VIDEO Counting Your Blessings: Numbers to Be Thankful For – 3

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

At the 1990 FIFA World Cup, the three greatest tenors in the world came together to sing for the first time: Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti. The response was beyond belief, and the three went on to record albums and tour in stadiums all over the world. They were known as The Three Tenors.

In the New Testament, the “Three Tenors” of faith, hope, and love make repeated appearances. The apostle Paul often grouped these three into a harmonious whole and emphasized them. Spiritual maturity is found in trusting God with all our problems (faith), remaining optimistic in life (hope), and caring more for others than for ourselves (love).

Why is love the greatest of these? When we place our faith in Christ and develop a hopeful attitude, the stage is set for our love to flourish—and love is the fulfillment of all the law.

Thank God for His tremendous trio of Spirit-inspired attitudes to rule your mind today.

Faith and hope are, in one sense, means to an even greater end, without which they would be incomplete: they transform us so that our lives overflow with Christlike love. Haddon Anderson

The Persistence of Love, Part 1 (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)

Both Are True

It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Genesis 45:5

After three decades, Feng Lulu was reunited with her birth family. As a toddler, she was kidnapped while playing outside her house, but through the help of All-China Women’s Federation, she was finally located. Because she was so young when she was abducted, Feng Lulu doesn’t remember it. She grew up believing she’d been sold because her parents couldn’t afford to keep her, so learning the truth surfaced many questions and emotions.

When Joseph was reunited with his brothers, it’s likely he experienced some complex emotions. He’d been sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt as a young man. Despite a series of painful twists and turns, God propelled Joseph to a position of authority. When his brothers came to Egypt to buy food during a famine, they—unwittingly—sought it from him.

Joseph acknowledged that God redeemed their wrongdoing, saying He used it to “save [their] lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7). Yet Joseph didn’t redefine their hurtful actions toward him—he described them accurately as “selling [him]” (v. 5).

We sometimes try to put an overly positive spin on difficult situations, focusing on the good God brings from them without acknowledging the emotional struggle. Let’s take care not to redefine a wrong as being good simply because God redeemed it: we can look for Him to bring good from it while still recognizing the pain wrongdoing causes. Both are true.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

When have you experienced hardship as a result of another’s wrongdoing? How have you seen God bring good from it?

Father God, thank You for lovingly tending to my wounds. 

Demonstrate Love

Ask God to show you how to love someone in your world today 1 John 3:14-18

While growing up, I had several Sunday school teachers, but Craig Stowe is the one I remember most. A few times a month, Mr. Stowe stopped on his way home when he saw me delivering newspapers. He’d ask how I was doing and inquire if there was anything he could pray about for me. And before he pulled away, he always bought a newspaper—for five times its worth. 

Those brief conversations with Mr. Stowe had a significant impact on my life. I knew he cared about me because he took the time to look me in the eye and make sure I was doing well. That feeling of love is one I try to pass on, even if I have just a few minutes with a person. 

Believers are called to love one another “in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). You can make a big difference in someone’s life with simple acts of service and kindness—a hug, a conversation, a meal. You don’t have to reach a large crowd; just let God use you to show one person at a time that you care. All it takes for someone to feel God’s love is a little bit thoughtful attention.

The Voice of the Lord

“The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.” (Psalm 29:4)

This solemn phrase, “the voice of the LORD,” occurs seven times in Psalm 29, centered especially on the awful judgment of the great Flood in the days of Noah. “The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters” (v. 3). It occurs many other times in the Old Testament as well, with a wide variety of applications and circumstances.

The first time it occurs, however (and this is also the first occurrence of “voice” in the Bible, indicating thereby that it is God’s voice—not man’s—that we must hear if we seek guidance for life), is in the Garden of Eden immediately after man brought sin into the world. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden….And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8-9). Mankind is lost and separated from God, but God calls unto each of us as He did to Adam, and we desperately need to hear His voice if our lives are to be fulfilled and spiritually fruitful.

In contrast to this scene of alienation, the final occurrence of a “voice” in the Bible is a beautiful scene of reconciliation when God again speaks to lost mankind, this time in glorious restoration of that broken fellowship. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

To hear His voice then, however, we must first hear His voice now, through His Word. Jesus said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life….the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:24-25). HMM

The Spirit Is Intellectual

They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.Acts 17:11

The flame of the Spirit is also intellectual. Reason, say the theologians, is one of the divine attributes. There need be no incompatibility between the deepest experiences of the Spirit and the highest attainments of the human intellect.

It is only required that the Christian intellect be fully surrendered to God and there need be no limit to its activities beyond those imposed upon it by its own strength and size.

How cold and deadly is the unblessed intellect. A superior brain without the saving essence of godliness may turn against the human race and drench the world with blood, or worse, it may loose ideas into the earth which will continue to curse mankind for centuries after it has turned to dust again.

But a Spirit-filled mind is a joy to God and a delight to all men of good will. POM104

God’s method is first to fill the man with the facts of salvation and then send the baptism of fire upon him….God’s order is facts and fire. SAN120

A Temple, Not a Trap

You prepared a body for Me.—Hebrews 10:5

We continue to meditate on things we must do if we are to stay spiritually fresh. My next suggestion may come as a surprise: keep your body in good physical shape.

One of the most disastrous divorces that ever took place in Christendom was that between the physical and the spiritual. In the early days of Christianity, the two were one. When the disciples wanted men to look after the physical nourishment of those who were in need in the early church, the first of those they selected was Stephen, “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Ac 6:5). This combination of faith and the Holy Spirit was to be carried into the satisfying of physical needs, for the early church regarded the physical as being important as well as the spiritual. Not supremely important, of course, but important nevertheless.

In more recent centuries, the physical has been looked upon with greater suspicion in the church. In my youth I heard thundering sermons on the text, “our vile body” (Php 3:21, KJV), in which preachers propounded the idea that the body was the enemy of the soul. The suggestion was that the body must be ignored until the day when it is finally discarded and we are given a new resurrection body. These preachers failed to understand that the phrase “vile body” in the King James Version really means “the body of our humble condition” (HCSB) and not something to be treated with contempt. Let’s be done with this morbid idea concerning the body that still lingers in parts of the Christian church. Our bodies are not to be seen as traps, but as temples of the Holy Spirit.


Blessed Lord Jesus, help me see my body in the way You saw Yours—not as something to be avoided but as something to be used. Show me the steps I need to take to be healthy in soul and in body. For Your own dear name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

Rm 12:1-8; 6:13; 2Co 6:16

What are we to offer God?

What are we to honor God with?

A Part of Something Bigger

Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.Exodus 3:6

God always speaks to you in the context of what He has done in the lives of those who have gone before you. When God encountered Moses, He did not give him an assignment independent of what He had done through those who had preceded him. God had made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hundreds of years earlier, and He was now going to involve Moses in His ongoing activity to fulfill the covenant He had made with Moses’ forefathers.

The God who led Moses, who worked through Elijah, who directed Paul, who guided each man and woman of God through the centuries, is the same God who approaches you to become involved in His work. Do you sense the significance of that? You are a vital part of something much bigger than yourself!

We tend to think only of the present. We want immediate results and lack a sense of eternity. We often act as if God had not been working at all where we are before He approached us. We expect that anything God does through us will be completed while we can see the results. We become impatient if God intends to complete what He began in us through another person or even another generation.

Moses came to understand that his involvement in God’s work was in the context of hundreds of years of divine activity. When Moses came face to face with the same God who had guided his forefathers, he was deeply humbled. Do you sense that your life is a part of God’s eternal purposes?