Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God's Best Treasure

What if God is working most pointedly with us every day so that we will recognize Him as greatest treasure? Not to correct us, not to direct us, not to answer our questions or even to guide our path. What if God’s best treasure is the one you discover Him to be?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crazy In The Head

Today's sermon:

“Crazy In The Head” – Since God has made me a genuine new creation and given me a new heart, I don’t need to get the Word from my head to my heart, but from my heart to my head.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Loves Extremes

God’s love is made complete when we know it and then can’t help but express it to others. I think it's His most-fun work—revealing and lavishing His love upon us, knowing it’s on the way somewhere else.  What a view He must have!  If you’re not much the loving sort just now, get some of His for you.  That’ll take care of things because that’s how love works.  (1 John 4:11-12; 16-21; 2 Corinthians 5:13-15)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” -- The accuser, critical people and the judgmental scales of this world continually call us to the courtroom, there to be prosecuted. But we know the trial is over, the sentence carried out, and we’ve gone free, rich and famous.

Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Into Grace

A common reason that many of us do not receive grace and life and love from God is that we’ve accepted shame in relation to failure and sin, and gone into hiding from the Sin Bearer himself. Hiding, especially from him, is no way to live.

It is unbiblical for us to believe that after we fail we have “fallen away from grace.” In fact, it is accurate to believe that we have fallen INTO grace—even super-abundant grace. That’s when the reign of grace from Jesus is most obvious. That’s when we know him as ongoing Savior and lover—the one who shepherds us out of hiding and into freedom. At least, that’s how it is for me. Even today.

Romans 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

True Love

“Christians waging secret war against the flesh have no chance of winning—and they hate themselves for it. However, Christians with trusted friends around them, who know and share in the battle to live by the Spirit while hounded by the flesh, will grow together as the body of Christ, with gifts and grace abounding. . .We’ll be like children! In this kind of community, there will be joy and laughter and stumbling and playfulness and support and worship and awe. And love! Loads and loads of love, both poured out and drunk in. In my opinion, a community that receives love is church.”

Today's Sermon

Today’s sermon:
“Butts, Beaks, Boobs and Brains” – The pieces of Christ’s body stick out awkwardly—even to themselves—unless they recognize designed dependence and beauty in the perfect whole.  
1 Corinthians 12:25-27 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.  (The Message) 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“Finders, Keepers / Losers, Weepers” – What a person does with joy after discovering that Jesus found all of her sin and kept it as his own.

Galatians 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Today's Sermon

“Keeping Short Accounts With God” – Regularly talking with God about your struggles and failures so that, as The Great Accountant, He can remind you that your account was closed, and a new one opened in your name that will never perish, spoil or fade.

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Your Life As A Door

Where is God? If you think of God as where He is right now—all happy and comfortable in you—then the following verses take on brilliant and practical meaning:

Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God (And where is He?), as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Parentheses mine.)

We offer ourselves to God, who lives inside of us now. We don’t necessarily offer ourselves to God who is “out there,” but to Him who is “in here.” When we receive Christ, we are where His kingdom is. We become His vessels, His containers. Think of your soul as a door for God to open and to greet and grace the world around you, and you’ve pretty much got it. This is how He now employs the parts of our body for His righteousness.

And the greatest grace I know is that He pours Himself out through me and through you. This is amazing, don’t you think? Only God could come up with something like this. We share in His glory, we get the joy, and He gets the display. “Hello, world,” is what Jesus says through you and through me, “I’ve got something for you.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today’s sermon:

“A Snail’s Pace Peace” – After fervent prayer, loud singing, hand clapping, binding and loosing, agreeing with others, enlisting a sizable prayer army, and doing everything you can to motivate and hurry-up God, He still seems unmoved and at peace, and has the audacity to invite you to the same.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Trash Man

God’s care for you and me doesn’t come only when we're doing well and loving life, but when we're doing poorly and full of garbage. Sin, failures and fears often whisper to us that we’ve got to stop them—stop them right now!—but they never suggest we immediately offer ourselves to God who can do something about them. And sin, failures and fears never bring up Jesus’ ability concerning struggles and temptations, either. He faced every struggle and temptation we’ve had or will ever face, and disposed of them. All of them.

And where is Jesus today? In you. In me. And in my wife and daughters. You’re not full of garbage—God lives in you! But sometimes you’ll feel like you are. Don’t believe it; it’s a lie directed at the glory of God.

That’s why one of my family's pet names for God is "The Trash Man." When we know that one of us is beleaguered we might say something like, “Wonder what the Trash Man might do for you?” or, “The Trash Man is really good at taking the trash out of you. Have you given Him a call?” Immediately we know what’s meant: God is good and amazing in the middle of sin, failures and fears, struggle and temptation. He’s good with us, and He’s always about freedom and purity—He’s a sanitation expert. He knows how to make and keep the majesty of His Bride.

