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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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His Perfect Purpose

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Oh, the joy that can dwell in the lives of the saints when our understanding of the work of God in us is clearly seen in His Word. The learning of the greatest lessons come the hardest and the latest, all due to instruction in patience, from which of the Lord’s provisions His Spirit uses to “conform” believers the most in bringing forth the most pleasant of His fruit that manifests the strength of faith—joy!


“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete (mature), lacking nothing” (Jam 1:2-4). Every difficult occurrence in the lives Christians, along with those deemed self-incurred, has already been arranged to result to our advantage, and it is the one whose joy has been learned in the forging of the trials of hardness (mine thus far losing four immediate family members within a 15 year period) who’s understanding of God’s intents will “shine” (Mat 5:16) the brightest light on the path of the lost to Him!





His Perfect Purpose


If our hearts were in happy fellowship with the Father, and in cooperation with His wondrous ways and arrangements, which are all for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we could not refuse or dissent from His calling on us for our quota to the great circle of His purpose, in which we should feel ourselves included.


If we are really and heartily interested in His purpose and ways, and carefully entering in them, and devoted to them, when we found that He considered it necessary that Lazarus, or even one much dearer to us, should sleep, we should, though unable to see why we are so heavily taxed, bow our heads and submit to any call on us, because reckoning on the wisdom of His will and counsel (Eph 1:11), and knowing that He is making “all things work together,” are not only “for good” to us, but for His glory.


I must get to this high level, or I never can comprehend or become resigned to the varied discipline by which our Father is carrying out His own purpose, while severing us from the “old man,” practically setting the flesh aside, “that the life of the Lord Jesus may be made manifest in our body.”


It is an exercise to our faith, until we get able to rest in the assurance that His way (which involves all that He knows will occur within a believer’s life—NC) is perfect, and the only true and effectual way for subduing the particular kind of nature which each has. Faith in His ways is required before we have intelligence as to His ways.


I must believe in the skill of a physician before I can confidently submit to perhaps very painful remedies. But when I come to understand his object, and the necessity for those remedies, it is not only faith in his skill, but appropriation of his mode of treatment.


It is long with some of us before the appropriation comes; and it is plain that we should be miserable under the treatment, if we had not faith, or in other words, confidence in the skill. If you have this confidence, you can cheerfully submit, even though, like Job, you may not approve. But when you have real fellowship with His purpose, you will approve; it will be grateful to your heart to bow, and you will find that what your Father considers the right thing can be nothing else than the best for you. “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).


- J B Stoney



Miles J Stanford devotional: http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/

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