things too wonderful for me

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 16

mark this: 1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong.

Yesterday, we told all about the spiritual gifts.

There were all kinds of religious words in that article: words like intercession, evangelism, and exhortation; words like discernment, apostleship, shepherding, and prophecy.

Why, those are words that can bring us to a religious boil! They are so spiritual and scriptural and sacred, somehow.

So I do not want to demean them, but if I had to, I’d trade in that list for this one:
Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe.  Be courageous.  Be strong.  (1 Corinthians 16:13)

When I took the spiritual gifts assessment, it told me that I have the gifts of knowledge and teaching. When you take the assessment, it may show that you have the gifts of discernment and intercession and exhortation.

But when we take the larger tests of this life, may they show us, above all, to be true, and brave, and strong.

***

I have followed my star, as it were. Since I found that my gifts are knowledge and teaching, I have done nothing — day and night and year and decade — but learn and learn and tell and tell. I have delved ever deeper into God’s Word and into its distillation, the cross.

But what I’m impressed with most of all is not his genius, nor his power, nor his glory. What leaves me in awe aren’t the mysteries, nor the things too wonderful for me. (1)

I’ve heard and read all about his omniscience, but the wonder is that he knows me.  I’ve read and studied all about his omnipotence, but that’s nothing compared to when he lifted me up.

What leaves me awestruck isn’t his Truth as it goes marching on, but how he stops to wait for me.

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(1) Psalm 131:1; Psalm 139:6

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Christmas, every day

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 15:35-58

I believed in Jesus for a long while before I made it through the doors of a church.

Then, having made it through the doors, I…umhh…sat down. For a couple years, maybe three, I was an onlooker. I’m not really good at being an onlooker, but I didn’t think I was good at anything else either. So I looked on.

Then it was announced that a “spiritual gifts assessment” was being made available. All we had to do was make an appointment and we could find out what a spiritual gift is–and which spiritual gift is ours!

So I made an appointment, filled out a questionnaire, and then waited for yet another appointment to go over the results with an elder.

I met with elders Brian and Dan.  Dan told me, “Franklyn, there’s good news and bad news.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the good news is that, according to our questionnaire and the answers you gave, you have the gift of teaching–explaining the Word of God so people can understand.”

“So, what’s the bad news?”

“Well, according to our questionnaire and the answers you gave, you’re sort of like John the Baptist.”

“What could be bad about that?”

“You know how John the Baptist says that he can’t even tie Jesus’ shoes?”

“Yes. I know the passage.”

“Well, Franklyn, our assessment says that, outside of teaching scripture, you can barely tie your own shoes!”

***

You must understand that Dan was just kidding. I mean, I think he was. 

Anyway, I was an onlooker no more. I had a shiny new gift and I was determined to open it!

The major teaching in scripture concerning spiritual gifts is right here in 1 Corinthians 12-14, where you can read all about the spiritual gifts in general. (Other key passages can be found in Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4.)

Descriptions of specific gifts are listed in an addendum (“Discover Your Spiritual Gifts”) at the end of this article.

To find out which of those gifts is yours, I encourage you to take a spiritual gifts assessment, like I did. (I found a good one that will take only minutes.  Just click here and follow the directions…)

Once you find your gift, by all means open it. Having opened it, if you don’t know what to do with it (I didn’t) then just talk it over with any experienced believer who has opened his or her own gift. They can show you how to turn it on and make it run!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Discover Your Spiritual Gifts!

A spiritual gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, empowering him/her to serve the body of Christ, the church.

Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:9-11 contain representative lists of gifts and roles God has given to the church. A definition of these gifts follows.

Administration—Persons with the gift of administration lead the body by steering others to remain on task. Administration enables the body to organize according to God-given purposes and long-term goals and to execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.

Opportunities: group leader, office, personnel
Scripture: Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; Acts 27:11; 1 Cor. 12:28; Titus 1:5

Apostleship—The church sends apostles from the body to plant churches or to be missionaries. Apostles motivate the body to look beyond its walls in order to carry out the Great Commission.

Opportunities: missions, evangelism, discipleship
Scripture: Luke 6:12-13; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; Eph. 4:11-13

Celibacy—This gift is the special ability that God gives certain members of the Body of Christ to remain single and enjoy it in order to dedicate oneself to the expansion of God’s kingdom; to be unmarried and not suffer undue sexual temptations.

Opportunities: “undivided interests for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”–more time to devote to ministry; more focus on ministry concerns.
Scripture: Matt. 19:10-12; 1 Cor. 7:7-8, 32-33

Counseling—The special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.

