Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 8-7-18

August 7, 2018
1 Corinthians 12:27-31
The Body of Christ–believers under Christ’s Lordship and authority–has been given amazing gifts through his limitless Grace.  Spiritual gifts are not only essential to building Christlike character in God’s family, the gifts are the power for believers to live as examples and influencers of the gospel of Truth–God’s love manifest for humanity in Jesus the Messiah. 
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to value the spiritual gifts–some of which he lists–but to never forget that the greatest gift of all is God’s love or Agape (pronounced ah-GAH-pee).  It is not the spiritual gifts themselves that bring the power, it is faith in the Spirit of Agape that accomplishes all things.  If we are truly eager to grow God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, we must value Agape above all things.  Agape is at the center of reconciliation–the act of getting God and people connected to Christ.  
Longing for the wellbeing of others is the essence of Agape which is not based on feeling; rather, it is a choice and is identified by how it puts the welfare of others above self.  It was Agape that caused Christ to offer up his life for the sins of the world so humanity could experience the forgiveness of sin and know God who is Agape.  It is the work of the Spirit of Agape that motivates us to enthusiastically tell others about Jesus Christ and model the love he imparts.  If you want to make a statement for Christ, today, please stand on the platform of Agape–let your love for others motivate what you do.  We are to love those who are easy to love, as well as those who are not.  Only Agape can help us love our adversaries or antagonists.  All of heaven watches our love walk; power awaits those who are committed to Agape.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 The Voice (VOICE)
27 You are the body of the Anointed, the Liberating King; each and every one of you is a vital member. 28 God has appointed gifts in the assembly: first emissaries, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, helpers, administrators, and then those who speak with various unknown languages. 29 Are all members gifted as emissaries? Are all gifted with prophetic utterance? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Or are all gifted in healing arts? Do all speak or interpret unknown languages? Of course not. 31 Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way-love.
Prayer:  Lord, thank you for prompting the act of reconciliation in my life–bringing me into fellowship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the bond of peace.  Thank you for showing me such lavish and abundant Agape that I must turn to tell others so they can enjoy peace and fellowship with you, as well. Holy Spirit please empower me to tell others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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