Archive for March, 2015

Psalm Saturday, 9

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.  When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.  For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.  Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetualend: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.  But the LORD shall endure forever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.  And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.  The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 9:1-10

This Psalm, like many others, is all about the Lord.  It shows Him as the ruler of everything, ready to judge the people who reject Him and ready to Him the people who love Him.  Hopefully, in looking at this Psalm for the next several Saturdays, we will begin to get a sense of the power and glory of God.  And, hopefully, that will make us want to serve Him more and love Him more.

Charity, Pt. 10

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not: charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

In this passage on charity, we are looking at each of the characteristics of charity.  We saw in the first few verses of this chapter that, without charity, our lives are nothing.  We obviously don’t want that, so we need to know what charity is and how to use it.  Today, we come to the fact that charity “… vaunteth not itself.”

The word “vaunteth” is an old word that means “excessive boasting” or just plain old pride.  Charity doesn’t boast about itself.  Charity doesn’t go around talking about how great it is. Now, we know that charity is indeed a great thing.  But it doesn’t go around telling everyone how great it is.  We saw in the first verses of this chapter that without charity, our lives are nothing.  But even that doesn’t make charity boast about how great it is.

Pride has been referred to as “the original sin” or “the first sin.”  And, it is what caused Satan to rebel against the Lord God in Heaven.  Pride is what brought sin into the world.  Pride is what caused the downfall of mankind and pride is often what causes the downfall of men and women even today.  There is no room for pride in the life of a Christian.  And, here, pride has no place with charity – the Christ-like love that is supposed to define us as Christians.

How are we doing today?  Do we have true charity?  Do we try to stamp out pride in our lives?

Charity, Pt. 9

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not: charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

In our look at charity and its characteristics in this passage, we have come to the fact that charity “envieth not.”  Charity is not envious.  That sounds and seems obvious, but it is usually a rather difficult proposition for us.

Envy is a difficult thing.  It is very, very easy to get envious.  We see other people having things that we want to have, doing things that we want to do, and even being things that we want to be and we become envious.  It usually starts small.  It starts with simply being a little jealous of something someone has or does.  We just start thinking “wow – I wish I could have or do that!”  But then it quickly grows.  It soon becomes “why do they get to have or do that?”  From there, we soon find ourselves thinking “it’s not fair that they get to have or do that and I can’t.”  Once we reach that point, it is easy to begin to be consumed by our envy.  We can even start to become bitter toward the person we are envying, bitter toward life in general and even bitter toward God for not giving us the thing that we want.

Envy, once it takes root, can quickly take over our lives.  But charity is not envious.  Charity is a Christ-like love that is happy for others and that puts the joy of others above its own joy.  Where are we at today?  Do we truly have charity, or are we seeing the seeds of envy springing up in our lives?

Charity, Pt. 8

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not: charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

In this passage on charity, we have come to the list of things that characterize charity.  It is always helpful to have a list of things that we should strive to be and this is a good list.  We looked at the fact that charity “suffereth long” yesterday.  Today, we will continue down the list with the fact that charity “is kind.”

There is sometimes not enough emphasis given in our society to simple kindness.  Just being kind to people is almost a lost art.  We often think that we have to “defend ourselves.”  We often think that we have to “look out for ourselves.”  We often think that we have to “stand up for things.”  While we do need to stand up for things, we don’t always have to argumentative.  We don’t always have to ready to fight and debate with people.  Sometimes we just need to be nice to people.

When someone is not nice to us, it is usually our first reaction to snap back at them.  But we don’t know what is going on in their lives or minds.  The person who ignores us might be wrestling with some major decision.  The person who snaps at us at work might be carrying some burden that we could never even imagine.  We don’t know what is going on in the lives and minds of others.  We need to have kindness.  We need to simply be nice to people.  We never know what a simple act of kindness will do for someone.  Kindness is part of charity.  Do we have it?  Are we kind to others?

Charity, Pt. 7

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not: charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

The first three verses of this chapter tell us just how important it is to have charity in our lives.  Without charity, nothing else matters and nothing else will do us any good.  The next four verses give us a picture of what charity really looks like.  They show us what charity is and what is should be in our lives.

Verse 4 tells us that “charity suffereth long.”  True, Christ-like love is longsuffering.  I think that, often, when we see the word “longsuffering” in the Bible, we immediately think “patient.”  And I think that, obviously, there is a great element of patience involved in longsuffering.  But “suffering long” goes far beyond patient.  It literally means to suffer and to suffer for a long time.

We don’t like suffering.  None of us like suffering.  Suffering, by it’s very definition, is bad.  But, as Christians who walk in the steps of Christ, we are likely going to be called on to suffer for Him at some point.  But charity is ready to suffer.  Charity is ready to suffer for a long time.

Jesus is the perfect example of charity.  He suffered more than any man has ever suffered.  And He did it for us.  He suffered long for us.  Whatever small suffering we may be called on to handle is nothing compared what He suffered.  True, Christ-like love is going to be longsuffering.  Are we longsuffering?  Do we have charity in our hearts today?

Charity, Pt. 6

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

In our series on this passage about the importance of having charity, we have come to this part: “…and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”  Every man loves himself.   The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:29, “For no man every yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it…”  We all cherish our own flesh.  We all do our best to provide for the comfort and enjoyment of our flesh.  The ultimate sacrifice that we can make is to give up our own bodies for the cause of Christ.  There are many men and women who, through the centuries, have made that sacrifice.  There are many through history who have been martyrs for the cause of Christ.

But even this ultimate sacrifice profits us nothing if we do not have charity.  Even if we give up our lives, we must have the right heart.  We absolutely must have charity.  We need to have that Christ-like love in our hearts.

Man cares about the outward things.  Many is concerned with the things that we are doing.  The Lord is concerned about our hearts.  We need to also be concerned about our hearts.  Where are they today?  Do we truly have the charity in our hearts that we need to have?  Or are we simply going through the motions?