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"For the Ladies"

A Study Of 1st Corinthians 13, where we are given 16 great traits of real love!

 

You may now click the "Ladies Page" or the "LADIES' PAGE ARCHIVES" for even more articles by Sister Norma!

DURING THE SUMMER AND FALL OF 2005 Sister Bagwell WROTE this series OF LESSONS on 1st Corinthians 13, the Bible's great "love" chapter.

 

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth ...." 

1st Corinthians 13:4-8a

 

 

LESSON 1 ... August 15, 2005:

Paul taught us that love, real love, God's Love has over a dozen beautiful characteristics.

One of them is simply the fact that it "suffereth long!"

1st Corinthians 13:4 says of love:  "Charity suffereth long!"

The Greek word is "makrothumeo" and basically means "to have patience."

"Makro," the prefix, means long ... either in distance or in time! (Here it's "time" for sure!)

And "thumeo" means to feel passion!  Its root, "thuo" means to breathe hard, to blow out of one's lungs and mouth, and then to kill or slay (in a fit of rage)!

Thus to be longsuffering is ... not to be quick in getting angry or frustrated!

This is a quality often used in describing God too!

In Luke 18:7 we are specifically told that God "bears long" with His children!

Peter later adds:  "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."   2 Peter 3:9

An old Preacher once defined "longsuffering" as:  The spirit that has the power to take revenge if it liked, but utterly refuses to do so!

A Greek teacher adds:  "Our word here, in its fullest sense, is the power of bearing with suffering, assimilating it, and using it creatively ... instead of being irritated, fretted, and put out by it!"

And, yes, one more thing must be added!

This particular word "makrothumeo" and its related terms are Biblically applied to people ... not things!

This term says that real love "puts up" with hard-to-love or irritating people ... not lashing back at them ... but responding to them as Jesus would!

This is NOT the word that teaches patience toward things!

So, ladies, if we have times when people at home (or wherever) ... particularly that one person who is trying you at the moment (like a husband or a child or a friend) ... DO NOT BE UGLY TO THEM IN RETURN!

Rather, trusting the Holy Spirit and His Power, be longsuffering! 

Put up with it ... accepting the situation as a "tool" to help you grow in the Lord!

Gracious!

Our Love Text is off to a pretty "rough" start!

Most of us today will have at least one opportunity to be patient with some individual ... a troublesome one!

When the time comes, remember 1 Corinthians 13:4!

                                                                                     --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2 ... August 19, 2005:

We are studying the sixteen traits of real Christian love!

They are enumerated in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.

Verse 4 tells us that "Charity is ... kind."

What does that mean?

The Greek word is "chrestotes" and means that which is characterized by gentleness or sweetness!

A mild disposition!

An ancient citizen of Paul's day would have used the word when describing an apple that had fully ripened and reached its sweetest peak of flavor!

It was also used of wines (juices from the vine) that were mellowed by age!  See the word "better" in Luke 5:39.

One teacher said "this word knows nothing of real revenge or a bitter spirit!"

The adjective "chrestos" describes Jesus' "yoke" in Matthew 11:30.  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Jesus is inviting folks to come to Him ... partly because He is so kind and gentle!  The word "easy" is "chrestos."

In Luke 6:35 our great God is "kind" to all!  "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."  That attitude should describe our "love" one to another!

Such love (its kindness) will lead men to Jesus too!  God said so.  "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"  Romans 2:4

In loving one another we are to have "good" manners also.  Listen to Paul use our word "chrestos" in 1 Corinthians 15:33.  "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."

Two synonyms ascribed to "kind" love are found in Ephesians 4:32. "Tenderheartedness" and "forgiveness" are companions to real godly love!  "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

When we are told to love one another in kindness, we are in reality being commanded to act as God does!  Something that is only possible through the Power of the precious Holy Spirit!  Peter writes:  "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."  1 Peter 2:3

Again I say, "chrestos" love, sweet love, godly love ... is not capable of harshness or bitterness of attitude or action!

"Charity is ... kind!"

                                                                    --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3 ... Wednesday, August 24, 2005:

Charity "envieth not."

That's what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 where he lists sixteen traits of real love, God's love, "agape" love!

But what does it mean to "envy not?"

The verb "zeloo" means to burn or to be hot!