You’ll never be an offense to Him. He cares for you, in anything and everything. Talk with Him and call upon Him when the trash is threatening. His care for you will be evident, and you’ll learn to more quickly welcome Mr. Trash Man.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grace Is The Best Teacher

My daughters—beautiful, silly, wonderful and creative—sometimes struggle terribly. But there’s something we remember together that helps a lot.

Through every difficulty, failure, or triumph that my daughters experience, they are still in Christ and have everything they need because of it. My wife, Sarah, and I work to keep that foremost in our thinking and approach. We work to keep that secure foundation in our girls’ thinking as well. And we’re careful not to send them any confusing, false message that tells them they don’t already have everything in Christ—they do! We want to be so positive about God’s grace to us that earning God’s favor and blessing remains something Jesus already did for them, and not something they have to do for themselves. No matter how difficult things get, their inheritance and life with God is never threatened. They can always count upon that. And they do.

Some people will say we’re giving them a license to abuse the grace of God. We believe we’re holding them to His grace and keeping them in awe because of it. We’ll take the risk.

Consider Paul’s thoughts on this subject:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

What is it that teaches my daughters best? The grace of God. God’s grace is not only the condition in which we stand with Him but also the power by which He works in us. Knowing God and how well off they are with Him through Christ works and teaches my girls to say “No” far better than any list I could come up with and drill into them.

(Excerpted from my book, “God’s Astounding Opinion of You,” chapter 12: “Aliens Have Landed—The Proper Care and Feeding of the Everyday Foreigners in Your Family.”)

Friday, October 12, 2012

One Day Is Here

Religion entraps people by suggesting and encouraging “one day.”

“One day you’ll be holy.” “One day you’ll have it together.” “One day you’ll be closer to God.” “One day He will bless you.” “One day you will be fully surrendered and committed to God.” “One day you will become what God wants you to be.”

Do you see the trap? It suggests you’re not holy, which means Jesus didn’t make you that way after all. (You’re still dirty and sinful, even though He thinks you aren’t.) It motivates you to work and focus on becoming better, because Jesus didn’t make you complete in Himself. (Oops. You’ve got work to do, even though He thinks you don’t.) It promotes the possibility of drawing closer to God, implying you’re not now. (Better figure out what’s standing between you and God, even though He thinks there’s nothing.) It induces you to keep striving in faithfulness because there’s a blessing He will give you that He hasn’t yet. (Keep tithing/praying/witnessing/being nice because the blessing train is coming, even though He thinks He has already arrived.) It suggests that you are still against God and stubbornly resistant, but if you try hard enough, you will eventually become real friends and get along. (And, living the surrendered life, you will finally be useful, even though He thinks you’re entirely compatible already.) It falsely encourages you that, while you are not now much of anything, “one day” you will finally give yourself a really good scrubbing and arrive. (God’s gift to you is life; your gift to God is what you make of it, even though He thinks His work in you is plenty already.)

The six statements at the beginning of this post (there are plenty more) suggest the lie that you don’t have everything God thinks you do and that you’re not actually right now in Christ, who earned it all, who provides it all, and who maintains it all—right now and forever for you. But you’re fantastically wealthy and secure because of Him, and believing it is how you live! Religion that entraps subtly encourages you to see yourself (and others, such as your kids) outside of Christ, with a whole lot of stuff to do so YOU can earn what He hasn’t, provide what He won’t, and maintain what He cannot. That is not the gospel. That is anti-Christ.

Fortunately, we’ve already received “the promised eternal inheritance” (Heb 9:15), and we’re becoming more and more convinced about God toward us and for us and in us, and we trust and glory in Him, “. . . who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Cor 1:30-31). Let’s help each other with the truth—big, heaping platefuls, served regularly and at all hours! That’s how we’re nourished and can resist the lies.

Because of Jesus, one day has arrived.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“A Heavenly Upgrade” – What Satan subtly and patiently suggests Christians got at new birth instead of an entirely new existence and an entirely new covenant.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Hebrews 8:6-7 “But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.”

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How To Encourage A Christian

The surest way to encourage a Christian is to tell him where he is, the condition he’s in, and all that he has. Christians are inside of Christ, and are a perfect and fully functioning part of Him, having everything He does because of where they are. They cannot fall from the place they were placed, they cannot change an eternal condition given to them, and they cannot lose the benefits they were not responsible for to begin with.

They are secure in Christ. While their worldly experience might be unpleasant now and pleasant later, ebb and flow, still they will never lose what they’ve been given because they will never be taken from where they are.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Heavenly Crossing Videos

I’ve got a few friends who’ve gone a little crazy and who need a good repentance.  You know some?  “Repentance” is a re-thinking that results from a recognition of the truth.  Frankly, I have little repentances or “awakenings” pretty regularly. 

