Charity/Love – Well Which Is It?

Scripture –

1 Cor 13:13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  (KJV)

1 Cor 13: 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.  (NLT)

Observation –

In the old King James Version when reading 1 Cor. 13:13 – you can replace the word Charity with Love for a more modern understanding- they are interchangeable.

Application

I’ve always heard that when reading the KJV of the scriptures, when you get to 1 Cor 13 that the word Charity can be replaced by the word Love and the meaning which Paul was trying to express is the same. 

It’s not as though the King James translators were not able to distinguish these two words, they are definitely two separate words in their translation.  Consider John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world…”  and Romans 5:8 “For God commendeth his LOVE toward us..” So it’s not as though every time the concept of Love was addressed the word Charity was instead used.  I think that Paul, and more especially our Heavenly Father, guiding Paul through His Spirit, had a specific lesson in mind for us as these translations down through the centuries have understood what has become commonly known as “The Love Chapter.”

I am not disputing the fact that the meanings of the two words are similar, nor am I questioning the translators who chose to replace the word Charity with Love.  But since we have the resource of the Internet available to us let me share something with you.  

Here is a Bible search on the word Love 

Here is one on Charity

  Did you notice a difference?   The Bible search for the word Love gives 40 different refferences – so there are many ways of expressing and experiencing love, and I agree with that.  But when you look at the search for Charity, what did you see?  Only one – Agapē, the God kind of Love – it is a love that is demonstrated in action.

When we think of the word love, what generally comes to mind is an emotional feeling we have for someone.  When we think of the word Charity, what comes to mind is the act of giving.  It is a giving that comes without expectation of return, it is a selfless act that can not help but be done out of Love.  

I think this is the kind of Love that Christ expected his disciples, and us today to demonstrate to one another and to the world.  Love God, and Love one another.  Serve God, and serve one another. 

My Translation: 

And now abideth Faith Hope and Agapē, but the greatest of these is Agapē.

Prayer –

Heavenly Father please help me to have Agapē  for everyone whom you place in my path.  Grant me the fervent zeal to serve You with an Active Love that demonstrates faith, in Your grace, and Hope for the eternal future.

Love Michael

Yieldings –

Lord Help me to give up passive Love for my neighbor and cultivate Agapē into my life and actions.

Advertisements

Don’t worry – I AM is here!

Scripture   Mark 6 ;

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning[h] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

   But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here![i] 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed,52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

Observation

We don’t need to fear the natural world when we have The Creator with us!

Application

VS 50 of Mark 6 has an interesting footnote,

  1. Mark 6:50 Or The ‘I Am’ is here; Greek reads I am.See Exod 3:14.

Imagine the scene – Jesus has been watching from the shore – (which by the way was probably about five miles away so He either had eyes better than an eagle, or He was seeing with His spiritual eyes) the disciples are in trouble, they are struggling against the elements, their little boat about to be overcome and they, about to lose their lives.  Suddenly they see a figure walking on the water!  It must be a ghost, they thought.  (perhaps the angel of death come to claim us)  But Jesus speaks up and makes a statement that to a Jewish person is the same as saying.  “Don’t worry The Lord Your God has arrived.” 

Jesus was trying to tell them, (*My creative Paraphrase*)  “Hey fellows, don’t you get it, you’re in the presence of The Almighty, and you are my friends.  You don’t have to worry about these physical elements.  In fact I’m controling all this right now.  I’m trying to teach you something!  You didn’t seem to get it when I fed that huge crowd back there, so this is a crash course in who I am.  I AM the voice from the burning bush that spoke to Moses on the mountain and led My people through the desert.  I AM with you and I AM protecting you now.”

Sadly I don’t think the disciples really understood even then.  But before we are too hard on them, lets think about ourselves. 

What does God have to do in order to convince you that He is with you, and for you, and in control of all these winds and waves that you’re facing?   

Prayer

Father God Almighty Jehovah,

 Thank you for being with me through my whole life.  Thank you for your protection and for bringing me to this day, this hour, this moment.  Father guide me and continue with me as I know you do and will all the days of my life until my journey here is complete and bring me to you in that great day.

Love Michael

Yieldedness

I surrender to you Lord my feelings that I am the one who quiets the storms in my life.  Without You – I can do nothing.

Thank You For Your Spirit!

Scripture  Psalm 28 ;

 1 To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
       do not turn a deaf ear to me.
       For if you remain silent,
       I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.

 2 Hear my cry for mercy
       as I call to you for help,
       as I lift up my hands
       toward your Most Holy Place.

 3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
       with those who do evil,
       who speak cordially with their neighbors
       but harbor malice in their hearts.

