June 15 – Characteristics of Love #14 – Always Hopes

“… (love) always hopes. .. .”  I Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

HOPE is the natural emotion that causes us to keep going. HOPE plus God’s Word equals FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now FAITH is the substance of things HOPED for . . .” (Emphasis supplied.) Without HOPE, you cannot have FAITH. HOPE is the VISION that you want FAITH to reach. You could say: HOPE is the target and FAITH the arrows, and one without the other is ineffective.

Godly love always hopes that things will work out… that things will change . . . that an answer is on the way; but HOPE is not PASSIVE. HOPE is very ACTIVE and stands between two other action words: LOVE and FAITH. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. ” (I Corinthians 13:13) Sandwiched neatly between LOVE and FAITH,

HOPE forms the bridge of vision to activate the others.

Keep hoping. Do not let your heart get discouraged. HOPE in God. Base your HOPE upon His Word. Pick out a specific Scripture that you can stand upon, and then, “having done all, [just] STAND.” (Ephesians 6:13) His Word will restore your VISION. Keep your VISION strong for without it, your FAITH is powerless. LOVE ALWAYS HOPES.

PRAY: “Lord, You alone are my Source of HOPE.  My VISION and direction comes from above, and I look to You to lead me in Your LOVE.  Let my life be a testimony of FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE today. Amen.”

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June 14 – Characteristics of Love #13 – Always Trusts

“. . . (love) always trusts…“ I Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

The Bible says “love believes all things.” That seems rather naive in light of the dishonesty that pervades society. What it really means is that love CHOOSES to believe the best about a person and assumes his or her motives and intentions are pure.

When you choose to believe, you are demonstrating TRUST in that person. When a person feels trusted, he feels loved, and often “rises” to the occasion.

Jesus turned some rough, tough fishermen into carriers of the Gospel of love, through TRUST. Even after they chose to go back to fishing (John 21), Jesus appeared to them again, reaffirmed His TRUST, and commissioned them for the ministry. “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21b).

By trusting someone, you are being merciful and forgiving. Proverbs 3:3-4 exhorts you to operate in MERCY and TRUTH… “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of GOD and MAN.” (Emphasis supplied.) It is through CHOOSING to be trusting and forgiving that you can expect to please both God and man.

People are imperfect.  But so are YOU. Love always trusts. Love believes the best. Let God do the rest.

PRAY:  “Trusting heavenly Father, You have demonstrated Your love for me by giving me Your salvation, even while I was yet in my sins.’ Thank You for Your trusting love.”

* Romans 5:8 (paraphrased)

June 13 – Characteristics of Love #12 – Always Protects

“(Love) always protects…” I Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

Love always protects by enduring the offense and being willing to suffer in silence without divulging and publicizing the wrong. Human nature wants to tell others about how you have been wronged and draw them to your defense, but godly love suffers in silence.

Your silence gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in the heart of the situation, away from the complications that getting others involved bring.  Your silence also builds godly character in you.

Covering a transgression protects a friendship.  Proverbs 17:9 says: “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Confidentiality builds trust. Trust builds friendship.

Adversity is a test of true friendship. When “the chips are down:’ your true friends will come to your aid and give you support. Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loveth at ALL times, and a brother is born for adversity.” It is in the time of trouble that your true friend (brother) will rush to your protection.

Consider today to whom YOU are a friend, and purpose in your heart to bring protection to that relationship.

PRAY:
“Dear Lord, thank You for Your covering and protection.  Your patience with me causes me to trust You more.  I love You.  Amen:’

June 12 – Characteristics of Love #11 – Rejoices in the Truth

“…but (love) rejoices with the truth.” I Corinthians 13:6 (NIV)

Sometimes the TRUTH hurts, and it is hard to rejoice, especially after you have been heatedly debating a subject with your spouse and you suddenly realize that your spouse is right!

