Today's Bible Reading
     II Samuel 2
     I Corinthians 13
     Ezekiel 11
     Psalms 50
      ''Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up." (I Corinthians 13:4)
      We hear a lot about love today. In the last few days, I've had people tell me, ''I love my wife'', ''I love my dog'', '' I love prime rib'', and ''I love that new television show." It is obvious that all these people mean something different by using the same word.
      I Corinthians 13 is known as the ''Love Chapter'' in the Bible. It is here that Paul introduces us to true love. The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it ''has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit...'' (Romans 5:5)
      It has taken me nearly a full lifetime, but I think I have finally learned some things about true love. For example, this kind of love is not premeditated - it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. Our thoughts and actions toward other people, for example, cannot be predetermined. The characteristic of true love is spontaneity. We do not deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. We will, indeed, be amazed at our own actions when it is the love of Christ flowing through us.
      I've also learned that this kind of love grows with time. I've been married now for 51 years. We've discovered that what we thought was love as teenagers was not even close. Time and testing will build true love, and it always involves commitment.  The proof of that commitment, however, is the spontaneity of expression.
      If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really do not love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. When we truly love Him, He is both the source and the object of that love, and it is always spontaneous.
      Pray for the unreached people of Brunei . They are the Malay majority, and is predominantly Muslim with no known Christians. Witchcraft and materialism are strong. Pray also for the tribal peoples of this country. They have either been converted to Islam or remain isolated in jungle villages. Those who are isolated are responding when Christian missionaries are able to get to them.  Pray for the evangelization of each of these communities.
HOW TO ESCAPE CRITICISM: ''Say Nothing; Do Nothing; Be Nothing''
W. B. Knight