THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL
"But earnestly desire and strive for the greater gifts [if acquiring them is going to be your goal].
And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love]." 1 Corinthians 12:31
"Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away." 1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails, never fades away, nor ends.
"And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13
'THE CHOICEST GRACES':
'The greatest of these is love.'
1 Corinthians 12
The Use of Spiritual Gifts
1 "Now about the spiritual gifts [the special endowments given by the Holy Spirit], brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.
2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led off after speechless idols; however you were led off [whether by impulse or habit].
3 Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the [power and influence of the] Spirit of God can say, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is [my] Lord,” except by [the power and influence of] the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers].
5 And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served].
6 And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them].
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good.
8 To one is given through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] the message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] the word of knowledge and understanding according to the same Spirit;
9 to another [wonder-working] faith [is given] by the same [Holy] Spirit, and to another the [extraordinary] gifts of healings by the one Spirit;
10 and to another the working of miracles, and to another prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people], and to another discernment of spirits [the ability to distinguish sound, godly doctrine from the deceptive doctrine of man-made religions and cults], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues.
11 All these things [the gifts, the achievements, the abilities, the empowering] are brought about by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, distributing to each one individually just as He chooses.
12 For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ.
13 For by one [Holy] Spirit we were all baptized into one body, [spiritually transformed—united together] whether Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit [since the same Holy Spirit fills each life].
14 For the [human] body does not consist of one part, but of many [limbs and organs].
15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” is it not on the contrary still a part of the body?
16 If the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” is it not on the contrary still a part of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole [body] were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But now [as things really are], God has placed and arranged the parts in the body, each one of them, just as He willed and saw fit [with the best balance of function].
19 If they all were a single organ, where would [the rest of] the body be?
20 But now [as things really are] there are many parts [different limbs and organs], but a single body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22 But quite the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are [absolutely] necessary;
23 and as for those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, these we treat with greater honor; and our less presentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24 while our more presentable parts do not require it. But God has combined the [whole] body, giving greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 so that there would be no division or discord in the body [that is, lack of adaptation of the parts to each other], but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the parts share the suffering; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it.
27 Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body, and individually [you are] members of it [each with his own special purpose and function].
28 So God has appointed and placed in the church [for His own use]: first apostles [chosen by Christ], second prophets [those who foretell the future, those who speak a new message from God to the people], third teachers, then those who work miracles, then those with the gifts of healings, the helpers, the administrators, and speakers in various kinds of [unknown] tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire and strive for the greater gifts [if acquiring them is going to be your goal].
And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love]."
Or, as the King James version tells us at 1 Corinthians 12:31, "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way," which is followed immediately in 1 Corinthians 13, describing the 'excellence of love.'
Unselfish love is a gift from God, God's choicest grace (favor) for man, and one for which we should earnestly desire and strive.
Hallelujah. Praise God. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death . . ." Hebrews 5:7
THE HOLY BIBLE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is in you [believers]!
"What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19
Did you know that we talk to God through our prayers, and He talks to us when we study and meditate on the Bible, His Word? It's true.
In His short time on earth, Jesus prayed to God many times about things that are written, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25
"After He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was there alone." Matthew 14:23
"But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray [in seclusion]." Luke 5:16
"Now it happened that as Jesus was praying privately, the disciples were with Him, and He asked them, 'Who do the crowds say that I am?'” Luke 9:18
"It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.'” Luke 11:1
"And being in agony [deeply distressed and anguished; almost to the point of death], He prayed more intently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground." Luke 22:44
JESUS PRAYED FOR THE CHILDREN
"Then children were brought to Jesus so that He might place His hands on them [for a blessing] and pray . . ." Matthew 19:13
MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER
45 Jesus went into the temple [enclosure] and began driving out those who were selling,
46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’ . . ."
JESUS PRAYED FOR HIS APOSTLES
"but I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter], that your faith [and confidence in Me] may not fail; and you, once you have turned back again [to Me], strengthen and support your brothers [in the faith]." Luke 22:32
JESUS PRAYED FOR BELIEVERS
9 I pray for them; I do not pray for the world, but for those You have given Me, because they belong to You;" . . . 20 “I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message," John 17
"In the days of His earthly life, Jesus offered up both [specific] petitions and [urgent] supplications [for that which He needed] with fervent crying and tears to the One who was [always] able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission toward God [His sinlessness and His unfailing determination to do the Father’s will]." Hebrews 5:7
JESUS SAID PRAY TO AVOID TEMPTATION
"and He said to them, 'Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not fall into temptation.'” Luke 22:46
PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS
"By stretching forth your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage."