It is times like that when you would prefer to say, “Honey, we shouldn’t be arguing. . . let’s just drop the subject!” But Godly love rejoices with the TRUTH. You should say, “Honey, I think you’re right! Thank you for enlightening me to the truth!” (or something like that)

Your old human nature wants to dig in and hold out for your own position. . . even if you know you are wrong. Recall how long old Pharaoh held out against Moses and the judgments of God! Instead of stubbornly hanging on to your error, you should say, like David, “I have chosen the way of truth …” (Psalm 1 19:30a)

Be a person who values TRUTH . . . even if you think it makes you look bad! With so much dishonesty in the world, people are really drawn to someone who has a strong conviction to always tell the TRUTH.

Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) Walk in TRUTH today and you will experience God’s love and freedom.

PRAY:
“Gracious Father, Your ways are higher than my ways. Today I submit to Your will and purpose for my life, and I rejoice in the knowledge of Your TRUTH. Amen.

June 11 – Characteristics of Love #10 – Delights Not in Evil

“Love does not delight in evil…” I Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

Love does not take pleasure in the misfortunes or failures of others. It never has a “serves him right” or “I told you so” attitude. Love is never glad when others go down the wrong path.

It grieves a parent to see his child make some of the same errors that he made as a child. No matter how strongly you admonish your child, sometimes he just has to experience the lesson for himself. These are opportunities for you to demonstrate true godly love by just being there with a comforting word, not an “I told you so” word.

“Lord. . . I will lay down my life for thy sake,” Peter boasted in John 13:37; but, before the day was ended, he had denied even knowing Christ three times. In John 21:15-17, Christ lovingly reinstated Peter with the words, “Do you love me?” When Jesus reappeared to the disciples, who were fearfully assembled behind locked doors, His words were, “Peace be unto you. “(John 20:19)

The Lord always looked for the GOOD in people. He forgave the BAD. He told Peter that He would pray for him, that he would repent of his failure, and that he would return to continue in the work of the Lord.

PRAY:
“Dear Lord, You have such a loving way with words. Thank You for receiving me just as I am. Help me to grow in Your love for others. Amen.”

June 10 – Characteristics of Love #9 – Keeps No Records of Wrongs

“. . . (love) keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

Godly love forgives and forgets. Sometimes it is easy to overlook an offense on the outside while harboring a grudge on the inside. You may find yourself “keeping score,” and harbor that offense as a debt owed.

If any person was repeatedly wronged and yet did not keep score, it was David. After King Saul made numerous attempts on David’s life, David still revered him as “the Lord’s anointed,” even after his death. (II Samuel 1:16)

God forgives and forgets. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) God has “covered” your transgressions through the shed blood of Christ’s atonement. You must cover the offenses of others through your forgiveness. Proverbs 17:9a says, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love.”

The next time you find yourself wanting to hold a grudge, remember that you are thinking evil of one of God’s children.. . one of “the Lord’s anointed.” Take the high road, like David, and let it go. God’s Word says that you are forgiven by God in the same manner in which you forgive others. (See Mark 11:25.)

PRAY:
“Father, who can fathom the depths of Your love for mankind?* Help me to walk in Your forgiveness.  Cleanse my mind of any offenses that I may be harboring.”

*Ephesians 3:18 (NIV) (paraphrased)

June 9 – Characteristics of Love #8 – Not Easily Angered

“… (love) is not easily angered. . . .” I Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

Anger is a normal human emotion, and in this world there are a lot of things that can anger you. Jesus rightly exclaimed, in Luke 17:1, that “offenses will come.”but, in this troubled world you cannot go around getting angry at this and that and everybody! That “chip on your shoulder” will eventually destroy you emotionally and spiritually.

Explosive anger can only be overcome with the love of God. Think about God’s love for you, in spite of all the things about which He could be angry. Because God has forgiven you, you should also forgive others. Extend God’s grace to others and forgive them. . . even when they don’t deserve it. You will find that your anger melts away when you practice God’s love by forgiving others.

Parents advise their children to “count to ten” if they start getting angry. . . in other words, slow down, check yourself, and allow time for some reason to set in. Usually, this exercise also allows time for some forgiveness to set in.

Exercise God’s love and forgiveness today. Do not stay angry. Do not let anger rob you of the JOY of the Lord.

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty. .. (Proverbs 16:32a)

PRAY:
“God, You have given me so much for which to be thankful. I choose today to count my many blessings and overcome any feelings of anger through the Holy Spirit’s power.”