We had quite the crowd last night at the Sellers’ house!  Chris, Diane and Dillon surprised us with a visit, and we were really glad to see them!  We sat down to communion and a dinner of upside-down shepherd’s pie, chicken corn chowder, and roast, taters and carrots.  Following dinner, the kids went to the nursery with Ashley (hooray!) and the rest of us went to the living room.

Janee brought a passage of scripture that many of us have read many times, but God is still managing to teach us from it. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us a lot about how God views love.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!  Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!  But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.  Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)

Here are some things that we gleaned from the Scripture:

  • Love is both eternal and timeless
  • Not only should we love others along with having Spiritual gifts, but love should be a part of every gift.  We should prophesy in love.  We should speak in tongues in love.  We should encourage in love, etc.
  • A part of this is speaking the truth in love.  Not just that you should be loving in the way you speak the truth, but that difficult truths can only be stomached where there is already a foundation of love.

We related this passage to 1 John 4, another love chapter in the Bible.  We are only able to love others by having a revelation of God’s love for us.  That is not to say that no unbelievers can love at all or that all Christians love perfectly.  It is the unconditional agape that the Scripture is speaking of.

We took a moment at this point to pray for a specific prayer request from Becky and Brandon involving Brandon’s job situation and the Harris’ housing situation

Then I (Bonnie) brought a Thanksgiving passage to the group.  Philippians 4:4-9 says:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (NIV)

We’ve memorized bits of this passage separately, but Paul wrote them together for a reason.  He says that rejoicing and thanking God should come at the same time as bringing your petitions to Him.  When you’re tempted to whine and complain or be anxious about your situation, bring your request to God with Thanksgiving and then think about positive things.  April pointed out that Paul even demonstrates  this to the church in this letter.  Right before this passage, he tells a couple of the women in their group that they need to get along.  Right after this passage he thanks the church for thinking of him.  He thanks them and gives requests to them together.

Somehow we then got into a discussion of casting lots.  While we did not conclude that this is the only way to hear from God (obviously), when the Holy Spirit leads it, casting lots is a scriptural way to make decisions.  The disciples picked a new 12th this way, and Ryan mentioned Proverbs 16:33 which says that though we are casting lots, God determines how they fall.

We prayed for another member of the body, and then sang songs and dispersed.

* This obviously refers to our casting lots discussion, the reasoning being if God tells us to flip a coin and we don’t like how it lands, we can ask for a best of 2 out of 3.