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[Love] puts up with anything. [Love] trusts God always.  [Love] always looks for the best.  [Love] never looks back.  [Love] keeps going to the end..  — 1 Corinthians 13:7,8 (The Message)

Throughout this forty day blogging journey, the theme has been focused on the great sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ– His radical love and conscious surrender to redeem our imperfect lives.  I am truly enjoying this period of deep worship and reflection and I pray you have been blessed by it as well.

These are two of my favorite scriptures because they are a perfect picture of God’s parental love for us.  My goodness, just pause for a moment to think about what you’ve put our Father through.  Heaven knows He’s put up with my mess time-after-time.  He’s put up with it all, He sees the very best in us though, despite our many flaws.  God never looks back at our mistakes and He will relentlessly love and pursue us until the end.  This scripture spells out His perfect love for His princesses; it makes my heart flutter and brings me to tears.  We really couldn’t ask for a better or greater love than God’s love.  Knowing this, how can we not operate in love with others or trust God with everything.  It’s taken me the full span of my life to get to this point of knowing and trusting God’s love for me.  As much as I recognize how far I’ve come, I know I still have a long journey ahead.  I’m forever grateful that I don’t have to journey alone.  It’s impossible for me to live out His gospel without Him carrying me the full distance.  That’s why I love these two scriptures so much– I’m so thankful that God is with me to the end!

Employ purposed living,

Aziza Bailey

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Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  –1 Corinthians 13:6

In 1 Corinthians 13:6, Paul is saying that love doesn’t celebrate being messy or shady– it doesn’t delight at injustices or wickedness, love triumphs when doing what’s right prevails.  It seems like our society is so conditioned to get over on people and to cheat or one-up one another.  We seem to revel at Machiavellianism in our culture and it breaks our Daddy’s heart.  Every time I look up, it seems like I’m reading another story in the newspaper about a pastor, CEO or influential public figures that’s “on top of the world” living deviously.  Meanwhile, as a society, we’ve come to not only rejoice with them, but model after their unsavory ways.  In our time, living large equals being vile and we lust after bling, regardless of what it seems to take to achieve it.  Paul is saying, be bold– walk in love by living a lifestyle that rejoices whenever truth and honorableness wins and not one that gloats over wickedness.

Lord, we cry out asking You to radically change our lives– break our hearts to what break Yours.  Guide our steps each day where we walk more boldly in Your complete gospel.  Purge us from a lifestyle of  delighting in evil and shift us toward one that rejoices when living truth prevails. Have Your way with each and every one of Your daughters, Daddy.  Shape our hearts, minds and thoughts to walk in the destiny that You have uniquely sculpted for us.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Continue to let this devotional prayer and scripture resonate with you throughout the day.

Employ purposed living,

Aziza Bailey

Father, there’s so much development opportunity when it comes to walking in love with others.  Teach us to not be dominated by our natural emotions, teach us to rise above how our society acceptably behaves toward walking in consistent obedience in Your word.  Filter our tongue so that we learn to speak loving truth and not harshly under the premise of keeping it real.  Lord, show us how to love those around us unconditionally.  Our heart’s desire is to learn to love like You.  Strengthen us to walk in love despite the coldness and selfishness that infiltrates this world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  –1 Corinthians 13:5

We live in a society where dishonoring others and selfish motives are the rules of the game.  Let’s face it, saving face is seldom practiced in this country– everybody is out to “keep it real” and look out for themselves.  However, true love honors the other person.  Operating in love is a selfless act.  Paul goes on to say that love doesn’t lose it’s cool or keep score.  This verse is a hard pill to swallow when you really think about it.  I’m certain that this is how God is with us.  His love is perfect.  Most of us care about other people, but typically not at the expense ourselves.  Then you have this whole thought of not being easily angered nor keeping record of wrongdoings– ouch, Paul is stepping on some toes here.  As Christians, this is the kind of love that we should have for everyone.  According to Paul, we can be crème de la crème, but if we don’t operate in love, we are completely broke.  Continue in this journey by reflecting on our Heavenly Father’s relentless love, as well as your love for others.

Employ purposed living,

Aziza Bailey

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. — 1 Corinthians 13:4

Ever wanted something in an envious way that you didn’t have?  Sure we all have been there.  I can recall the times when I was single and a few of my friends were married and I was jealous of what they had.  I kept my jealousy hidden deep down in my heart.  No one outside of God and myself even knew it was there.  I still blessed my married friends abundantly and celebrated their good news with them, but deep in my heart, I wanted God to hook me up like He did them.  I wanted a husband too!  The Message Translation says, “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.”  I was wrong for wanting something different for my life– something that was outside of His perfectly timed plan for me.  I was wrong for not trusting God.  Truth is, I was wrong for being envious.  I’m grateful God met me where I was back then and showed me the error of my ways.  Today, I find myself in a similar situation.  I have a desire in my heart that I know God placed there, but I’m trusting in His sovereign will/timing to manifest the blessing.  I’ve been trusting for a while and some days are harder than others.  However, I know when the timing is right, I will be blessed.  I don’t have to be jealous of anything or anyone. I’m secure in knowing that what God has for me is for me.  Likewise, when I finally receive His blessing, the word of God requires that I do not boast– that I am not proud.  God doesn’t want us to forget where our help comes from, nor does He want us to cause others to struggle while they wait on Him.  God wants us to love.

Employ purposed living,

Aziza Bailey

Have you ever thought about what Paul meant when he said in Corinthians that love is patient, love is kind?  The Message Translation says, “Love never gives up and it cares more for others than for self.”  I’ve been thinking a lot about those words lately and how our Father never gives up on us.  He sees us in our sin– how we struggle with obedience and how we mistreat one another, but He doesn’t give up on us, ever.  He’s abundantly graceful toward us and it’s evident through our Lord and Savior’s sacrifice.  Jesus cared more about us than He did His own personal interest and comfort.  He cared so much that He gave Himself up for us.  Thank You, Lord for Your continual and relentless love for Your daughters!

Think of that one relationship in your life that you have given up on– maybe it’s your husband, child, sister, mother or a long lost friend.  Now, pause for a moment to reflect on the unconditional love of God.  Take time right now to say a prayer asking God to show you ways to better walk in love with that individual.  Pour out your heart and ask God to show you how to love like Him.  If you journal, write down what He revealed to you in your prayers and then be proactive about carrying out His will.

Employ purposed living,

Aziza Bailey

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. 

Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.  Love doesn’t strut.    [Love] doesn’t have a swelled head. [Love] doesn’t force itself on others.  [Love] isn’t always “me first.”   [Love] doesn’t fly off the handle.  [Love] doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. [Love] doesn’t revel when others grovel.   [Love] takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.  [Love] puts up with anything.  [Love] trusts God always.  [Love] always looks for the best.  [Love] never looks back, but keeps going to the end.  Love never dies.  —1 Corinthians 13:1-10 (The Message)

Continue to meditate on these powerful scriptures during your personal reflection time throughout the day.

Employ purposed living,

Aziza Bailey