Much Ado About “NOTHING”

1 Corinthians 13 4-7.jpgThough I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

This past Sunday evening, our Pastor gave a message on 1 Corinthians 13. He went through all the attributes of love listed in the first eight verses, and although I have read that passage MANY times, something struck me anew this time:

Without love, we have NOTHING!!

To paraphrase the beginning of the chapter:  If I speak eloquently and intelligently, while making good talking points, and philanthropically give generously and often, but don’t do it with love – IT IS WORTH NOTHING!


Wow! Don’t we all wish that we could speak well in front of people, that we could actually SAY all those things we rehearsed so expressively to ourselves earlier in the car, that others would admire our ability to speak and teach, and that we could give lots of money away to various charities? Why is that? Is it so we have the applause of men? It’s really pride and selfishness that makes us want to look good to others, that’s Much Ado. About NOTHING.

Well, without love, God’s Word tells us that those things are worthless!

We all have the most valuable gift within each of us. If you are born-again, you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, and the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE (Galatians 5:22). We can choose to be loving in our speech and actions, and THAT is more valuable than being able to speak well or give generously.

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”(1 John 3:18)

How about that! We had it all along! We had the SOMETHING that we need. We can all choose to love, and THAT is SOMETHING!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Nothing is impossible with God


Fall Risk

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, Fall risk signbut not to doubtful disputations…So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” Romans 14:1,12,13

Have you ever visited someone in the hospital, assisted living, or rehab, and they have a bracelet on or a sign at the Fall riskend of their bed that says “fall risk”? I have. It means that this person, at this particular time, is at risk of falling. They are in a weakened state due to an illness, or injury, or maybe some medication they are taking. If someone were to carelessly leave a hazard near them: a wet floor, a fold in the rug, an unstable railing – they could easily stumble and fall and hurt themselves and possibly others.

Well, our passage above tells us that there are many Christian brothers and sisters who are “fall risks”. At this time in their life they are at risk for a fall. Maybe they are struggling with a particular sin, maybe they are going through a trial that is testing their faith and they are weak, or maybe they are just a young immature Christian whose faith has not fully grown yet and they are still learning what pleases and displeases the Lord. Regardless of why, they are “fall risks”, and so other Christians are told not to judge them harshly, but rather to watch out for them and not carelessly place a hazard or stumblingblock in their way to cause them to fall into the sin that Satan is enticing them toward.

We were talking about this in my husband’s Adult Sunday School class, and someone mentioned the “fall risks” at the Senior Living Center, and how they have to be constantly looking for hazards in order that nobody falls. It’s not that it is illegal to leave a floor wet, or leave a rug with a fold in it, it is just dangerous to others. It is the same with our fellow believers.

As mature believers, there are many things that we are a liberty to do, because we may be strong enough in our walk with the Lord that they do not tempt us to sin, or because that particular sin is not a temptation to us. But, as we like to say, “It’s not all about YOU!” So, we need to be careful how we use our Christian Liberty:

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” (I Corinthians 8:9)

So, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more…” That actually means STOP IT!! Apparently there was a problem with Christians judging one another (imagine that!), and so Paul was telling them to STOP judging one another, and rather to help each other out. Our human nature wants to feel superior to others, to judge them and condemn them in order for us to feel good about ourselves. But that is not the Christian Way. In the book of Philippians, Paul tells us not to be prideful and arrogant, but humbly looking out for others’ needs, as the Lord Jesus did:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3,4)

I hope that this devotional has convicted you as it convicted me to be more aware of my fellow Christians who are “fall risks” – and at one time or another, we ALL are!! May we show Christ’s love to each other, after all, we are not the Judge, He is!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem

Hot, Iced, or Lukewarm?

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Hot or iced.jpg

Revelation 3:15,16

My daughter and I were driving in the car the other day and we started talking about coffee for some reason. She said, “I either like it HOT, or ICED, but none of this lukewarm stuff that has been sitting around for a while!”

I am the same way. I also LOVE tea, since I am a Brit, I prefer it HOT! I have grown to like it iced also, and I like coffee either hot or iced. There is nothing like that first sip, though, of HOT tea, or HOT coffee. Sometimes I just want that first sip, and then I don’t need to drink the rest. Another of my daughters is like me in this way, too – I often find cups of coffee around the house with just a few sips taken out! My husband also leaves cups around his work shop with about half an inch of leftover tea in them, he meant to go back and finish it but got sidetracked, and when I collect them up after a while – there is MOLD growing in them – YYUUCCKKK!!

It got me to thinking…

In the book of Revelation, The Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to the Church at Laodicea and He rebuked them for being lukewarm! He wanted them to be salt and light for Him– a shining candle that cannot be hid (Matthew 5:13-16), He wanted them to be zealous of good works (Titus 2:14), living the abundant life (John 10:10), abiding in Him—being the branch to His Vine so that He can work in and through them (John 15), and loving others as He loved them (John 13:34). I guess they weren’t doing that. In fact, He rebuked them for being ignorant of their true condition, Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”! They ‘liked to think’ that they were doing well. But in reality, they were like that cup of tea or coffee that had had the first sip taken, and then left…it had gotten lukewarm…scum had formed on the top…maybe even mold if it had been a loooong time…and if someone were to take a sip of it now – YYUUCCKKK!!! They would spit it out as fast as they can, and spew it all over the place!!

