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IMPOSSIBLE LOVE

One of the most challenging and often quoted sections of scripture in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love. It’s text that is commonly used at weddings to challenge young couples to love each other well. Unfortunately, on their own, it’s impossible.

The key to understanding this love Paul is describing to the church in Corinth is the context. Throughout chapters 12 and 14, Paul is describing spiritual gifts that benefit the body of Christ. In the last verse of chapter 12, after laying out how these gifts are to be used within the body of Christ, he writes, “But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”

So, love, in the context of Paul’s letter, is the way in which we exercise our spiritual gifts. And if it seems that the bar Paul lays out for us is too high, you’re not wrong. Like our spiritual gifts, it’s a supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit.

Without God’s sanctifying activity in my life, I can’t be patient, kind, never jealous, never arrogant. Unless I submit daily to him, I’ll always be unbecoming, seek my own way, easily offended, hold grudges and rejoice when bad things happen to those who’ve offended me.

Only in Him can I know truth and rejoice in it, bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.

Not only is this love a supernatural enablement, it is central to God’s character. In this chapter, “love” is from the Greek word “agape” (aγάπη). It is the highest form of love, one that is unconditional and selfsacrificing. We see how God loves us. He never fails. He is perfect in how He loves us. And He calls us to be the same – with His help.

It is our joy to show this love to our homeless, poor and marginalized neighbors as a means of introducing them to the One who loves them perfectly. Without your sacrifice of time, money and gifts, it’s a love they might never know. Thank you for partnering with us to do the most good – sharing the gospel to those who need to know love.

Blessings,
Major Robert Lyle

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God Works His Perfect Will in Imperfection

God Works His Perfect Will in Imperfection

 

By Major Robert Lyle, Chattanooga Area Command

 

The Christmas story tells us a lot about God and His heart towards man. It shows us His mercy toward His people, unable to walk in perfection and unable to save themselves from the burden of legalism and self-reliance. In the midst of this “unableness”, He glorifies Himself and sets into place a plan to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves

The Christmas season also shows His penchant for humility and His love for and sovereignty over our imperfection. After all, it was His choice to send His Holy Son to be born among animals; our Christmas present was wrapped in a death cloth and worshipped first by outcasts.

 

In considering how God has long worked through imperfections, I’m reminded of Paul who wrote, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it (the thorn in my flesh to torment me) away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 ESV)

 

I’m reminded of Charles Spurgeon who suffered debilitating gout, poisonous slander, recurring depression. Why? We may never know, but we do know how he reconciled his suffering with a gracious God because he tells us in his writings that he was but a soldier; the Lord was the Captain of the host, hence victory was assured. He explained in 1873: “As long as I trace my pain to accident, my bereavement to mistake, my loss to another’s wrong, my discomfort to an enemy, and so on, I am of the earth, earthy, and shall break my teeth with gravel stones; but when I rise to my God and see his hand at work, I grow calm, I have not a word of repining.” On June 7, 1891, in extreme physical pain from his illnesses, Spurgeon preached what, unknown to him, proved to be his last sermon. His concluding words in the pulpit were, as usual, about his Lord: “He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in him. These forty years and more have I served him, blessed be his name! and I have had nothing but love from him. I would be glad to continue yet another forty years in the same dear service here below if so it pleased him. His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.”

 

These beautiful examples cause me to look at my own imperfections and wonder how God plans to accomplish His perfect will through them. Already I see my dependence on the body of Christ, His church, and the many gifts, talents and skills the body offers to work in unity (John 17:20-23) to accomplish the work in which He’s allowed us to participate.

 

What challenges has He allowed in your life? Will you offer those back to Him as an act of worship and allow Him to do amazing things in and through you for your good and His glory? I pray you will!

 

Major Robert Lyle is an ordained, evangelical pastor for the Chattanooga region Salvation Army. The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. For more information on The Salvation Army in the Chattanooga region, go to csarmy.org.

Ruth’s Red Gloves Mark Dedication Of Salvation Army Volunteer

If you visit The Salvation Army warehouse on Covington Street in Rossville, one of your first impressions will be the number of boxes throughout the facility, each representing a family in need. The next will be the cold. Like most warehouses, there is no heat for the volunteers who sort Angel Tree gifts in December. In the midst of the boxes and volunteers, you’ll see Ruth Cote, a Salvation Army volunteer for over 35 years, and her worn, red gloves.

Ruth Cote

The gloves are clean but stained from over 20 years of Angel Tree volunteer work at the warehouse. She proudly shows off the neat mending that’s kept them helpful in the hard work of moving toys three to four times throughout the warehouse to ensure gifts are ready the day families visit.

Rather than mend the little gloves, if you ask Ruth why she hasn’t replaced them, you’ll get a smile as she responds, “People know me for my red gloves. They will see me and ask, ‘Hey, where are your red gloves?’” The truth is that the gloves have become sentimental, reminding Ruth of why she gives her time and energy each Christmas season. “Growing up, I lived in the country with my Grandmother,” Ruth begins. “At Christmas, we didn’t get what we wanted, but we got something. When I see these families, I see where they’re struggling and I just want to help them.”

Ms. Cote goes on to say that she doesn’t so much see the adults, but “I see the children. It’s the children that breaks my heart.” And so Ruth and her red gloves continue to lift thousands and thousands of bags of toys and clothing items each Christmas season.

Join Ruth and other volunteers as they distribute Angel Tree gifts on Dec. 18 and 19, at The Salvation Army warehouse at 5001 Covington Street by emailing Alissa Best at Alissa.best@uss.salvationarmy.org. Or make a gift to ensure all angels are cared for by donating to CSArmy.org, or by mail to 822 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37403

Salvation Army Red Kettle Stolen Today in Chattanooga

Salvation Army Red Kettle Stolen Today in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN – The Salvation Army red kettle at Food City located at 6951 Lee Hwy on the corner of Shallowford Road was stolen at about 2:00 PM by a man who looked to be donating. The suspect quickly jumped into a car and sped off. The bell ringer stated the suspect got his wallet out to donate and then quickly grabbed the red kettle and jumped into the passenger side of a vehicle.

According to Captain Nathan Jones, the red kettle probably had close to $200.00 in it. “It hurts my heart that someone would steal from The Salvation Army when we so willingly give assistance for free,” says Captain Jones. “We will pray for the robber regardless and pray that God will more than make up the money in the other kettles.”

The red kettles will be visible now through December 23 where folks can continue to donate. This year some red kettles will have credit card options as well.

To donate online visit here.

For more information, contact Kimberly George at 423-756-1023 .

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.

Paying It Forward

There’s a movement going on that’s affecting all of us in the Greater Chattanooga Area and it is growing more powerful every year.  I believe they call it, paying it forward.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too.  Someone does something nice for another person – buys a cup of coffee for the next person in line…pays a compliment to a firefighter out in public…or even goes out of thei way to hold a door open for a woman and her baby.

There’s an immediate chain reaction.  That’s the greatest benefit of doing good things for others – you’re not just helping someone in need, you’re spreading joy and inspiration to everyone who is affected by your simple act of kindness.  It is possible to see the positive effects of paying it forward every single day here at The Salvation Army.

The most wonderful part of this work is knowing that many who are lifted by an act of kindness through The Salvation Army will, in turn, pay it forward someday.  Some of the people we help return to volunteer, donating and becoming a positive influence on the loved ones in their lives.  It becomes a cycle of success.

Thank you for all the times you pay it forward!  God bless you for doing the most good.

To see current volunteer opportunities please click HERE!

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