Archive | January 25, 2012


Scripture says it is the glory of God to conceal a treasure and the glory of kings to search it out (Proverbs 25:2). We are also told to ask and it will be given us, seek and we will find, and knock and the door will be open to us (Matthew 7:7). These two passages are what keep me diving into the word of God. Each time I seek, I find new treasure that fills my heart and mind, renewing my spirit, and giving me strength to walk in this trepid world. Without God’s little nuggets of wisdom and understanding or His pearls of love and peace, I would not have any hope here in this life. But it is through His word and the treasure trove of promises that I find all I need to make it through and to even bring glory to God despite the storms and chaos that often surround me. When we are looking life in the eye and facing it head on, only the God can get us through. So take some time today to dive into the sea of His abundant word and let Him fill your heart and mind with treasures beyond what you can imagine. With my love and blessings for a life filled with HIM!

It is the glory of God to conceal a treasure and the glory of kings to search it out.
Proverbs 25:2


Sumptuous pearls of brilliant wisdom
Magnificent nuggets of glorious understanding
Opulent jewels of abounding knowledge
Truth more valuable than gold
Hope more precious than pristine silver
Love flourishing beyond worldly riches
Sparkling gems of mercy and grace
Treasures pouring forth from the throne of God
Luxurious abundance at our fingertips
Take hold of it and grasp riches beyond understanding

Use Me Father God

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain!”
1 Chronicles 4:10

Use Me Father God

Oh that You would bless me indeed
Fill my life with more of You
Impart to me your supernatural favor
Give me the wonderful, unlimited goodness that is of You
Enlarge my territory
Show me where I should go
Lead me in Your ways
Expand my influence for You
Help me reach others in Your name Lord
Oh that Your hand will be with me
That Your strength and might consume me from within
Make me dependent on You
Surrendering my needs to Your boundless opportunities
Shelter me Father from evil
Take my wisdom, my experience, my feelings
Cover me with Your armor Lord
Keep me from the temptations of this world
That I may not cause pain and grief
Protect me Father, by Your power
Direct my steps away from all that is not of You
Free me to pursue You more
To earnestly seek what You desire me to do
To walk in the glory that is of You
Use my gifts, my weaknesses, my faults
Showing who You are in all that I do Lord

Our Fleeting Feelings

We all have moments in life that take our breath away or knock the breath out of us, all dependent on how you look at them and what the circumstances are. Have you ever been saddened by events in your life, such as a death that came to early? Or been so excited and happy you were simply beside yourself and couldn’t take the smile from your face? How about a time when you felt fear or anger so deeply that your core shook? We have all experienced emotions that range from one end of the spectrum to the other, from elated to angry, or shocked to dismayed, from sad to excited. The interesting things about feelings is that they are fleeting and are dependent on the circumstances we are encountering at any given moment.

God has given us the ability to experience feelings deep down, but they are not true indicators of our spiritual walk or stability. They are there to build desires within us, to ignite passion, to spark sympathy, and to illuminate hopes and dreams. They are not there to guide our life, to dictate our reactions, or to act as spiritual indicators for they unstable and inaccurate gauges. Feelings of hopelessness can lead to substance abuse or self mutilation. Feelings of lust can lead to unbridled acts of passion. Anger can lead to harsh words and physical fights. Jealousy can lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness, bringing with it discord, dysfunction, and disunity. If used to guide our lives, feelings will at some point cause us to fall!

With all that said, it is critical that we understand what needs to guide our lives, what needs to be the spiritual gauge as we traverse this chaotic world. It is God’s word and his truths that must navigate us! Not only are they immutable, but they are encouraging, convicting, and hit us at the core of our hearts and souls. God’s word lovingly reveals the paths we must take and becomes the light amidst the chaos of our circumstances and the feelings that flow from them. When we seek direction in confrontation, God’s word clearly shows us the way and gives us grace to respond with mercy, love and truth, even when our feelings tell us otherwise. When we seek comfort from our pain, God’s word is a constant vigil for us. When we feel that we have lost hope and are in the depths of despair, it is God’s word that must carry us through.

