Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Love is NOT Love

Listen to my podcast on FaithAnchored Speaks about Love is NOT Love. Discover the difference between worldly love and God’s love.

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The Ultimate Valentine

It’s the time of year where “love is in the air”. Couples showering each other with flowers and gifts in an effort to show the other how much they love them. For others it’s a time of sadness, loneliness, and depression. Often feeling unlovable because they are “alone” and have no one to spend the day with. Feeling as if somehow they aren’t “good enough” to have someone show them love on this specific day.

My hopes in writing this is to bring hope, joy, and the surrounding presence of God’s love to those whom feel “alone”. I am excited to share with you– you are NOT alone. Not on Valentine’s day or any other day for that matter. Let me share with you a love that is unconditional, unfailing, and unchanging!

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

The love of Jesus– there is no greater love than that of Jesus Christ– who was tortured and killed for you– yes YOU– so that your sins would be forgiven so you may live eternally– so you would know His love. Perfect- Unconditional- Never Failing Love!

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

There are many people that have the wrong idea of who God is– Thinking that He just wants to take the fun out of life or give you a list of rules that is impossible to follow perfectly. Some think He is mad at them–that He is to blame for the bad things in their life– some even believe that God hates them. As Joyce Meyer says and wrote a book on, God is NOT Mad at you!! I read the book and if you believe God is mad at you–you should read it too.

God doesn’t correct us or give us rules because He is mad or wants to be a party pooper. God corrects us through His word because He loves us! Just as a good parent loves their child– God loves us even more!

Proverbs 3:12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

The Bible is there to instruct, convict, and replenish your soul– not to chastise, condemn, and break you down. God instructs us in Matthew that love is the greatest commandment. This is because God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and lack of capability to uphold each commandment in the law. When Jesus was crucified He was sinless His death represented the love of God to all of us.

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God never stops loving us even on the days or years we do not choose Him. God authored the concept of love–God is love. God wants us to love Him, love ourselves, and love everyone as He loved us. We love because He first loved us.

You see no one is truly alone– that is a lie the enemy wants you to believe– so that you will remain in bondage to loneliness, sadness, and depression. God is always with us–He goes before us and prepares the way.

If you are feeling alone and vulnerable this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to seek out the Ultimate Valentine– God. He showers you with the perfect love all of the days of your life. He has many gifts (blessings) for you– you only have to receive Him and accept them. God is near to the broken hearted and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. What better valentine to have than the one who authored the concept of love.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being the ultimate example of unconditional love in Jesus Christ. Thank you for showing us love even when we did not deserve it and in our times of struggle. Forgive us Lord for forgetting that we are never truly alone, You are always with us. Remind us that regardless of what the world says or what our circumstances may seem like we are loved far more than we could ever imagine. Remind us that our relationship with Jesus is far more important and comforting than any relationship we could ever form on this earth. Lord I pray that in this season we remember that we love because You first loved us. Remind us that You are the author of love and we must learn to truly love ourselves and who You created us to be before we could ever show true love to someone else. Lord help us to be vessels for Your kingdom, give us courage and boldness to share the love of Jesus with those who cross our paths daily. Thank you for Your perfect and unconditional love and it is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Spreading Love

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In my post Love Defined I explained how the word love is perceived one way in society– an emotion or attachment and another in God’s eyes–an attitude or behavior. Further I explained that God is the creator of the concept of love and without God love simply doesn’t exist.

We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Society has become extremely hateful and negative as a whole. God created us and instructed us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) The intolerance, discrimination, and anger/bitterness that people hold against one another is out of control. It has got to the point for some, that those who are different or think differently than oneself is immediate grounds for hatefulness, slander, and down right bigotry.

God never intended for our world to be full of so much hatred– however by choices made by each person in society– here we are in 2021– God is not allowed to be talked about in school, prayer is frowned upon– yet sex, violence, and other sinful nature runs ramped and no one blinks an eye. I think this year needs to be the year we choose change–choose to spread love–healthy, Godly, unconditional love. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sin.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.

