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Faith, Hope, and Love Abide

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a city of many faiths: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Orthodoxy. This creates an interesting environment to live and work. As part of a Jesus-centered community, people who believe differently frequently wonder about us. Some have remarked,

You are from different parts of the United States, yet there is a spirit that unites your group. You seem to really love each other.”

An authentic display of God’s love is attractive to the world.

Love the greatest

The virtues of faith, hope, and love embrace life in the Spirit and the return of Christ. In some ways faith and hope give more attention to the individual while love addresses the wider community. People are saved by faith and hope but the kingdom of God depends on love. Love unites.

Faith

Believers have faith in God and trust Him to forgive and accept them through Christ. They cannot visibly see Him yet trust in His goodness and grace.

In eternity the trust in God that began in this life continues. Faith becomes sight.

Hope

Believers also have hope for a future guaranteed through Jesus. By His resurrection they are future-oriented people. They know the present is on its way out. They are on a journey to a place in the presence of God, seeing Him face to face.

In eternity hope becomes realized.

Love

Love is the greatest because love unites believers with God.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins…We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:10,19)

Through God’s love followers of Jesus are able to love one another. By loving one another they display God’s love to the world.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

In eternity love becomes fully actualized.

The challenge

Have great faith in God, profound hope in the future, and a deep love for Jesus and the church. May the love you show others reflect Christ to the world!

In what ways can you grow your faith, hope, and love? Share your comments below.

Blessed to be a Blessing

The role of God’s children

A common thread throughout the Bible is God’s people being blessed to be a blessing. The covenant with Abraham was, “And I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) God intended Abraham’s descendants to bless the nations.

Blessed

The Blessing of Family

The call

Psalm 67:1 reads,

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us – that Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.”

Not only have God’s people been blessed to be a blessing, but they are blessed as they respond to His divine purpose for their lives.

Faith, Hope, and Love

Shellie and I have found this to be especially true in our lives.  We have seen tremendous blessings according to the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.

Encountering hardships

As Shellie and I attempt to bless others we are blessed. We have experienced a tremendous growth in faith.  When living in Sudan we faced numerous challenges. We encountered daily hardships in an oppressive society, was confined for a day at a police station following a car accident, rebels from Darfur fought government troops across the Nile River from our home, experienced demonstrations in Kenya, and vacated Madagascar during a government overthrow while visiting friends to relieve stress. When we returned to the States we were exhausted.

The blessing of faith

In the States we gave extra time to reading the Bible, praying and singing songs of worship. We began to realize our hardships had developed a profound faith in an omniscient God.  We better understood James 1:2-3, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Adversity is uncomfortable but is a blessing when viewed from a right perspective. Faith is the greatest of all blessings. The next two blessings grow out of the blessing of faith.

The blessing of hope

When Shellie and I decided to pursue overseas work we were public school teachers in the Chicago area. One reason for not serving in the Middle East was college loans.  Seeking to pursue God’s heart for the nations, we made applications for international work. We put our house on the market. In six days we had a contract on the place. Twenty-five days later the sale was complete.  The education loans were paid and we were able to fulfill our desire to work overseas.

Returning from Sudan our family went for a dental check-up. The bill came to $786.  Four months later we received a gift in the amount of $790.  A pastor friend says our walk with the Lord should be constantly amazing but never surprising. We were amazed the check had been sent but not surprised because of our great God.

The blessing of love

After a few years of marriage, we learned medical intervention was needed to have children.  After a prolonged period and miscarriage Shellie became pregnant with Nathaniel. His name means “gift of God.”

While living in Sudan Shellie used fertility medicine once again but to no avail. We decided to simply trust God. Within six months she was pregnant with Haley. Her name means “unexpected gift”.

A month ago we welcomed the latest addition to the family, Lucas. His name means “bringer of light.” In six years we have been blessed with children and, most of all, with the light of an unfolding faith journey. What doctors thought impossible without medicine, God made possible.

The challenge

God desires to bless you while being a blessing to the nations. Participate in what God is doing by praying, giving, and even going.

Listen to my podcast message “Blessed to be a Blessing.” The podcast shares how my family has been blessed as we have desired to be a blessing.

In what ways can you intentionally bless others? Share your comments below.