Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bert's Perspective

This week I’m starting a new feature: The last Friday of each month, my wonderful husband, Bert, will give a male’s perspective on some of the things we’ve been focusing on during the month.  And here's my husband:

Bert’s Perspective on 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)

(love) does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
  
In regard to this verse, what comes to my mind are these thoughts which I’m trying to live by:

• Just because we have been wronged by another person, our love for that person should be genuine/pure. Not forced out of obligation.

I’ve recently had an experience with a former colleague that will cost me over $7,000.00. But I know I’m required by God’s standards to love him in spite of it. A Christian brother counseled me to pray and stay connected to him because of some probable issues that may have caused him to renege on his commitments. I have to look at the fact that God has a plan for my life regardless of (and may include) these types of scenarios.

• Love resists threats to undermine it from outside forces such as: greed, selfishness, fear, and intimidation, etc.

I call these things outside forces because they distract me from the joy of loving others. When I get overwhelmed with these things, I try to remember to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ’s love for me.

• Love considers the other person first before self.

• Love is solid, consistent, unchanging. It doesn’t waver in spite of life’s little annoyances.

My love for Sheryl doesn’t become any less just because of something she does or says at the moment. True, I do get annoyed and angry sometimes, but those momentary incidents are not deal breakers for me. My love for her is far reaching and looks forward to the future with her.

Our responsibility as married men is to cultivate a greater love for our wives than when we were first married. We love not out of obligation, but out of a passionate desire to act on God’s will within our lives. Not that this comes easy for us, we just keep working at it.

Men, am I alone on this?

Keep up the good work, Sheryl. See you at home.
Bert B. Boldt, II

Friday, October 21, 2011

Love Rejoices When Truth Prevails

Part 9 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:6b (NASB)
(love) does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

1 Corinthians 13:6b (AMP)
[(love)] does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Beginning the discussion:

It was no secret.

The woman had been married five times. Adding to her scandalous reputation, the man she was now living with wasn’t her husband. Her neighbors avoided her, and frequently gossiped about her.

Regret and shame prevailed.

Then, Jesus entered into the woman’s life. And soon righteousness and truth prevailed instead.

As the Bible story continues, the same crowd who had previously condemned the woman’s way of life, later thanked her for telling them about Jesus. From one woman, who lived years in disgrace, suddenly arose a ministry that resulted in many lives being changed. (See John 4:7 – 42). And for once, she was viewed differently by others. And most likely, she saw herself in a different way, too.

As we memorize the second part of verse six and consider how to apply it to our lives, consider these questions: Can right and truth also prevail before there’s evidence of a changed life? Do we continue pointing our fingers and wagging our tongues until the person does something to deserve our support? If that’s the criteria, what must a person accomplish before we begin to pull for her or hope the best for him?

What if we encouraged righteous behavior among one another before a person spiraled downward? What if we prayed for the person who has taken steps in a wrong direction, or is caught up in bad behavior? What if we got involved as God leads? How might our churches, and communities benefit? 

What do you think?

• How do you think the woman in the story started her day the morning after she met Jesus?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love Does Not Rejoice in Unrighteousness

Part 8 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:6a (NASB)
(Love) does not rejoice in unrighteousness ...

1 Corinthians 13:6a (AMP)
([Love]) does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness ...

Beginning the discussion:

“I am here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused … I am announcing my resignation from Congress, so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and most important so that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused.”

Many have questioned if the U. S. Representative felt genuine remorse during his resignation speech following the scandal involving him texting lewd photos of himself to several women.

But there’s little doubt those same people did feel a host of emotions in the midst of this man’s political demise. Were any of these emotions feelings of compassion, or grace? Or were his opponents quietly celebrating the end of his career?

How many prayers from us, the viewing public, were offered for the healing and restoration of his marriage – or more importantly – his soul? It’s easy to justify not extending grace, especially when it comes to politics, or when the offensive person has committed a grievous offense. It’s tempting to take a little satisfaction in the demise of someone who’s hurt us, isn’t it?

But that is not how we are called to live.

As we continue to memorize and obey 1 Corinthians 13, this verse will be broken into two segments.

Here is the verse in its entirety:
1 Corinthians 13:6 (NASB)
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

1 Corinthians 13:6 (AMP)
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

What do you think?

• Have you faced a moral, spiritual, economic, or some other type of downfall? How were you treated?

• Do you know people who have brought shame upon themselves and their families? How can you respond to them in a Christ-like way?

• Is there anyone (even an “enemy”) you need to seek forgiveness from because of the way you responded to his or her time of shame?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Love is Not Touchy

Part 7 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:5c:

(love) is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.  (NASB)

it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to
it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  (Amplified)

Beginning the discussion:

I, Sheryl, take you, Bert, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, - Darling, I need to interrupt here and mention that I haven’t mastered 1 Corinthians 13 yet. So, maybe it would be more honest if I say it this way: I, Sheryl, take you, Bert, to be my husband if you do not insult me, hurt my feelings, or do anything that upsets me or makes me mad from this day forward until death do us part.

You would be glad to know that I didn’t actually reword my wedding vows. However, I’m positive Bert would have appreciated the heads up.

Did you notice the last line in the Amplified version: it pays no attention to a suffered wrong?

I’m thankful for God’s standards. As we add this to the list of virtues we’re memorizing from 1 Corinthians 13, we move into a higher level of maturity and true character building. Don’t you think? I mean, we’re not talking about pretending we didn’t notice a wrong done to us, but actually not even giving any attention to the mistreatment.

How do you think you’ll do with this one?

Since we are at the last section of verse five, let’s look at the verse in its entirety:

(love) Does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.  (NASB)

And in the Amplified:
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride);
it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.
Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or
its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or
fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to
it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

What do you think?

• How hard is it for you to take no account to a suffered wrong and extend immediate forgiveness – and even consider the person may not have intended to hurt or offend us?

• And how do we deal with our emotions while we’re practicing not to react to a suffered wrong?
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