Beauty… Who Has It?

When you think of beauty, what does it mean to you? How would you describe it? It’s definitely a challenge, or at least, I think so. Beauty is what a person sees and what a person doesn’t see. Beauty can be felt, it can be heard, it can be tasted, it can be smelled, and it can be seen. Merriam Webster defines beauty in fours ways:

1: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit

2: a beautiful person or thing; especially a beautiful woman

3: a particularly graceful, ornamental or excellent quality

4: a brilliant, extreme or egregious example or instance

In essence, even though all of these definitions seem to lean towards beauty being evident in the seeing, it still is something that is special, above all others… brilliant, excellent, extreme. I tend to agree with that wholeheartedly. Beauty is something the Lord has given us to experience and enjoy. Think about the things that you think are beautiful, a sunset, a flower blooming, a baby, a smile on someone’s face, your spouse, love… these things are pleasurable to you. These things create good feelings inside you, right? A smile, a light heart come with the enjoyment of beauty. The Father does that for us friends… He allows us to have things, people, moments of beauty, to make us feel good, even if just for a moment. These things are blessings from God to brighten our day, to let us feel His presence, to feel His love for us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV)

So, beauty is from God. Moreover, God made everything beautiful, even if just for a time. It is important to understand that the outward beauty is passing and will not last forever.

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the FEAR-of-GOD.  (Proverbs 31:30 MSG) 

With that being said, the inner beauty is what we need to develop within ourselves and seek in others. As we grow in our walk with the Lord, who the ultimate picture of beauty, we become more beautiful. Our hearts become beautiful and that beauty is like light seeping out of the cracks trying to shine out into the darkness. The beauty in our heart is a way to love people, to heal people, to be a picture of God to the world and essentially shine the light in the places where people need to see. As our hearts become beautiful, God sees and He is pleased.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:4 ESV)

Our heart is where everything comes from, so it must be full of love, God’s love. Our hearts must be pure and beautiful so we can sow purity and beauty into others. In our face, our hearts will be evident to those around us and depending on the condition of our heart, we will either draw people in or push them away.

As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man.  (Proverbs 27:19 NASB)

The inner condition is as important as the outer condition. We must do constant grooming on our heart much as we would do grooming to our physical bodies. Because, a beautiful outer shell might look good, but without the beautiful inner shell, or the heart full of beauty, you have nothing. As you cultivate inner beauty, it will overflow into the outer making all things beautiful as God’s love and presence is manifested within the heart and ultimately flowing freely to everyone around you. This then is an excellent way of sharing God’s love through His beauty!

So, now the question? Do you have beauty? If not, I hope you want it- because now you know how to get it… You can become beautiful, God beautiful, as He intended. As you embrace your God beauty, then you, God beautiful you, can go out and be beautiful before others in a way that makes them desire that beauty from God the Father. Let’s make the world more beautiful TODAY!

The beauty of a woman must be see from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.  Audrey Hepburn

Definition of beauty: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beauty

Bible verses from New King James Bible Version, Eastern Standard Version Bible, The Message Bible and New American Standard Bible Version

Audrey Hepburn quote from:  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_beauty.html

The Many Faces of Love: Searching for Love…

The entire world is searching for love, even many of those who seem to have found it. In light of that, I must ask the question… do people really know what love is? I propose that the answer to that is no. Or, at least the majority of people don’t. In fact, let me narrow it down even more- the people who do not have an intimate relationship with God, do not truly know what love is. Why? Because God is love, so it is through a relationship with Him that we know love, love Him and ultimately love others.

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16 NASB)

What if someone doesn’t know God or His love? What would love look like to that person? And, more importantly, could it even be defined as love? Love is defined in many ways often depending on the context even. As the world sees it, there are two kinds of love- compassionate love and romantic love. Compassionate love seems to be a deeper and more committed love, much like the agape love God has for us, but not quite. It is definitely the kind of love present in a marriage between a husband and wife. Romantic love, on the other hand, is a physical attraction between two people. It is completely feeling and physically based, almost exactly the definition of eros love. It makes sense to me that both loves could and even should be part of a relationship, specifically a marriage.

“The romantic love we feel toward the opposite sex is probably one extra help from God to bring you together, but that’s it. All the rest of it, the true love, is the test.” Joan Chen

The marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a women. In this relationship, both parties choose to love even when they don’t feel like it. Think about it. How many times has God loved you when you weren’t very lovable, I know there have been many times for me. God chose to love me at many points in my life when I was disobedient, mean and unloving to others, hurting myself and others and most importantly, totally ignoring Him. But yet, in His perfect love, my Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, chose me and continued to love me. WOW! This relates directly to the representation of love in the Bible, which is a true and beautiful picture of the love God has for His people.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of His body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is , clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband should treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. (Ephesians 5:31-33 MSG)

Again we come to the realization of the connection between love, true love and God. God is true love. He gave us the example of Jesus and the church, who are His people, and even uses the analogy of Christ being the groom and His church being the bride. Jesus will come back one day for His Bride…

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2 NKJV)

God loves His people so much, He sent us Jesus, His son, to rid the world of sin. And, Jesus will be back for us, those of us who choose Him and His love, to take us like a bride. I really love how God uses marriage to show us His love. And as we love within our marriage as God loves us, we will see true love. Challenge yourself today to love with that true love and see and feel the difference it makes. The cool thing is if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you have the true love of the Father in your heart… you just have to let it out and share it. Once you do, I can promise you your life will be different and you will feel love like never before!