Its "root," zeo, means "to boil" in modern day Greek!

Usually in a Biblical sense the word implies wrath, malice or indignation ... the heated kind!

One can find the word 14 times in the New Testament Scriptures.

It describers the angry feeling Joseph's brothers had as they sold him into Egyptian slavery!  "And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him."  Acts 7:9

It also depicts one of the attitudes Paul would not allow in the Corinthians Church! "For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, ENVYINGS, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults."  2 Corinthians 12:21

In Galatians 5:20 "zelos" is translated "emulations," an inordinate ambition to equal or surpass a brother in Christ!

And in James 4:2 our verb is "desire to have!"  See it here:  "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."

If I really love someone, whatever the Lord has given them ... is fine with me!  I will not long after their possessions or talents or abilities at all!  I will thank the Lord for His goodness to them and be content with His blessings on me as well!

Now, in summary, here's what we are being taught today.

Real love, Biblical love, will NOT get hot at the one being adored!  It will NOT boil in anger!  It will not allow to develop that long-lasting hard-to-shed feeling of wrath that many so-called Christians seem to have!  And it will be satisfied (and thrilled) with God's goodness on those who are dear to one's heart!

It looks to me like charity stays calm!

Remains content!

It behaves itself according to God's standard as recorded in His Word, particularly here in 1 Corinthians 13.

We will all have to work on this one, won't we?

                                                                                --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4 ... August 28, 2005:

What does it mean when the Bible teaches us that real love, God's love, "vaunteth not itself?"

In essence, the verb "vaunteth" means to brag!

The Greek word, "perpereuomai," is derived from the root "perperos" which means a braggart!  That is one who always elevates himself or herself! 

In context here we are being told that if a wife really loves her husband ... she will be his "helpmeet" humbly and meekly, without the need for a lot of self recognition!

Or conversely,  if a man loves his wife ... he will not inflate himself every time he does something for her!

Love knows how to give and give and give ... without self recognition!

Charity (agape) love is NOT showy!

God's love is not always on display!

It works in secret as well as in public!

Some men open the car doors for their wives in the Church parking lot ... where many can see!  But NOT at home in the dark when no one is looking!

That's pretty "showy," isn't it?

Now, I am not saying that all boasting is wrong!

Paul boasted ("gloried") in some things!

In the Cross!  "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."  Galatians 6:14

In the Lord!  "That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."  1st Corinthians 1:31

Even in tribulation!  "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience ...."   Romans 5:3

And in his own sicknesses or infirmities!  "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  2nd Corinthians 12:9

But Paul NEVER gloried in himself.  At least not in a sinful way and certainly not when loving other believers!

Yes, "Charity vaunteth not itself!"

Ladies, do not brag!

                                                                       --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 5 ... September 2, 2005:

When Paul told us that real love "is not puffed up," what did he mean?

That little verb, "phusioo," literally means "to blow," like when one blows into a baloon, inflating it for one of your children to enjoy!

It then comes to mean "to cause to swell up!"

It is first of all a Bible "word picture" for pride or conceit or some form of self-exaltation.

Yet Ladies, it implies even more than that I believe.

It also can involve a little act which we in the South call "pouting!"

Pouting, you know!

A response many ladies use as a reaction to something their husbands did which did not meet their feminine approval!

Now it may not literally involve puffed out cheeks or firmly set lips ... signs of defiance and disagreement ... but in spirit it's the same thing! 

Pouting!

Being all "puffed up!"

"Well, if he's going to act that way ... I'll just not go with him Sunday to that reunion!"

Or ... "He can get his own supper tonight!"

Or ... "Good night!  The bedroom door will be locked!  Sleep on the couch!"

Now, that's pouting!

Or again, you might just give him the "silent" treatment!

No words for a few days!

Ignore him!

Don't answer any questions or offer any comments for a while!

That will fix him!

Yes, Sister all "puffed up," that sure is good Christianity, isn't it?

Paul uses our "puffed up" word in 1 Corinthians 4:6 where the brethren also aren't getting along!  (So it's not just a "lady" thing!)

Some at Corinth had gotten all "puffed up" at Paul ... because he had not paid them a return visit sooner!  (That's not the last time some church-member got "puffed up" because the preacher didn't come to see him either!)   Read 1 Corinthians 4:18 to get Paul's exact words: "Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you."

