|Volume 17 Number 1 January 2015||
Mark N. Posey
We praise (Hebrews 13:15-16), preach (Romans 8:28) and pray (1 Timothy 2:1) about God’s great giving and goodness. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). For all His goodness we are eternally thankful! What are some of the great blessings and benefits given to us by God for which we should always be thankful?
Thank God for His goodness (Romans 2:4). God’s goodness is intended to cause man to repent. Oh, how good God has been to us when we had no goodness, demanding His mercy (2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Peter 3:9).
Thank God for His love (John 3:16). John 3:16 has long been celebrated as a powerful and succinct declaration of the Gospel. Of the 31,373 verses in the Bible, it may be the most popular single verse used in evangelism.
Thank God for His gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). If we really understand and appreciate the “indescribable gift” that God has given us, our lives will be saturated with gratitude; we will praise and proclaim His excellencies (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Thank God for His blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Paul called for a blessing upon the Father (in the sense of recognizing His glory, honor and goodness), because the Father has already blessed the Christian with every spiritual blessing. Christians should be thankful for physical and spiritual blessings.
Thank God for His grace and mercy (Titus 2:11-12). The ancient Greek word for “teaching” has in mind what a parent does for a child. It speaks of the entire training process: teaching, encouragement, correction and discipline. Grace is a teacher in this sense and a powerful teacher it is.
Thank God for His promises (2 Peter 1:4). God’s promises are both exceedingly great (in the sense of being large and imposing), and they are precious (in the sense of being valuable). We might break a promise, but God does not break His promises!
Thank God for His Word (2 Timothy 3:16). With great spiritual power beyond our intellect, the Bible gives us eternal life (1 Peter 1:23), spiritually cleanses us (Ephesians 5:26), gives us power against demonic powers (Ephesians 6:17), brings us spiritual strength (Psalm 119:28) and builds faith in us (Romans 10:17).
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Love’s Four Sweet Companions!
Mark N. Posey
One preacher labeled 1 Corinthians 13:7 as “Love’s four sweet companions.” Four things love is: strong, believing, hopeful and enduring. These four amazing qualities define, determine and designate Christian love. Consider the four Greek words for “love.” “Eros” is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. “Storge” means “affection” in modern Greek; it is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. “Philia” means “friendship” in modern Greek, a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. “Agape” means “love” in modern Greek, such as in the terms, “I love you.”
Love Bears All Things (v. 7a)
The word “bears” means “to protect… to guard… to shield.” Either way, Paul brings an important truth along with 1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” Love does what is necessary to help a person. True love is eager to protect a person from harm, ridicule and embarrassment (cf. Genesis 9 – Noah and his sons, Luke 15 – Prodigal’s Father).
Love Believes All Things (v. 7b)
Love is not suspicious nor quick to misjudge others and is not always ready to believe the worst about another. Never believe a lie, but we never believe evil unless the facts demand it. We choose to believe the best of others. In believing all things, love makes a conscience choice to walk by faith rather than by what is seen. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Love Hopes All things (v. 7c)
Hope sees the beauty in another person. It sees not only what a person is, but also what that person can become. Love has a confidence in the future, not a pessimism. When hurt, it does not say, “It will be this way forever, and even get worse.” It hopes for the best and it hopes in God. Hope is the belief in things not yet seen or fully experienced.
Love Endures All things (v. 7d)
We can bear all things, believe all things, and hope all things, but only for a while! The greatness of “agape” love is that it keeps on bearing, believing and hoping; it doesn’t give up. It destroys enemies by turning them into friends. Enduring love is to hold on year after year, to never give up or give in. Love is longsuffering under pressure; it does not weaken under stress or strain.
May we live and love in such a way to protect, trust, hope and preserve. In doing so, our lives will become pictures of determination to do what love does.