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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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NetChaplain

Heavenly Habitation

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As to this earth being “in mourning” (Rom 8:22), that is just what it ought to appear to us. But we ought to come into it all brightness from the scene of light and life! We ought really to expect nothing bright in this scene where we remember the Lord in His death, and yet we are all brightness and joy, because we do not belong to the earth and all our expectations are outside it.

 

If I walk faithfully here, it is a desert where nothing contributes to me, and I must refuse everything in it. I am set here as Christ’s witness to draw all my supplies from elsewhere. The harbor, where the supplies come in, is the only cheering spot in this dry and barren land where no water is. I must seek and receive everything from outside this desert island.

 

The OT saint sought and received favors in this scene (as also will the Kingdom saints). The mighty God fed him—the faithful one—with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock satisfied him. But now, in this dispensation, there is nothing here for the faithful one—his supplies are from above, and the power of Christ is to make him strong in weakness, so that a sense of weakness is actual gain! Thus he is looking to Christ above to realize His enablement in his circumstances and weakness, so that his enjoyment is not from this earth, but outside it with Him in heaven.

 

The OT saint had joy from God’s gifts to him—God’s power made things here contribute to him. But the Christian’s joy is in heaven and springs from what the Father has given him there. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). He demands nothing from this world, but in the enablement of the Spirit he contributes to it, of the grace that nourishes and comforts himself outside it (2Co 1:3, 4).

 

Not only are my blessings in heaven, but I need the Holy Spirit’s enablement to rise above the sense of my infirmity down here. For this world, instead of contributing to me, makes me feel my weakness and need, and that I must rise out of it to find and enjoy my blessings (present and eternal possessions in heaven—poster). The very infirmity which this evil age makes me conscious of make me draw upon the power of the One “who is my Life” (Col 3:4), as the One outside it, passed into the heavens. Hence I take pleasure in the very infirmity which is exposed here, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2Co 12:9).

 

It is a difficult lesson to accept the fact that nothing here (that which is only earthly related—poster) contributes to the life of Christ in you. In OT times the power of God made things down here contribute to His own and infirmities were removed. But now it is: “When I am weak, then am I strong.”

 

We are sometimes satisfied with His help down here, but He helps us in order that He may lift us up to where He is Himself. He was down here in our circumstances, He can and does help us through them, but He desires to have us in present company and fellowship with Himself outside them.

 

Because of my infirmity I require His grace and mercy where I am. He is able to help me for He was once here; but He is above everything now and He would have me to know where there are no winds and waves, and to presently enjoy Him there. May each of us answer to His love more and more as we apprehend by the Spirit what it is to be with Him where He is, and to” set our affections” there!

 

- J B Stoney

 

 

MJS devotional for Dec. 1:

 

Thorough and intelligent establishment in the principle of grace concerning one’s justification (re-birth) is the necessary footing for reliance upon the same principle for one’s sanctification (growth). Unless the former is well settled, the latter will be badly unsettled.

http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/

 

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