Our feelings can be brought on by Satan himself to deceive us, to deter us, and to bring ruin to our lives. He wants nothing more than to destroy us and take our very life and breath. Hence the reason we should not use feelings to dictate our life responses. Satan wants us to believe that because we sin we are useless and no longer of value in the Kingdom of God. He wants us to believe and feel that we are not loved because we are not beautiful enough, smart enough, or capable enough. When we are hurting and frail, Satan hits us hardest, making us feel hopeless, void of life, and of little value. Have you ever done something wrong or hurt someone only to feel terrible. We feel that we are unable to make things right or bring restoration. That is a lie straight from the depths of Hell!

Our feelings are God given, but Satan uses them to manipulate and control us, thus we need to read, absorb and actively seek God’s word to show us the truth in our circumstances. Satan condemns, God convicts. Satan lies, God is truth. Satan weakens, God builds up and strengthens. Satan sparks hatred, jealousy, and bitterness, God ignites love, peace, patience, and kindness. While Satan seeks to destroy us from the circumstances we face, God desires to grow us from the inside out. Satan manipulates in ways are inconsistent and unjust, God’s ways do not manipulate. They reveal and provide opportunities to show that His ways are sovereign and righteous. Satan seeks to tear us apart through our life circumstances, God wants to bring unity and restoration through the circumstances that are around us and those we create.

Do we all fall and screw up at times? Of course! Do we all have moments where we feel incapable, unsure, inconsistent, unstable? Absolutely! Do we all sin and bring pain to others or ourselves? Certainly we do for we are not perfect. But through God’s sacrifice of His only Son, we will discover that we are loved unconditionally and we are made perfect, righteous, holy, beautiful, and just! There is no other thing in this world that compares to the true and ever-present love of God!

So, don’t let your feelings dictate your life or your worth. Let God reveal to you your value and your importance in this world despite what your feelings tell you. Let His word inspire restoration and joy. Live, love and laugh. Enjoy what God has created just for you. Trust that He will bring good from every circumstance in your life. Drink in His promises and cling to His truth. Rest in the shelter of His wings and hide in the fortress of His strength. Don’t waver because you feel lost, but believe because you are found!

With all my love and heartfelt wishes for you to feel the glory of God radiate from within!

Fleeting Feelings

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7

Fleeting Feelings

Feelings are fleeting
Momentary glimpses into the flesh of the heart
They are dependent on your circumstances
Unstable and unpredictable
Leading us down paths of unrighteousness

Anger, bitterness, jealousy, and hatred
Sent from Satan to deceive
Feelings that cause us to sin and fall
Harsh reactions leading to destruction and pain
Illuminating the weaknesses within us all

God’s word should guide
A refuge when we are weak
It stands sovereign and secure
Bringing peace, joy, truth, strength and life
Leading to responses for a hopeful future

Feelings fade but God’s word is immutable
Everlasting among the fleeting feelings
Steady it stands among the storms
A spiritual gauge in this life of chaos
Lighting our way, inspiring us to transform

Journey through God’s Love – Introduction

We love our family. We love our pets. We love certain foods. We even love our cars or other material things. I find it amazing how many ways we can express or accept love! We show our love through hugs and kisses. We show our love with smiles and favors for others. We show our love in how we interact and how we talk with people around us. The list goes on and on. Love is a universal language spoken in one form or another by every person in existence including the very person who was the epitome of love in the flesh, Jesus Christ. Scripture tells of how much he loved us and he showed it by dying for us (John 3:16, Revelation 1:4-6).

As I was reading through 1 John 2:1-14, John speaks that he is not writing a new command but an old one, which we have had since the beginning (v. 7). This old command which was the primary focus of the new command under Christ’s death and resurrection was that of love. The old command was stated in Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” The new command can be found liberally sprinkled throughout the New Testament. Matthew 22:37-39, Galatians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 13:13 are but a few examples. In each of these verses the single command to love your neighbor as yourself is clearly written. Love; one word spoken by God into existence and one word carried out in action to bring salvation and eternal life to all of mankind. Love is such a small but powerful word.