Well, if He is rebuking them for being lukewarm, I am pretty sure that I don’t want to be accused of being lukewarm, either! This convicted me to look at my spiritual life. Am I HOT for Christ? Do I think about Him and pray to Him constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Am I ready to give an answer to anyone who asks me the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15)? Is my life marked with my love for Christ and others, or my love for ME? Am I salt and Light? Am I abiding in Him? Have I gotten sidetracked? I think that I have a looong way to go! I don’t believe that I am COLD, because that would mean spiritually dead and unsaved, and I know that I have trusted Christ as my Lord, Savior, and King…

So if I am not HOT, I must be LUKEWARM TOO!!!

Oh, Lord help me!

In the past, when sugar cubes were popular, when people offered you tea or coffee they would ask, “One lump, or two?” I think that the Lord has given me a couple of “lumps” on the head with that proverbial two-by-four today as I ponder how lukewarm I have gotten in my walk with Him.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

I want to be known for being on fire and alive for the Lord, not lukewarm and moldy

Love is in the Air

Love is in the air

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3

Dear Reader,

Our oldest daughter is getting married this summer– my baby girl is going to be a bride! Our 2 sons have married already, and I was somewhat involved in the preparations, but this is different, this time I am the MOTHER-OF-THE-BRIDE! We have been in a whirlwind of wedding preparations – deciding on venues for the ceremony and reception; finding the dress, selecting a florist and photographer; planning invitations, favors, and showers; and much more! Right now she is focused on student teaching, wedding plans, keeping herself pure, learning about what a wife needs to know, collecting items for her trousseau, practicing cooking, generally preparing herself for the wedding and ensuing marriage.
Meanwhile, her fiancé is working hard, student teaching,
keeping himself pure, looking for a job, looking for a place for them to live – also preparing for their marriage. One day soon he will come here to Pennsylvania for the wedding ceremony to claim his bride!
In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul spends 10 verses telling husbands and wives what a good marriage looks like, and how we should be treating each other, and then explains why in verse 32 – “…I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of Christ and the Church. Allow me to explain further
because as I have learned about Jewish wedding traditions in Biblical times, my heart has been blessed when I made the connections. Jewish marriages begin with a proposal by the bridegroom, if the bride answers, “I will”, the betrothal or espousal period begins—something like an engagement, but more binding (remember Mary and Joseph were “espoused”?). A covenant is signed and the bride price is paid. Once a couple is betrothed, the groom goes away and prepares a place for his bride, usually in or near his father’s home. He promises to come back for his bride, but she doesn’t know exactly when. Meanwhile she prepares for marriage by keeping herself pure, set apart for only her groom, gathering her trousseau of treasures, waiting for his return. When all is ready, he will return for his bride, and it is announced with a shout: “Behold, The bridegroom comes!” The wedding procession begins with all the attendants – on the groom’s side and on the bride’s side. There follows a great wedding feast, the marriage would be consummated, and they would then live together as husband and wife until death do them part.

Remember Ephesians 5:32 said that marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church? Well, Jesus, our bridegroom, left His Father’s house to make a covenant with His bride, the Church, or the saved believers (Acts 2:47). He selects His bride: he proposes to every human being that He has created, “Will you be my bride?” Those who answer, “I will” are His bride, His beloved born-again ones. His covenant with us is the New Testament of His blood (1 Corinthians 11:25) shed at Calvary for us. He paid the price to purchase His bride —He laid down His life for us (John 15:13) for our sin debt – the ultimate bride price! Christ has now gone back to His Father’s house to prepare a place for His bride, a mansion (John 14:2-3 above). Meanwhile the Bride is to wait and prepare for His return — we are to keep ourselves pure and set apart for Christ alone, serve Him here on earth, and lay up our trousseau of treasures in Heaven with our good works that glorify our Father. We do not know when, but one glorious day our bridegroom will return for us with a shout: “Behold! The Bridegroom comes!” He will receive us unto Himself so that where He is, we shall be also! We will meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), His love for us will be consummated – we will be together with Him and no sin separating us, there will be a great marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9), and we will live with Him in Heaven forever.

When a groom takes a bride, he promises to take care of herfrom this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Our heavenly Groom, the Lord Jesus takes care of our past, present, and future. He loves, protects, and cares for his beloved from the day we accept Him as Savior: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. He takes care of our past sins by forgiving them all when we put our trust in Him alone; our present by being there for us daily as we abide in Him; and our future by providing us a home in Heaven one day when we leave these earthly bodies and go home to be with Him. What a perfect Bridegroom! Will you be counted with the Bride of Christ? Have you said, “I will” to the most important proposal ever made? If you haven’t, I pray that today will be the day that you make that decision.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Love will be in the air one day, will you be there?