Opportunities: counseling, crisis center, evangelism, visitation ministries
Scripture: Acts 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:25

Creativity—Expressing God’s kingdom, His love and His truth, through alternative means of expression — such as drama, multi-media, dance, song, poetry, etc.

Opportunities: drama, choir, evangelism, media, missions, construction
Scripture: Psa. 150:3-5; 2 Sam. 6:14-15; 2 Sam. 23:1; Mark 4:2, 33

Discernment—Discernment aids the body by recognizing the true intentions of those within or related to the body. Discernment tests the message and actions of others for the protection and well-being of the body.

Opportunities: counseling, prayer, personnel
Scripture: Matt. 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11; Acts 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6

Encouragement/Exhortation—Possessors of this gift encourage members to be involved in and enthusiastic about the work of the Lord. Members with this gift are good counselors and motivate others to service. Encouragement/exhortation exhibits itself in preaching, teaching, and ministry.

Opportunities: counseling, teaching, preaching
Scripture: Rom. 12:6-8; Acts 11:23-24; Heb. 10:24-25

Evangelism—God gifts his church with evangelists to lead others to Christ effectively and enthusiastically. This gift builds up the body by adding new members to its fellowship.

Opportunities: visitation, outreach, missions
Scripture: Acts 8:5-6; Acts 8:26-40; Acts 14:21; Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Tim. 4:5

Faith—Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds. They are able to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for His work.

Opportunities: prayer, counseling, finances
Scripture: Acts 11:22-24; Acts 27:21-25; Romans 4:18-21; 1 Cor. 12:9; Hebrews 11

Giving—Members with the gift of giving give freely and joyfully to the work and mission of the body. Cheerfulness and liberality are characteristics of individuals with this gift.

Opportunities: finance or planning committee, office
Scripture: Mark 12:41-44; Rom. 12:8; 2 Cor. 8:1-7; 2 Cor. 9:2-8

Helps—Those with the gift of helps recognize practical needs in the body and joyfully give assistance to meeting those needs. Christians with this gift do not mind working behind the scenes. They invest the talents they have in the life and ministry of other members of the Body, thus enabling those others to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. (Note: This gift may be confused with the gift of serving. Someone with the gift of helps usually aids one individual [e.g., an administrative assistant], while a person with the gift of serving is willing to do whatever is necessary for a cause or project.)

Opportunities: organizing volunteers, working in the kitchen, fundraising
Scripture: Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:2-3; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:28

Hospitality—Those with this gift have the ability to make visitors, guests, and strangers feel at ease. They often use their home to entertain guests or to provide for those in need of food and/or lodging. Persons with this gift integrate new members into the body.

Opportunities: homeless, encouragement, housing
Scripture: Acts 16:14-15; Romans 12:9-13; Romans 16:23; Hebrews 13:1-2; 1 Pet. 4:9

Intercession—The special ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to their prayers, to a degree much greater than that which is expected of the average Christian.

Opportunities: prayer, encouragement, hospital, hospice, shut-ins
Scripture: Luke 22:41-44; Acts 12:12; Col. 1:9-12 & 4:12-13; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; James 5:14-16

Knowledge—The gift of knowledge manifests itself in teaching and training in discipleship. It is the God-given ability to learn, know, and explain the precious truths of God’s Word. A word of knowledge is a Spirit-revealed truth.

Opportunities: counseling, book store, library, teaching
Scripture: Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 12:8; 2 Cor. 11:6; Col. 2:2-3

Leadership—Leadership aids the body by leading and directing members to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God. Leadership motivates people to work together in unity toward common goals.

Opportunities: men’s or women’s ministries, discipleship, support groups
Scripture: Luke 9:51; Acts 7:10; Acts 15:7-11; Rom. 12:8; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17

Mercy—Cheerful acts of compassion characterize those with the gift of mercy. They feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals (both Christian and non-Christian) who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems, and translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds which reflect Christ’s love and alleviate the suffering.

Opportunities: hospital, benevolence, counseling
Scripture: Matt. 20:29-34; Matt. 25:34-40; Mark 9:41; Luke 10:33-35; Acts 11:28-30; Acts 16:33-34; Romans 12:8

Pastoring—The ability to assume a long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. Those with this gift are compelled to encourage others to work together for the body’s sake. (Note: this gift is also referred to as shepherding and is not given to only those in formal church leadership roles.)

Opportunities: committee chairperson, visitation, small group leader
Scripture: John 10:1-18; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4

Prophecy—The gift of prophecy is proclaiming the Word of God boldly. This builds up the body and leads to conviction of sin. Prophecy manifests itself in preaching and teaching.

