love is not easily provoked.

Last Sunday, the “Summer Love” series continued with a focus on the section of 1st Corinthians 13 where Paul wrote that love is not selfish nor is it easily provoked. If you want to hear it, you can get the podcast by CLICKING HERE.

One of the illustrations that was shared came from the enewsletter that ALL PRO DAD sends out. With regard to the truth that “love is not easily provoked,” here is the intro and the top 10 list that was shared. IF YOU HAVE DAUGHTERS, YOU WILL ESPECIALLY WANT TO READ IT. However, I would suggest that the principles apply in any and all of our relationships. Hope it is helpful for you.

Temper your Temper

According to the National Center for Fathering, when a group of teenage girls were asked to anonymously identify why they would not confide in their fathers, one of the primary reasons was, “He would blow up.” Other responses included: “His reaction.” “I’m scared about his response.” “He would start yelling at me.” “I’m afraid of what he will do.” “He will reject me.” “He will freak out.”  In other words, daughters will not confide in their father if he has no self-control.

Dads – our anger is one of the biggest wedges that come between us and our kids.  We’ve got to get it under control for our children’s sake.

Here are 10 suggestions from AllProDad.com for tempering your temper:

  1. Perspective: Anger typically comes from a very narrow place; expanding your view usually dilutes the intensity.  Will you go hungry tonight?  Do you have a terminal illness?  Remembering what is important can help check your temper.
  2. Imagine yourself as a three year old – visualize yourself having a tantrum: Try not to laugh out loud when you do this.  It could annoy the other person!
  3. Do something incompatible with losing temper: Some guys sing a song (in their head); some make a cup of coffee; some guys read a favorite passage of Scripture or a “feel-good” wise saying; others pop in their ear-buds and listen to George Harrison sing “Hear Comes the Sun” or Louis Armstrong croon “I think to myself, it’s a wonderful world.” Bottom line, you can’t go up and down at the same time.
  4. Walk away: Simplistic solution? Yes. But taking time to collect yourself is always a good thing.  If you are really angry, go for a run.
  5. Call your mother: Or your best friend, or your pastor, or anyone you trust. Point is, refocus and allow yourself to be re-directed.
  6. Offer to get the other party a cool glass of water – then have one yourself while you’re at it: We’re talking about the application of grace. It’s tough to be over-the-top angry when you are serving the object of your wrath.
  7. Pray: Religious or not, this is a great strategy! A) You’ve shifted focus B) God now has your attention C) Prayer is incompatible with losing your temper.
  8. Count backwards from ten but with this twist: You’ve heard of count to ten.  Now try counting backwards. It requires more concentration. Plus, imagine one alternative to blowing up for every number: Ten – “I could write a letter to his supervisor.”  Nine – “I could tell him about the time I was a kid and broke a window with a baseball.”  Eight – “twinkle, twinkle, little star….”  Seven – “I wonder what would happen if I apologized, even though I’m in the right?”
  9. Inhale slowly, hold your breath for five seconds, then completely exhale slowly and wait five seconds before repeating the inhale and exhale three times: This physiological exercise is proven to reduce pulse rate and lower blood pressure. That might be all it takes for the temper temptation to pass.
  10. Write this list on an index card and put it in your wallet for immediate reference: The odds are good that you won’t have to read more than two or three suggestions before losing your temper seems a poor option, given the alternatives.

the bottom line on “love does not envy and does not boast”

If you missed it, you can go back and read the posts from Tuesday and Thursday this week to arrive to this point. Either way, here’s THE BOTTOM LINE from this past week’s teaching time in our SUMMER LOVE series (1st Corinthians 13) about “love does not envy and does not boast.”

THE BOTTOM LINE:

12 Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” [Paul, 1st Corinthians 10:12, the Message]

Being envious and boastful almost always is an indication of insecurity. I envy because I feel I lack something, so with zeal I set out to take it. I boast because I feel I am not being praised enough for something, so I talk all the louder about myself hoping you will join in, too.

All this thought and talk about ME disables love. I will not show love when I am envious and boastful. If I am so consumed with what I don’t have, becoming zealous to take it, then how would I ever be mindful to give into the life of the one from whom I wish to take? And, if I am so caught up in telling someone about all that I have done, how could I ever be concerned about their story and seeing life abundant in them?

