No Boasting, No Vaunting

Read
1 Corinthians 1: 26-31

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Verse 13:4 (NIV)

Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.                                                                                                                         Verse 13:4 (KJV)

Reflect
The old King James Version of the Bible, sometimes uses words that give fuller meaning than the words we use today. The KJV uses these words in 1 Corinthians 13:4: “Charity vaunteth”. The word vaunteth means to shout out your own prowess, to express your vanity. It can include showing off after besting an opponent, and smirking as you walk by a defeated rival.

We boast for a lot of reasons. We want to be affirmed, and affirmation can be a good thing. But when that becomes our key motivation, when we do anything to gain the approval of others – that means we’ll do anything except show love because life is all about me.

It is not unlike going out to dinner with someone who you are getting to know and then you spend the entire evening talking about yourself. At the end of the evening you realize it has been all about you and nothing else. So, you say to this new friend; I am sorry. I have been talking all about myself tonight. Why don’t you talk a bit about me before the night is over?

The Greek word translated “boast” or “vaunt” comes from a root meaning “windbag.” When we boast, we spew a kind of foul hot air that comes from inner conceit.

Love is not a windbag. It doesn’t demand that its accomplishments be noticed. It doesn’t need to dominate a conversation. It can be happy if someone else shines while it stands quietly on the sidelines.

Pray
Father in heaven, let us rest in your accomplishments: in creation, on the cross, and at the resurrection. Help us to boast only in what you have done for us. Help me to be content in who you made me to be. Amen.

Gentleness

Read

Proverbs 15:1-14 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Verse 1 (NIV)

Reflect
Have you ever been in an argument and suddenly lost it? I remember well listening to a couple of my kids arguing and then I thought I heard a very rude comment from one of them. I immediately jumped into the argument and in very clear language blasted the one who I thought was the offender. After a short time, I went to talk to that teenager. He asked me what I thought he had said. I was totally wrong. And my son very calmly told me he forgave me and reminded me, it would be good to make sure of what I heard, before I used my words to cut a person down. The gentle response was given by my son to me after I had blasted him for something he did not say. Indeed, a tough lesson for me.

That gentle response prevented any more hard or harsh feelings from growing deeper in complexity or in broken relationships. A gentle word, with a feather-light touch, can remove the fuse, or whatever might trigger an explosion. And those who were arguing can step back, take a breath, and avoid incalculable damage to their relationship.

In a passage dealing with trouble between believers, Paul advises, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5). He lists gentleness among the qualities with which we should clothe ourselves: “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). And the apostle Peter says that a gentle spirit “is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4).

Many people today dismiss the quality of gentleness because our times have been infected with a hostile spirit, preferring confrontation, a harsh demand, and a merciless fight. On that day, I was very proud of my son and felt a huge amount of shame at my own response.

As you go about your day, do you prefer harshness and hostility, or is gentleness evident in your words and actions? Do others see that quality of Christ imitated in you?

Pray
Lord, our spirits are weary and tattered from the warfare of this world. We long for your gentleness. Transform our rough and harsh hearts and give us a gentle and quiet spirit. Amen

Set Free from Fear

Set Free from Fear

A student from our ESL program became fearful given the news that’s out there (COVID-19) and became pretty concerned with what’s going on. One of our ESL teachers forwarded the message The Name that Protects You (March 15, 2020) to the student and they listened. The student called back to the teacher and just said their spirits were lifted. They were so encouraged with hope that they took the same message and shared it with all their friends. Hallelujah!

I have a brand new husband

I have a brand new husband

My husband was diagnosed with severe mood disorder. Some days are great, but most days they’re not. When it’s a good day, I lived in anticipation and fear of when the next bad episode will happen. After listening to a sermon from the series “Where God’s grace abounds, there is…”, my husband became a changed man. He took care of our home and family, which rarely happened before! Praise God, I have a brand new husband.