Evidently, there are some Christians who go rather crazy concerning what they once believed and shared in—the riches of their inheritance in Christ.  If they go “crazy,” or are having a “crazy episode” that continues to their passing on, I believe they are still secure and rich in Christ (He did the securing and gift-giving anyway) and, therefore, have nothing to lose.  Sure, they’re crazy as they cross over from death to life. . .but after that they’re not.  What an awakening that will be. 

After I’ve crossed over myself, I’ll want to check out some “heavenly crossing” videos in heaven’s video vault(!) of crazy people I’ve known on this earth.  Wouldn’t that be great?  Imagine it:  crazy, hardened, earth-trapped skeptic the moment before death, and then instantly enlightened, stunned and radiant, heavenly member the next.  “Whoa!  My God!” they might say. 

I think I could watch a lot of those.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

Losing Your Head Or Keeping Your Heart

(This is very important and relevant, although lengthy. I hope you'll give this post a look.)

Let’s say you’re about to meet President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Whoa. What do you think? How do you feel? Got something you want to say? This is your chance.

But let’s back up and give it some context.

A foundational aspect of the New Covenant is that when we receive Jesus, He actually receives us — into Himself. The rest of our days are about getting used to our life in Him, not simply our life for Him. Our being brought into Jesus actually happened when He was on the cross—we were put into Him—and reached its culmination when He rose from the dead. We were in Him on resurrection day, brand new and perfect with God. (There are all kinds of references, but check out Romans 6:1-7; Ephesians 2:6-7. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. . .”)

So think of yourself in Christ just after His resurrection. How’s your condition? Do you have any worries with God? Do you have a sin problem? Are you the black sheep of the family? No. No. And no. In Him, you’re perfect, just as He wanted. Whoa.

That’s our context.

From your happy and secure position inside of the newly resurrected Christ (maybe you’re in His chest, close to His heart), let’s say Jesus wants to stretch His legs and take a walk into Jerusalem. Where are you? You’re in Him, so you’re going along with Him. Naturally, people come running to you (I mean to Jesus), startled and thrilled to see Him up and about. And what is it that you know? Well, what just happened? What did Jesus just do over the last few days? He took responsibility for everyone’s sins and treated Himself as though He had done them, and made everybody in great condition with God, reconciled and ready for Him. And no one is counting anybody’s sins anymore. (See 2 Corinthians 5:18-21) That’s what just happened, and you know it because you were included in the whole thing.

Knowing what you know and being where you are, how are you affected by seeing people running to you, there inside Jesus? How do they look to you, knowing what you know? Do you care for them? Do you have something to tell them? How does your heart feel toward them? You know EVERYTHING—the good news!—about God and them, and you’re motivated by that knowledge and true insight, right? As you rest in Christ, how can you not be?

Here’s how.

Suddenly you see faces that you recognize in the gathering crowd, people you know and have opinions about. From the left there’s Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and—Hey!—Bill Clinton, making their way toward you, smiles lighting their faces. Approaching from the right is Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and—Hey!—Sarah Palin, eyes wide with glee. They’re all delighted to see you, I mean to see Jesus (which is where you are), and it seems that nothing will keep them from getting to you.

And here’s your moment.

One of two things will happen. What you know will keep you secure in the truth and love of God for the crowd, and you will speak to them and treat them accordingly. That will be amazing. Or, what you know from a worldly standpoint will induce you to jump out of Jesus and speak to them and treat them according to the wisdom of this world. You and the crowd will both suffer. You choose.

From now through early November you and I will endure a withering and worldly barrage of information and opinion as to who should govern this country, the United States of America. You’ll likely be bothered. If you care one whit, you’re going to have to choose your position: not Democrat or Republican or Independent, but your position in this world. Either you’re in Christ and see and know and feel and speak and reap from there, or in your thinking you’ve jumped Jesus and you’re in this world, with knowledge and insight in keeping with it. In either case, you will be affected.

I don’t mean that you shouldn’t vote or care or have feelings for who and what party governs. I do! I am saying that if you’re in Christ, one view is natural to you now, and one is not. If you wonder why love is elusive, I believe it is because of the position and view you choose: in Christ and from that vantage point (you’ll see people from the very heart of God and relative to the cross and resurrection), or outside of Christ (you’ll see people as they appear and behave, apart from the heart of God and unrelated to the cross and resurrection).

Here’s what the apostle Paul had to say about the effect his position in Christ had upon him:

“God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Whoa! Paul was in the affection of Christ—it had Paul—and that came through him.) And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:8-11, parentheses mine.)

If, indeed, our true vantage point is from Christ, in Christ, then that must and will cause our love to abound more and more because of what we know and what we see from Him and what He did—for the crowd. However, if we choose the limited, twisted knowledge and shallow insight of this world as our own, our love will not abound, we will not know what is best and pure, and the passing away passions of this world will have supplanted the eternal grace of what Christ provides for us every day.

