Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?
Proverbs 20:6, Numbers 23:19
If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He can’t deny Himself. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.
2 Timothy 2:13, Deuteronomy 7:9
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants.
Jeremiah 4:3, Isaiah 44:3
The Way of Love
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If 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. If 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.
Love 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.
When 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.
We 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!
But 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.
1 Corinthians 13
Great Babylon, Mother of Whores
One of the Seven Angels who carried the seven bowls came and invited me, “Come, I’ll show you the judgment of the great Whore who sits enthroned over many waters, the Whore with whom the kings of the earth have gone whoring, show you the judgment on earth dwellers drunk on her whorish lust.”
In the Spirit he carried me out in the desert. I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast. Stuffed with blasphemies, the Beast had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, festooned with gold and gems and pearls. She held a gold chalice in her hand, brimming with defiling obscenities, her foul fornications. A riddle-name was branded on her forehead: great babylon, mother of whores and abominations of the earth. I could see that the woman was drunk, drunk on the blood of God’s holy people, drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
Astonished, I rubbed my eyes. I shook my head in wonder. The Angel said, “Does this surprise you? Let me tell you the riddle of the woman and the Beast she rides, the Beast with seven heads and ten horns. The Beast you saw once was, is no longer, and is about to ascend from the Abyss and head straight for Hell. Earth dwellers whose names weren’t written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be dazzled when they see the Beast that once was, is no longer, and is to come.
“<em>But don’t drop your guard. Use your head. The seven heads are seven hills; they are where the woman sits. They are also seven kings: five dead, one living, the other not yet here—and when he does come his time will be brief. The Beast that once was and is no longer is both an eighth and one of the seven—and headed for Hell.
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings, but they’re not yet in power. They will come to power with the Scarlet Beast, but won’t last long—a very brief reign. These kings will agree to turn over their power and authority to the Beast. They will go to war against the Lamb but the Lamb will defeat them, proof that he is Lord over all lords, King over all kings, and those with him will be the called, chosen, and faithful.”
The Angel continued, “The waters you saw on which the Whore was enthroned are peoples and crowds, nations and languages. And the ten horns you saw, together with the Beast, will turn on the Whore—they’ll hate her, violate her, strip her naked, rip her apart with their teeth, then set fire to her. It was God who put the idea in their heads to turn over their rule to the Beast until the words of God are completed. The woman you saw is the great city, tyrannizing the kings of the earth.”
To threaten from the root word for “oppression, menace,” related to “to trouble, weary,” from “to vex, thrust,” –“quarrel, conflict,” (“torture, torment, afflict“). It carries the sense of “conditional declaration of hostile intention“. To threat is the language of the accuser of the brethren; the devil’s counterfeit–fear.
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10, James 3:18
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”
You Are God’s Children
Let me explain further. As long as an heir is a child, he is no better off than a slave, even though he owns everything. He is placed under the control of guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. It was the same way with us. When we were children, we were slaves to the principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son into the world. A woman gave birth to him, and he came under the control of God’s laws. God sent him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children. Because you are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer slaves but God’s children. Since you are God’s children, God has also made you heirs.
When you didn’t know God, you were slaves to things which are really not gods at all. But now you know God, or rather, God knows you. So how can you turn back again to the powerless and bankrupt principles of this world? Why do you want to become their slaves all over again? You religiously observe days, months, seasons, and years! I’m afraid for you. Maybe the hard work I spent on you has been wasted.
What Happened to Your Positive Attitude?
Brothers and sisters, I beg you to become like me. After all, I became like you were.
You didn’t do anything wrong to me. You know that the first time I brought you the Good News I was ill. Even though my illness was difficult for you, you didn’t despise or reject me. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were God’s messenger or Christ Jesus himself. What happened to your positive attitude? It’s a fact that if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Can it be that I have become your enemy for telling you the truth?
These people who distort the Good News are devoted to you, but not in a good way. They don’t want you to associate with me so that you will be devoted only to them. (Devotion to a good cause is always good, even when I’m not with you.)
My children, I am suffering birth pains for you again until Christ is formed in you. I wish I were with you right now so that I could change the tone of my voice. I’m completely puzzled by what you’ve done!
You Are Children of the Promise
Those who want to be controlled by Moses’ laws should tell me something. Are you really listening to what Moses’ Teachings say? Scripture says that Abraham had two sons, one by a woman who was a slave and the other by a free woman. Now, the son of the slave woman was conceived in a natural way, but the son of the free woman was conceived through a promise made to Abraham.
I’m going to use these historical events as an illustration. The women illustrate two arrangements. The one woman, Hagar, is the arrangement made on Mount Sinai. Her children are born into slavery. Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia. She is like Jerusalem today because she and her children are slaves. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
“Rejoice, women who cannot get pregnant,
who cannot give birth to any children!
Break into shouting, those who feel no pains of childbirth!
Because the deserted woman will have more children
than the woman who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac.
Furthermore, at that time the son who was conceived in a natural way persecuted the son conceived in a spiritual way. That’s exactly what’s happening now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, because the son of the slave woman must never share the inheritance with the son of the free woman.” Brothers and sisters, we are not children of a slave woman but of the free woman.
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
God’s people shout to Him night and day, and He will always give them what is right. He will not be slow to answer them. I tell you, God will help His people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find people on earth who believe in Him?”
2 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Peter 5:10, Luke 18:7-8