We are called to walk in love, to share the love of Christ with others, and to be the example of Christ’s love to the world. You have everything you need to walk in love. You already have compassion, empathy, patience to love– you only have to accept Jesus and access it through the Holy Spirit. Love is believing the best in people and not the worst.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

I want to be clear that when I refer to society being hateful and negative as a whole–this INCLUDES many self proclaimed Christians. In fact if I am being honest–I have had some experiences where the Christian folk was far more rude, hateful, and unpleasant than the unsaved folk who had never heard about the love of Jesus.

This is disheartening and exactly why Christians get a bad stigma. When people see someone whom is claiming to be a Christian and love God acting in such a way– it detours the lost– why would they want to live for Jesus and act like that? We have to be very careful and be sure that if we are talking the talk– we need to be walking the walk. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t mess up because you will– we aren’t perfect. Being aware of your talk and actions during your day to day interactions will help you recognize when your fleshly emotions are starting to take over.

In the Bible God gives us instruction on how to behave like a Christian.

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor (Hate) what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God wants us to love like He loves– not like the world loves. God designed the concept of love and wants us to understand how perfect His love is. When we spread love in the way God tells us too– It pleases Him. God even went as far to say in Matthew 25:33-40 that when you help others you are helping Him. I have often heard people say why doesn’t God stop all the terrible things in the world or why does He allow people to go hungry and without a home. I usually respond with something along the lines of “God created us and called us to do His work– often times we see these things because God is calling one of His children to help those in the world around them and unfortunately we don’t always make the move when we are called into action.” One person alone can’t fix all the “problems” in the world today BUT if we all did our part and acted when called upon to help and show love like Jesus–society as a whole would be much, much better.

Matthew 25:33-40

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

5 ways to spread love everywhere you go

Smile at people
Hold the door open for someone
Compliment a stranger
Pay it forward (buy someone a meal, coffee, etc.)
Leave positive post-it notes in public places

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for another day to serve and spread Your love! Thank you for the direction and instruction on what love is and how we are called to spread Your love everywhere we go. Father, I confess at times I get wrapped up in the stress and things happening in the world and quickly forget to spread Your love instead of joining the world in spreading division and hate. I pray that You would remind us of Your love and the examples You have given us through the Bible. Lord, help us to be great and loving servants, help us to spread Your love to all those we come in contact with. Touch our hearts and lead us each day to those You have sent for us to share Your love and truth with. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen


Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Love Defined

What is love?

An age old question that people have been seeking the answer to for years- some find it- some never do. In a world full of so much hate and misrepresentation it is easy to get lost in what the world says love is. I say this because I was lost– for many years– due to false beliefs of what it meant to love or feel loved– in my case, this had a lot to do with my life experiences and lack of positive reinforcement to set healthy boundaries and concepts of love itself.

So in the spirit of the upcoming “holiday”- Valentine’s Day- I decided to dig deep into the origins of love-where it came from- what it’s suppose to really mean– and how healthy love is shown and received. The month of February will be designated to articles pertaining to love. I write this in hopes it helps someone fill the missing void and redefine their thoughts on the true meaning of Love.

Dictionary.com defines love in the following ways

  • passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
  • sexual passion or desire
  • Then notes Christianity: Gods benevolent attitude toward man–mans attitude of reverent devotion towards God.

Wikipedia defines love like this:

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Scientific research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades. The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests “intimacy, passion and commitment” are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

In the Bible love does not refer to an emotion but an attitude or behavior.

If we follow history back far enough it all begins in the same place–In the beginning was God. He created all the Earth, all things that walk the Earth and swim in the sea, every creeping creature, and He created man and woman in His image.

Love is of God. God authored the concept of love. Without the presence or existence of God there is no love.

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As you may already be able to see our society’s view on love vs what love was designed by God to be are two different things.

Although they have similarities the biggest difference is the love we learn from society is broken– it can and will fail, it’s usually not an unconditional love, society’s version of love is emotionally charged and can change based on circumstances– where God’s purpose and design for love is based on an attitude or behavior. We love because He first loved us.

Let’s explore more of God’s design for love–a love that is fulfilling, peaceful, joyful, and patient among many other things. God describes love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest gift He has given us.