The one who exercises true godly love will NOT be pouting, proud or perturbed at everything that comes along!

Maybe today the Lord should "deflate" some of us!

That would solve the problem for sure!

                                                                           --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 6 ... September 8, 2005:

Today we learn another trait of real love!

Paul says it "doth not behave itself unseemly!"

Now this verb is interesting for sure!

All those English words ("doth not behave itself unseemly") translate one Greek verb, "aschemoneo." 

The word means "to behave in an unbecoming manner!"

"To act inappropriately!"

Usually we ascertain the Holy Spirit's meaning of a word by studying how He uses it elsewhere in Scripture!  (A good method of Bible study, I might add!)

But here, with "aschemoneo," we only have one other location to analyze! 

I will capitalize the words used for aschemoneo.  Paul says:  "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry."  1st Corinthians 7:36

Paul is teaching a Christian Daddy how to respond toward his unmarried daughter ... particularly in the area of her future.

He says ... you may do some things here (allowing her to marry being one of them) ... without acting discourteously!  Without being uncouth!  Without seeming ill mannered!

Look at this!

Etiquette just made it into the Word of God!

Real love has ... good manners!

Real love is not rough or sharp or ugly!

It behaves itself!

Men, it (godly love) still might open the car door the wife!

Ladies, it still might cook his favorite meal occasionally!

It still would say "please" and "thank you!"

It still would be ruled by "the law of kindness!"

In fact, that's the very wording of Proverbs 31:26!  Read the whole verse as it's used in reference to the truly wise woman.  "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."

Now doesn't this sound just like the instructions the dear kind Lord would give?

"Charity ... doth not behave itself unseemly!"

Live a well-mannered life today ... especially toward you mate!

Respectfully,

                                                                 --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 7 ... September 13, 2005:

Now from 1st Corinthians 13:5 we learn that real love ... "seekth not her own."

Here's something interesting.

My husband told me that the gender of the noun "charity" (in Greek) is feminine!

Yet it is God's Love!

"God is love!"  (1st John 4:8 and 16)

So ... we Christians have a FATHER God (masculine gender) who loves us with a MOTHER Love (feminine gender)!

No, I am not a feminist!

I believe with all my heart that God the FATHER is just That, Father to God the Son ... but I also want to be true to every word in the Bible, including the nouns and pronouns, which involves gender as well!

That's why Paul says, "Charity ... seeketh not HER own!"

God is tender and kind and loving and supporting and nurturing ... yet the Father of each Believer in Christ!

He is ALL ... Everything ... Altogether Lovely!

But what does it mean when we are told that Love (God's Love) "seeketh not her own?"

This:

It does not concentrate on just the things it likes!

It is not selfish!

It will not practice self-centeredness!

The husband says: "Honey, let's eat at the fish place today!"

She says:  "You know I hate fish!  I will NOT go there!  You will have to eat that stuff some other time!"

That's an example of "SEEKING ONE'S OWN" way!

Let's try it again ...

Him:  "Honey, just for today let's eat at that little fish place!"

Her:  Well, they do have chicken I believe!  And that's certainly on my diet!  I believe I'd like that!  Plus, Sweetie, eating with you is more important to me than what I eat anyway!"

Now that's "seeking not your own!"

Wow!

Jesus, while one earth, sought not His Own way!

Rather ... He sought (and secured) our very Salvation!

We, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, can follow in His steps too!

Ladies, next time you're about to get "mad" (excuse me, "hurt") ... just yield that great big will of yours and "seek not your own" desire for a while!

Then you will be practicing and living godly "agape" love!

                                                                            --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 8 ... September 16, 2005:

Now we learn that love "is not easily provoked!"  This exact statement is made by Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:5.

In Greek this whole clause is spelled:  "ou paroxunetai."  The verb "provoked" has as its center the Greek word for "point," a sharp protruding object! 

The idea behind the word picture here is that love is not easily prodded!  Not easily stirred!  Not easily pushed into harsh action!  No matter how much one "picks" at it ... it tends to not respond with anger or rage!

The lexicons give it meanings such as:  to sharpen alongside, or to exasperate!

I like that last one!