The Lord struck my heart on many levels as I continued to read about love and its meaning, its implication in my life, its covering and protection. I was led to research the word love and was stunned by how much I learned…too much to put into one writing for sure. Before I break love down to its many definitions there is one over arching scripture I want to be a focus as you read each part of this “love” letter. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 really teaches us what love is, no matter the definition or type of love we are expressing. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” This is God’s love for us! And this is the kind of love we should be bringing to all around us, even those we despise, those who hurt us, those who betray us, those who we call enemy. Yes, just as God’s love for us is never ending and unconditional, despite the sinners that we are, so too our love should be to others we encounter. As you journey with me through God’s picture of love, pray that he will search your heart and help you love as he does. Blessings and love in Christ I bring to you as we learn and grow together. God bless and keep you always!

Journey through God’s Love – Part 3

We have taken the time to examine two differing types of love expressed in scripture; erotic, sexual love as expressed between a husband and a wife and brotherly love that is commanded of us by Christ Himself (Matthew 22:34-39). It has been my prayer that as we journey together and learn more about the different kinds of love God expresses in his word that we will be better equipped to utilize love more fully and appropriately in a world that misunderstands how to receive and give love in a healthy, God-given way. The word love is thrown out so carelessly in our society that it has lost much value, and I desire to see that change and for love to find its strength and power in our world so that hearts will be touched to the core and lives will be changed forever.

As we continue to journey through God’s love, let’s explore the love we should be harboring in our hearts toward our family. The family is the core unit through which God has chosen to display the power of His love. It should be a love that mirrors the unconditional, undeserved love (agape/hesed) that God has for us. Unfortunately, many people find that the love we receive from our family is not love at all, but instead it is often manipulative, conditional with many strings attached, and often hurtful. No wonder it is so very difficult for us to grasp how wide, long, high, and deep the love of God is for us (Ephesians 3:18).

The Lord reveals family love in scripture through numerous examples. There are six words used to express familial love:

Greek – storge – family love, bond among mothers, fathers, sisters, and
– philoteknos – being fond of one’s children, maternal or paternal
love of a child
– philandros – affectionate as a wife is toward her husband, as
parents love their children
– philostorgos – tenderly loving, kindly affectionate towards

Hebrew – aheb – to have love, beloved like, fond attachment or devotion to
– ahab – love between people, husband and wife, mother and
child,friends, affection in a good or bad sense

We are human and our love is certainly not the agape/hesed love that God gives us, which will be discussed in Part 4. When our family hurts us, it is difficult to love them as God requires. There are fights, friction, and distance at times due to our human frailty. There is pain, sorrow, and grief when love is not returned or given to us as our hearts so desperately desire. The one thing we can count on in all of our humanness is the fact that through God’s strength we are able to offer love regardless of how or if our family returns it.

Scripture tells us to love (philostorgos) one another with brotherly love (phildelphia) in Romans 12:10, giving preference to one another. In Part 2 we learned that brotherly love has many outward manifestations such as hospitality, help, self sacrifice, impartiality, and forgiveness. Paul has intertwined familial love with brotherly love. We are being told to step up and give preference to those we call family or brethren. Our love should be given without the thought of it being returned just as God loved us knowing that many would not accept that love nor give it in return.

God even shows us division caused by love in Genesis 37. Joseph was the youngest of 12 sons and his father Jacob loved him immensely. He loved him so much that the other siblings felt it unfair and turned on Joseph. This fatherly love for Joseph (ahab) leaned more toward the bad sense of the word, as it was not given to all the siblings equally. Jacob had favored Joseph with his love and thus set him apart from his brothers. Human love, so frail, so unjust at times, and yet, is all we have. It was through this love for his son that Joseph’s life was set on a path that would indeed change the history of the world and the fate of his family. Despite their harsh treatment of him, Joseph never turned his back on his brothers. He had much grief and sorrow and suffered torment and anguish at times, but when push came to shove, Joseph loved his brothers and brought them life through his power and position at the time.