If you want love that abounds, then think of your incredible place in Christ—think of your view from there—and don’t jump Jesus. His heart is yours.

- Ralph

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. . .” 2 Corinthians 5:16

Today's Sermon

 Today's sermon:

“Going Gecko” – Although you’ve been entirely and beautifully reconciled to God—you’re completely safe—still you decide to hide your fleshly wacko stuff because you know you’re not safe around other Christians, who don’t recognize the miracle.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Get This Book

After reading an advanced copy of Paul Ellis’ book (which has just been published!), here’s what I wrote of it:

“If your walk with God has become a laboring crawl, then Paul’s book, 'The Gospel In Ten Words,' is exactly what you need. Each chapter is an exhilarating view of the gospel of Jesus—I’m not kidding—and the reader is amazed at what is found. In the same way a weary and struggling hiker is dazzled by a sudden meadow opening before him, we find that the struggle is over and all that is left is to marvel and breath. That’s the unending view Paul Ellis offers—the stunning good news God intends for us all. This is the book I’d choose for anyone considering a journey with God, whether it’s the beginning or a going on.”

Check it out at:

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“Get It Right, Stupid” – What you won’t ever hear God say, since He’s taken care of both of those things already.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Our inner inclination is now to live as God's evidence of righteousness.

Fred Fickle Finds Faith

I’m no Ficklehead. Are you?

From my early days as a Christian, I have heard some people speak or teach in a manner that indicated a Christian could lose his salvation. For a time, I was fairly plagued by the fear that I might, in a fit of rage or covetousness or stupidity or lust or laziness, lose my heavenly place. Only later, after reading the whole New Covenant (there’s a novel idea), did I realize that God is in charge of our salvation, not us, from beginning to end. You and I are secure, not because we are security experts, but because God is. It was God who chose us before the foundation of the earth. (See Ephesians 1:4) Aren’t you a little bit glad about that?

And then there are several little biblical words with which God paints for us the vivid picture of what He thinks He has done for us, and where He thinks we are right now—He put us into Christ. Think about that. Because God wanted His life and security to be ours, as well, He co-crucified us with Christ (Galatians 2:20), co-buried us with Him (Romans 6:4), co-raised us with Him (Ephesians 2:6), and co-seated us with Him in the heavens (Ephesians 2:6). We’ve been put into union with Christ! (See Romans 6:5.) We’re enjoying God’s re-location plan right now. Frankly, we’re in rather good shape. That’s what God thinks.

If then we’re going to trust God and what He thinks He’s done, we’re going to relax about our supposed ability to lose the security we didn’t earn in the first place. We’re in! We’re in Him. God saw to it.

But, just for fun, let’s play out the “You-can-lose-your-salvation” game. Fred Fickle, affectionately known as “Ficklehead” by his buddies, gets saved one Sunday morning, but decides to reject Jesus by Monday. Tuesday dawns bright and cheerful, so Ficklehead let’s Jesus back in. Alas, Fred has a lousy morning at work, and dumps a seemingly useless Christ over lunch. By the following Sunday, Fred has accepted and rejected the Savior twenty eight times. That means Ficklehead, over and over again, has been un-co-seated, un-co-raised, un-co-buried, un-co-crucified, and had his "union" card taken away some twenty eight times. That's a lot of work. But then when Fred gets saved all over again, he would be co-crucified with Christ, co-buried, co-raised, and on and on it goes. Isn't that fun? I wonder if the on-looking angels in heaven would lack a little celebratory zest after awhile. Like maybe they don’t throw confetti anymore or shoot off as many party poppers. Hopefully, Ficklehead times it just right and dies in security before he can reverse the process and disappoint the angels all over again. (I wonder what kind of greeting Fred would get in heaven? Maybe instead of getting the new name promised to him, “Ficklehead” would continue to be his nickname. I don’t know.)

Anyway, these are some of my thoughts this morning as I enjoy Jesus, who is just now lavishing me with love. And security.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“Silence Is Golden” – After telling God how bad you are, it’s great to not hear Him agree since He’s already said all that needs to be said about your bad self. (Hebrews 10:11-18)

P.S. If all you hear is silence all the time, change the subject.

“Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this: This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; This time “I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.” He concludes, I’ll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins. Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them. (Hebrews 10:11-18, MSG)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“You’ve Got A Great Body” – How to accept and enjoy the perfect curves, straight lines, muscle, and necessary fat of the body of Christ.

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:4-5

"This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 3:6

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27

Monday, October 01, 2012

Today's Sermon

Today's sermon:

“What’s Love Got To Do With It?” – How to grow in strong faith so you don’t have to bother with messy love.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

(1 Corinthians 13:1-13)