Thursday, December 24, 2009

Earnestly Desire the Greater Gifts

We all made Christmas lists this year.  It was a family tradition when we were growing up... we had to have our "list" ready on Thanksgiving (or we didn't get Thanksgiving dinner).  O.K. maybe that's a little weird, but that's the way my grandparents did it.  So, we made our lists.  My kids circled the things they want MOST.  I made my list reluctantly.  Yes, there are things I would like, but mostly I just want my family together (and getting along!). But then in tearing off the next page in my Bible verse-a-day calendar (that I actually gave to my Dad last Christmas but then kept it after he passed away) and it said "earnestly desire the greater gifts".  For my kids, that would be expensive electronic "toys".  As I thought about it, yeah, this is what I want... LOVE.  I noticed a lot in the past year how often the phrase "Give thanks to the Lord for He is GOOD, His FAITHFUL LOVE endures forever" occurs in the Old Testament.  I/we have experienced His faithful love to us and His goodness, in spite of the very difficult, confusing and painful experiences of this past year.  I am asking God to help me love in the way He loves.  I earnestly desire this greatest gift.

The Way of Love
 1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.
 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
 11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
 12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.


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