“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” –1 Corinthians 13:1-7

See the astounding love from which only flows from the Father (1Jo 4:8). A love that if we lack of it, our life is a meaningless noise. This is not the limited love of the world that asks us to extend a crumb of kindness in order to “be the bigger person” so we can puff up our pious pride. This love is not the cold “love” of the world that makes peace with broken relationships and equates forgiveness with a faulty memory. No, this love implores affection for those who wound us deeply (Luke 6:32-36), to empty ourselves for their benefit (Rom 5:6-8). This love drives us to our knees for reconciliation (both with God and one another; Mat 5:9), extending boundless forgiveness no matter the history (Mat 18:21-22), joyfully receiving insults, persecutions, and “all kinds of evil things” (Mat 5:11-12).

“I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” –John 13:34

Billy Neal


Consider how God has shined and rained grace upon you (Mat 5:45). Truly consider your lowly state before Him, and that Jesus paid it all (1Jo 2:2). No retribution is owed anyone who has wronged you; the only repayment you have in Christ Jesus is love (Rom 13:8-10). And we are helpless to show this kind of love apart from His empowerment.

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Advent: Love

Advent: Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
— Psalm 136:1-3, ESV

He brought me to the banqueting house,and his banner over me was love. — Song of Solomon 2:4, ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
— Galatians 5:22-23, ESV

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. — 1 John 4:8

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
— 1 John 4:18a, ESV

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in
hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering
produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not
put us to shame, because God’s LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has
been given to us.
— Romans 5:1-5, ESV

What is love? I love my wife. I love my family and friends. I love Mexican food. I love Jesus. Same word, lot of difference in what it means (and yes, I love Jesus and Kathy way more than Mexican food!) Unfortunately, English doesn’t have several different words that give us the nuances we need.

John gives a good definition: God is Love. There is the Christmas song, “Love Came Down at Christmas”. Jesus, the embodiment – the incarnation – of God’s love, came to us; we don’t find Him, He finds us! His love for us is steadfast and enduring and He prepares a table for us and calls us to safety under His banner. The first fruit of the Spirit is love and indeed, John also tells us that if we do not love, we do not know God – thus we don’t know what Love is!

Love and fear do not mix. Perfect love casts out fear – ALL fear. A few years ago, I had a vision of seeing this verse “enacted”: I have put my fear on a pedestal; it controled me. But then Jesus came along with a baseball bat marked “Perfect Love” and He knocked fear “out of the park” – He also destroyed that pedestal and stood in its place.

So what are you afraid of? Do you have fear on a pedestal? Fear not delta or omicron, come under the banner of the Alpha and Omega. Fear nothing for His steadfast love endures forever. Let Love be poured into your heart to overflowing; bear much of this Spirit fruit. Share Love this season.

Steve Pierce

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And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. –Matthew 24:12

Men, false prophets will rise up, “and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Many generations through the ages past could point to lawlessness and wondered if the end were imminent. Today, we share in that familiar curiosity. There seems to be a plurality of systems and standards. There’s no end to which indiscretions can be overlooked with the right political connections while someone who steals out of hunger is punished harshly. What was treasonous two generations ago is today’s political platform. “Legalease” makes it impossible to trust documents or agreements.

These things are symptoms of lawlessness abounding. Devoid of a genuine standard, humanity is left groping for their version of truth, and leads others to formulate their justice. The shifting sands of today’s justice have led to “social justice” which only serves to highlight further perceived injustice. In frustration, we are shutting our doors to the world around us, focusing our residual love into smaller and smaller circles, and growing cold to our neighbors.

Most of us can identify. Jesus told us to expect it and we still wonder why we’re seeing it happen on Main Street, or on our block, and in our own hearts. Love is growing cold. The divide between those with Holy Spirit, equipped for all good works, and those whom, by choice or not choosing at all, have followed after the ruler of this age, the enemy, expands. Jude says to continue in love, “snatching some as from the fire”.

If we agree on what we’re seeing, and it lines up with what Jesus prophesied in chronological timeline, then we do well to recognize these times, to use these sights as evidence to take confidence in the total work of scripture, and consider deeper therefore what the Word says to do in these times.

Move forward men, resistant to the spirit of the ruler of this age. Do not concede to the fall of lawlessness and love. Take hold of His promises. Recognize the season and prepare.

Vance Durrance

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Love in Truth


To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:  Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. –2 John 1-3

John addresses this brief one-chapter letter to “the elect lady and her children”. Two interpretations are valid: this could be a specific woman and her children, or this could be addressed to a local church and the congregants who came to the truth from there. John then links love for “her” in truth.