1 Corinthians 13- Love the greatest gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

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. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

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

Could you imagine a world where we loved ALL people like God tells us to– no matter their background–no matter their sin. I encourage everyone to put love to the test and love like a 1 Corinthians 13 warrior.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for loving us in a perfect and unconditional way. Thank you for giving us the ultimate example of love through Jesus. God this world is so lost and has distorted the meaning of love so badly that it’s overall meaning and design has been nearly erased. God we know that You are love and without You there is no love. I pray that you touch each persons heart that reads this, open their eyes and hearts to the truth in Your Word. Remind us that regardless of what the world says love is, we know in You there is a perfect love that drives out fear and it renews us from the inside out. God, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and embrace us in Your loving arms. I pray that those who do not know You would seek to know You and would feel your love and presence surround them. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Be a part of making someone’s day

We all know that the world is full of people who hold on to hatred, act of violence, and speak with bitterness. Regardless of where you work, what city you live in, or the places you go in your free time, I can guarantee you have seen someone having a rough day.

I have had plenty of rough days myself, you know the days you wake up late– forgot your clothes in the dryer– spilled your coffee in the car on the way to work– and just can’t seem to catch a break– all before 8 o’clock in the morning.

A few years back I use to work full time with the public. If you have ever worked in customer service (at any level), you know that not everyone you come in contact with is pleasant.

There were days I would come in to work barely making it on time, having one of those rough days, only to be met by my first client who was NOT happy to say the least.

I often wondered how someone could be in such a fowl mood so early in the morning.

So, here it is 8:15 AM I have had a terrible morning, sit down with my first interview and before I can speak a word I am being cursed out. The famous ‘You people..’ (referring to the workers) comments were mind blowing. My intelligence questioned and my patience tested.

I did my very best to remain calm and help in any way I could. Many left feeling much better than they came in; however, some you just couldn’t please.

On the contrary, I have also had terrible morning’s only to arrive at work to a client who is happy, grateful, and willing to share a smile.

These days meant so much to me, it literally could take a bad day and turned it around in an instant.

The Bible instructs us to let go of bitterness, anger, evil, and anything of bad intentions. We are to treat each other with kindness. soft hearts, and quick to forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

God calls us to share His love and spread His joy, even to those who are not so kind to you. Gods greatest commandment is to love one another. (John 13:34-35) He also instructs us to bless those who curse us. (Luke 6:28) We are not to repay evil with evil. (1 Peter 3:9)

Reflection

Having read the scriptures above what is God speaking to you?

What if anything do you think God is calling you to change in your life after having read Ephesians 4:31?

Call to Action

I challenge you today to make it a point to stay positive and set out each day to spread love to at least five people. Through a smile, a kind word, or a kind gesture; it costs nothing to be kind.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy, and love. God we are not always quick to listen and slow to anger, forgive us for responding to others in any way besides love and kindness. Lord I pray that each person that reads this will hear Your message; touch their hearts and move within them Father. I pray each of us would seek to know You more and set out each day to serve You and spread Your perfect love. Lord, thank you for Your many blessings and Your hedge of protection each day. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Learn to Love Your Spouse in a New Way

Falling in love might just be one of the greatest feelings one can have. It begins with warm fuzzy feelings– butterflies in your stomach– heart skipping a beat– and quickly develops into a full blown euphoric feeling. The euphoria of falling in love can make you do some pretty “crazy” things– often quickly escalating to an emotional obsession– leading you to do all you can to please the other person and “win” their heart.

Research shows that the “falling in love” or emotional obsession lasts about two years. A lasting relationship can not be built on this feeling alone. Often times people get wrapped up in their current feelings and fail to see the bigger picture.When the realization happens– somewhere within that two year mark– they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

Everyone is born with the desire to feel loved. As the saying goes “falling in love is easy-staying in love is the hard part”. This is because at the beginning stages we go so above and beyond to win the others heart– that we express our love in a multitude of ways. Once the “honeymoon stage” is over and those “falling in love” feelings subside– it leaves many feeling lost– searching for what happened– why is it so different–where did the romance go?

Often times this is a result of taking a step back from the “courting”– at this point-it’s safe to say- you have won their heart. However what happens is– when you take the step back– you are no longer expressing your love in all the different ways you once did. So what are you missing? There are five love languages and each person has a primary language. Perhaps, you are no longer speaking the same language– it’s like trying to communicate and one of you speaks English and the other French– you will not understand each other.

Did you know?

It’s common in a marriage for one to genuinely express their love for a spouse, while still failing to connect emotionally.