Furthermore, when I do not trust what the One who made me feels about me and says about me and has clearly demonstrated for me, then I am bound to look for security in my own feelings and words and accomplishments. Thus, I will not only experience His love, I will also not give it. At that point, I break, my relationships break, and life breaks.

May we trust the love of a jealous God and boast only in His demonstrated love for us. And may we get zealous for others to know the love of that jealous God and boast of His mighty power to save and hold us secure for life now and forever.

PRAY_Lord, please help me to live as though you think I am worth dying for. I am secure in you. Please transform my insecurities into security in You alone.

LIVE_boast about the jealous, everlasting, gracious, mysterious, compelling, life-changing love of our near God.

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Hope to see you tomorrow morning as we continue in the SUMMER LOVE series – “love is not arrogant and does not act unbecomingly.”

Love y’all!

-jason

love does not envy and does not boast…

This last Sunday, we took the time to process through the two assertions from 1st Corinthians 13 that “love does not envy and does not boast.” Here’s a summary of what we unpacked:

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LOVE DOES NOT ENVY

When you take a look at the way 1st Corinthians 13:4 is translated in the various English versions of the Bible, here’s what you come up with:

  • does not envy” – ESV, HCSB, NIV, NKJV, WEB
  • is not jealous” – NASB, NCT, NLT
  • is not envious” – NET
  • does not want what it doesn’t have” – MSG

Here, in my head, is the immediate question when I read this verse:

So if “God is love,” but “love is not jealous,” then how is it that God could be a jealous God?

The word in the Old Testament (seen in Exodus 20:5 and other passages) and the word used in the New Testament both have in their roots the idea of INTENSE HEAT. The word in the Greek, in fact, when read out loud sounds like the word “zealous.” Paul uses the same word in 1st Corinthians 12:31 when he challenged the church of Corinth to keep  “earnestly desiring” spiritual gifts but to even be more desiring of a “more excellent way” (love). So, if the words are not different within the phrases “God is jealous” and “love is not jealous,” then the question posed still remains. It leads to a possible hypothesis:

Can there be a “good” jealousy?

Paul declares such. 2nd Corinthians 11:2–3:

2  For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 3  But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

A “godly jealously” – what is that??? The bottom line idea here and in many other passages where regarding jealousy is really about being ZEALOUS SELFISHLY or SELFLESSLY. This is evidenced by the fact that some versions of the Bible translate the “zealous” thought as “is not envious” or “does not want what it doesn’t have.” The difference in a good jealousy and a bad jealousy is simply this – MY gain or YOUR gain.

When you love someone, you do not show them “intense heat” just because you are not getting what you want. Then you would be zealous in a selfish manner, focused only on personal gain. However, when you love someone, you do show them “intense heat” when they make a choice that causes them to miss out on exactly what would have been the most gain to them. Then you would be zealous in a selfless manner, focused on their gain.

God is “jealous” for us to have abundant life, so much so that He would give up everything, including His only Son, for us to have abundant life. His loss for our gain. A Godly jealousy, or zealousy, if you will.

THE POINT: Paul is basically saying that when I  love someone, I don’t exhibit SELFISH ZEALOUSY toward them in any manner of the relationship. If I do, then I would not be showing them love. And, if I don’t show love, then I am not showing them God (see the post from Tuesday). When I am zealous about a cause that only affects me, the result is normally selfish action, not love. The relationship breaks down at the point when envy breaks in.

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LOVE DOES NOT BRAG

When you take a look at the way 1st Corinthians 13:4 is translated in the various English versions of the Bible, here’s what you come up with:

  • does not boast” – ESV, NIV
  • is not boastful” – HCSB, NLT
  • does not brag” – NET, NASB, NCT, WEB
  • does not parade itself” – NKJV
  • doesn’t strut” – MSG

The word used here can mean “to think too highly of oneself, to elevate oneself above others, to become haughty, or to be lifted up with pride.” It is definitely a selfishness that reveals what is really going on in the heart exposed through the tongue.