God's kind of love will not become exasperated!  Exasperate comes from two Latin words that mean "ex" ... thoroughly + ""asper" ... rough!  To "rough something up quite thoroughly!"

Love just won't let you upset it!

Another time the word is used in Scripture is in Acts 17:16 where Paul is described as being "stirred" in spirit!  "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry."

The only other use of the word in the Bible is in Acts 15:39 where Paul and Barnabas had such "sharp contention" between themselves that they (permanently) parted ways!  "And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus!"

The kind of love God has placed in our hearts is calm and placid, not yielding to devilish attempts at provocation!

It's just hard to push this kind of "charity" love into a tumultuous frenzy!

What a lesson to learn!

Ladies, how easily provoked are you?

                                                                       --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 9 ... September 21, 2005:

God's love, real love, "agape" love ... "thinketh no evil."  1st Corinthians 13:5d

But, what does that mean?

The verb "thinketh" is in Greek spelled "logizomai."  You can see the word "logic" in it!  It means "to reckon, to compute, to account or to calculate!"

And the word here for "evil" is "kakos," the milder one of two nouns the Holy Spirit could have used in this context.

It means that which is "good for nothing" or "troublesome" or "injurious."

It generally speaks of evil or harm that is within a person, but does not spread to others, infecting and harming them too!

Here's what I believe this clause mean.

Real love will not, when upset or "hurt," think up a long list of "wrong" things  your loved one has done at previous times!

For example, he (your husband) yelled at me again today!

Just like he called me a name yesterday ... and wouldn't empty the garbage the day before and ... forgot our anniversary last week ... and wouldn't go with me to the Revival last month ... and so on!

Real love does not "count" ("thinketh") the past failures and mistakes and shortcomings ("evils" ... remember the milder word is used by the Holy Spirit here) of my loved ones!

We tend to get more angry and bitter if we have a mental "list" of other wrongs a person has committed toward us!

Like our computers, our memories sometimes are a little too good!

I am glad God has chosen to forget something ... precisely, our sins! 

Thus ... "saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."  Jeremiah 31:34

If God can do that ... surely we can forget (not think upon) our friends' mistakes!

All in the "spirit" of grace and mercy!

Ladies, think about it.

Throw away that "list" today!

That list of all his "failures."

Truly ... charity "thinketh no evil!"

                                                                              --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 10 ... September 25, 2005:

God says that His kind of love ... "rejoiceth not in iniquity."  1st Corinthians 13:6

The verb "rejoiceth" (in Greek = "chairo") just means to be glad.  It is a present tense verb, depicting on-going continual joy.  A lifestyle of gladness when someone falls into sin is here absolutely forbidden!

The noun" iniquity" (in Greek = "adikai") means that which is NOT ("a") RIGHT ("dikai")!  Not righteous in God's eyes!  That which is wrong and sin!

Real love never argues and wrestles with its object, being pleased when he or she  makes a mistake or errs from God's Way or Plan!

Simply stated ... Agape Love wants God's Best, God's perfect Will ... for those around it!

If I love my true Preacher Brethren, I could never snicker or smile or be relieved (all such actions are forms of rejoicing) when he falls into some kind of evil!

If I love my Husband ... I must also long and pray for his growth in the Lord, never encouraging him to fail to live for Jesus in every way possible!

Never should we say:  "Oh, Honey, you've studied your Bible enough today!  Let's go do something else!"

Ladies, our prayer should be that the Lord would help those we love to constantly draw nearer and nearer Him, living godly lives until Jesus comes!

In other words ... don't do anything to make sinning any easier for those you love!

Truly, real "charity," real love ... "rejoiceth not in iniquity."

                                                                                     --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 11 ... October 1, 2005:

The next clause we must consider is that "charity ... rejoiceth in the truth!"

The verb "rejoiceth" is a compound word.  It attaches the preposition "sun" onto the front of "chairo" and thus means "to be glad WITH someone!"  (In Greek "sun" means "with.")

This word does not necessarily picture being "happy" or "joyful" when you are alone.  It includes your loved one in the process!  I just looked ... and all seven times it is used in Scripture it has this emphasis! 