Before we dig into the love languages let’s take a look at what the Bible says to us regarding marriage and how to love our spouse. After all– God is the supreme example of love!

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Titus 2:3-5

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

1 John 4:7-11 Knowing God through Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Okay-Okay I get it!

But do you?

God loves us unconditionally–even when we are in our most unlovable state– God is right there waiting for you to call on Him– He will surround you in love and compassion– like you have never felt! The Bible tells us if we do not choose love-it signifies we do not know God. God’s love draws us near to Him and then to others.

Now it’s time for the fun part (not really). This is where many want to stop reading or stop following God– its the hardest part– the “staying in love” hard part. The Bible tells us that if one spouse is not showing love– the other must STILL LOVE– following the example of God who still loved us as sinners (Romans 5:8).

Ouch! That is NOT easy to do– trust me– I understand. Loving someone who is being down right mean and selfish takes some serious self-control and lots of prayer!

There are five basic love languages– by understanding each and discovering which applies to you and which to your spouse– It will help make showing love towards your spouse easier and more effective.

Each person has a primary love language and when love is expressed in that language– they feel truly loved.

1. Words of Affirmation

  • Uses words to build each other up
  • The smallest affirmation goes a long way.
  • Encourage one another with words
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1 Love edifies- builds up
  • Goal: Make spouse feel affirmed.

2. Gifts

  • Tokens of appreciation
  • Gifts even inexpensive ones to this person makes them feel loved and thought about
  • This person feels love through thoughtful gifts- a tangible reminder they are loved
  • Goal: Give spouse inexpensive, thoughtful, tangible gift to remind them they are loved

3. Acts of Service

  • Actions that one knows the other will appreciate
  • Ask spouse what can be done to help them–Do it– without complaining
  • 1 John 3:18 love in deed and in truth

4. Quality Time

  • Gives undivided attention to spouse
  • Activity is unimportant– Focusing on each other is
  • Time is a powerful communication of love
  • Time = Love

5. Physical Touch

  • Tender caring touch
  • An embrace, a kiss, a hug, a hand on the shoulder are all expressions of love
  • Physical touch helps reduce depression.
  • Mark 10:16 Jesus took time to have children come to Him, despite being busy
  • Never too old for a loving touch

Discover Your Spouse’s Love Language

  • How do they usually express love towards you?
  • What do they complain about most often?
  • What do they request most often?

Answer the above questions and this will point you towards how your spouse feels truly loved.

It’s common for a person to express love in their own primary love language– which is what causes those “in love” feelings to fade. As we get comfortable in our relationships, we often stop putting in the extra effort to express our love– resulting to what we know best– our own primary love language. When we get to the comfortable state– this is when we begin expressing our love and failing to connect emotionally.

Love your spouse unconditionally– in their love language– and see the unlocking and working of miracles in your marriage and family!


For more on the Five Love Languages Check out this great read!

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The Ultimate Valentine

It’s the time of year where “love is in the air”. Couples showering each other with flowers and gifts in an effort to show the other how much they love them. For others it’s a time of sadness, loneliness, and depression. Often feeling unlovable because they are “alone” and have no one to spend the day with. Feeling as if somehow they aren’t “good enough” to have someone show them love on this specific day.

My hopes in writing this is to bring hope, joy, and the surrounding presence of God’s love to those whom feel “alone”. I am excited to share with you– you are NOT alone. Not on Valentine’s day or any other day for that matter. Let me share with you a love that is unconditional, unfailing, and unchanging!

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

The love of Jesus– there is no greater love than that of Jesus Christ– who was tortured and killed for you– yes YOU– so that your sins would be forgiven so you may live eternally– so you would know His love. Perfect- Unconditional- Never Failing Love!

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

There are many people that have the wrong idea of who God is– Thinking that He just wants to take the fun out of life or give you a list of rules that is impossible to follow perfectly. Some think He is mad at them–that He is to blame for the bad things in their life– some even believe that God hates them. As Joyce Meyer says and wrote a book on God is NOT Mad at you!! I read the book and if you believe God is mad at you–you should read it too.

God doesn’t correct us or give us rules because He is mad or wants to be a party pooper. God corrects us through His word because He loves us! Just as a good parent loves their child– God loves us even more!

