Monday, February 24, 2014

Favorite Scripture

Friends of Faith:
Over the past 2-3 months I have had several requests to be a part of a scripture chain. Because of my promise never to bombard you with “additional” email I have resisted even this particular forward.

However, I thought many of you might like to know what IS my favorite scripture and why, so here it goes….addressed not only to my faithful friends, but also to your friends who included you within their chain.
My favorite: 1 Cor 13: 4-8, 13 combined with Mt 5: 44 emphasized and in their entirety below.
“ If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. “ 1 Cor 13

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5:40-48
I could probably add: “pray unceasingly” and “with God all things are possible” to my regular favorites, but I specifically choose the verses above for the following reasons.

My belief is that God truly desires us to be one in faith and one in love—to share “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” And if everyone would put these two scriptures into everyday practice, beginning with our spouse and those whose lives are influenced and affected by our decisions, then our marriages, our households and our world would be unified in faith, hope and charity—in LOVE and in peace.
Particularly if we would seek NOT our own interests or to brood over injury – if we were less selfish, and if we forgave more readily—taking responsibility instead of placing blame and forgiving AND forgetting instead of seeking revenge. If we would give God control of our lives and if we would pray to let him change us, instead of praying for him to change others.

I think it was Fr Larry Richards who in one of his presentations suggested that if we added our name in the place of the word “love”in Corinithians we would all have a lot of “work” to do, ie: Charlotte is patient, Charlotte is kind, Charlotte is not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude. Charlotte does not seek her own self interests… you get the picture.
Many days I can’t get even beyond the first three words, “Charlotte is patient,” especially this time of the year as I sit on hold waiting for an answering machine to reach a live person who has the capability to find an answer or fix a problem.

When I add the “love not just those who love me back” verse from the famous Sermon on the Mount verses I am then reminded that LOVE is a CHOICE—not a feeling.
Not a warm fuzzy choice like loving my grandchildren, but the work it takes in a marriage, so that instead of brooding over small irritants which might become a shield of self-righteous blame and a miscommunication which might become revengeful silence, it is God’s call for me to be more—to CHOOSE his way, to choose to love, to bring kindness, patience, forgiveness, and service into that marriage, day in and day out.

And as God allows me to practice those verses with “easy love”—like grandchildren and the care of friends who offer their help in times of need, I am reminded that I am called by Mt 5 not to just “love” when it is easy, but I am called to love with sacrificial heartfelt mercy e as Christ did. I am called to follow his example on the cross, to follow the modern lives of families like the Amish and Ed Thomas’ who publicly and intentionally forgave murder, evil, hatred and the wrong choice of another.
Heavenly Father, Your mercy and love are unconditional. Help me to find and seek Your goodness by choosing and working to love, not just when it is easy, but in every decision, and to every person, those decisions affect. Thank you for all those you have placed in my life who offer me glimpses of Your unfailing love and forgiveness. Amen.

Feel free to share your own favorite verse and your reason why. I would love to put them together and share them forward.
May we all share love, and be an instrument of peace to one another,

In the love of Christ, may You be blessed and fulfilled,

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