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"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,

but have not love,

                            I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."                          

 (1 Corinthians 13:1, ESV)

Love is one of the most powerful emotions humans can experience. For Christian believers, love is the truest test of genuine faith. Through the Bible, we discover how to experience love in its many forms and to share it with others as God intended.  It is an essential ingredient for displaying ourselves as a true disciple of Jesus in the workplace and elsewhere.

Yet, when I worked in the corporate business world, I honestly found it difficult to love some people especially every day complainers who sometimes caused me to momentarily forget that such a Christian virtue exists.  In those days, I found love to be a strange kind of attribute because it was easy to love some creatures including my favorite dog Honchos (now deceased) and yet so difficult to love some people. 

But, I have had to remind this human (Jim Hogsett) that God teaches us that our love should be unconditional.  Unconditional love, simply put, has no strings attached. It is love you offer freely. You don’t base it on what someone does for you in return. You simply love them and want nothing more than their happiness

But what about when they do harm to me?  As I operate from the turf of Jesus Christ, vengeance toward any Christian becomes my expectation.  But, I must lay the situation aside and pray for them and, yes, as difficult as it may seem, I must love them. Through practice and self discipline, I have found that to be remarkably much easier the longer I live especially when the memory of my standing inside that empty tomb in Israel in 2010 makes me realize the depth of the love of Christ for all humans.....a love that can not even be measured.  

Exactly one year ago, I read a message written by one of my Christian brothers in Christ who also writes a monthly newsletter from Bethany Christian Center in Stockton, California. He is Jun Renegado and he has given me permission to share his content with you:

“The first thing that many Americans think about when February comes around is 'love' and Valentine's Day. In fact, the business industry takes advantage of this. Retailers benefit from it all.  One survey taken from “Statista” website reveals the most popular gifts for Vallentine's Day in the United States:   44% sweets/candies,  33% greeting cards,  32% flowers,  29% romantic dinner,  14% wine.

It's unfortunate that our society has allowed Hollywood type celebrities to supersede the Biblical definition of love. The result is that the secular world is no longer able to distinguish between love and lust. As Christians, we should be impacting our world by exuding love because love dwells in us. 'Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love' (1 John 4:8, ESV). God's love should permeate every aspect of our lives, whether it be the relationship we have with our spouses, relatives, friends, strangers, co-workers, etc.    

Christians have generally been labeled as hypocrites and this hit home when I recently had a conversation with an inmate in San Quentin. Brother Ray is an inmate on death row who accepted the Lord years after being in prison. A former “shot caller” in the facility, his life has been gloriously transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He asked a question that really should embarrass and convict Christians. He wondered why many Christians don't come out to the prisons.

It was very difficult to justify the inactions of many Christians, especially since we claim to love and follow Jesus as our Lord and Master. I wonder what percentage of Christians truly become involved in ministry beyond the comfort zone of their church buildings.    

We are not allowed to bring Bibles into death row. We have to use those that are provided in their library. As I was searching for a particular translation to use with Brother Ray, I had to sort through a host of “religious” books (New World Translation, Book of Mormons, etc.) before I could find what I was looking for. The sad reality hit me that different religions were visiting; whereas professing believers were ignoring Jesus. 'For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me' (Matthew 25:35-36, TLV).  

Love is putting the needs of others before your own. 'Abba, Father,' He said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will' (Mark 14:36, NIV). Jesus counted the cost and sacrificed Himself because He put our need for salvation above His own life. 'For only rarely will someone die on behalf of a righteous person (for on behalf of a good person possibly someone might even dare to die), but God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us' (Romans 5:7-8, LEB).     Brethren, step out in faith to obey His Great Commission out of love."     <><Bro. Jun Renegado

Thank you Brother Jun for such a message like this which should cause each of us to examine and check the reading on our love barometer

While worshipping at my church last Sunday, a chorus was sung which absolutely touched my heart because the words are an expression of the love I have for the one whom I serve:  

All my life, you have been faithful

All my life you have been so so good

With every breath that I am able

I will sing of the goodness of God!

In closing, I invite you to join me on our YouTube channel.  Click below and you will find 28 recorded messages including one-minute presentations for those who have a heavy schedule:

You Tube

I look forward to being with you in March.   In the meantime, I must be about my Father's business.

altVery truly yours,

Jim Hogsett, Writer for Guideposts Magazine and President/Founder at WORKER MINISTRIES WORLD HEADQUARTERS