What a wonderful image God has given us through the story of Joseph. Just as Joseph continued to love his family in spite of all his brothers had put him through, God continues to love us despite when we hurt him, betray him, cast him aside, or blame him for our problems. We are his children (1 John 3:1), not because we love him but because he loved us and gave himself up for us. How often do we sacrifice ourselves—our happiness, our time, our convenience—to love on our families? When they hurt or betray us, do we still offer loving arms of forgiveness or do we sting them back with a vengeful heart? When they lie or belittle us, do we not offer love that builds and encourages them or do we knock them down, attempting to bring them lower than we feel? It is amazing to me that Joseph was able to bring his family life through the power and position he held when they came to him because that is exactly the image God has in my heart. When we come to Him, He is in the position and has the power to give us life and life eternal. Family love is not easy love, nor is it pain free, but the rewards of loving your family without conditions or strings attached will bring your life much peace and joy.

We are called to love our family so that we can be a light, an example of God’s glorious love and riches. In the book of Hosea, Hosea takes has a wife that is unfaithful and impure, an adulterous. But the LORD says to him, “Go again, love (aheb) the woman who is loved (ahubat-sexual love) by a lover, and is committing adultery, just like the love (aheb) of the LORD for the children of Israel.” Aheb is bond between two or more people built out of devotion and attachment. God is using the story of love between Hosea toward his wife Gomer as a picture of his love for us. Hosea is to love the woman who has not shown him love in return, to bring her back to what is righteous and pure, to show her how beautiful love can be. God wants us to be that same light in the lives of our family, revealing to them the righteousness, glory, and perfection found through God’s love. They may hear you say I love you, but the words are meaningless until they are followed through with active love. The strongest impact we can have on our family is to show them God’s merciful love acted out towards them.

Love is the key to the Christian walk but it can be exceedingly hard to love our family, especially when they have done nothing but cause us harm and pain. Christ suffered a horrendous death on the cross. He was beaten, bruised, humiliated, tortured, and suffered shame and disgrace at the hands of the very children his Father created. We are God’s children, siblings with Christ and yet so many reject him, belittle him, and deny him, yet still he loves us still. We need to show that same love by bringing love to the doorsteps of the homes we grew up in, releasing it to our family members who cannot or choose not to return it, and offer love even when it is undeserved. That is indeed the true measure of a Christian…to love.

That is not to say that we open our hearts and lives to more pain or harm from our families. As mentioned in other parts, love is sometimes required to be bold, which means speaking truth and reaching out to guide others into God’s plan and love for their life. Love is also expressed when we offer forgiveness for sins done to us. Love does not mean we must necessarily walk side by side or cuddle and hang out with our families. Love simply means being a reflection of Christ in the lives of the lost and broken. Continue to read scripture and grow in your walk with God, so that you will hear His still, small voice leading you on how to show love and give love with boundaries that keep you safe and healthy.

John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.

Journey through God’s Love – Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1 of this Journey through God’s Love, there is only one word for love in the English language, whereas there are multiple words with differing meanings and levels of intensity in scripture. Those who spoke Greek and Hebrew knew that love necessitated more than one word to reveal its many faces and degrees of passion and strength. In our modern world of short cuts and quick fixes, the true meaning of love has been lost since it is used in reference to such multifaceted objects ranging from cars to pets to people. No wonder the word is tossed about so carelessly in our society, as it has been used out of context and on so many shallow, superficial things that are not worthy of true love. After all, how does one truly love a burger or a pet rat? It is my hope that as we journey through what love really means, we will discover and utilize love in a more meaningful and heartfelt way.

In Part 1, we examined the more intimate form of love expressed in scripture. The love that is shared between a husband and a wife is a love that bonds them physically, mentally, and spiritually. Eros or dowd, depending on Greek or Hebrew terminology, are meant to enable a man and a woman to grow together in marriage and commitment to one another. This deep love was created by God enable such closeness that infidelity is unnecessary and husband and wife can be united. He gave the gift of sensual love to allow a husband and wife to enjoy one another deeply and on every level possible.

