“And now abide faith, hope, love—these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I Corinthians 13:13

When it’s there, we’ll know it—and once we’ve tasted it, we’ll want more.

Love.  True Love.  A God-type Love.

That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in today’s Manna.  His use of the unique noun “agape,” which is translated “charity” in the King James, reveals its superiority to other types of fleshly love like “eros,” which is “physical or sensual/erotic love,” and “phileo,” which is “brotherly or fraternal love.”

And, that’s why it’s superior to two other beautiful Christian qualities:  Faith and hope.

Now, faith is a marvelous thing and it’s impossible to be born again without it (Eph. 2:8-9).  Likewise, we must possess it to be pleasing unto God (Heb. 11:6).  And, when exercised properly, it is our vital, spiritual link that enables us to move mountains (Mt. 17:20).

Likewise, hope is that inward force that’s rooted in Jesus’ Resurrection and serves as a “sure and steadfast Anchor of our souls” (Heb. 6:17-20).  Without it, we live as one in darkness where God seems absent or uncaring (Eph. 2:12).  So, it goes without saying that true Hope in Christ is what enables us to keep on going when it’d be easy to give up or live in despair.

But, praise the Lord, God’s Love is the “Gift that keeps on giving.”  From the womb to the tomb (and beyond), His Love continues to reach down to us (Ps. 139), transforming us from the inside out.  And, when experienced and extended to others, it transforms the watery ambitions of our hearts into the true wine of authentic life, community and fellowship.

Paul’s examination of it in vv.1-12 is one of the most beautiful exposes ever done.  We’d do well to commit it to heart or to at least feast upon it each day before heading out the door.   So often the greatest problems we encounter are not attacks from the evil one; they’re the dearth of Christ’s Love in our relationships with others.  That’s why we sound more like “sounding brass (a loud horn) or clanging cymbals” (v.1) than we do an angelic harp.

When Christ’s Love is in operation in us, our family, business, church, etc., its fragrance fills the room much as the anointing, holy oil’s aroma filled the room that day when Aaron was ordained the first High Priest (Ps. 133:1-3).  Like the heavy dews on Mt. Hermon, which coated everything on those two 9,000’+ peaks of that 20-mile long mountain range east of the Jordan River, so does the Holy Spirit descend in power when His Love is present.

Why not spend a few minutes right now slowly reading over the entire chapter of I Cor. 13?  Read these precious words aloud. . .pausing to quietly reflect on the implications of each verse… asking the Lord to show you any areas in your life where you’re lacking in His Love. . .and then recommit yourself to be the most loving Christ-conduit you can be.

And, remember:  The reason Love is “the greatest of these” is because there’ll be no need for Faith and Hope in Heaven (II Cor. 4:16-5:8).  We’ll have no need of them because we’re with the One Whom we came to know by faith and longed to see (I Pet. 1:8-9).  But, Love will still be there and we’ll have all eternity to enjoy it/Him.  Won’t that be wonderful?  Glory!!

By Tom Smith Morning Manna dated June 27

451876: Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect  He Desperately Needs Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs / Thomas Nelson

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs, is based on the biblical passage from Ephesians 5:33 (But every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands – GODS WORD® translation). His premise is that communication between a husband and wife is often frustrated because of the vastly different ways in which men and women perceive love. Women are wired to need unconditional love and men need to feel unconditionally respected. Revitalize the love in your marriage! A Focus on the Family Recommendation; hardcover.

73156: The Five Love Languages The Five Love Languages

By Gary Chapman / Moody Publishers

Dr. Gary Chapman, Christian marriage counselor and author of The Five Love Languages, helps married couples deal with their unmet needs for love. Because a husband and wife often have different communication styles, it is common for a spouse to not feel or recognize the love given to them. In his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman identifies and explains five unique communication methods – Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Then he encourages couples to learn how to speak love in their spouse’s primary love language, not their own. Love is something you do for someone else, not yourself. Begin today. Includes a study guide; paperback.

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