Proverbs 3:12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

The Bible is there to instruct, convict, and replenish your soul– not to chastise, condemn, and break you down. God instructs us in Matthew that love is the greatest commandment. This is because God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and lack of capability to uphold each commandment in the law. When Jesus was crucified He was sinless His death represented the love of God to all of us.

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God never stops loving us even on the days or years we do not choose Him. God authored the concept of love–God is love. God wants us to love Him, love ourselves, and love everyone as He loved us. We love because He first loved us.

You see no one is truly alone– that is a lie the enemy wants you to believe– so that you will remain in bondage to loneliness, sadness, and depression. God is always with us–He goes before us and prepares the way.

If you are feeling alone and vulnerable this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to seek out the Ultimate Valentine– God. He showers you with the perfect love all of the days of your life. He has many gifts (blessings) for you– you only have to receive Him and accept them. God is near to the broken hearted and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. What better valentine to have than the one who authored the concept of love.

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Love Defined

What is love?

An age old question that people have been seeking the answer to for years- some find it- some never do. In a world full of so much hate and misrepresentation it is easy to get lost in what the world says love is. I say this because I was lost– for many years– due to false beliefs of what it meant to love or feel loved– in my case, this had a lot to do with my life experiences and lack of positive reinforcement to set healthy boundaries and concepts of love itself.

So in the spirit of the upcoming “holiday”- Valentine’s Day- I decided to dig deep into the origins of love-where it came from- what it’s suppose to really mean– and how healthy love is shown and received. The month of February will be designated to articles pertaining to love. I write this in hopes it helps someone fill the missing void and redefine their thoughts on the true meaning of Love.

Dictionary.com defines love in the following ways

  • passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
  • sexual passion or desire
  • Then notes Christianity: Gods benevolent attitude toward man–mans attitude of reverent devotion towards God.

Wikipedia defines love like this:

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Scientific research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades. The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests “intimacy, passion and commitment” are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

In the Bible love does not refer to an emotion but an attitude or behavior.

If we follow history back far enough it all begins in the same place–In the beginning was God. He created all the Earth, all things that walk the Earth and swim in the sea, every creeping creature, and He created man and woman in His image.

Love is of God. God authored the concept of love. Without the presence or existence of God there is no love.

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As you may already be able to see our society’s view on love vs what love was designed by God to be are two different things. Although they have similarities the biggest difference is the love we learn from society is broken– it can and will fail, it’s usually not an unconditional love, society’s version of love is emotionally charged and can change based on circumstances– where God’s purpose and design for love is based on an attitude or behavior. We love because He first loved us.

Let’s explore more of God’s design for love–a love that is fulfilling, peaceful, joyful, and patient among many other things. God describes love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest gift He has given us.

1 Corinthians 13- Love the greatest gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

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. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

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

Could you imagine a world where we loved ALL people like God tells us to– no matter their background–no matter their sin. I encourage everyone to put love to the test and love like a 1 Corinthians 13 warrior.

Bible Stories, Blog

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

The Parable of the good Samaritan is told by Jesus in the gospel of Luke– in the new testament of the Bible. Let’s first take a look at the meaning of parable and of good Samaritan– so that you fully understand the text.

Parable is defined by dictionary.com as a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

A good Samaritan is defined by grammarist.com as a person who does good deeds out of compassion and not because of any hope of reward.

The story is about a traveler who was stripped of his clothing, beaten, and left on the side of the road half dead. Jesus tells this parable in response to a series of questions from a lawyer (expert in the law)-that was testing Jesus.

The lawyer asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded, asking him what is written in the law and what he read of it.

So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

But the lawyer, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

This is when Jesus responded with the Parable of the good Samaritan.

A man set out on a journey from Jerusalem to Jericho– on his journey he came across thieves who stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and left him half dead on the side of the road. A priest happened to come by–he saw the man wounded on the side of the road–yet he passed him by on the opposite side of the road. Then a Levite happened to come by and did the same– saw the man wounded yet passed him by on the opposite side of the road. Than came the good Samaritan whom happened to come across the man on his own journey. The Samaritan saw the wounded man and had compassion. He went to him– cleaned his wounds– bandaged him up– took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day, before the Samaritan departed to continue his journey– he gave the innkeeper two denarii– and said to him ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

Jesus than asked the lawyer which of these men did he think was neighbor to the wounded man. The lawyered responded with the one who showed mercy.