The second kind of love that will be addressed in Part 2 is liberally sprinkled throughout scripture, both Old and New Testament. It is that of brotherly love. Brotherly love is a love that we are commanded to give generously to those we encounter; a love that is to shine the light of Christ into their lives bringing hope, encouragement, restoration, salvation, and sympathy. There are several different words to express brotherly love, in which there also exist feminine and masculine forms for some of them.

Greek – Philadelphia (f) – brotherly love, kindness, love of brethren
– Philos – a love based on friendship between two people, loving friend, a trusted confidant
– Philadelphos (m) – to be fond of brethren, fraternal, affection for brethren, loving like a brother

Hebrew – Rea, reya (m), raya (f) – a brother, companion, fellow friend, love, neighbor

Christ makes it very clear in scripture that love for others is not an option but is the underlying law that governs all other scriptural law. In Matthew 22:34-39 an “expert in the law” challenges Christ and asks what the greatest commandment is. Christ responds: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commands.” There is no room to misinterpret this scripture; no opportunity to disregard what Christ is telling the teacher here. What He is telling all of us is to love God and to love others for if we do this all the other commands will fall into place. After all, who would steal, murder, or lie if they love others? And who would use the Lord’s name in vain or have false gods if the love of the one true God is in their heart, soul, and mind? Love covers all other commands for it is with love that we are able to carry out and follow through with the laws and commands of God. We cannot follow the Lord and His laws in our selfish humanness. No, only with love can they be adhered to.

So what does brotherly love look like? In the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 we find an excellent example.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Brotherly love is reaching out when no one else wants to. It is acting and responding to those in need even if we are headed somewhere else in a rush of busyness. Brotherly love is giving all you have to help someone who needs it more than you. We cannot cross to other side of the road, or turn our eyes away from the hunger, the thirst, the desperate need to be loved, the broken hearts, or the shattered lives that surround us. No, we cannot pass the homeless neighbor on the street without a care in the world, nor can we deny the brother or sister in Christ who is in dire need of comfort. We are called to be shepherds, to be encouragers, to be the light in the lives of those who are lost and those who are struggling. The concept of brotherly love is truly the foundation of the Christian faith for as scripture states in 1 John 3:18 we are not called to love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth. In order to reflect the love of God in us, it is mandatory that we give it away. What good is God’s love if it is only stored in our hearts, but not shared with others in need? It is wonderful for us, but if we share that love, not only do we feel it, but so too does the brother or neighbor we shower it upon.

Brotherly love, Philadelphia, is not a feeling or an emotion that we wait for, but rather it is a willed love that is manifested through our actions toward others, be they brethren in Christ, ungodly neighbors, friends, family, or enemies. We do not get to choose when we show brotherly love. We are required to give it to all we encounter, all who God places in our path. Whether you like someone or not does not dictate if you give them love. If someone has hurt you or has lied about you, that is of no concern, for brotherly love is given just as God’s love is given freely to us who are unworthy and sinful creatures. That does not mean we allow someone to continue hurting us, but instead we show them brotherly love that can confront and call them out of their sin and bring them closer to God.

Before I go any further, perhaps I can shed some light on what brotherly love looks like. There are numerous ways to put philadelphos or rea into action. The first of these actions is friendliness. As defined by, friendliness is the act of showing friendship and giving friendly greetings. In Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, and 1 Peter 5:14 this is expressed as a holy kiss when greeting one another. This “holy kiss” is meant to be a heartfelt and sincere token of our affection and friendship for one another. Holy distinguishes it from an unchaste, lascivious kiss and avoids improper familiarity and possible misunderstanding. Today, this holy kiss is customarily a hug or a handshake to show our friendliness toward others.

Courtesy and hospitality are also ways in which brotherly love is manifested. In 1 Peter 3:8 courteous (KJV) in Greek is tapeinophrosune, meaning humility, lowliness of mind and modesty. We are to yield in favor of someone else. An example of this would be holding the door for someone and allowing them to proceed before you or giving your seat to someone who would like to sit. It also means that we are listening and being polite, not using vulgarity or harsh speech with others. To be hospitable means to open our homes to others to serve them and fellowship with them in a deeper, more intimate way. 1 Peter 4:9 and 1Timothy 3:2 both touch on hospitality.

