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Daily Devotional – July 13

 

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1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself,

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. (Prov. 27:2).

Is there anyone more of a bore than a braggart? Genuine love is selfless. It seeks to extol the virtues of others. Love has words of encouragement for the lonely, the down-trodden, and others who deserve and need uplifting.

When a preacher boasts that were it not for his efforts the whole brotherhood of Christ would be immersed in apostasy or a brother seeks glory and recognition for performing a service to God or a charitable act they are left…

well…

vaunting.

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July 13, 2006 - Posted by | Daily Devotional

6 Comments »

  1. I agree that “a braggart is a bore” but wonder how “loving [one’s] neighbor as [one]self” is possible if “love is selfless” all the time. Putting others first is not always the right thing to do. Sometimes we are too needy to give before we have recieved. That’s about being human (rather than deity)and knowing our limits.

    And doesn’t attitude enter into “bragging”? What seems like bragging might be a person with a poor sense of self struggling to find him/herself or merely an announcement of something one has done: a fact. I think this passge calls for us to look inward, not judge others as “braggarts.”

    Comment by Helen Losse | July 13, 2006 | Reply

  2. Hi Helen!

    I never bought into the self-esteem movement that developed out of the “enlightened” ’60-’70s Freudian psych (I attended secular universities also:). Self love is not a problem humanity has–all sin is a result of self-love (no man hateth is own flesh) and at the core of every sin–it was the original sin. Self-love was never mentioned in the 10 commandments–the Jews were instructed to love God first, others second, themselves last. I sincerely believe in self-respect and self-confidence, but self-love is inherent in mankind and comes as a part of our old fallen/adamic nature. Jesus thought nothing of his own needs when they were flaying his flesh, he said, “I thirst” fully understanding that they would give him nothing that would quench it, he endured the cross loving others greater than himself, otherwise there would never have been the sacrifice.

    Jesus pointed out an obvious flaw in humanity when he told the Jews in his time love their neighbors as ourselves, because he knew that people naturally love themselves and the only thing he could get them to understand was that they at LEAST needed to love others as much as they already loved themselves. He revealed to the Philippians later the more important concept of grace and its translation to the lives of us Christians, namely that we are to love others greater than ourselves. What is unnatural for man and what can only be overcome through the Spirit is for “each to esteem others GREATER than self”.

    Well, I guess I’ve gotten off the topic a little, but there is so much in the scripture about pride, arrogance, haughtiness and “self-esteem”, that we have dismissed in society as unneeded–man constantly goes back to his own formulas heedless of the consequence. We teach our children pride and conceit in their own works and accomplishment, but fail in teaching gratitude and humility. Two weeks ago a friend of mine had a 16 year old niece who was a top athlete in her school lose control of her car and hit a tree. For years she had been taught self-magnification by means of her athletic prowess. She is paralyzed from the neck down and will never walk or use her arms again. What has life to offer such a child whose life was centered around what she could accomplish physically?

    Enter I Corinthians 13! 🙂

    -j

    P.S. Couple quick comments for continued discussion. The most giving and sacrificial people in the world I have ever met were those most needy. Christians that were not subject in any way to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Christians whose spirit transcended anything physical.

    Also, Helen, I don’t believe we are human beings waiting to be discovered. We are humans in the process of creation and development. Finding always indicates there is an end product that we already are and we just have to discover it–I always felt this went against the God’s teachings which indicates that we are his handiwork and being conformed to the image of His Son. Being conformed to HIS image is what Christianity is all about. (another flaw I discovered during my 18 hours of psychology– a “science” that looks backward, but rarely forward–Philippians 3:13) Make sense?

    Look forward to your comments!

    Comment by bereans | July 13, 2006 | Reply

  3. I didn’t mean anything as philosphical as all that. I meant sometimes the kindest (most loving) thing a person can do for his/her family is to take a nap or get away for a few minutes to pray, to look for guidance before trying to guide. And that we must learn to say no to the many good things we could do so we have the time and enegy to do the best things, the ones God actually wants us to do.

