Have Fervent Charity

I Peter 4:8. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Don’t you love to watch the friendships between little kids? They are innocent, trusting, and loyal, completely unaware of differences that may divide them as they grow up. They delight in just being together.

That’s how we’re supposed to be with other believers. It’s harder for adults to be completely trusting, isn’t it? We’ve had to learn to cope with disloyalty, gossip, underhandedness, and betrayal. We’re often reluctant to set ourselves up for that again.

Peter says, however, that we are to have fervent charity toward each other. That is, our love for other believers is to be unceasing, “stretched out,” intent, and earnest. The word charity in this verse is agape in the Greek. It means affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love. A further definition of agape love: agape is unconditional love, “the highest form of love, charity” and “the love of God for man and of man for God.”(BlueLetterBible)

Believers need each other all the time, but especially when persecution looms and there is no escape. If we fail to  love each other, support each other, and care for each other, then we have failed in the worst possible way.

Agape love covers the sins of the one loving, as well as the sins of the ones receiving that love. Failure to love other believers results in gossip, dislike, accusations, and withdrawal from other believers. It weakens the body of Christ when one member of the body begins to hate and tear down other members of the body. Constant criticism of those around us, especially of other believers, never comes to a good end. It embitters us, and ruins our testimony of the love of God in the eyes of the world.

Part of that charity is to be hospitable to each other. Simply put, that means being generous to guests.

As I age, I find it very sad that I am no longer able to have lots of company. We used to make our home available for overnight guest speakers, for instance. Having people over for a meal was something we enjoyed. Because of my crumbling bones, I simply can’t keep the house up and do the work required for such hospitality. There are other ways of being available, though, and I do try to be open to those who are looking for a sympathetic listener. This, too, is a form of hospitality.


Isaiah 65:2-3.

I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

A people that provoketh Me to anger continually to My face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

Image result for I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people

Again, we hear the pain and despair in God’s voice as He recites the stubborn history of His people across the centuries. The rebelled; they chose a sinful path; they obeyed their own thoughts. They provoked His anger all the time, blatantly and without guilt. The followed the practices of the surrounding nations in worshiping idols by building altars to them in groves of trees, burning incense to appease those false gods, while they ignored the God of the Universe Who had led them out of captivity and preserved them over and over from the results of their disobedience.

His patience is amazing.

Good and Pleasant

Psalm 133

133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.


I had the pleasure today (Saturday) of spending a little over four hours with two “kids”  I’ve known since they were in high school. He is now a pastor; she is a member of his church and has a tremendous heart to help women who have experienced similar trials to those she has lived through and come to the other side with grace and victory.

Our discussion was heavy at times,  centering on some issues we are working on together.  But in spite of the serious nature of our conversation, there was an underlying sense, for me, of complete delight to see how these two have matured into godly, dedicated adults that I remember as kids. To see how they’ve grown, how they’ve matured spiritually, and that they both have given their hearts to God’s work, was an incredible blessing.

After we had covered the serious stuff, we naturally fell  to  remembering “the good old days.”   We laughed, and sometimes maybe just a couple of tears showed up.  We share some very wonderful memories, some funny ones, some sad ones.  We’ve gone in different directions in our lives. I see her every now and then, but it has been close to 20 years since I was able to visit with him. It was wonderful, and warm, and just refreshing.

The one thing that we share in common  is a love for our God, and for His Word.  We don’t agree on every single thing.  It doesn’t matter.  We have learned that you don’t have to agree with a person about everything in order to love that person, and our experience this morning was truly full of the Lord’s presence.  I loved it. I can’t wait to do it again.


Just a quick update on my health.  I am recovering very well from the surgery I had nearly two weeks ago.  In the last couple of days I have put away my walker, and my cane is taking a little break.  I’ll probably use it tomorrow, which will be my first excursion out of the house and to church. But I am delighted that the grinding, chronic pain is gone. It is such a relief!  The only twinge I have now and then comes from the incision and the staples that haven’t been removed yet. What a blessing, and how thankful I am for this relatively new surgical procedure that has given me such relief.

May you all have a blessed time tomorrow as you attend your churches and fellowship together. It’s happening all across this country, and God willing that will not stop any time soon.