“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 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. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13
In a message years ago, missionary Elisabeth Elliott said she was sure her deceased mother still prayed for her. Does that statement startle you? Maybe create a little uneasiness? Here is how she explained it: “Since I know that Mother talked to Jesus about me all the time while she was here on earth, why should I think she’d stop doing this now that she is with Him face-to-face?” Paul writes in today’s Scripture, “Love never fails.” And if it never fails, why should we think that Elisabeth’s mother stopped loving her when her spirit went to heaven? Yes, the current state of departed saints is cloaked in mystery. We know they’re with Jesus and that they’re happier, healthier, and wiser than ever before. Beyond that, who can say? It’s not too much of a stretch to think their love for us and for the church brims over with wise prayers to our Savior.
Lord, it moves my heart to think that at this very moment You’re in the presence of my dad and mom—and so many other friends and loved ones who have left this earth. I can’t see them, but You can. I don’t know if they’re aware of my life and my challenges today, but I know You are, so I rest in that.
This is slightly off-topic, but one time I heard Joni say that the Lord told us to “remember prisoners.” I knew she was talking about convicts imprisoned for crimes. When I was a young Christian, I too made this mistake in understanding what the Lord meant. I know that convicts work on wheelchairs for WFTW, and that Joni goes to speak to men in prison. I am NOT saying that prisoners AREN’T a “mission field”–the ENTIRE WORLD is a mission field, but when Jesus said, “I was sick and in prison, and you visited Me,” He was NOT talking about people imprisoned for rape, murder, robbery, etc.
Why would JESUS be imprisoned for abducting a 12 year old out of her bedroom, raping her and strangling her (yes, that happened to the daughter of friends of mine)? Is this who Paul was talking about when he told us to provide for prisoners and their families’ needs, and to “remember those in prison as if in prison with them?”
It wasn’t until I began writing to people imprisoned FOR THE LORD on http://www.prisoneralert.com, that I understood these Scriptures about prisoners. Please join me in writing these precious people on this website. You can read their stories, pray for them, and write 12 encouraging Scriptures or encouraging words to them, and the computer prints it out in their language. Cut the URL off the top and bottom, and it will cost $1.20 to mail.
I used to always choose Scriptures, as I thought these people needed to hear the Word, but then I saw an interview with a released prisoner, who said her captors wouldn’t let her read the letters with Scriptures. So now I only write encouraging words to prisoners.