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

I encourage every person to read it for themselves in Luke 10:25-37

The moral of the story is that everyone is your neighbor, even those who is normally considered an enemy. Choose to show love and compassion toward others– not because they do/don’t deserve it–but because through Jesus, God gives us compassion and unconditional love.

We love because God first loved us.

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit- Learn to walk in the Spirit

What does the “fruit of the spirit” mean?

The fruits of the spirit are 9 specific behaviors that are a result from the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. The Greek word καρπός that we translate to “fruit” usually means fruit in the sense of edible fruits and vegetables- however can also be translated as offspring, deed, action, result, or profit. In an agrarian society, fruit is a good thing; it is the result of hard work and careful tending.

In the world we live today, we may use it in a phrase like the “fruit of our labor” in this case the “fruit” you receive from your hard work may not be apples, oranges, or corn. In fact- it’s more likely to look like a paycheck-a reached goal-a finished project- a triumph over hurt(s) or obstacle(s) in your life- perhaps for some, it’s starting a new family. The Lord blesses each person differently according to their needs and most importantly His will.

Understanding the different meanings of the word “fruit” will help you apply the scripture more appropriately and easily to your life. Helping you to understand the root meaning and recognize the fruits you are producing in your own life.

Life is all about choices– our choices produce the fruit in our life!

Read Galatians 5:16-26 – NKJV (emphasis added below)

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

The Bible clearly shows us in Galatians 5 that the result of the Holy Spirit working in a believers life results in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

It also shows us that in contrast to walking in the Holy Spirit— is to be walking in the flesh. In other words– doing things our way without seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit. It also goes on to tell us what the results will look like in our life if we are choosing to walk in the flesh. It specifically states the following:

  • adultery
  • fornication
  • uncleanness
  • lewdness  
  • idolatry
  • sorcery
  • hatred
  • contentions
  • jealousies
  • outbursts of wrath
  • selfish ambitions
  • dissensions
  • heresies
  • envy
  • murders
  • drunkenness
  • revelries
  • not to become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another

After having studied the above scripture in Galatians 5– I think it is fair to say, we have two choices in life– we can walk in the Holy Spirit or we can walk in the flesh.

Matthew 7:15-20 says You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Let’s take a minute to be truly honest with ourselves and God. Let’s say a prayer to ask God to expose to us our own hearts and open our minds and self to clarity in Him.

Heavenly Father,

I am thankful for Your Holy Spirit and the redemption I have in You. Lord help me to see my heart through your eyes. Expose to me the things I may not even know is happening within my mind and my heart. God I pray you give me clarity through Your word and help me to transform my heart, my mind, my entire self- to be more like You. God, I know I am far from perfect and I make mistakes daily, forgive me Lord, guide my path, restore my faith, and show me what You want me to learn in my time spent with You. Lord if I am believing something that is not true, help me to see the truth in You. Thank you God for Your promises, that never fail and Your blessings that I know you are already working on for me. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

God is good! Let’s take a closer look at the 9 fruits of the spirit.

Love

There is more than one type of love.

  • Storge – empathy bond
    • Storge (storgē, Greek: στοργή) is liking someone through the fondness of familiarity, family members or people who relate in familiar ways that have otherwise found themselves bonded by chance. An example is the natural love and affection of a parent for their child.
  • Philios – friend bond
    • Philios (philíos, Greek: φιλία) is the love between friends as close as siblings in strength and duration. The friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities.
  • Eros – romantic love
    • Eros (erōs, Greek: ἔρως) was love in the sense of “being in love” or “loving” someone.
  • Agape – unconditional “God” love
    • Charity (agápē, Greek: ἀγάπη) is the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances.

      To read more from the source on the types of love click here.
      NOTE: THE WEBSITE LINKED IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH FAITHANCHORED.COM

In Galatians 5 the type of love it is referring to is Agape love-God’s unconditional love. A love not earned but freely given to those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Agape love isn’t about what we do or do not do– it’s what has already been done for us, through Jesus Christ. This love is never changing, never failing, and covers all sin.

Jesus said in John 15:9-11

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

I am sure there are others–like myself– who struggle with this- because let’s be honest– loving everyone– including those who hurt, offend, or disagree with u– is downright hard!

