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Remember Corinthians 13: Love is patient, love is kind

These three things will last forever — faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

My favorite number has always been 13. My birthday is on a 13th. Our sons, as young ball players, always chose 13 as the number on their uniforms, because it was mom’s number. I have a granddaughter whose birthdate is also on the 13. Thirteen has always been good to me — kind of my statement to the world that I go against the odds (Friday the 13th being unlucky). As I discovered that the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, contained such richness to live by, I was ecstatic! And of course, verse 13, my verse of the day, kind of says it all!

In case you aren’t familiar with the Love chapter, let’s look at it. Oh, I almost hear my own children quoting it now. We memorized it during our homeschool years. It says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Vs. 4-8

That’s a pretty tall order, is it not? How is it possible? I can testify that in the flesh, apart from Jesus, it is not possible! It is only in the power of the Holy Spirit that we’re able to achieve this. The problem often is that before we connect with Him, we connect that blow to another that wounds, or we’re dealt the devastating blow from a loved one. It deeply hurts, and so, with not so much as a blink, we retaliate out of self defense. We long to be heard, to be loved, to be accepted. Friend, only the love of Jesus is perfect in every way, every time. Only His love heals our brokenness.

May I ask you, when was the last time you felt loved this way? Never? Seldom? A few times? Isn’t it the cry of every heart to be loved, to feel loved unconditionally? Try as we will, we’ll never find that perfect love here on earth from any one person. We are frail. We are broken. We hurt, so we hurt each other. It can easily turn into a vicious cycle of “You hurt me, so I’ll hurt you.” We don’t want it that way, but seem helpless to stop it. We so often destroy precious relationships because of our insecurities and our fears, which only leads to more hurt and isolation. All the while, we are Christians, little Christ followers, who have lost our way. There IS a better way.

In recent months, our world has been turned upside down and inside out. Right is wrong, up is down, left is right, and nothing is like the “good old days.” This evening, before you lay your head on your pillow, take some time to reflect on those good old days, won’t you? Remember the great family times, the days when life was much simpler, the things that once brought you joy. Dwell on these things and not the chaos that has become all to routine. Turn off the TV. Don’t watch that news that makes knots in your stomach. You go to bed thinking about that and wake up with a headache; rung out from a restless, anxious night of sleeplessness. There’s a much better way! The Bible tells us to think about things that are pure, lovely and of good rapport. The news is NOT of good rapport. Focus instead on love.

A memory keeps surfacing in my own mind recently. I well remember a time when my dear husband and our sons were preparing to leave for a trip to Colorado to hunt. Our children were small and all at home yet. I insisted that we get in a circle and hold hands and pray for them before they left. It was a sacred, tender time for my mama heart. I needed to know that my heavenly Father would be watching over my family. I walked away from that tender family time feeling very loved by my family and by the Lord. Time and time again, that comes to mind at a time when I’m feeling so unloved and unappreciated. THIS is that love that only the Lord gives. Unconditional loves heals the broken heart like nothing else can … the love of our Father, extended to us through our loved ones. It’s precious!

This Saturday, I have the privilege of baptizing a 13 year old granddaughter. I’m overjoyed! It’s especially dear to me because she made this decision on her own and came asking for baptism. That was brave of her. It’s a bold step of faith that brings me such joy. These kind of things, think on them. See if the peace of God doesn’t guard your heart so that instead of retaliation toward that loved one who wounded you, you are so full of the love of Jesus that you respond with HIS love.

In our very bogged down world with so much negativity, lets choose to focus on the good all around us. Faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is LOVE! Sleep like a baby tonight, friends. You are so loved!

Lord, help us put everything in it’s place. You are first, and when You are, all else looks better. Help us give out the same unconditional love that You give us, so that some hurting soul will find healing for their broken heart today. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Debby Renninger is a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. She holds a Bible study in her home in McVeytown, where seeking women are always welcome. She may be reached at (717) 250-7086 for speaking engagements.

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