The Cost of Love…

Read: 2 Corinthians 10-13
Marked: 2 Corinthians 12:15, And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

In Mark 10:45 Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many.”

Paul has learned the lesson that we don’t seek to get, but to bring the gift of salvation to others and to bring them into a relationship with the Saviour. However, if we look at the lost simply as targets, a notch in our witnessing belts, we miss the mark.

How far am I willing to go for the lost? (See 2 Corinthians 11:24-28). Paul was willing to spend and be spent for souls, finding though, that the more he loved, the less he was loved.

Am I willing to be spent in love for others even if that live is not reciprocated?


Love with Strength…

Read: 1 Corinthians 15-16
Marked: 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all [that] you [do] be done with love.

As Paul completes his letter to the Corinthians he gives some final exhortations. Watch, stand fast, be brave, be strong, do all with love. I think the emphasis is on love and we are to love with strict attention which is what the word, watch, means. Likewise, we are not to move from our responsibility to love God and love others.

The word, brave, literally means, to make a man of, or, to act manly. Love, therefore, is an indisputable aspect of the character of a godly man or woman. Godly love and love for God and others is the strength of the man or woman of God

The Greatest Gift…

Read: 1 Corinthians 12-14
Marked: 1 Corinthians 13:13, And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these [is] love.

Paul makes the case that no matter how much we think we know, we don’t know as much as we think. This is true of earthly things but also true of spiritual things like prophecies, knowledge, and power. Many seek after these gifts but only to edify themselves.

Once again Paul reminds us that love is the primary goal of the Christian because the other things are done in part and will fail, cease, and vanish away (V8). But what will remain and not depart are faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.

Our work, our labour, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, is never to cease when it comes to these three.

Discipleship Matters – Strengthening Character

How are you exercising love in relationship with others? Where does heart transformation fit into loving well?

A friend shared his disappointment in a relationship that he had trusted for many years. He expressed that he felt like he couldn’t love this person anymore. He felt that he did not have it in him. Yet, he knew he should love more deeply. He expressed “I WANT TO STRENGTHEN MY HEART FOR GREATER LOVE” It was suggested for him to look at 1 John 4:7-11.

1 John 4:7-11:

Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1. Read this passage and meditate on it.
2. What are the key concepts about love in this section of scripture?
3. If I want to increase my love what does this passage tell us that needs to happen?
4. What did God do to show his love for us?

5. What can you do to demonstrate and increase your love for God?
6. What can you do to demonstrate and increase your love for people?
7. Think of some specific people that you want to increase your love for?
8. What would be something you could do or say to show them your love?
9. When would you do this?
10. What would be another step to see this permeate your soul?

1. What is the most important part of this lesson to you? Explain.
2. How do you see applying aspects of this lesson to your life?
3. When do you feel would be the best time to make that application?
4. What do you hear the Lord speaking to you about this right now?

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Leading by Example…

Read: Nehemiah 4-6
Marked: Nehemiah 5:17, And at my table [were] one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us.

Nehemiah had had to deal with a number of issues, but the one that really angered him was that the rich nobles used their wealth to take advantage of their poorer neighbours.

The poor had trouble working on the rebuilding and finding time to provide for themselves and their families and so, had to borrow money and goods and were unable to pay it back. This resulted in their children being sold into slavery to cover the debt owed.

When Nehemiah found out he chastised the nobles and others who had done this to their brothers, V9.

To their credit, the nobles repented and restored what they had charged them and promised not to do it again.

Nehemiah was a true leader who didn’t just tell others what to do but set the example. He helped others by regularly providing for all who had need, regardless of their position or nationality, at his own table.

Nehemiah didn’t just say what to do, he did as he said.

The Long-lasting Effects of Sin…

Read: Lamentations 3-5
Marked: Lamentations 5:7, Our fathers sinned and are no more, But we bear their iniquities.

We may think that my sin is my sin and that, generally, it doesn’t affect anyone else. But that’s not true.

Our sin does affect others and, sometimes, in terrible ways. The Bible speaks of sin affecting even to the third generation. Even if I think the consequences of my sin doesn’t impact anyone else, sin always affects my relationship with God.

If my relationship with God is broken it will also affect my relationship with others. Perhaps I won’t love others as God has commanded. Or perhaps I will love them according to my will instead of loving them according to God’s will.

Watch Your Tongue…

Read: Proverbs 10-12
Marked: Proverbs 12:18, There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

I have a choice how I speak to, or about others. I can be discouraging or encouraging. I can speak as if I’m wielding a sword, cutting, hacking, piercing friend and foe alike.

There’s too much of that going on in the world and we justify it so easily. But I can also speak words of love, healing, and affirmation of which there is little in the world.

James says I am to guard my tongue because it is a fire, a world of iniquity, an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:6, 8). That’s saying something.

I must choose how I speak to, and especially about others. God will hold me accountable for every idle word I speak (Matthew 12:36). May I always choose to speak wisely.

God Cares…

Read: Psalms 70-73
Marked: Psalms 72:12-14, For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.

The governments and rulers of today appear more concerned with staying in power than they are with governing.

These verses show the heart of the King of kings. His governance is concerned with delivering the needy, the poor, and him who has no helper.

His government is a government of redemption. But in our system of governing the poor, needy, and oppressed are mostly forgotten or are the last to receive help; or as little help as can be afforded.

That is not God’s way. He cares deeply for the poor, needy, and oppressed. Precious is their blood in His sight, as it should be in ours.

Love Toward the Nations…

Read: Zechariah 1-7
Marked: Zechariah 2:11, Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

The phrase, “many nations shall be joined to the Lord”, caught my attention because of the racial tension that is evident today.

God sent His Son to die for the whole human race (John 3:16). The word, “nations”, means people, and describes gentiles, or non-Jews.

The gospel is for all people (Romans 1:16). How I think and behave towards other ethnicities is important to God. There is no place in the heart and mind of a Christian for racism.

Racism is counter to the all encompassing love of God the Father towards His creatures. God, fill me with Your love towards all nations and peoples that I might win them for the kingdom in Your name.

Good News for Everyone…

Read: Isaiah 54-58
Marked: Isaiah 55:1, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.”

The gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. You can’t buy it with money. It is freely given to all who come. Whoever thirsts. Whoever is hungry. But we must come.