THE HOLY BIBLE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God. We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit]." 1 Corinthians 2:12-13
I heard a prophet say that God said that the hand of the Lord swirls around believers who are reading His Word, and gives them understanding. Hallelujah! Amen!
1 "My son, if thou will receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou cries after knowledge, and lifts up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seeks her as silver, and searches for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8 He keeps the paths of judgment, and preserves the way of his saints.
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
10 When wisdom enters into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:"
JESUS PRAYED AFTER HIS BAPTISM
"Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, the [visible] heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are My Son, My Beloved, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!” Luke 3:21-22
JESUS PRAYED THREE TIMES BEFORE HIS CRUCIFIXION
39 "And after going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible [that is, consistent with Your will], let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.'” . . .
42 "He went away a second time and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.'” . . .
44 "So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words once more."
JESUS PRAYED AT HIS LAST BREATH
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:42
Thank you, Jesus.
There is power in God's Word, and His Word says that there is power in prayer. "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them." Mark 11:24
Hallelujah. Praise God. Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank you for our many blessings. All glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving to God, Most High. Bless those reading this. Amen.
God’s plan is that we remember who we are, what our purpose is here, and that we return to Him, in Jesus Christ.
Who knows that we all have a purpose? It is the very reason for our existence on earth:
“In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will,” Ephesians 1:11
According to the purpose of Him, with the counsel and design of His Will! Not our own will.
“And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
What is the ‘veil’ about which Apostle Paul writes above when he says, ‘with unveiled face’? Plainly speaking, it is a veil over us that keeps us in darkness, and in the dark about who we really are: Light and love, from God, the creator.
In Biblical times, the Israelites, who lived under the Mosaic Law, Moses’ Law (the Law), had a veil of blindness and ignorance upon their hearts. The Law was oppressive and difficult to follow, as Jesus tells us in the New Testament. Hebrews 7:18-19 tells us that the law was weak and useless, and never made anything perfect.
“For, on the one hand, a former commandment is cancelled because of its weakness and uselessness [because of its inability to justify the sinner before God] (for the Law never made anything perfect). . .” Hebrews 7:18-19
Those seem like harsh words. I no longer see them as ‘harsh,’ however, but more frank. The Law condemned people to sin and death.
In Matthew 23:23-24 below, Jesus is being frank with the Pharisees and scribes, when He says, woe to them, for not fulfilling the primary spirit of the Law, which is ‘justice and mercy and faithfulness.’
He is telling them, I want you to be saved, but how can you escape judgment? By your actions, you will be condemned.
Matthew 23:23-24 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you give a tenth (tithe) of your mint and dill and cumin [focusing on minor matters], and have neglected the weightier [more important moral and spiritual] provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the [primary] things you ought to have done without neglecting the others. You [spiritually] blind guides, who strain out a gnat [consuming yourselves with miniscule matters] and swallow a camel [ignoring and violating God’s precepts]!”
Jesus is judging righteous judgment John 7:24, and not judging by their fancy clothes and kept appearances. He is exposing their unfruitful works of darkness Ephesians 5:11, and warning others to beware of their actions and deeds.
Why would God, the creator, allow Mosaic Law into His creation, when it was clearly imperfect? Well, Adam and Eve had a choice, and they chose to disobey God and introduce sin and death into the world.
By the Law, we learned what sin is, so that we could learn not to sin through and in Jesus Christ, and once again, be made perfect, like God, light and love, from glory to more glory.
“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, if it had not been for the Law, I would not have recognized sin. For I would not have known [for example] about coveting [what belongs to another, and would have had no sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, 'You shall not covet.'” Romans 7:7
So, the veil of blindness that comes from the Law is taken away through repentance in Christ.
2 Corinthians 3
14 “But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed [only] in Christ.
15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart;
16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].”
“ . . . while on the other hand a better hope is introduced [Jesus Christ] through which we now continually draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19
From one degree of glory to even more glory …
Believers who study the Gospel are happy, for their hearts are free in Christ to follow the way of God’s Commandments. Believers have love and light, and with open face, as if looking in a mirror (reflection), they behold the glory of the Lord.
