love that the world cares about. It is a love that is sacrificial and willing to put others first. It is a love that wants what is best for the other person. When we love one another, John writes that God lives in us. When God lives in us, we will love each other.

#risingjoy #1-John #love

Worth the struggle

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Hebrews 12.4-6

My goal should be to imitate the life of Jesus. He needs to be my focus. A few verses earlier, the writer of Hebrews tells his readers to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus. What did he do? He obeyed the Father. He endured the cross. He disregarded the shame of the cross. Now he is seated at the right hand of God. Was it easy? No. Jesus prayed that he could do it another way. Even though he did not want to die on the cross, he obeyed. He died a horrible death so that I might be saved eternally and share that same home with God. Sin is what separates us from God. Everyone sins, Romans 3. We all struggle with sin, with doing what is wrong. The good news that encourages me is that God corrects me. He disciplines me. He loves me. His love is apparent when he disciplines me. As a parent, I must not make the mistake of not disciplining my children. That is not love for it will bring a lifetime of struggle and heartache to them. When I suffer, God is allowing me to be disciplined so that I can grow stronger in the fight against sin in my life. It will all be worth the struggle when we enter our eternal home! So fight on and do not give up!

#risingjoy #Hebrews #love

Through service

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another. John 13.34,35

Love one another as I have loved you. How did Jesus show his love for us? He gave his life. He served. He had just washed his disciples feet earlier in the chapter. It was an unpleasant service that needed to be done. But he did it without complaining, actually taking advantage of the situation to teach a valuable lesson. It is through this service to one another that we demonstrate our love for one another. Whether it be preparing a meal for someone, washing someone’s clothes, listening to grief that needs to be expressed, or keeping a watch over someone who is weak in the faith, we make a decision to act for the good of our spiritual family. We put others needs before our own. Many times we adapt our schedule to fit that of others to be of help. This is something at which the church in the past was very good. Today we are so wrapped up many times in our own lives that we fail to let the needs of others even register upon our subconscious, much less reach out with the decision to be of help to them. Let us make sure that we love one another so that everyone will know that we are his disciples.

#risingjoy #John #love

The depth of love

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends …” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8.

We’ve just left a season in which the entire world is focused on love. Flowers were given; chocolates were consumed; proposals were made; and radio stations played songs. What are the best love songs of all time? Those that speak about the greatest love story of all time—and they aren’t just sung during February but every first day of the week by those who know God’s love as demonstrated through the gospel. From the radio we might hear, “I want to know what love is? And I want you to show me.” The answer the singer is seeking is something in the range of superficial to committed from another—the best that human beings can do. Because we’re made in God’s image, we have the ability to love as He loved us, but it took God becoming flesh and dwelling among us to truly show us the depth of love. Up until Frozen, Disney taught that infatuation is love. The opening of “Up” for a deeper emotional look at mature love. When a movie shows a sacrificial love, it’s learned from the pages of the Bible.

Do you sing weekly about the greatest love of all?

Doug Kashorek

sermonlines.com: subscribe, study, share

#love #dougkashorek

Not easy to love

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; it there is knowledge, it will be set aside. I Corinthians 13.4-8

Love endures. It is what will carry us to the end. Not the passionate, emotional type of love that the world holds in such high esteem. This love is the type that is a decision to do what Jesus commands, John 15.12-14. The above verses are in the middle of Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts to the church in Corinth. Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will all come to an end. Jesus teaches that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. We will obey him. Sometimes I put my name in the above verses and ask myself if my love has these qualities. At times, I pass the test. However, at other times I find myself falling far short in the love category. We as humans are not easy to love. If this love were the emotional feel good love, let’s face it, we would not finish the race to win the prize. But it is a decision to keep Jesus’s commands. He is there to help because he loves us. That, my friends, is reason to have joy overflowing.

#risingjoy #1-Corinthians #love

How it is possible

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15.12-14

What a challenge! At first glance, one might think that this is an easy thing to do. Love one another. Sure, I can do that. However, if you have ever worked in a public job, you know how difficult people can be to like, much less to love. This love is a decision to do the best thing for a person. The emotions involved are not important. That is how it is possible to love our enemies, Matthew 5.44. It is a decision. That sometimes means putting aside our emotions to do the right thing. Not something that comes naturally to the general population. We have been fed the lie that my enemy does not deserve my good will, after all he is my enemy. But Jesus went to the cross when I was still his enemy, Romans 5.10. He died for me and for you. He demonstrated how great God’s love was for us. But, Jesus here is talking about laying down our life for our friends. Loving our friends. Should be easier, should it not? My relationship with Jesus is dependent on my obedience to him. Without that, there is no relationship with Jesus. If there is no relationship with Jesus, then there is no relationship with God. How is your friendship with Jesus?

#risingjoy #John #love

Who better to show us?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us and his love is perfected in us. I John 4.10-12

Have you ever thought about how we know to do things? Not many things, if any, are innate. Something that is there without me having to develop it. Breathing is perhaps one thing. But, even that at times can be compromised by stress so that it is not done properly. Why do we think that love is any different? Our natural tendency is to think about number 1, ourselves. We want what we want, except we want it yesterday. We have to be taught how to love. Who better to show us that than our creator? He loved us first by sending Jesus. He reached out with his love. I have never seen God, at least, not with my eyes. But if I look to his example, I will reach out to my fellow Christians to love them, to serve them. John says that God resides in us when this happens and that his love is complete in us. In John 13.35 we read that this is the way that people will know that we are his disciples, when we love one another. Let’s follow his example!

#risingjoy #1-João #love