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Showing Agape Love

A devotional by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 14th

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Chapter 13 1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have `the gift of' prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed `the poor', and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Love suffereth long, `and' is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Love never faileth: but whether `there be' prophecies, they shall be done away; whether `there be' tongues, they shall cease; whether `there be' knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. 13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Divine love empowers us to respond calmly to difficulties, demonstrate patience in seasons of waiting, and sacrifice without complaint. We offer God’s love when we can:

Forgive others. The son wasted his money in riotous living and discovered both the empty promises and destructive quality of sin. Upon the boy’s return, his father forgave him completely. Love made it possible to wipe away the past (Ps. 103:12).

Act generously. The son, having just fed pigs, arrived at his father’s estate with few expectations. The forgiving dad greeted him most warmly and dressed him in the finest garments. Godly love, which keeps no record of wrongs, enabled the father to show generosity.

Serve joyfully. What a celebration the father had upon the prodigal’s return! His joy in his lost son’s homecoming overflowed to others. Love expresses itself in willing service.

Restore those who fall. The one who both abandoned his father and squandered his inheritance was again given full rights as a son.

When we mess up, our heavenly Father patiently waits for us to turn back to Him. He accepts our repentance, rejoices in our return, and restores intimacy with Him. The elder brother in this parable missed the point because of his self-righteous attitude ( 1 John 1:8 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ). He didn’t recognize his mistakes or the many times his father had shown him love and forgiveness.

God calls us to a lifestyle of agape love. To whom could you extend the divine love that forgives, restores, and serves with generosity and joy?

Bible in One Year: Numbers 17-19 Chapter 17 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of them rods, one for each fathers' house, of all their princes according to their fathers' houses, twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod. 3 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi; for there shall be one rod for each head of their fathers' houses. 4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. 5 And it shall come to pass, that the rod of the man whom I shall choose shall bud: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against you. 6 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel; and all their princes gave him rods, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 7 And Moses laid up the rods before Jehovah in the tent of the testimony. 8 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and put forth buds, and produced blossoms, and bare ripe almonds. 9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before Jehovah unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. 10 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the children of rebellion; that thou mayest make an end of their murmurings against me, that they die not. 11 Thus did Moses: as Jehovah commanded him, so did he. 12 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. 13 Every one that cometh near, that cometh near unto the tabernacle of Jehovah, dieth: shall we perish all of us? Chapter 18 1 And Jehovah said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy fathers' house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. 2 And thy brethren also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou near with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall be before the tent of the testimony. 3 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the Tent: only they shall not come nigh unto the vessels of the sanctuary and unto the altar, that they die not, neither they, nor ye. 4 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the Tent: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you. 5 And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar; that there be wrath no more upon the children of Israel. 6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are a gift, given unto Jehovah, to do the service of the tent of meeting. 7 And thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priesthood for everything of the altar, and for that within the veil; and ye shall serve: I give you the priesthood as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. 8 And Jehovah spake unto Aaron, And I, behold, I have given thee the charge of my heave-offerings, even all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, as a portion for ever. 9 This shall be thine of the most holy things, `reserved' from the fire: every oblation of theirs, even every meal-offering of theirs, and every sin-offering of theirs, and every trespass-offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons. 10 As the most holy things shalt thou eat thereof; every male shall eat thereof: it shall be holy unto thee. 11 And this is thine: the heave-offering of their gift, even all the wave-offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, as a portion for ever; every one that is clean in thy house shall eat thereof. 12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the vintage, and of the grain, the first-fruits of them which they give unto Jehovah, to thee have I given them. 13 The first-ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring unto Jehovah, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thy house shall eat thereof. 14 Everything devoted in Israel shall be thine. 15 Everything that openeth the womb, of all flesh which they offer unto Jehovah, both of man and beast shall be thine: nevertheless the first-born of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem. 16 And those that are to be redeemed of them from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary (the same is twenty gerahs). 17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 18 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave-breast and as the right thigh, it shall be thine. 19 All the heave-offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto Jehovah, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, as a portion for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before Jehovah unto thee and to thy seed with thee. 20 And Jehovah said unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any portion among them: I am thy portion and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And unto the children of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they serve, even the service of the tent of meeting. 22 And henceforth the children of Israel shall not come nigh the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations; and among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the children of Israel, which they offer as a heave-offering unto Jehovah, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 25 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 26 Moreover thou shalt speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up a heave-offering of it for Jehovah, a tithe of the tithe. 27 And your heave-offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the grain of the threshing-floor, and as the fulness of the winepress. 28 Thus ye also shall offer a heave-offering unto Jehovah of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and thereof ye shall give Jehovah's heave-offering to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave-offering of Jehovah, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. 30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye heave the best thereof from it, then it shall be reckoned unto the Levites as the increase of the threshing-floor, and as the increase of the wine-press. 31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best thereof: and ye shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, that ye die not. Chapter 19 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 2 This is the statute of the law which Jehovah hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, `and' upon which never came yoke. 3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and he shall bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: 4 and Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: 6 and the priest shall take cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. 8 And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. 9 And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place; and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water for impurity: it is a sin-offering. 10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever. 11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days: 12 the same shall purify himself therewith on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. 13 Whosoever toucheth a dead person, the body of a man that hath died, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water for impurity was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. 14 This is the law when a man dieth in a tent: every one that cometh into the tent, and every one that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean. 16 And whosoever in the open field toucheth one that is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 And for the unclean they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the sin-offering; and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: 18 and a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave: 19 and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify him; and he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. 20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of Jehovah: the water for impurity hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean. 21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them: and he that sprinkleth the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he that toucheth the water for impurity shall be unclean until even. 22 And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.




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