Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 13’

1 Corinthians 13: A positive view

October 23, 2017

1 Corinthians 13--1-3

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, let us take a look at the “Quote of the Day” for October 23, 2017,

“If I don’t, then I won’t—if I do, then I will.”

Actually the line is the title of a freshly composed poem inspired by 1 Corinthians 13 where the Word of God answers in detail one of the questions of the ages: “What is love?” The chapter unfolds as an extended  definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

In reflecting on this celebrated chapter so often recited as a whole or in part on Valentine’s Day or at weddings or other special occasions, I thought I would read it from a different view point in light of principles that I recall from high school lessons in math and English.

In math if you have a negative number and you multiply it by a negative number, the result will be a positive number; for example, -4 x -3 = + 12. Likewise, in English, we have a “double negative” when you use of two negative words in the same sentence. The resulting sentence will convey the exact opposite of what you intended, as your negatives cancel each other out. “I do not want you to NOT love” is the same as saying “I want you to love.”  These concepts bring to mind the lyrics of the popular song from the 1950s reminding us to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

Here is a different view of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 in the Amplified Bible modified from a more positive viewpoint:

 1IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, [and do have] love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am [more than] only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.   I become an instrument of peace.

 And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but [do have love] (God’s love in me) I am [not] nothing (a useless nobody). I am really something (I am somebody).

3Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that [God may be glorified], [and have love] (God’s love in me), I gain [everything].

When we choose to walk in love or demonstrate the power of love, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here is a poetic summary of our discussion:

If I don’t, then I won’t—If I do, then I will

A different take on I Corinthians 13

 

What does 1 Corinthians 13 really say? Talk to me;

Follow me and let me show you what I see.

The Word never returns void but prospers where it is sent

When read from another view, this is what I think it meant:

If I speak in tongues fluently but don’t have love,

Though I have evidence of the sign of the dove,

I am a clanging cymbal, nothing more than noise

But if I choose to love, I can now use my voice

To make new music as an instrument of peace,

To silence discord and cause all jangling to cease.

Although I flow prophetically with faith that is great,

But without love I am not even second rate.

But if I love, I am not least but the greatest.

Even if I give my life, the ultimate test,

Without God’s love what have I really gained—nothing,

But when I give, moved by love, I gain everything,

Kingdoms may fade, but the love of God will never cease.

For love will not diminish but only increase.

Whether to walk in love or not, we each must choose.

Strange as it may seem, when you give you cannot lose.

If God’s love is not the motive, you cannot win,

For the one who loves always wins, again and again.

Bernie Armstrong offers “1 Corinthians 13—The Wedding Song–Love Never Fails,” not just a lovely song for marriage but a truly beautiful song of life:

 

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God’s unfailing love

September 2, 2015

Psalm-119-64The Verse of the Day for September 2, 2015 speaks of the love of God that never fails:

Psalm 119:64 (NLT):

O Lord, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.

The Power of God’s love is profoundly expressed as a verb in the following poem:

 

To Love

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 (New King James)

Above all else, nothing is greater than to love.

Beyond all limits, nothing is better

than love.

When it comes down to the salient points of life,

Nothing is free. Everything has it price

but love.

No one can make you do what you don’t want to do.

Each day you decide if you are going

to love.

Searching for the right words and the right melody:

Ballads, show tunes, doo-wops, and blues–all songs

of love.

Been round the world from pole to pole and back again,

Looking here and there and everywhere for

true love.

Find it, mine it, and then define it, if you will.

If you seek it, you will find it, for God

is love.

Although we may graduate, learning never stops.

It is only by loving that we learn

to love.

“Dear ones, keep on and you will lose your mind for sure.”

To put on the mind of Christ is to put

on love.

Ultra refined, untainted, in its highest form:

Strip away all pride and you have

pure love.

Beyond display, far more than merely show and tell,

With every decree from God’s Word we see

God’s love.

This constant, ever-enduring quality of God’s love is described in Romans 8 which relates the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us. I often recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude this blog entry.

Tasting the goodness of God

March 20, 2015
Thwe Verse of the Day makes reference to the "milk of the Word" which believers should desire.

