“True friends are those who came into your life, saw the most negative part of you, but are not ready to leave you, no matter how contagious you are to them” Michael Bassey Johnson
1 Corinthians 13:3-8New International Version (NIV)
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Forward Thinkers Paul is breaking it down to the church at Corinth which at the time was one of the most influential and powerful churches on the planet but they were getting caught up just like the modern day church in stuff that was not important to God. Forward Thinkers the church had become a place where people were acting high and mighty and putting other people down and placing people in spiritual bondage.
Forward Thinkers titles and rules had become more important than testimonies and righteousness and Paul challenged their behavior and declared to them without love you have nothing. Forward Thinkers somewhere along the way we have forgotten that the greatest role we can play in the Kingdom of God is servant and the best way to serve is to serve in love. Hate will have you only serving for self glory and personal recognition.
Forward Thinkers when you serve in love you can serve everybody but hate will have you playing favorites. Love trumps hate because God is love and God loves everybody where as hate desires to make people feel unlovable.
Paul is warning the church at Corinth and the church of today that no matter how much we do if we are not doing it in love we are wasting our time and God is not pleased with our grind.
Forward Thinkers let’s look at verse five and focus on the statement love does not keep records of wrong. Hate on the other hand keeps a long dirty laundry list of everything you’ve ever done because hate’s goal is to kill, steal, and destroy your peace of mind, your confidence, and your hope that things will get better.
Love never fails and love never quits on you. God is love and I’m so grateful God never quit on me. Love wants to set us free and hate wants to lock us up therefore we must continue to choose love.
Forward Thinkers no matter how many times I hear Anthony Brown’s song Worthy I get excited knowing God loves me and calls me worthy. Forward Thinkers look at these lyrics and reflect on God’s unconditional love for you: You thought I was worth saving, So you came in changed my life, You thought I was worth keeping so you cleaned me up inside, You thought I was to die for so you sacrificed your life, So I could be free, So I could be whole, So I could tell everyone I know.
Forward Thinkers I’m in a long running dialogue with some of my co-laborers in the ministry about giving up on this generation and putting more energy in the quote unquote good kids. But the way my faith is set-up I truly believe love trumps hate everyday all day and everyone is worth saving. Paul reminds the church that love never fails and he makes this statement while reinforcing all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Forward Thinkers I don’t believe anyone is ever too far gone to come back home again. Matter of fact, I believe there is proof among the Forward Thinking readers that love is patient and love is willing to reach way down to pick us back up again.
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Forward Thinkers what was there to like about Jacob in the bible? Jacob was an opportunist, a con artist, and a downright no good dude but, God still loved him and thought he was worth saving. Jacob’s story reminds believers that God is in the business of transforming our struggles into our successes for His purposes and His glory.
For those who don’t know Jacob’s story let me give you the short E.A. version: Jacob messed over his brother and stole his birthright, tricked and lied to his father to con him into blessing him instead of his brother, messed over his 1st wife and married her sister, and Jacob even ran game on his uncle/father in-law running off with half his wealth. Forward Thinkers even with a resume’ like this God still loved Jacob and the good news is that no matter what your past looks like God still loves you also.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Forward Thinkers at some point we have to be left alone with the Lord to deal with our junk because as long as we’re around others we feel a need to wear a mask, fake it, and pretend like we good. Jacob faces his past and wrestles with the spirit of the Lord refusing to let go because he was sick and tired of living foul.
Forward Thinkers I need you to focus on verse 27 where the Lord blessed Jacob and changed Jacob name to Israel. Jacob went from being ungodly to God calling him his chosen one. Forward Thinkers love trumps hate and the Children of Israel (Jacob) became God’s chosen people and God made a covenant with them to bless them forever.
Forward Thinkers love does not keep score and I’m so glad because we would have lost but love never fails so today you and I can win.
Forward Thinkers just like Jacob we have a past filled with regret, shame, and failure. Unfortunately, we can’t go back and change it so we must move forward in the hope that the Lord will turn our failures into good. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14 “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net