And there is reason to believe that the Greek word for "truth" means that which does not have anything to hide!  "Aletheia" is derived from "a" (the "alpha" privative ... which negates the meaning of a word) and a root word that means "to conceal!"

Do you see this?

Truth is that which does not have to hide anything!

No need to lie or deceive!

Just tell it!

And, Ladies,  in our verse today "rejoicing in the truth" is contextually contrasted with the previous clause, "rejoiceth not in iniquity!"

If I really love someone, I will be thrilled with their victories over sin!

I will be glad when they read their Bibles!

Or when they lead a soul to Christ!

Or when they faithfully attend Church!

Or when they see an answer to some prayer they've prayed for a while!

Just as I do NOT think about their failures (last lesson), now I do ponder their victories!

I WILL reflect upon their successes, particularly spiritual ones!

Now today, think about your husband's life this week.

WHAT aspect of it brings joy to your heart?

Mention that to him please!

"Honey, I am so glad that every Wednesday and Sunday you take us, your family, to Church!"

"I also am thrilled that you love the Lord as you do!"

"And when I see you sitting here reading the Word of God, I am so proud of the kind of godly Husband the Lord gave me!"

Go ahead, rejoice in the truth!

This sure beats, "You didn't take out the garbage, did you?  This is the third time I've had to remind you!"

This 1st Corinthians 13 business gets "close to home," doesn't it?

                                                                                      --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 12 ... October 10, 2005:

First Corinthians 13:7 begins with these words:  "Beareth all things."

Real love "beareth all things!"

God's Love "beareth all things!"

The significance of those words is astounding!

The little Greek verb for "beareth" is spelled "stego" and means to cover with a roof! To place a deck over something! 

Its noun form, "stege," is translated "roof" 3 times in our King James New Testaments.

We are here being taught that God's love actually builds a roof of protection over our heads and cares for us in every area of life!

If I love my family ... I will do the same for them!

But our word here seems to also take on another emphasis in the Scriptures.

It can mean "to put up" with something!

To "bear a load" without breaking down and caving in to the pressure it exerts!

Watch Paul use it ("stego") in this way:

1 Thessalonians 3:1,2 --- "Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;  and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith."  Paul just couldn't "put up" with the uncertainly any longer!

1 Thessalonians 3:5 --- "For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."  Here it is used in the same way again.

Then in 1 Corinthians 9:12 --- "If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ."  Here "stego" is translated "suffer."  It still however means "to put up with a load" ... just like a roof does when it snows!

Ladies, if we love our husbands, we will "tolerate" and "endure" and "bear" a whole lot ... before becoming angry and bitter or rebellious!

Think of what Jesus endured while on earth!

His Love truly did "bear all things!"

What do we "put up with" without exploding in hurt feelings or resentment?

Next time you are about to "lose it" ... remember that love "beareth all things!"

Don't let your "roof" fall down!

It will hurt those who are underneath it ... those whom you love so dearly!

What impact a single divinely inspired verb can have!

                                                                                --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 13:

The words "believeth all things" carry a powerful meaning!

The Greek verb "pisteuo" means to have faith in someone!  To have confidence in them!  To trust them!

Ladies, I sense that this clause is teaching us that the one we love will also be one we trust!

The idea  that "I love my husband" but "I wouldn't trust him for a minute" is foreign to this Bible Text!

If you love him ... you will trust him!

You will believe him!

You will have confidence in him!

You will rely upon him!

You will not be afraid to lean upon him!

In fact, we will want to believe the BEST about the one we love!

For example ...

He is losing weight!

He is so smart!

He can do just about anything!

Real agape love just will NOT habitually look on the dark side of life!

And, ladies, while I hesitate to mention this ... you deserve your husbands treating you in the same way too!

He should TRUST you as a fellow Christian and as a Mate for life!

He should express confidence in you and what you do!

He should look for the BEST areas of truth about you and emphasize them!

For example ...

Honey, your "vegetable soup" is the best I've ever eaten!

Sweetie, are you losing weight?  Sure looks like it to me!

That dress looks good on you!

Your hair is lovely!

Now some of you might be saying, "Sister Norma, this is just not happening in our home!"

Well, honey, someone has to start "believing" the best about his or her mate!

And since you are the one reading here ... I guess it's YOU!

Start now!

Believe the best about him ... and express it with all your heart!