Opportunities: community/national concern, finances, steering committee, teaching
Scripture: Luke 7:26; Acts 15:32 & 21:9-11; Romans 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10,28; Eph. 4:11-13

Serving—To identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God’s work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results. (Note: the gift of serving may be confused with the gift of helps. See note on “helps” for clarification).

Opportunities: nursery, Sunday school, ushering, trustee
Scripture: Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:7; Galatians 6:2,10; 2 Tim. 1:16-18; Titus 3:14

Teaching—Teaching is instructing members in the truths and doctrines of God’s Word for the purposes of building up, unifying, and maturing the body.

Opportunities: teaching, training, library
Scripture: Acts 18:24-28; Acts 20:20-21; Romans 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-13

Wisdom—Wisdom is the gift that discerns the work of the Holy Spirit in the body and applies His teachings and actions to the needs of the body.

Opportunities: prayer, counseling, finances
Scripture: Acts 6:3,10; 1 Cor. 2:1-13; 1 Cor. 12:28; James 1:5-6; 2 Peter 3:15-16

Worship—The gift to accurately discern the heart of God for a particular public worship service, to draw others into an intimate experience with God during the worship time and to allow the Holy Spirit to change directions and emphasis as the service progresses.

Opportunities: worship team, special music
Scripture: 1 Sam. 16:23; 1 Chronicles 9:33; 2 Chronicles 5:12-14

***

God has gifted you with an expression of His Holy Spirit to support His vision and mission of the church. It is a worldwide vision to reach all people with the gospel of Christ. God desires that you know how He has gifted you. This will lead you to where He would have you serve as part of His vision and mission for the church.

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the two advents — part 2

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 15:1-34

Whoever carefully considers Old Testament prophecies is struck by two contrasting (and seemingly contradictory) lines of prediction concerning the coming Messiah.

One body of prediction speaks of him as coming in weakness and humiliation:

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (from Isaiah 53)

The other line of prophecy foretells a splendid, conquering and unconquerable Sovereign, purging the earth with judgments, regathering dispersed Israel, restoring the throne of David to unparalleled splendor, and introducing a reign of profound peace and perfect righteousness:

Behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

The Old Testament prophets, as they looked ahead, were understandably puzzled by what the Spirit was telling them:
They wondered what the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They wondered when and to whom all this would happen. (1 Peter 1:11)

Today, as we stand between the first and second advents — between Christ’s suffering and his great glory — these once-perplexing prophecies have come into focus. So it is now possible to compare the prophecies with their fulfillment. When we do, we are struck by how literally the prophecies were fulfilled. They weren’t fulfilled figuratively or symbolically. They were fulfilled precisely and exactly:

In Bethlehem of Judea (Micah 5:2), a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) gave birth to a son (Genesis 3:15). Born into the nation Israel (Numbers 24:17), the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and the lineage of David (2 Samuel 7), he was rejected by his own (see Isaiah, Psalms, Zechariah). Numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:27), he was — like a lamb led to slaughter (Exodus 12, Isaiah 53:7) — crucified (Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22) for the sins of his people (Leviticus 16, Isaiah 53:5).

But–most remarkable of all–he didn’t stay dead! Resurrected (Psalm 16:9-10; the book of Jonah), he ascended to the right hand of Power (Psalms 16:11; 68:18; Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 7:56).

Having observed that the prophecies of Messiah’s earthly sufferings were fulfilled literally and precisely, we can only conclude that the predictions concerning Messiah’s earthly glory will receive the same precise and literal fulfillment.

When Jesus taught two disciples on the road to Emmaus — the greatest Bible lesson ever heard — he began with these words:
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)

The Jews were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken concerning the sufferings of their Messiah; we are slow of heart to believe all that they have spoken concerning His glory. Surely the greater reproach is ours, for it ought to be easier to believe that the Son of God would come “in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory” than that He would come as the babe of Bethlehem and the carpenter of Nazareth. Indeed, we believe the latter because it has happened, not because the prophets foretold it, and it is time we ceased to reproach the Jews for their unbelief. If it be asked how they could possibly be blinded to the evident meaning of so many and such unequivocal predictions, the answer is that they were blinded in exactly the same way that many Christians are blinded to the equally evident meaning of a far greater number of predictions of His earthly glory, namely, by the process of “spiritualizing” Scripture. In other words, the ancient scribes told the people that the prophecies of Messiah’s sufferings were not to be interpreted literally, just as some modern scribes are telling the people that the prophecies of Messiah’s earthly glory are not to be literally interpreted. –-C. I. Scofield, “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth”

Jesus told his disciples that His coming again will be — like his departure — personal and bodily:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

His personal and bodily return was re-emphasized in the very moment of Jesus’ ascension:
While they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)

This was re-emphasized again (!) in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17–
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

And again in Titus 2:13–
We wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

And again in 1 John 3:2–
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

***

The first advent teaches us that the second advent will be exactly, literally, and precisely as these scriptures depict.