“So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
‘The essence of the law and the writings of the Prophets.’ So, essentially, everything we know about anything, according to God’s Word. These are not JUST words. God’s Word is alive, and is meant to push us from glory to glory, towards Him.
Apostle Luke goes into further detail about how to reflect God’s glory, love and light, by treating others the way you want to be treated:
27 “But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you,
28 bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 Whoever strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one also [simply ignore insignificant insults or losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity]. Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
30 Give to everyone who asks of you. Whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
32 If you [only] love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 If you lend [money] to those from whom you expect to receive [it back], what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to receive back the same amount.
35 But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked.
36 Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful.”
God’s Words are alive and literal, and truly every action we commit against another individual, we are committing against ourselves, which prohibits us from reaching our God-Willed potential.
By loving and treating everyone as if they were us, then we have fulfilled the letter and the intent of the Law, and the prophets, written about (for our sole benefit), to push us to awaken to our true destiny, from one glory to more glory, and return to God, the source of all things.
All of this proves that our God is a just, forgiving and merciful God, who does not want any to perish, but all to return to Him, in and through Jesus Christ.
He is a God that takes what men meant for evil and turns it to good. Genesis 50:20. Praise God! Amen.
The end of one covenant, the Law, and the beginning of a New Covenant, the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all men.
44 “It was now about the sixth hour (noon), and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.),
45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two [from top to bottom].
46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” Having said this, He breathed His last.”
Just like that, in the blink of an eye, the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two [from top to bottom], and the Law became fulfilled in two simple commands: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:36-40
So, God, the creator, the source of all things 1 Corinthians 8:6, created us perfect, like Him, in light and love.
Through sin and death, we were torn and wounded; and,
healed by the grace [favor] of God, the Father.
Torn and Wounded
Healed, Bandaged, Revived and Raised Up
1 “Come and let us return [in repentance] to the Lord,
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up
That we may live before Him.”
We were saved by the Grace of God, and we will be raised up through the Word made flesh, the resurrection, which is Jesus Christ.
Let’s pray for all of God’s children to remember who they really are, a part of God, the creator, in and through Jesus Christ. Amen.
See also my blog titled, 'The Veil,' to read about My Testimony to God's Power.
POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS
Jesus Christ, breaker of every chain.
There is Power in the Name of Jesus
"But I am afraid that, even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted and led away from the simplicity of [your sincere and] pure devotion to [the power of] Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3
"the simplicity of your sincere and pure devotion to the power of Christ."
The power of Christ, which is the Word, is simplicity, simple, not complicated, for anyone who believes. The Word is active and alive, and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Jesus Christ is the Word
1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
The word "power" or "dunamis" is used 120 times in the Bible.
From Strong's Concordance, "dunamis" in Hebrew means, "force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself): ability, abundance, meaning, mighty deed), (worker of) miracle(-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work."
There is miraculous power, force, ability, might, strength and abundance in the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28:18
There is Power in the Name of Jesus!
God gave us His Word on earth, in writing and in flesh, so we could activate His power on earth, and be saved from the temptations of Satan, the ruler of this world. All power is given to Jesus, and in Him, eternal, everlasting life, for those who believe on His Name.
"And the Word was made flesh . . ." John 1:14 [Jesus Christ]
And, His Power is in us who believe:
". . . the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe . . .” Ephesians 1:19
Isaiah 53:1 talks about the arm of the LORD for those who believe:
"Who has believed [confidently trusted in, relied on, and adhered to] our message [of salvation]?
And to whom [if not us] has the arm and infinite power of the LORD been revealed?"
I heard a prophet say it like this: The arm of the LORD [the Holy Spirit] swirls around believers who are reading His Word and gives them understanding, wisdom and/or knowledge about it. Believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart, read, study, and meditate on, God's Word, Old Testament and New Testament, and pray for understanding (until He provides it), and receive the Power of His Word, in this world.
Now, when the new heaven and new earth come down, as told in Revelation, we will no longer need the Bible, because we will live in the presence of the Word, Jesus Christ, and there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4
There is Power in the Name of Jesus. He is the Breaker of Every Chain!
Hallelujah! All glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving to God, the Father of lights. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
OUR WORDS ARE ALIVE
Faithful and humble servant of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.