And I think that the more you live that lifestyle ... unselfishly believing all good things about him, having confidence in him ... the more he will respond to you!

Perhaps slowly at first ... but eventually it will happen!

What you've been sowing (love that believes and encourages) ... you will begin to reap ... from the one you've married! 

You may disagree with much I've said today ... but do remember:  Charity, love, real love, God's love "believeth all things!"

I promise you that's true!

                                                                                    --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

Lesson 14, Saturday, October 15, 2005:

In our Text the verb "hopeth" (in Greek = "elpizo") means "to wait for something or someone with full confidence!"

In the exact form it's used here, the word occurs only three times in the New Testament.

First it is found in Acts 26:7 where saved Jews are waiting for the resurrection of the dead!  I think that's called the Rapture in Paul's theology! 

This use alone gives us the idea the Holy Spirit has incorporated into the word "elpizo."

Hope:  To believe something is true ... simply because God says so!  At least that's the Bible definition of the word!

But how can this truth be applied to our loved ones?

How does real love, God's love, "hope" all things!'

I today will again apply it to the married life of a Christian couple.

Many are now saying that married life is doomed!

It is even being called obsolete in some sociological circles!

Many feminists hate the concept of permanent marriage!

Well, they are wrong!

And the Bible is right!

Christian marriage is God's way of continuing the human race!  It is designed to "raise up godly seed" or children according to Malachi 2:15.

It is also God's way of illustrating to a dark world a beautiful picture of Christ and His relationship to His Church!

And it is build on "hope!"

Now, ladies, if we truly "love" our husbands, we will "hope" concerning him such things as:

His eternity in Heaven!

His growing in Grace, being conformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ!

That means his becoming kinder and kinder and more and more joyful and more and more peaceful and more and more patient! 

His rearing the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!

His being a true spiritual leader in the home!

And so much more!

That's Bible hope ... because all these desires are based upon the Word of God!

When a man gets saved and grows in Christ ... ultimately all these things happen in his life!

When love "hopeth" all things, it does not give into pessimism and a defeated attitude!

It will not quit believing that God can bring us all to maturity!

It "hopes" for the salvation of the children!

It "hopes" for a home that is separated from the world!

It "hopes" for a marriage that truly symbolizes the relationship between Christ and His Church!

It "hopes" for answers to prayer!

(What's THAT got to do with a husband-wife relationship?  Answered prayer? "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."  1st Peter 3:7)

It "hopes" for everything that is pleasing unto God!

Paul even calls the will of God (presumably for a marriage too) "good and acceptable and perfect!"

What abundant hope we have as believers!

What hope we can exercise as Christian wives and Moms!

Get you a verse of Scripture ... a promise from God's Word (7,000 of them are in there) ... and HOPE on it today and tomorrow and next week and next month and the rest of your life!

Remember, love "hopeth" all things!

                                                                           --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15, Thursday, October 20, 2005:

We often wonder about those beautiful old King James verbs!

"Endureth all things!"

What does that mean?

Especially in connection with love?

How does love "endure all things?"

The Greek word used here, "hupomeno," combines two short words, a preposition and a verb.

"Meno" just means "to remain" or "to stay" or sometimes just "to stand!"

And "hupo" means "under!"

To "endure" something suggests putting up with it!  Staying under the load it brings without quitting or falling or being crushed by it!

Staying there with no grumbling or complaining!

You husband is sick?

Getting worse?

If you love him, really love him with God's love, you will stay right by his side!  You will remain under the "load" his illness brings, not complaining or quitting or running away!

You will just endure it to the Glory of God!

Just think what Jesus endured for us to be saved!

Listen to the encouragement Paul tries to give us in Hebrews 12:3.  "For consider Him (Jesus) That endured ("hupomeno") such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."  Wow!

Well, Sister Bagwell, you just don't understand our situation!  Things have been a little "troublesome" down at Church lately. Some have not liked the Pastor's strong preaching against sin.  I believe we're just going to move on ... get away from the conflict and stress!  WELL THEN ... you do not love your Church or your Pastor! Real love ENDURES such pressure!

It will stay "under the load" and encourage the Man of God to keep on preaching the Truth!  Let that grumbling crowd leave!  They can find plenty of places now where sin is never mentioned. 