    Of course, teaching children (or anyone for that matter) that thier value is in their accomplishments, rather than their being, will lead to disappointment, as you pointed out concerning yout friend’s niece. We have to separate worth from productivity. They aren’t the same thing, but our throw away society is, at least partially, a result of people who take no pride in their work. We ought to learn to strive for excellent work and still remain humble and valuable. Knowing that I have value to God makes me feel good about myself. And that isn’t wrong.

    And in my 12 hours of psychology (You Win 18-12! 🙂 ) I encountered a professor who later beat his wife, putting her in the hospital. I know now that psychology doesn’t matter nearly as much as sociology, although at the time no sociology courses were required for teacher training. Go figure.

    “Faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.” Doesn’t that imply the least of these is faith? Like a laddar.

    And as for “finding” and “the end product” et al., the end must be included in the means. Otherwise, a life with Christ, in this world, is a joke. And I will not accept that, beacuse it makes for an other worldly faith.

    Comment by Helen Losse | July 13, 2006 | Reply

  4. Loving others should be the natural extention of self-love when you come to realize that you are not seperate from others or even God. Of course that assumes the way one loves is the way another loves.
    Is love the same for everyone?
    What aspects of love are most important?
    Compassion?
    Self-sacrifice?
    Correction?
    Protection?
    Nurturing?
    Are these thing in fact situational?
    Let us not forget that the passage in the particular translation you have chosen uses the word charity which implies giving.
    Is that giving of onesself?
    Ones possessions?
    Ones ideas?
    Ones spiritual gifts?
    All of the above or something else entirely?

    I also read your articles on Agreement Principle,Context Principle, and Ethnic Division. I found them to be well formed and thought out. I am curious how you arrived at such notions. Through the Bible itself, some scientific method, some other source such as study guide(perhaps a concordance), through divine inspiration, or mabey some such combination. Though I’m sure it doesn’t matter, even Paul never specified what form his revalations from God took. Hey, mabey we could elevate you to the Pope-like status that he has achieved. In which case we should add said materials to the cannon of scripture. We all know how scientificaly reasonable the Bible is, what with the raising of the dead, healing with a touch, seeing visions of the future and the like. Or we could just as easily leave it out like countless other testiments, religious writings, mystical texts, and the like that have been left out due to (among other things) historical inaccuracies. Never mind the fact that many things are usually left out of history and that revision has often occurred. Which come to think of it, the same has happend in science, even physics, not to mention religious practice and ritual. Of course I may be overthinking, I have a weakness for philosophy which makes me a little biased.

    Comment by Brian Reason | July 13, 2006 | Reply

  5. Oops! Sorry, Helen! 🙂 I kind of got on a rabbit trail. I have a friend who points out often that if one doesn’t take care of themselves they may be hard pressed to help others. That is a completely true statement.

    Brian! Good to hear from you. Glad you’re hopping into the discussion.

    Love is an interesting topic. The Greek had 4 different words for love, the three most common; eros, philos and agape.

    Eros is the one that most people think is the real thing, but in all reality is not love at all. It is sensory and chemical responses within our physical makeup that cause an emotional reaction–feeling, in essence.

    Philos is something that develops between individuals who interface on an intellectual level, mind meeting mind. Philos develops between individuals who have good communication with each other, understand one another’s thought processes, and often share like ideas and ideals.

    Agape love is really the only love validated in our scripture. “God is love” and agape love originates at His source. Agape love is a love based on…nothing. It originates with the lover and is not contingent upon any condition exacted from the “lovee”. A good example of agape would be the love a mother has for her baby. The baby has no intrinsic or economic value, is in all reality a liability, but the mother will sacrifice her own life to save that of her child. We see that Jesus had agape love for his children also, in his willingness to die that they might live.

    Now keep in mind that I am not saying that the first two loves do not have their place, but the Christian aspires toward the agape love that originates with God becoming a part of their being. That’s the reason Jesus pointed out that we should love our enemies. One cannot love enemies with the first two loves, but must have the third.

    So essentially, our capacity to love originates from the one who created it, and IS it, so the answer to your question about everyone loving the same would be yes, true love is the same for everyone.