The Verse of the Day makes reference to the “milk of the Word” which believers should desire, as new born babes.

The Verse of the Day for March 20,  2015 comes from 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The last phrase of the verse brings to mind that the essence of God is goodness. He is the embodiment of all that is good. The following blog entry which has been revised and re-posted takes a good look at the “goodness of the Lord.”

Psalm 33:4-5(KJV) makes this declaration:

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Without question, the goodness of God surrounds us and sustains us every day. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. God’s goodness toward us is expressed in Jesus Christ, who acknowledged that there is no one good except the Father. The very essence of God is goodness which this song makes known:

The Goodness of the Father

For the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance,

From his goodness flows his favor,

O, taste and see that the Lord is good.

He has promised goodness to his servants,

He has clothed us with salvation.

Let us rejoice in goodness, and declare that only the Lord, our God, is good.

O how good, He’s so good, beyond compare,

Exquisite and rare, He’s so good.

O how good, He’s so good,

Come join with me: O, taste and see that the Lord is good.

As I completed the poem I also recalled the lyrics to an original song that I composed when I coordinated a summer children’s summer program ten years ago and used music as a means of memorizing scripture. In this case, Psalm 34:8:

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Here is the song:

Oh, Taste and See

Chorus:

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.

Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Verse 1

Partake of the Word of God,

Taste and see that it is good.

It will fill you up

More than any kind of food.

(Chorus)

Verse 2

Partake of the Word of God,

Let it richly dwell within.

It will help you grow.

It’s better than a vitamin.

(Chorus)

Verse 3

Partake of the Word of God,

Read the Word and put God first.

It will feed your soul

And satisfy your thirst.

(Chorus)

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.

Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

As Christian believers, we give thanks to God for His grace and goodness. With our lips we give praise and bless the Lord and sing of His goodness. One of the most quoted passages from the Old Testament is Psalm 23, one of my favorites that I committed to memory years ago, mentions the goodness of the Lord in the last verse:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The last verse reminds us that goodness, like a rear guard, a powerful “back-up,” follows us throughout our lives. Israel Houghton shares this lively musical reminder of this life-sustaining truth:

Let us pray: Gracious God, our Father. We praise you and acknowledge that the Lord is good and that His mercy endures forever. We have tasted of God’s goodness, and we know that goodness of God draws us unto repentance, and that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. Even now, we are walking in confidence that you are with us and that your grace and mercy go before us, as we endeavor to walk in the steps of the Lord Jesus Christ, who leads us into victory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love still prevails

February 12, 2015

1-John-4-10

Today’s blog entry comes two days before Valentine’s Day, as we take a look at a verse that continues to focus on love:

1 John 4:10 (KJV):

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The lyrics to the popular love song “My Funny Valentine” express the following profound yet simple truth:

Stay, funny Valentine, stay.

Each day is Valentine’s Day.

And so days before Valentine’s Day, love still prevails—the love of God, the highest form of love, called agape, never fails. And every day on and after Valentine’s Day love still prevails. As 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us:

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The chapter presenting the greatest definition of the love of God closes with this reminder:

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (New Living Translation)

To Love

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Above all else, nothing is greater than God’s love.

Beyond all limits, nothing is better than

real love.

When it comes down to the salient points of life,

Nothing is free. Everything has it price

but love.

No one can make you do what you don’t want to do.

Each day you decide if you are going

to love.

Searching for the right words and the right melody:

Ballads, show tunes, doo-wops, and blues–all songs

of love.

Been round the world from pole to pole and back again,

Looking here and there and everywhere for

true love.

Define it, mine it, and then refine it, if you will.

If you seek it, you will find it, for God

is love.

Although we may graduate, learning never stops.

It is only by loving that we learn

to love.

“Lonnell, keep on and you will lose your mind for sure.”

To put on the mind of Christ is to put

on love.

Ultra refined, pure for sure, to the highest degree:

Strip away all pride and you will see

pure love.

Beyond display, more than a game of show and tell,

Read between the lines of my book and find

God’s love.