But with God’s help– you can love someone with an unconditional, agape, love regardless of what they may have or have not done. This is because we only have agape love through the Giver (Jesus)– so because we possess His perfect love–from walking in the Holy Spirit– we can give that love to others.

You can’t give what you do not possess. We receive His love as a result of walking in the Holy Spirit, and allowing Him to guide us. Reacting in His spirit not our flesh with each step we take.

Joy

Joy in the biblical reference is gladness in realization of God’s favor and mercy. Joy is happiness NOT dependent on your circumstances but solely on the reverential understanding of God–His power–His Will–the truth of who you are and your purpose in Him. When you have joy as a result of walking in the Holy Spirit nothing can bring you down-because you know through God that you are covered.

Nehemiah 8:10 tells us Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials..

Peace

Peace- in the biblical concept– means you are far from fear and worry when it comes to finances, trials, food, clothing, and daily essentials.

God’s word tells us in Romans 8:6 For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Meaning if we walk in the Holy Spirit the result is the fruit of peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding. This type of peace comes from allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our mind and heart. The fruit of peace can be seen when peace comes even when life’s circumstances are far from tranquil.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Longsuffering

Longsuffering is not something we hear often in conversation- a more common word meaning the same would be- patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, or even slow to anger.

When we walk in the Spirit the result is we bear fruit of patience, endurance, and become long-tempered. Through the Holy Spirit we are able to wait longer- to trust in God’s timing.

Look how Paul explained the patience of Jesus in 1 Timothy 1:16
However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

I know I am not alone when I say I have certainly benefited from Jesus being one of great patience–especially since I haven’t always been one to “learn my lesson” the first time ..or ten! haha.

Seriously though, I am so thankful for Jesus’ patience with me. It’s never too late to make a change!

Another form of evidence that the Holy Spirit is in our life is we become patient- humble-gentle with one another. Just as Ephesians 4:1-2 shows us.

 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love

Kindness

Kindness in the biblical aspect conveys the meaning of moral goodness, integrity, and/or usefulness. In the King James Version this word is translated “gentleness,” which links it to the meaning of a gentleman or a gentlewoman, someone who behaves properly (according to God’s word), with moral integrity and kindness.   

Romans 2 reminds us that it is because of God’s goodness that we are brought to repentance and not judgement. This helps us to remember to not be judgmental and remain humble. Evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a Christian’s life is moral integrity with kindness–not getting stuck in the trap of self-righteous judgment.

Goodness

Goodness in the biblical aspect means uprightness of your heart and life. In other words-your heart is in the right place. It relates to not only being good but doing good things-expecting nothing- including recognition because you have done something “good”. Goodness from walking with the Holy Spirit acts in response of faith in His power– because God is good, it is by His power we are prompted to do good things for others that He calls us to do.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 New Living Translation

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.

Faithfulness

Faithfulness is a character trait based on the combination of dependability and trust in the confidence of God and His eternal promises. Faithfulness is a result of walking in the Holy Spirit– evidence that the Holy Spirit dwells within us and our faith is in Him and Him alone.

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

Faith is evidence of things unseen– It is by faith that we understand

Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Gentleness

Gentleness (could also be translated as meekness) is a personal trait that is a result of a Christian who is walking in the spirit. It is a fruit that comes as evidence of the Holy Spirit working within oneself. It is because of God’s gentleness that we are able to show it through our actions to others.

Jesus describes himself as gentle–meek in Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Wikipedia explains gentleness like this “Gentleness is a personal quality which can be part of one’s character. It consists in kindness, consideration and amiability. Being gentle has a long history in many, but not all cultures. Aristotle used it in a technical sense as the virtue that strikes the mean with regard to anger: being too quick to anger is a vice, but so is being detached in a situation where anger is appropriate; justified and properly focused anger is named mildness or gentleness.”

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

What a great reminder for us to be slow to anger and gentle in our words.

Self-Control

Self -control comes as a result of walking in the spirit and is the ability to control ones body and desires–physically and mentally. It is the opposite of walking in the flesh and indulging in one’s selfish desires.

Galatians 5:16-18 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law

2 Peter 1:5-9 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.


sources used: https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holy-spirit/what-are-the-fruits-of-the-spirit.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Loves, https://www.biblegateway.com