Love in truth often refers to “tough love” but even so, it’s no less sincere. John says “not only I but those who have known the truth” referring to the other apostles. John’s love for “her” is not random but born out of the truth which abides in him and will be with him forever. Look closely at the first few verses in your Bible and count the times “truth” is used. John is referring to Jesus which has been taught to them accurately.

Again, false teachers have come to confuse the work of the apostles. Truth will again be a focus of attention as John deals with false teachings. Brothers, though it may sound redundant. False teaching was, is, and will continue to be an issue we must personally combat. Some teachers in our own time question the authenticity of the Word. Some question Jesus’s existence while others simply question His deity. Others come on screen to tell us Jesus wants us to be rich, so we can send in large donation checks to fund their travels on private jets. Too often messages of hyper-grace, or on the other end, legalism come from the pulpit. John brings an immediate focus on “truth”. John sends his greeting to “the elect lady” with grace, mercy, and peace which comes from God the Father and the Son in truth and love.

As we again dive into correcting the erosion of truth by deceivers, move forward men, evaluating your personal perspectives and beliefs against the truth of His precious Word. Our Father loves you and I and gave us an immovable standard for the ages to anchor our hearts to, so that deceptions do not cast us adrift from His heart.

Vance Durrance

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What Kind of Love is This?


Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 NKJV

John asks, “What kind of love is this? That we would be called God the Father’s children.” As we belong to Him, the world no longer knows us. As we come into alignment with Him, the world understands us less because the world doesn’t know Him. As the Father’s children, we don’t know what we will become as life continues in Him. We do know that we will be like Him, but it is not yet revealed. When it is revealed, we will be like Him and see Him finally, just as He is, in His glory.

Everyone who has this hope, and understands, purifies himself as Jesus is pure. The more we seek Him, the more we find, the more we find, the more we want. The more we want Him, the more He reveals the junk between us and Him. As He reveals it, we must confess it and repent of it. If we’re obedient to submit it and turn from it, He takes us deeper, and the cycle continues as we purify our lives in Him.

We have this idea that the process is harsh or abstract. The Father calls us His children. Bad teaching gives us a bad picture of who He is. He is a loving Father, and gentle with us. More so when we walk according to His leading. He exalts the humble, and humbles the proud. Would a good man set his children up for failure or success? Would he offer gentle and understanding correction, or allow his child to walk in error and deceit? Wouldn’t he pour out his heart and his best on his child when they come to him with their struggles, hopes, and questions? The Father of all creation is a Good Father who welcomes us as His children. He picks us up when we fall. He doesn’t wait with lightning bolts in hand like darts. He teaches and leads His attentive children and showers them with favor, though that rarely means wealth.

We have a very real enemy, and He stands watch only allowing the enemy to test us in ways He approves of for our growth. Yes, we learn and grow in struggle, and He strategically allows us to hurt. Move forward men, as children growing with the Father.

Become Holy.

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Walking in the Light


Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. — 1 John 2:7-11, ESV.

John reminds us of the new commandment Jesus left for us in John 13:34-35: “Love one another as I have loved you.” John is not writing a new command, but reminding the people of Christ’s fulfillment of the law by His display of love on our behalf, that while we were still sinners, He came and died. If we say we are of Him and we are in the Light but hate a fellow believer, we are in darkness, stumbling, and we don’t know where we are going as in a blinded state.

Light and dark can’t coexist. Love and hate can’t exist together. When the sun comes up, night is over. When Jesus ascends the throne of your life, hate bows down. If we have Jesus’ Spirit within us, then we will begin to see people as He sees. We will feel for them the compassion that He would feel. We will love them as Jesus loves them, and again, love and hate can’t coexist. We live in a world of jealousy and malice. Our age is filled with messages like “get yours before someone else does”, “he who is on top wins” and the list goes on. Love compels us to help others first and wait on the Lord for ours. Love compels us to be humble and lift our brothers up.

What is your and my own life speaking of us? Is love evident within us? Is it hidden and obscured? Is it out in front of you recklessly spilling on whomever? If a brother does us wrong, what is our response? Move forward men, loving our brothers with abandon. Walk in light, and let it shine as evidence of the changing grace of our Lord’s work within us.