Kindness is yet another way to show brotherly love to others. Kindness requires empathy, an understanding of how others feel and a genuine concern about how they feel. It is a sensitivity and compassion for others. In the story of the Good Samaritan, he showed great kindness to the stranger in need. He had compassion on him and was concerned with his well being. In Ephesians 4:32 kindness is translated eusplanshnos, meaning tenderhearted. Just as the Good Samaritan was tenderhearted toward the beaten and dying man, so too God shows tenderheartedness toward us, a distraught and desperate people. Kindness translated in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is chresteuomai, which means to be kind. It is God’s kindness and mercy toward us that brought us to a place of salvation and we are to share that with others who lie broken and dying on the streets of life.

Out of the Good Samaritan’s kindness sprang a desire to help and the ability to self sacrifice, both of which are outward expressions of brotherly love. When we help others we are sacrificing our financial and material resources, our time, and often our hearts. There are numerous scriptures that address helping those in need, sacrificing what we have to bring comfort, peace, love, and light into the lives of those around us. James 2:15-16, Acts 2:35, Galatians 6:7-10, 1 Timothy 6:18, Hebrews 13:16, Matthew 5:42, Isaiah 58:10, Proverbs 28:27, and Leviticus 25:35. When brotherly love is given freely, it is the epitome of Christian love which accepts pain and loss to help those who are not able or don’t know how to give love in return.

The last two examples of brotherly love in action are impartiality and forgiveness. When being impartial, one is able to accept everyone despite whether they are rich or poor, master or servant, believer or unbeliever. Those who truly express brotherly love welcome everyone regardless of their culture, beliefs, morals, or values. Even Christ hung out with those that were unwelcome in the towns and homes he traveled through (there was Mary the adulteress-John 8:1-11, the woman at the well-John 4:1-26, the sinful woman who washes Jesus’ feet with oil-Luke 7:36-50, and many others). It was the goal of Christ to be the light in those that were lost and how better to reach them than to go to them and spend time loving them as God loves us.

Forgiveness, in my opinion, is the hardest quality of brotherly love to extend as it goes against every fiber of our flesh and humanness. When we stand betrayed, hurt, and falsely accused, the last thing we desire is to forgive the perpetrator. But that is what brotherly love does and it is what sets Christian love apart from any natural, human love. When Christ was beaten and tortured, when he was spat upon and mocked, when the crown of thorns was thrust onto his head, when the nails were driven through his hands and he hung on the cross, he did not cry out for revenge. NO! He asked his Father in heaven to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing (Luke 23:34). Amidst the pain and suffering, among the betrayal and the agony, Christ took pity on them for he could see their end. He offered them forgiveness even though they did not deserve it. In that moment, he offered us all forgiveness even though we have all failed him and fallen short (Romans 3:24). That was his example to us, that we would extend forgiveness even if we don’t feel like it, even if we want revenge. If you don’t believe that you are called to forgive those who hurt you, think again! Read these scriptures and find out for yourself: Colossians 3:13, Matthew 6:14-15, 18:21-35, Ephesians 4:32, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37. Forgiveness is not only showing God’s mercy to others who do not deserve it, but it frees you from the bondage of anger, bitterness, and resentment.

There are so many opportunities to show brotherly love to those we encounter each day. A simple hello and a friendly smile can turn thoughts of loneliness and suicide into thoughts of love and joy. A genuine hug and words of sympathy can comfort the broken heart and heal the hurting soul. Forgiving someone for a wrong done to you can shine God’s love so brightly that they can’t resist the need to transform their souls from a world of darkness to a life filled with glory. We are not called to give love because it feels right; we are called to give love because it is right! Brotherly love is a willed love in which no sacrifice is too great, no service too large, and no possession too valuable to keep us from helping others and continuing God’s work here on earth. We must stop living in our little room of selfishness and choose to live in the spacious mansion of God’s love where peace, joy and security flow abundantly.