So let’s not be slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

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the two advents — part 1

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 14

1 Corinthians is absolutely loaded with spiritual answers. At the same time, it raises just as many spiritual questions!

Stand in the Rain has been waiting for 1 Corinthians, because it’s the perfect place from which to launch a series of articles that will (we hope) sort out some of the Bible’s paradoxes.

Ten years ago, I stumbled across a reprint of the original (1909) Scofield Reference Bible. Printed in the back was a lengthy article called “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”

As I read it, so many of scripture’s internal “contradictions” melted away. And so, leaning heavily on Scofield’s original, we present this abridgment to you. We hope, pray, and expect that some concepts which once seemed logically irreconcilable will start to make seamless sense!

***

‘Advent’ is a pretty, Christmas-y word. That’s because the baby in Bethlehem was the first advent, or appearing, of Jesus Christ.

His second advent is just as certain. We know how, where, and why he will return. The only question is when, which only the Father knows (1); scripture does not reveal that secret.

Both of Jesus’ advents are clearly and vividly prophesied in scripture. The Bible student who can identify which is which–which prophecies refer to the first advent, which prophecies refer to the second advent–will avoid unnecessary confusion.

Moreover, when we understand the two advents, we clarify our understanding of the overall purpose, plan, heart, and character of God.

***

Whoever carefully considers Old Testament prophecies is struck by two contrasting (and seemingly contradictory) lines of prediction concerning the coming Messiah.

One body of prediction speaks of him as coming in weakness and humiliation:

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (from Isaiah 53)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. (from Psalm 22)

And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 13:6-7)

The other line of prophecy foretells a splendid, conquering and unconquerable Sovereign, purging the earth with judgments, regathering dispersed Israel, restoring the throne of David to unparalleled splendor, and introducing a reign of profound peace and perfect righteousness:

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. (Isaiah 9:7)

And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. (Malachi 3:1-3)

For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:9)

Behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

***

The Old Testament prophets, as they looked ahead, were understandably puzzled by what the Spirit was telling them:
They wondered what the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They wondered when and to whom all this would happen.  (1 Peter 3:11)

Today, as we stand between the first and second advents–between Christ’s suffering and his great glory–these once-perplexing prophecies have come into focus.

Tomorrow we will learn what Jesus’ first appearance can teach us about his Second Coming.

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(1) Matthew 24:36

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You just met my Miracle.

The Word for today:
1 Corinthians 13

“1 Corinthians 13,” the teacher taught us, “is the definition of ideal love.”

When I first encountered 1 Corinthians 13, they were pretty words from an abstract realm. There was nothing wrong with the words, but there was nothing real about them either.

Later on, those pretty words started to turn on me when another teacher made them into a checklist, sort of a law — The Ten Commandments of Love — that I could not live up to. Her uninspired teaching, mixed with my deeply ingrained perversity, had somehow managed to turn 1 Corinthians 13 into an indictment.

But I kept on; and the Holy Spirit stuck with me and taught me–just as He promised He would:
But you have had the Holy Spirit poured out on you by Christ, and so all of you know the truth. (1 John 2:20/GNT)

And then miracles started happening. I shall never forget, on or about the tenth time through, when the words of 1 Corinthians 13 were transformed.

Miracles, when you meet them, are never as showy and glitzy as we imagine they will be. We look for the grand and complex and God delivers the understated and enduring. We look for fireworks and crescendo and God brings a baby in a manger.

My miracle happened when the Spirit repetitively embedded three little words from 1 John (1) into the text of 1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude…”God is love…”

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth…”God is love…”

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”God is love…”

Love never fails…”God is love…”

As word led to word, I had the most vivid impression that they were not forming ideas, but a Person.

***

I’d been led to believe that 1 Corinthians 13 was a definition of love, and that I wasn’t fulfilling it. Then God taught me that Jesus is 1 Corinthians 13–and that He’d fulfilled it for me.

So as the Word turned into flesh, I was transformed, too. Nothing ever looked the same again:

As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

***

If 1 Corinthians 13, as you read it, is still about an idea called ‘love;’ or if it’s still a checklist showing where your love falls short — then you’re the reader I was before I met my Miracle.

So don’t despair. Just slide over to the book of 1 John. Sign on with the Teacher that we’re promised in 1 John 2:20. Then go back to 1 Corinthians 13 and this time, as you read, listen for the instructions He’ll be repeating from 1 John 4:16.

See what I mean! You just met my Miracle.

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(1) 1 John 4:8, 16

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