Now, you will hear stuff like:

“If you done it, it ain’t bragging.” [Walt Whitman]

“You have to do a little bragging on yourself even to your relatives, for man doesn’t get anywhere without advertising.” [John Nance Garner]

“I’m not bragging, but…” [all of us at some point]

But think about these:

“Tell me what you brag about, and I’ll tell what you lack.” [Spanish proverb]

“If you claim to be humble, you’re not humble.” [Dad]

“A holy man is not aware that he is holy. As soon as we begin to talk about how holy we are, we are not holy any more.” [AW Tozer]

“Therefore let him who thinks he stand take heed so that he does not fall.” [Paul, 1st Corinthians 10:12, NASB]

The moment we brag is the moment we are making much of ourselves rather than making much of God and even making much of others. When we brag, others taste ME instead of Love. No one wants to hang long around someone who only talks about themselves, and everyone who does eventually feels the need to talk about themselves, too. Thus, love is absent, and the relationship breaks down.

PRAY_Lord, please grow in me a heart like Yours – ZEALOUS for others gain and NOT JEALOUS for my own gain. And Lord, please tame my tongue, that I might make much of You and less of me.

LIVE_Have the courage to speak and act with “intense heat” when you see a friend teetering on the edge of destruction about to lose all that was intended for his/her gain. And, listen more than you talk. It helps to squelch the bragging. Be more concerned about the story of someone else’s life than them knowing everything about yours.

Tune in Saturday for THE BOTTOM LINE about jealousy and bragging. Love y’all!

-jason

does His love have the first and last word in everything I do?

We continued in the “Summer Love” series this past Sunday. “Love does not envy and does not boast…” was the section from 1st Corinthians 13 that we focused on. Before we began to unpack those two thoughts and their implications, we stepped back to consider three thoughts about Paul’s purpose for even writing this beautiful and challenging chapter to the church of Corinth. Here are those three thoughts and a few conclusions…

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1 – Paul is offering a contrast between what is actually present in the relationships among the church of Corinth (divisiveness, impatience, unkindness, jealousy, dishonesty, immorality) and what must be present in their relationships if they are truly concerned about the “Head of the church” and not being the “head” of the church.

Paul didn’t completely discredit everything the church of Corinth was doing. He just called them to a “more excellent way” (1st Cor 12:31). They needed to seek reconciliation with God and with one another for their non-loving actions, jockeying for importance and position among the church family, and instead embrace the love of God coming alive among them.

2 – In this chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians, Paul is NOT offering a few how-to’s for personal self-improvement, nor is he offering a pity-stick to pick up and beat ourselves up with because we aren’t living these out.

It is amazing how we as humans can take the mission and intention of God for His people and turn them into moral codes of self-actualization. It is also amazing how prone we are to taking the commands of God and the description of His ways among us and turn them into pity-sticks, beating ourselves up as failures as though we could never live these out. It is true that on our own we can’t, but He didn’t intend for us to go it alone. That’s why He came. That’s why there’s love. And that’s why He calls us to love one another.

3 – What these verses ARE is the picture of God alive in our relationships. God alive in us, tasted instead of our selfish flavors, seen instead of the more common darkness and the hiddenness of our lives.

Remember what Jesus taught in Matthew 5? Let’s read it (Matthew 5:13-16, the Message):

13 Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 14 Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Well, John picked up on this teaching. Not only did he record the new command Jesus gave to love in John 13:34-35, but he also wrote that “God is love” in 1st John 4. There in 1st John 4, John wrote that if we are “in Him” then He will be “in us” and “through us.” His love controls us. Compels us. Moves us.

Paul picked up on the same thought, obviously, expressing it on multiple occasions. But specifically, in 2nd Corinthians 5, he wrote out the Gospel of Jesus and its implications progressively in these significant verses:

12 We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. 13 If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. 14 Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes.

His love has the first and last word in everything we do. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. 15 He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. 16 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. 17 Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!

18 All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. 19 God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. 20 We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 21 How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

We are moved by the love of Jesus.

His love, given completely because of who He is not because of how lovable we were, made everything right between us and God. And now, that kind of compelling love, mysterious love, change-everything love transforms our very relationships, allowing us to see each person through the lenses of the love that we have “in us” rather than the feelings of impatience, frustration, woundedness, or bitterness that we might have toward them. His love changed us. The evidence of that fact is seen when His love changes everything else in and around us.

