John 13:35 >> By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Paul, to the believers at Corinthians, and to all of mankind:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes,what is in part disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Guest Post by Jan Chambers
The incessant, persistent, relentless, inexorable bleating can be heard from the house. So…..I don my gardening gloves, assemble my tools and make the trek to locate my little genius. As soon as he senses that I am close by, his bleating stops and he waits patiently and quietly. Being the genius he is Einstein chose the part of the fence with the thickest thicket.
Methodically I work to clear away dried-up thorns and bramble. It takes me a bit to create a path to this little ‘whiz-kid’, and all the while he patiently waits. Although this is an unwelcome interruption to my morning, I choose to focus on anything remotely positive about this experience. For one thing, he has learned that once I am there, I will free him from his temporary prison. When he first began getting his head stuck in the fence, he bleated relentlessly as I labored to extract him; now he simply waits good-naturedly, in silence. He has come to know me and to know that I will do whatever is necessary to set him free.
It is a quiet, foggy morning. I think as I work. I contemplate just how much humanity resembles my little genius, Einstein. How much I resemble my little genius, Einstein. How many times do we/I look over the fences in our lives and feel cheated that our little plot of land is simply not as lush and green as our neighbor’s plot of land. And, sometimes it isn’t. But, more often than not, it is! I think of how often we get ourselves in predicaments because, instead of working to improve our plot of land, or to see the beauty of what we have been given/achieved, we incessantly, persistently, relentlessly, and inexorably do any and everything we can to pursue, by whatever means necessary, a taste of the grass from the other side of the fence. It seems that, like Einstein, we can’t fathom that the other side of the fence is not for us; is not a blessing to us; that the fence is a source of protection and not imprisonment.
I am reminded of the words of David, in Ecclesiastes 6:9 (NLT):
Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
Or getting your head stuck in the fence, again and again.
Freed at last, Einstein trots happily away to graze (at least for a while) on the lush lawn within his fence.
I look back and realize another plus from this morning’s experience. If my little genius continues his pursuit of the grass on the other side of the fence, and if he continues to select the thickest part of the thicket next to our fence, I will have the fence line cleared by the time spring arrives!”
We attended a refreshing worship service yesterday morning, filled with beautiful music and a thought-provoking sermon about Joseph’s selfless courage as he consistently and without hesitation put Mary’s safety ahead of his own, time and time again. Joseph led a simple life and he was a righteous man, always striving to do what was right with regard to Jewish laws and following God’s calling on his life – he fully lived a Kingdom-minded life, in other words.
When Joseph first learned that his betrothed was pregnant, he decided that the best thing to do for her sake was to secretly divorce her, so that she wouldn’t be exposed to public disgrace. All he knew was that she was pregnant and the child was not his, and that her being single and pregnant would be less of a disgrace than being betrothed and pregnant by someone else. Before he could act on that decision, however, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, explaining that Mary was carrying a baby conceived of the Holy Spirit, and to not be afraid to take her as his wife. With this new knowledge, Joseph again, courageously, chose the path of righteousness and did as the angel commanded.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel – which means, “God with us.” -Matthew 1:22-23
May your Christmas be filled with the wonder of His love and the warm embrace of family and friends!