Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Love's ways from "Far Above Rubies" devotions

Love’s ways, 5/5
LOVE'S WAYS, PT 5 of 5
Matthew 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.""
We love and enjoy our friends and family with phileo love. But agape love goes beyond this. With God's love we can love our enemies. With God's love we can love those who make us mad. With God's love with love those who hurt us to the very core of our being. Agape love is...
Never Failing Love
"Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:8) I cannot make a better comment than the J.B. Phillip's translation, "Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen."
Abiding Love
"And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13) Abiding love does not fluctuate because it is not based on feelings. It does not hate one day and love the next. Agape love remains the same and remains to the end.
Fearless Love
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18). Agape love does not fear to love. It does not fear for itself. It can continue to love in the face of situations that would naturally cause fear. In her article, A Different Road (Above Rubies 72) our daughter, Serene talks about fearless mothering as she continues loving with God's love in the face of circumstances that could easily make her fearful. You may like to read her testimony again. The Knox translation of 1 John 4:18 says, "Love has no room for fear; and indeed, love drives out fear when it is perfect love...The man who is still afraid has not yet reached the full measure of love."
Holy Spirit Love
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5) Way's translation says, "The brimming river of God's love has already overflowed into our hearts, on-drawn by the Holy Spirit, which He has given to us." If you are born again, the Holy Spirit indwells you. If He indwells you, the love of God indwells you. It is shed abroad in your heart. The word 'shed' comes from the Hebrew word shad which means 'breast'. It speaks of the pouring forth of sacrificial and maternal love.
Why not stop now and affirm these words out loud, "The love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit." Did you notice that it says, IS? It does not say "it might be." It does not say, "one day when you get to heaven." It says that it "is" shed abroad in your heart right now! Yes, even when you are feeling the opposite. It is important to confess this wonderful truth out loud. As you do, it will become more and more your personal experience.
Romans 15:30 Way, "the love inbreathed by the Spirit."
Colossians 1:8 Way, "the love kindled in you by the Holy Spirit."
Reactionary Love
We have reached the last point. I have been convicted of each one of the 32 revelations of agape love that we have shared together. But more than all, God is speaking to me about reactionary love. What do I mean by this? I want it to become my habit in life to react with love. To react with love to every vibe, word or action that is negative, abusive or hurtful.
What a challenge! When a glass is bumped, what spills out? Whatever is in the glass! In the same way, what is inside me will immediately spill over. My longing is that when I am rubbed up the wrong way, when things don't go the way I want, when words are spoken that would ordinarily make me mad, that I would, without ever having to think, respond with love. I want to automatically react with love.
Jesus gave us the example. He told us to react to our enemies with love. (Matthew 5:39, 44)
Paul gave us the example. When he was reviled, he reacted with blessing. (1 Corinthians 4:12)
Peter tells us to not pay back injury with injury, or hard words with hard words, but to react back with a blessing instead. (1 Peter 3:9) Read also Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 20:22; 24:29; Romans 12:14, 17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:15.
In the same way, I want to react to negative behavior with love. How on earth can I do this? I certainly can't with my earthly nature. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit. The amazing truth is that I am filled with the love of God because of the Holy Spirit who lives in me. Therefore it is possible.
Let us seek to "Walk in the ways of love, love like Messiah's love for us..." (Ephesians 5:2 Way).
"Lord, I thank you that your brimming over love fills my heart because you live within me. Please help me to react to every situation with your love. Amen."

Love's flower-petals never fall!
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