Here’s THE POINT: Love is central to God, and thus must be central to His followers and His mission to which He has called them. Paul is writing in 1st Corinthians 13 a very simple, focused message:

Church of Corinth, you say you love God and have been changed by Him. If so, then He will be tasted and seen in you in place of the tastes and sights of the selfishness and personal advancement that you are currently displaying among one another and among your community.

That hits close to home. I am asking myself this question – DOES HIS LOVE HAVE THE FIRST & LAST WORD IN EVERYTHING I DO?

PRAY_Lord, teach us to love, help us to love, and may we be secure in Your love.

LIVE_focus on being more concerned today about the story of someone else’s life rather than just being the star of your own.

Tune back in Thursday for a break down of “love does not envy and does not boast.” Love y’all! Thankful to be the church and live sent together with you.

-jason

a dangerous mission we are on.

My new friend Eric (@GlobalHike) tweeted the link to this video. I thought it worth sharing. Take a moment to watch and listen if you can…

Check out what Paul said in Ephesians 6 (the Message):

10 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. 11 So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. 12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. 13 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. 14 Truth, righteousness, 15 peace, 16 faith, 17 and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. 18 In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

May we enter into the relationship that the Sender intended for us (with Him), may we embrace the mission that the Sender has called us to, and may we engage with the weapons He has provided, for our enemy is real and those who are lost are loved.

12 It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. 13 “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” 14 But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? 15 And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? (Romans 10:12–14, The Message)

Lord, I don’t want to play it safe. Please give me ears to hear and eyes to see You leading. Please fill my heart with love and compassion like only You can. And please grant me wisdom to lead my family beyond safety in comfort to security in mission, knowing that this is a dangerous mission we are on.

You in?

SUMMER LOVE_staying connected, the intention of the Lover

Are you living for God or living with Him?

Among AW Tozer’s many quality quotes, this one captures a profound principle regarding love and mission:

“In an effort to get the work of the Lord done, we often lose contact with the Lord of the work.”

It is amazing how those who call themselves “Christians” can become consumed with LIVING FOR GOD rather than LIVING WITH HIM. Maybe not so surprising, though. The people of Israel did the same thing back before and during Jesus’ day. There is a story of a woman’s interaction with Jesus in John 8 that proves the point:

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The story of “Cast the 1st Stone” demonstrates the sharp contrast between the noise of self-righteous religion and the beauty of God’s healing love. It is a powerful example of this one fact – the Jews missed the point and took the mission they were given by the living, loving God in a misguided direction. Paul commented on this very thing in Romans 10:

1 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Paul was challenging the church of Corinth not to miss the point, either. How could they and how could we, when the entirety of Scripture reminds us of God’s overflowing heart of love for our neighbor and for the nations. Take a few moments to grab a Bible and look up these passages of Scripture, beginning in Genesis and going through Revelation, and notice God’s overflowing heart of love for the people of our world and His clear intention to take the message of His love and nearness into all the world and to all people through the love and nearness of His followers committed to living and speaking His Gospel.

  • Genesis 17:4–6
  • Exodus 14:1–4
  • Deuteronomy 28:9–10
  • 1st Chronicles 16:23–25
  • Psalm 46:10
  • Isaiah 56:1–8
  • Micah 7:15–20
  • Matthew 24:14
  • Matthew 28:19
  • John 20:21
  • Acts 1:6–8
  • Romans 15:20–21
  • 1st Corinthians 9:22–23
  • Galatians 3:8–9
  • 1st Peter 3:15
  • Revelation 5:9

Now, take a look at a new command Jesus gave in John 13:

34  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

This is how the world will know that we are learning and living the ways of Jesus (being His disciple), by our love for one another.

Have you walked away from the intention of the Lover for your life? Are you consumed with LIVING FOR GOD rather than LIVING WITH HIM? Will you love as He loves, no matter what, compelling others to drink deep of the Living Water when they taste Him in and through you?

It is what He intended from the beginning. He did not die so that we would go to church. He died so that we would be the church.

May it be so.

Welcome your thoughts. Looking forward to worshiping with you Sunday morning if you can make it to worship gathering as we continue in the “Summer Love” series. Love you guys!

-jason