 4 Repay them for their deeds
       and for their evil work;
       repay them for what their hands have done
       and bring back upon them what they deserve.

 5 Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD
       and what his hands have done,
       he will tear them down
       and never build them up again.

 6 Praise be to the LORD,
       for he has heard my cry for mercy.

 7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
       my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
       My heart leaps for joy
       and I will give thanks to him in song.

 8 The LORD is the strength of his people,
       a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

 9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
       be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Observation

Faith is holding fast to what we know God is going to do.  We may be in the midst of the storm, but faith is in thanking God for the sunshine.

Application

We are a peculiar people, the world thinks we are foolish and whimsical but there is a truth that goes beyond the worlds understanding, a truth that you must see with spiritual eyes rather than the physical and this is the truth that we cling to.  

In vs 2 of Psalm 28 David is crying out for God to “Hear my cry for mercy”  but by verse 6 he is praising God that he has heard his cry for mercy.  Now its obvious that the mercy he sought, I.E. the destruction of his enemies, he had not yet seen.  But David is showing faith in praising God for it before he sees the results of it in the physical.

What we Speak and Believe in our hearts, will we have.  That is what Jesus taught us.  It was not that which we see and touch, we should speak and believe, its the opposite, its not in line with worldly knowledge, it is foolishness to the world but wisdom to the faithful.

I think it was Jack Canfield (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) who said, “That which we think about, and Thank about, we bring about.” 

If you are looking for a physical manifestation in your life today, no matter what you need; healing, strength, peace, mercy, whatever it is, just start Thanking God for it right now.  Start believing and knowing that God is going to bring about that which your heart desires and FEEL the thankfulness for it.  Allow the Joy of knowing that God has answered your prayer fill you up to overflowing.

David had the right formula – ask for it – then believe in it as if God has already done it.  Lets follow his example for our own lives today.

Prayer

Lord I ask that you will bless me with a zeal for you that surpasses any I’ve ever known.  I ask that you place within me a fire that is so hot that it must spread to all who come near.  I thank you for your spirit that is burning within, Thank you for setting me to the work of your kingdom to win lost souls for you and to bind up the hearts that have been broken.

I sing of your glory forever!

Love Michael

Yieldedness

 I give up my feelings of doubt – and embrace gratitude for what God is doing right now!

Pass the Mustard Please

Scripture Mark 4

 30Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”

Observation

God makes our tiny seeds, sprout into Mighty trees!

Application

We are sometimes lucky enough to see at least a portion of the results of our efforts as we serve God.  Maybe we get to see a person we have been praying for saved,  healed, delivered, set free from a bondage ect..   But I am convinced that the bulk of what God is doing with the work we do for Him goes unrealized by us. 

Jesus said – all we need is a little bit of faith for God to create a great thing.  Let us then move forward in faith that God is going to work wonders among us as we willingly and lovingly, and generously serve one another and reach out to the lost.

Have a look at this GREAT story on Youtube about one mans mustard seeds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbuV53kJz1M

Prayer

Father I pray that you will give me the persistence and faith of the mustard seed that Jesus spoke of.  Help me to keep steadfast in the work you have set my hand to, help me to be ever more thankful and happy for the blessings you have showered upon me, and that you continue to rain down for me. 

Love Michael

Yieldedness

I give up the feeling that I have to do it all, and yield to God as He completes the work that He leads me to.

He is watching over me.

Scripture Numbers 14 ;

 39 When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they went up toward the high hill country. “We have sinned,” they said. “We will go up to the place the LORD promised.”

 41But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the LORD’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.”

 44Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp. 45Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.

Observation

Our actions have consequences. 

You can not avoid the judgment of God.  The Lord is forgiving and merciful, he had wanted to strike down these Israelites who had continually doubted Him, but as Moses pleaded with Him, he had compassion and allowed them to live.  However His judgment was that they should not enter into this land of milk and honey, and that their children would only go in after forty years, after all of them (who had doubted and complained after seeing the glories of God) had been buried.   This was the judgment of the Lord, and there was no way around it.  Although the Israelites realized they had done wrong, the consequences of their sin were still upon them.  As hard as they tried, they could not enter the land.

Application

I thank God that His mercy is sufficient for me, that it is never ending, and fresh every morning.  However with that in mind I also should remember that because I am forgiven, does not mean that my actions have no consequences. 

If I let my words or actions injure someone else, I may be able to be forgiven by God, and possibly even by the person I’ve hurt, if I truly repent and am sorry, but being forgiven doesn’t mean that what I did or said doesn’t have reprocussions in the life of that person, or even in my own life.

