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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Not A Simple Story

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Life seems straightforward in the laws of the Old Testament. Obey God and get blessed. Disobey Him and expect trouble. IT's a satisfying theology. But is it that simple?


King Asa's story seems to fit the pattern. He led his people away from false gods and his kingdom thrived (2 Chronicles 15:1-19). Then late in his reign, he depended on himself instead of God (2 Chronicles 16:2-7) and the rest of his life was marked by war and illness (verse 12).


It's easy to look at that story and draw a simple conclusion. Bu when the prophet Hanani warned Asa, he said that God will "strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). Why do our hearts need strengthening? Because doing the right thing may require courage and perseverance.


Job got the starring role in a cosmic tragedy. His crime? "He [was] blameless and upright" (Job 1:8). Joseph, falsely accused of attempted rape, languished in prison for years-to sere God's good purposes (Genesis 39:19041:1). And Jeremiah was beaten and put in stocks (Jeremiah 20:2). What was the prophet's offense? Telling the truth to rebellious people (Jeremiah 26:15).


Life is not simple, and God;s way are not our ways. Making the right decision may come at a cost. But in God's eternal plan, His blessing arrive in due time.

-Tim Gustafson

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