Let Your Hope Keep You

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How should I love?

What should I hate?

What should I hold on to?

How should I love someone?

How should I show respect?

How should I work?

How should I serve the Lord?

What can keep me joyful?

How should I respond during times of trouble?

When should I pray?

Should I share my belongings?

Should I open my home to people I don’t know?

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Love must be completely sincere.

Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

Love one another warmly as Christians,

and be eager to show respect for one another.

Work hard and do not be lazy.

Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 

Let your hope keep you joyful,

be patient in your troubles,

and pray at all times.

Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians,

and open your homes to strangers.

–Romans 12:9-13

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hope keep final

Love Is

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In the last day or so, I seem to be really focusing on the lyrics of songs I am hearing on the radio.

Words that I have heard before somehow seem to be coming to rest in my mind in a way they hadn’t previously.

Here are some of the words I was listening to more closely this afternoon while driving home from work:

Love, take these words that I’m speaking
Love, take these thoughts that I’m thinking
Love, take me over
Love, fill up all of my space and
Love, stand right here in my place
Love, hear this prayer that I’m praying
Love, take me, love, take me over
Love, take me over

—Love Take Me Over by Steven Curtis Chapman

Specifically, the idea of love standing right here in my place was of particular interest to me.

When I am confronted with unkind words spoken to me, what would it be like if I stepped out of the way and “love” stepped in and took my place?

How would personified “love” respond?

If someone is angry with me, what would happen if “love” stepped in again?

What if I just stepped out of my little circle and love took my place?

When I am faced with a choice to minister to another’s needs, what would happen if “love” stepped in?

What if “love” always stepped in?

Would my life be vastly different?

Would yours?

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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love is final

Love is Kind

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Am I patient?

Am I kind?

Or am I envious, boastful and proud?

Do I honor others?

Or am I self-seeking and easily angered?

Do I keep a record of wrongs?

Do I delight in evil or do I rejoice in the truth?

Do I always protect?

Do I always trust?

Do I always hope?

Do I always persevere?

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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love is

For All Endurance

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They all seemed to come at once.

At the end of my street where it adjoins a highway, suddenly there was a large group of bicyclists approaching at a respectable speed.

Their bodies working hard to propel them on the pavement, they were dressed in various colored biking clothes, wearing helmets for protection.

They were most likely in an organized race; a very common thing in this area.

It takes endurance and strength to do something like that.

Mile after mile, legs pushing, hearts pounding, with eyes alert for cars and any obstacles on the road.

I never hear a dedicated bicyclist complain about hating it.

Just the opposite seems true.

It seems that bicyclists are eager to ride and just as eager to join with others for the experience.

As believers in Jesus, we should be eager to live each day for Him.

He is the one who gives us strength and power in every situation we find ourselves in.

Our endurance and inner joy comes from Him.

Day after day, we have purpose and meaning that is made known in all our encounters, as we speak and act as Jesus would have us to.

Like the bicyclists I saw this morning, we are on the journey together, traveling a roads that He sets before us according to His divine plan.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

—Colossians 1:11-14

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strengthened