A previous blog entry written for February 14 closed with the Jim Brinkman song performed by Amy Sky: “Love Never Fails.” So during the week of Valentine’s Day, the message bears repeating:

Let us pray: God, our Father, we thank you for your love that endures. We thank you that nothing can separate us from your love and that your love will sustain and keep us. We bless you and give you praise for all that you have done for us to express your great love for us. You so loved that you gave, and in giving you allowed us the privilege of receiving your gracious gift revealed in Jesus Christ, your only begotten son, in whose name we give you thanks. Amen.

God’s love is what it is not

February 11, 2015

Revised and re-blogged from a year ago is the following entry:

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

The Verse of the Day for February 11, 2015 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, we move toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Here the Word of God continues answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold.

The video “Love is Patient” provides a graphic illustration that defines the love of God:

On the day after Valentine’s Day, love still prevails

February 15, 2014

1-John-4-10

On the day after Valentine’s Day, the Verse of the Day for February 15, 2014 continues to focus on love:

1 John 4:10 KJV

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The lyrics to the popular love song “My Funny Valentine” express the following profound yet simple truth:

Stay, funny Valentine, stay.

Each day is Valentine’s Day.

1-corinthians-13 7-8

And so on the day after Valentine’s Day, love still prevails—the love of God, the highest form of love, called agape, never fails. As 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us:

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The chapter presenting the greatest definition of the love of God closes with this reminder:

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (New Living Translation)

A previous blog entry on love closed with the Jim Brinkman song performed by Amy Sky: “Love Never Fails.” On the day after Valentine’s Day, the message bears repeating:

The love of God always endures

February 12, 2014

1-corinthians-13-4-7In the Verse of the Day for February 12, 2014, we find two more verses from 1 Corinthians 13 further describing “charity” in the King James Version or agape or the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 KJV:

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Here are two variations of these verses from two other Bibles:

New Living Translation:

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Amplified Bible:

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

As I thought about these verses from 1 Corinthians 13, a passage from Romans 8 (my favorite chapter in the whole Bible) also came to mind, relating to the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us and that His love endures. I recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude this blog entry.

God’s love is what it is not

February 11, 2014

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 KJV)

The Verse of the Day for February 11, 2014 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, as we move toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Here the Word of God continues answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended  definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold.

The video “Love is Patient” provides a graphic illustration that defines the love of God:

Word for the Day: Daily Dose of Good Medicine.

January 2, 2012

During the first week of the first month of the New Year 2012, as I prepare a blog entry for Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe, I recall the early days of my first profession as a registered pharmacist. For more than 25 years I was a practicing pharmacist, but now as a writer and minister, I use my skills in poetry and prose while incorporating music and visual arts to “fill prescriptions” designed to minister to the heart and soul in this blog.

To become more faithful in blogging, I plan to post “Word for the Day: Daily Dose of Good Medicine.” I invite you to stop by and see what remedies I have been working on recently, as I continue to compound “After the Art of the Apothecary.”

To learn more about “Good Medicine” from Dr. J. click here.

Isaiah 62: New Theme for the New Year:

At the beginning of each year I select a theme and a theme verse(s) that become focal points for my Biblical study and spiritual exploration during that year. My first entry for 2012 relates to the theme restoration and redemption as revealed in Isaiah 62. This section from the Old Testament speaks of God’s covenant with His people. Though Israel is in captivity at the time of the writing of this passage, God promises to keep speaking and working until His purposes for Jerusalem are fulfilled.

Rob Philipps in his blog OnceDelivered.net, comments on this passage:

Isaiah likens Jerusalem’s future relationship with Yahweh to a marriage. Rather than being called Deserted or Desolate – names that accurately describe the city in the depths of judgment – Jerusalem will be named Hephzibah (“My Delight is in Her”) and Beulah (“Married One”). When a bride marries, she receives a new name. Even though Israel already is married to Yahweh, He will give her new names that describe her spiritual renewal and depict the Lord’s profound joy in her. Verse 5b reads: “… as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you.” This description of Yahweh’s special relationship with the redeemed of Israel complements the relationship Christ, the bridegroom, has with His bride, the church. Together, Jew and Gentile believers will share in a glorious and everlasting relationship with God.