May your actions reflect the love of God and may you find yourself reaping the rewards of love given freely and lavishly. Blessings to you all and may you change the world with one random act of brotherly love each day—what a difference we could truly make. After all, it was one man dying on the cross that changed the face of humanity forever! Let Christ’s example and sacrifice not be in vain, but instead continue to change the face of the world, one broken heart, one stranger, one child of God at a time.

Journey through God’s Love – Part 1

When one thinks of love, many thoughts may come to mind. Among them being memories of love shown to you or a time you gave love to someone you care deeply about. Love is referenced in scripture over 800 times between the Old and New Testament. However, it does not mean the same thing in each reference. No, the word love is translated in scripture in both Greek (New Testament) and Hebrew (Old Testament). In Greek, there are at least 13 different definitions for love and in Hebrew there are more than 13; each one having a little different meaning than the other.

In the English language, as with many others, love has many levels of meaning but still only one word—love. But in Biblical times there were different words for love to denote the level or type of love being expressed or accepted. I find that to be utterly amazing! This series of writings, beginning with the introduction, focuses on better understanding the word “love” and its contextual meaning as it refers to scripture and then utilizing that understanding to apply Godly love in our everyday lives. I pray we all draw closer to God as we grow deeper in knowledge of the kind of love he has for us!

One of the first definitions that we as human beings are very familiar with is the physical love between a man and a woman; a sexual love that unites a husband and wife as one (Mark 10:7-8, Genesis 2:24). In Greek, this love is called Eros and in Hebrew it is referred to as Dowd. Thus we hit our first two definitions:

Greek – Eros – an erotic, sensual love
Hebrew – Dowd – beloved, as in husband and wife, a love token, a

Love expressed through physical intimacy is very beautifully laid out before us in the Song of Solomon. The purity and sacredness of physical love has been long misrepresented by the world. It has been distorted into something that is everyday and common, something that is of no importance or value above and beyond the pleasure it brings. The world teaches that sexual immorality means freedom, that perversion is natural, and that commitment to one person is old fashioned. Socially, affairs have become the norm and media is saturated with sexual escapades that have turned God’s purpose for physical intimacy into illicit, casual bursts that are to bring self gratification of lusts.

In reality, however, physical love or sexual intimacy is sacred, holy, pure, and good when displayed in the Biblical context in which it was intended—to unite a husband and wife in commitment, beauty, and to connect them emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Sex is indeed God’s gift to his creation. It is one of the many expressions a couple can use to show their love for one another. Physical love was intended by God to celebrate love, produce children, experience pleasure, and reinforce the marriage commitment.

In the very beginning of this elegant love story between a lover and his beloved, this breathtaking love is described as “being more delightful than wine” (1:2). Solomon dotes over his beloved showering her with accolades fit for a queen and she in turn draws closer to him and relishes in the delight that her lover brings her. They share a love, eros, that is uniting them mentally, emotionally, and ultimately physically and there is great beauty and elegance in their love as it is God centered and brings Him delight. So the next time, you are dating or find yourself falling in love, remember to save physical love (eros/dowd) for the right time—marriage. Pray for strength to resist the temptations and influences of the world who beckons you to share this love with anyone that feels right at any time. That is not God’s intention for physical love, not His purpose in creating it! God created sexual love and all He has created is good (1 Timothy 4:4). As His creation we must be responsible and wise in how we use this beautiful gift. When enjoyed within marriage, physical love is pure and holy and brings honor to the Lord as a husband and wife enjoy one another on every level possible.

May the Lord convict your heart to focus on the purpose of Eros, the reason He created sexual love. May you seek His strength and wisdom in how to use it and may you remain pure until that blessed wedding day calls you. If you have fallen, as so many do, turn to God, repent, and seek to wait and honor God in your waiting. Prepare your body as the temple that it is, to be used of God and to be clean and holy for your wife or husband to be. God bless you and keep you in the shelter of His wings.