Vance Durrance

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‘Love’ in Today’s World — Part 2


1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 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 is not rude or self-serving. It is not easily angered or resentful. I don’t know if any place tells on us more than the highway. I recall as a young boy riding with my grandparents. Grandma did most of the driving, and in her time, if your headlight beam reached the bumper of the car in front of you, you were crowding. If you crowded her you can bet there was an incremental response. She started respectfully giving room to pass, but if you didn’t get the hint she might just stop right there in the road and make you pass. Today it’s hard to fit a Bible between bumpers. We’ve forgotten our respect for each other. We are incredibly rude as long as our faces are hidden behind our monitor screens or tinted windows. We push and push, because we are so important of course. We anger at anything opposing or hindering our personal initiative and resent anyone or thing that challenges our view of self. I’m guilty too. Seldom do I need to hurry as I do. We seem to be scared of wasting a second in some environments but then waste hours scrolling social media. Move forward brothers, demonstrating love and forgiveness for each other regardless of the environment or circumstances. Imagine if Christ hadn’t been inclined to spare a few seconds for troubling people. Respect each other as co-heirs. Stop driving your life like your Dominic Toretto in some teenage car chase scene. Everyone else in this world has the same value in God as you and I. Let go of resentment. People fail us, because people are fallible. We have failed people also. Forgive as we have been forgiven.

Love is not glad about injustices, but rejoices in the truth. At the time of Jesus’s trial and subsequent crucifixion, many who had refused to believe in Him were happy about His arrest and flogging. The blood loss from the flogging by itself would have been life threatening, especially in a time without antibiotics. Jesus was beaten unrecognizable. There was no real evidence of corruption. The charge of blasphemy if proven legitimate might have been punishable by stoning, but the misery Christ endured was wildly unjust. Still, people cheered. Pilate, the governor, just before washing his hands of the matter conversed with Jesus and the question was asked; “What is truth?” This is one of the most profound and important question anyone can ask for themselves. Truth must be defined in its root before asking what is true of a circumstance. Truth is made of facts, but facts are too incomplete to be truth. Truth ascends beyond details, or agreed upon rules and formulas. Truth resides in permanence as the straight line by which all other lines are gauged to be straight or not. When we are glad about some injustice, what then is true about ourselves? “Means to an end” is not a justifiable position from truth. Move forward men. Pursue truth like your life depends upon it, for it most certainly does. Pursue truth, and follow the evidence. If we each commit to this, we will find each other at the end of our journey at the same feet, where justice meets mercy and Grace becomes manifest. What is true in the highest? Jesus paid a price by love that was unjust so we could choose to know…Truth.

Vance Durrance

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‘Love’ in Today’s World — Part 1


1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 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.

Paul has said that love is the ingredient that brings value to the Spiritual gifts we are given. Perhaps you are like me, in that, tenderness is not your specific gift. Thankfully for those like us, Paul defines love by its attributes. So, let’s take it in doses. Love is patient and kind, but not envious. Patience is a tool few of us share in our instant gratification culture.  Kindness has now often given way to self-service. Acts of decency once common and expected often become viral video today as they increase in rarity. Envious is the one term of these three that does define our “I want” generation. We’ve largely abandoned love in favor of entitlement. We are a nation divided by politics, corporate branding, preference, class, wealth brackets, and ideology. The church is failing because we the people have failed in love for each other as co-heirs, sharing together the image of God. It is not the presidents fault, or the past administrations fault, nor is it whomever you and I view as an opponent. The responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves lands squarely upon our own shoulders. Jesus illustrated for us all how to love the unlovable. Move forward men, with patience and kindness. Take the time to love people. Give others the time to grow. Help one another in kindness. Smile, laugh with someone, hold a door. Be pleasant. These things make us more approachable. May love for one another begin here, and may God gain an increase from it. We may even find ourselves blessed by our own acts of decency among each other.

A little more on the attributes of love. Love does not brag, nor is it puffed up. We often miss the mark here. With so much of our lives turned inside out on social media today, we brag about everything from a new purchase to our dinner plates. We’ve surrendered privacy in favor of projecting a reality star persona. We’ve managed to create software to help us inflate our view of our self.  Filters, autofocus, and programs aid in shading and lighting help us with the perfect selfie or picture to convince the world we’re on top. We’ve ascended to a degree of puffed up as a culture where we are seeing the consequences of our delusions. When reality and truth strikes like lightning upon our house of cards we see the collapse of reason and judgement. Our culture has puffed to the level of entitlement, and when expectations aren’t met the response is often violent, irrational, and even deadly. There is good reason to present all glory to God. God is the source of all good, the perfect example to follow, a lion of a leader, and a lamb of sacrificial love. When we get glory we are in danger of increasing arrogance. We lose focus on the mission and look at ourselves. When God gets the glory He showers us with love. If we boast, let’s boast of what we have in Him. Move forward men, with far less ego, and much more humility as a people of God. We are not here on earth to bring things into our nests. We aren’t here to build bigger nests. We’re here to point to the One who is shelter, refuge, and peace in troubled times.

Vance Durrance

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