The context of the Isaiah 62 relates to the marriage relationship, whereby bridegroom and bride will ultimately be re-united in a magnificent manner.

A Living Illustration of Love:

Last week, my daughter, Melissa sent me an email with a link to a YouTube video of the wedding of a friend of hers whom she had recently contacted. The groom was Christopher Draft, former NFL player, who had married Keasha Rutledge in Atlanta on November 27 of last year. Unfortunately Keasha, who had been diagnosed with cancer a year ago, died three months after their wedding. As I watched the wedding ceremony, I was moved to tears.

Upon thinking about the New Year and my selected verses from Isaiah 62, I thought of the wedding of Christopher and Keasha and noted a parallel between Christ and his bride, the Church.  In literature there is term called a “Christ Figure.” The term refers to a person or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of the most notable of which “self sacrifice.” Chris Draft is reminiscent of Christ, who so loved that he selflessly sacrificed his life for his bride . . . “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”  Christopher, true to the name from which his is derived, certainly demonstrates unconditional love for his bride.

Here is the video trailer to Chris and Keasha’s wedding: 

http://vimeo.com/33307371

This is my first blog entry in the New Year, as Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe is now open and offering a “Daily Dose of Good Medicine.”

Love suffers long: learning from an unlikely source

January 12, 2011
Love endures for all time and never fails.

Since making the commitment to participate in the postaday2011 initiative, I have been endeavoring to post a blog each day. Sometimes I awake with a topic or issue of interest, and the flow comes forth almost effortlessly.  At other times I seem hard pressed to come up with a topic that I can really get into. Occasionally I will “stumble upon” an idea while looking for something totally unrelated. Such was the case, yesterday with “Wait on God City of My Soul.” Today I read an email from a friend and fellow believer, Tom Swift,  who sends out weekly devotionals from  Truth in Love Ministries, and I was immediately drawn into his discussion of love in light of the mythological figure  Sisyphus, whom Countee Cullen, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance, described as doomed “to struggle up a never ending stair.”  Tom used what is generally perceived as a grossly negative character to show the positive attribute of charity/love as “long-suffering.” Click here to read the devotional in its entirety.

As I read the sharing by Brother Tom, I recalled the quotation that my wife, Brenda, placed on our wedding invitation when we sent them out going on 38 years ago: “Sharing is caring/A love of endless giving.”

In addition, I recently composed a poem for one of the students in a writing class that I teach, a young woman from Ghana named “Everlove.”  Recently she has endured a number of personal tragedies, and as I was thinking about her and praying for her, I was inspired to compose poem to encourage her. I had never met anyone with the name “Everlove” which has deep significance in light of the essence of the message regarding love which endures all things and never fails.

Everlove Is Your Name 

For Everlove Agyeiwae

Love ever gives,
Forgives,
outlives,
And ever stands
With open hands.

And while it lives,
It gives.

For this is love’s prerogative:
To give, and give, and give.

John Oxenham

 

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful,

and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:   [New Living Translation]

                                                                    

Everlove is your name, given to remind you             

To let love prevail in all that you say and do.                 

That God’s love endures forever, never forget.                      

In trying times accept God’s love–have no regret.   

 

Men may disappoint, but God’s love is ever true                   

To all who follow the path of love and pursue.       

In the midst of storms, never worry–do not fret.         

Everlove is your name.                                   

 

Look to the God of love, one who makes all things new.       

He restores and refreshes, as the morning dew.                                                           

Although Satan’s fiery darts seem to pose a threat,    

Trust God–He will not fail but will be with you yet.        

These words from God’s heart are given to remind you:          

Everlove is your name.         

I wrote the poem as a reminder to someone whose name has profound significance, but it is likewise a reminder to me that love has sustaining power that endures for all time.  May you also recall that love never fails, as so beautifully expressed in this recording by pianist Jim Brickman and vocalist Amy Sky.

For further discussion of the three golden attributes of life: faith, hope and love, check out these articles:

http://www.examiner.com/christian-spirituality-in-columbus/faith-hope-and-love-three-essentials-christianity