“True love doesn’t come to you, it has to be inside you.” Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts quote from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/true_love.html

Joan Chen quote from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/true_love.html

Bible verses from New King James Version Bible and The Message Bible

LOVE… the ALL.

god-shaped-hole

So God,

Just curious…

So, often it doesn’t make sense

We can feel

and so You give us love,

but,

the world shows us hate…

You give us joy,

but,

the world brings so much pain…

You give us good,

but,

the world surrounds us with evil…

So, God,

Just curious…

WHY?

God, sometimes the pain is so much more than the joy,

the evil seems stronger than the good,

and God…

the hate cuts so deep it seems as though love has been destroyed.

God, what is it all for?

It is like a leaf blowing in the wind,

A cloud floating across the sky,

A wave crashing on the shore,

It passes by and then the next moment comes.

God, what will the next moment bring?

Fear, anxiety, in this world we live…

God, You know,

You felt it all…

God, you felt,

Weak

Worn

Battered

Hurt

Hated

Unloved

And, God, You never did anything

but

LOVE…

You loved us

Even when we hurt You…

You love, because You are love

We love, because You loved us first

Love is the only answer

So simple

but so true

Love will cover all

Love will conquer all

Love IS the all

because GOD IS THE ALL, the ONLY ALL…

Run to Him now, and let Him love you.

Then go out and share that love,

A love that will destroy…

Hate,

Pain,

Guilt,

Greed,

Selfishness…

A love that will build…

Joy,

Peace,

Kindness,

Patience,

Compassion…

Remember, Love is the all… always…

The Many Faces of Love… Looking Deeper into Love Words.

The English word love encompasses so many different meanings. This presents a problem for us in using the word to properly express what we are feeling, as well as knowing what love is. How often have you said, “I love you” to a spouse, significant other, or family member and then use the same word to express your love for a food item? The love felt for the person is obviously very different from the love felt for the food item. Or at least I hope so! I am sure that food is very enjoyable, but your love for the person must be deeper emotionally and more committed, even.  So, how do we deal with that in our minds and our hearts? How do we separate and properly express these two different levels of love? I think in this case it is helpful to look at another language and use their words. Simply because, I believe that each description of love is correct in its context, but that love should not be the ONLY word to define the different “loves”. Agree or not, I urge you to stay with me and read on. I promise it to be enlightening. Ready? Let’s jump in…

In the Greek language, there are four primary words used for love. These words are, agape, phileo, storge, and eros. Each of these words represents a different level of love. I like the breakout of the words in the Greek language because it is the original language of the New Testament, in which love is spoken of often. I will give brief definitions and examples first and then we will dig in further not only into the words and their meanings, but  also into their uses throughout the Bible.

Definitions first:

Agape- Unconditional, selfless, neverending, God love

Phileo- Love expressed between friends, a strong connection

Storge- Love expressed between family members, kinship

Eros- Sexual, erotic or passionate love

These definitions align with our definitions for love, don’t they? How much easier would it be if we could truly express our love with a word? Not only that, would our hearts better allow love, on all levels, as a result of our brain better understanding? Chew on that for a bit… and remember, that God is the one who teaches us, gives us understanding and then guides us, as we allow Him. Check out this verse that I just love from the Message Bible. It just hits the nail on the head as far as what I am trying to present to you.

Examine me, GOD , from head to foot, order YOUR battery of tests. Make sure I am fit, inside and out.  (Psalm 26:2 MSG)

Never doubt what is inside of you, especially if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you know Him, you know the Father and thus, you know LOVE. You were made in the image of God, who is love, so you were made in love and made to love. Love is the answer to all things, love is the healer, the comforter, the happiness, the joy, love conquers all, love never fails… let’s read part of the famous “love chapter” from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG)

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

We will dig into the Greek words more going forward. But first, I want to challenge you in love today. Are you loving fully and loving no matter what? Are you willing to love with everything you have, not expecting anything in return? This is true agape, or “God love” and this is how He loves his children, anyone who has chosen Jesus, His son, whom our Father gave to us because of His great love for us…

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

*** Bible verses taken from The Message Bible and The New American Standard Bible translations

*** Greek definitions taken from  http://www.truthortradition.com/articles/four-kinds-of-love