We should always be aware that what we are doing and saying in our interactions with God and one another has lasting effects upon us and those around us. 

Also we need to be aware that the Judgment of God is inevitable – He will judge our sins and the penalty must be paid.  But thanks be to God who loved us so much that He sent Jesus to the cross to pay that penalty for us.  His judgement therefore has not been avoided, but He has provided the payment Himself.  As long as we accept Jesus, our sins are covered.  But never forget that our negative actions, even though they may be forgiven, still bring consequences in a real way.

Prayer

Father help me to walk in the straight and narrow way.  Help me to avoid all conduct which is not in alignment with your will and purpose.  Help me to lead people to Jesus ,who has stepped in and paid the penalty of our sins for us, and help me to teach others by my own example to walk in the light of your love, mercy and grace day by day.

Love Michael

Yieldedness

I give up the notion that even my slightest actions have no consequences.

Lord, What time is it?

Scripture Psalm 90

4 A thousand years in your sight
       are like a day that has just gone by,
       or like a watch in the night.

Observation

God’s time and our time are two different things.  God does not have to calculate days by the rotation of the earth for He is the God of the whole of creation!

Application

Here is a favorite joke of mine. 

A man once asked God, “Lord, how long is a thousand years to you?”  And the Lord replied, “My child, they are as a second.”  And the man asked, “Lord how much is a million dollars to you?”  And the Lord replied, “My child, it is just as a penny.”  So the man asked, “Lord can I have a penny?”  And the Lord replied, “Yes my child…  In just a second.”

I know how conscious we are of the clock – we operate on the playing field of time, and we often expect our Heaveny Father to do the same.  “Where are you now Lord?”  “Lord how long must we cry out?”  “Father, why this…  Why NOW?”  These are some of the questions we ask which reflect out connection to the clock. 

God operates on a different level, on a different dimension, and in His own time.  We need to understand that God knows the exact moment to allow our circumstances to collide with our needs.  He knows where, when, why and how His will should be accomplished.  And rather than rushing ahead, or lagging behind, we need to keep time with God.  Sometimes that means waiting for His move and direction, and sometimes that means getting up, dusting ourselves off and getting to work.

Prayer

Father God,

  Help me Lord to keep time with your direction for me.  Help me to not delay when I feel you urging me on, and help me to hold my place when it is my own will that motivates.  Lead me and guide me in the paths You would have me follow.  And I thank you and praise you!

Love Michael.

Yieldedness

I give up my own timeline and submit to Gods.

Everybody Dance Now!

Scripture  Numbers 11

26However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

29But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Observation

The more people who are filled with the Spirit of God and moved to serve God – the lighter the load on us all and the more joyous our fellowship with each other.

Application

So often I have seen within congregations and groups one person, or one small group of people carrying the bulk of the load for everyone else, when it comes to service or leadership. 

Also I have been around congregations where practically no one was willing to serve, and the bulk of the ministry was laid upon the shoulders of the pastor.  (This is not a good sign, but it is a common occurrence)

Moses was weary – he had been given the responsibility for the entire nation of Israel to be their spiritual leader.  The burden was too much for him to carry alone.  And the Lord recognized this and so anointed seventy others to share in the responsibility and receive a portion of the Spirit which God had placed upon Moses.

Within many congregations I believe that God grants at least a portion of the Spirit of leadership which he has placed upon the Shephered / Pastor / Leader to be placed upon some of the other members so that the burden is shared and the leader is not burned out too quickly.  (Yes we can and do get burned out)

I know that I have found this to be true in the congregations that I have served.  God will often place someone there with a calling and a spirit of servitude to assist in the ministry.  But just as Joshua son of Nun spoke up against the two who had been specially anointed, it seems that there are usually some who are unhappy with those who are called to share in the leadership and serve in the ministry. 

Moses however, was happy to share the responsibility, he was happy to see the men prophesying and said I wish all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!

But we shouldn’t be too hard on Joshua son of Nun either because he was only looking out for Moses whom he had served since his youth.  With good intentions he pointed out what he thought was a compromise of Moses’ authority and leadership. 

But Moses wasn’t worried, and neither should we be when we see God’s people serving Him with zeal and Spirit.  Praise God for those who are willing to step up and do those things that not everyone wants to do.  May the LORD pour out his spirit on more of us!

Prayer

Father I thank you for those whom you have anointed to serve in the various parts of your ministry.  Thank you for placing them in my path, so as I serve along side them, let me always be respectful and thankful for what they do.

Love Michael

Yieldedness

I am not the only dancer on the dance floor – I yield some of the spotlight of ministry to the lay people who serve beside me every day.