Again I say, Stay!

Also let me mention our love for the Lord.

So many today are quitting, no longer remaining faithful to our Saviour!

They cite financial difficulty or some health problem or a splintered family or some other hardship as "proof" God doesn't love them any more!

If we love the LORD, we will remain under any burdens that come our way, trusting Him to deal with them in His time.  After all, He encourages us to ... "cast all our cares on Him" anyway! 

And if you want to talk about "loads" today, do remember Psalm 68:19.  "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."

He LOADS us with His blessings every day!

In Christ Jesus, the blessings will surely outnumber the burdens!

But even when the burdens and loads of heaviness do come ... real love does not run!  It "endures!

Charity, agape love, God's love ... "endureth all things!"

Now that's loyalty!

That's faithfulness!

That's being steadfast and immoveable! 

                                                                                     --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16, MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2005:

We have often read those great words, "Charity never faileth."

But what do they mean?

"Charity" (in Greek= "agape") just means love!  But not any love, God's Love! Unselfish love!  Giving love!  Here is its greatest example:  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

And God calls us who are Christians to a life of that kind of love!

Ladies, listen to how much our husbands are to love us!  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."  Ephesians 5:25

The verb "faileth" is "ekpipto" and means "to fall down from!"  Or "to fall out of!"  Or "to fall off of!"

Using our word here, the New Testament says in Mark 13:5 that the stars will some day FALL!

It is used in Acts 12:7 when the chains miraculously FELL OFF the imprisoned Simon Peter!

Once, in Romans 9:6 "ekpipto" is translated "hath taken none effect!"  Here's the whole sentence:  "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect."

James uses it when describing the blooms and leaves of a flower FALLING OFF!  See James 1:11

And Peter talks about people FALLING from their steadfastness!  2 Peter 3:17

Now let's put together a composite meaning.

Real love, agape love ... will NOT become unfaithful!

It will not wilt and die!

It will not turn loose!

It will not lose its effect!

It just will not quit loving!

Isn't that the very kind of Love God has for us?

Then it's logical to believe that's the very kind of love He has placed in our hearts ... when He saved us!  Romans 5:5 teaches us that when we were born-again ... "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." That verb "shed abroad" means "poured out!"

It's this never-failing love that the Scriptures mean  when they tell us to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit, whose Fruit is predominated by love!  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."  Galatians 5:22-23

Ladies, when you vowed (during your wedding) to love your husband all your days ... you subscribed to a love "that never fails!"

May God, by means of the Power of His Spirit, enable you to live that love moment by moment!

There's no disloyalty in this kind of love!

No getting mad and "turning against" someone!

No divorce courts either!

No wonder Paul prayed for us that we would grow into an understanding of such wonderful love ... its breadth and length and depth and height!

Love "never fails!"

What a glorious ending to a sixteen part description of God's Love!

Let me put it one more way.  I'm now quoting Jeremiah the Prophet.  "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."  Jeremiah 31:3

Amazing!

                                                                                   --- Norma Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 17, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2005:

The love that has been described by Paul here is astounding!

Sixteen traits of godly love!

That's what we're given in 1st Corinthians 13!

Each new "facet" of agape love is like a beautifully cut brilliant diamond reflecting a new "hue" of bright light as it is gently turned in one's hand!

Think about a love that never fails!

Or is always kind!

That is never sinfully angry!

Indeed this is the love of God placed in believer's hearts through the ministry of the Holy Spirit!  Yes, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."  Romans 5:5

Once, when contemplating this kind of love, John exclaims:  "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us!"  1st John 3:1a

What "manner" of love!

See that word "manner?"

According to W. E. Vine's Dictionary of Greek Words, an old stand-by reference work, the word "manner" (in Greek = "potapos") means "from what country!"

What "kind" of love is agape love?

What "manner" of love is it?

This is synonymous to saying "from what country" is this love?

I'll answer that!

It's from "out of this world!"

Mankind certainly cannot produce it!

It's from a far country!

A heavenly country!

It's from God Himself!

Agape love is God's Love!

Behold!

Sisters, having together learned these 16 truths about real love, let us indeed obey 1st John 4:11.  "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."

Amen!

                                                                                 --- Norma Bagwell

 

what amazing love!

 

 

 

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