    Ok, as to what aspects of love are most important, I think that this is a tricky question. What are the attributes of love? Well, if we look at love as a noun, then we can go by the above definition for agape. It is the ability to place infinite value on the infinitely worthless. Love viewed as a verb can take on many attributes. I Corinthians 13 outlines both noun and verb, telling us what love is as well as isn’t, does as well as doesn’t. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t give us an order of priority. The King James translators were brilliant men, (they spoke multiple languages, debated in Greek, Latin and Hebrew even!) and used the term love in the Bible often–so it was with great intention that they chose the word charity in I Corinthians 13. You see, Brian, in this passage there is no indication that RECEIVING is a part of charity or loving. Now the common philosophy today is that relationships must be “give and take”–there is no free lunch, there is no longer any such thing as sacrificial giving or charity. For example, our pulpits teach us that we have to tithe, that we are obligated to give 10% of our money to God. BUT…IF we do, then God is going to give us something back, blessings, more money, blah, blah, blah. First, let me go on record saying that tithing was for the Jews related to the maintenance of the temple and was enforceable by law, and the only time it is mentioned in the New Testament is in Hebrews and if read in context has nothing to do with the Christian. In our new dispensation of grace, the gift of salvation offered freely is our example of what true Christianity is, so we GIVE out of love/charity–no other reason. The tithe is gone. (Of course this always leaves me to ask Christians, would you give more out of love or less?) Jesus Christ, in his charity, fulfilled the law, and our motive for doing ANYTHING should be the same motive he had. Brian, sadly, TRUE love (charity) is not taught in our churches and is rarely recognized in society. Let me give another example. I asked the women in the class one time what would they do if they caught their husband cheating on them. The responses from every one ranged from the harsh to the outright macabre. When they were through speaking, I asked if any of them would consider forgiveness. When we got into THAT topic some grudgingly said that if he stopped and begged forgiveness and basically signed a binding contract on behavior, etc., etc. that they would consider forgiving him…some even forgive him. These women had no concept of real love. We cheated on Jesus from the beginning (and continue to do so) and the only thing he did in return was die for us and forgive us unconditionally. But it didn’t stop there. He went so far as to say that we were forgiven even if we continued to cheat on him, that we lived in a state of forgiveness. That it didn’t make a difference if we spit in his face, brought reproach on his name, or hurt him intentionally, we are forgiven. The reason is, that true forgiveness, like true love/charity is never based on conditions or restraints placed on its recipient, it originates in the heart of the one who gives it, the product of God in our life. Ok, I’m rambling now, so I’ll move on, but hope I this answered the remaining questions concerning love/charity.

    In regards to the other post, Brian, my first degree was in science, and I am a proponent of scientific method. All of the universe functions in accordance with an order, a system of laws designed by its creator. The word “truth” is used 224 times in the Bible, and the word “lie” 149 times. True and false are absolute components of logic. God is always associated with truth, and Satan always associated with lies.

    Using just the basic building blocks of a binary system (true/false, on/off, 1/0, etc.) we can expand those concepts to everything that exists in the universe. Language is based upon mathematical and logical equations. So it stands to reason that scientific method, can be used to correctly interpret CORRECT writing. For example, 1+1=2 is the same as “one plus one equals two”.

    The three concepts referenced in the previous post are just based on scientific method. The first, agreement principle, 1=1 until proven otherwise, the second, context, 1 + X = 2, with the only possibility of x being equal to or the equivalent of 1 to be correct in its given context, and the last, ethnic division principle, 1=1 and 2=2, but 1 does not equal 2.

    So, Brian, no magic there, nothing to canonize–as the wisest of us all said:

    Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

    God bless you!

    -j

    Comment by bereans | July 14, 2006 | Reply

  6. You might find this sermon of interest. http://www.wakeforestbaptist.org/Sermons/Sermon%20-%2005-21-06%20As%20Christ%20Has%20Loved%20Us.pdf
    I mentioned it once on my blog, so it’s possible you’ve already seen it. (And of course, it would be possible for you to have seen it on the web, if I’d never been born. 🙂

    Comment by Helen Losse | July 14, 2006 | Reply


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