It’s All in the Family

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How many times have you thought about someone and thought, man if they weren’t family, I would never speak to them again?

Yes, we get that mad sometimes.

Well, not us, no never… all the people not reading this. Ha! I bet you have been on the receiving end of that thought. Families can be tough.

But we are family, so we do love and stick together regardless of what happens.

LOVE

Or at least we should. This is the picture of the Greek word for love, storge. Storge is the kind of love we feel towards our parents, our children, our siblings and anyone else who is a family member. In the Greek, storge is defined as parental affection or instinctual affection by humans and animals for their young. (wordnik.com) It is the kind of love that comes naturally, paternally even.

This love is not found in the New Testament. Instead there are two negative uses and a compound use of the word. In both Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3, the word astorgos is used, meaning no love or without love. (gotquestions.org/whatisstorgelove?) In Romans 12:10 it is used in combination with phileo as philostorgos. In this instance the translation is to be devoted and to cherish one’s kindred.

This is a picture of what God’s family should look like, where we are all considered brothers and sisters through Jesus and thus we should love each other as such.

In this love level, there is a focus on time.

TIME…

As we go through life with our families, we should be spending time with them. God has chosen each person in our families to be who they are, the sibling, the parent, the aunt or uncle, the grandparent. Each of these roles is integral in the functioning of the family.

This could be compared to the picture of the body of Christ. Each of us in the body have a specific anointing which if we do not accept it, then part of the body will not function properly.

FAMILY = BODY of CHRIST

The same is true of the family. Each person has their role and are important to the family unit. When there are hurt feelings or discord within the family, there are often trials and even unforgiveness. You all know what I am talking about, I am sure. Maybe some of you have even experienced it where one or more members disagree about something and stop talking while holding onto bitterness because they cannot forgive the other person.

That is not a picture of love on any level.

We should always be forgiving of anyone for any wrong. As we understand the difference between acceptance and forgiveness, we can forgive without making the person think what they did was right. Moreover, as we understand God’s love, and His forgiveness of our sins, all of them, we come to understand what that looks like for us as we are a reflection of Him.

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.”                        Mark V. Olsen

Another picture of love is now on the horizon.

As I think about family and what that means to me, I think not only of my blood family, but also of my spiritual family. So often, family is those who are related to us in some way. But, guess what? Our spiritual family is related to us through blood too… through the blood of Jesus!!! And even though the Bible does not refer to family much, as the earthly family, the family of God is spoken of many times. One of the sections that I think most personifies the family of God is the following verse from Ephesians:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.   (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Love is family.

Family is love.

Whatever your family looks like, make sure you appreciate them, spend time with them, and above all… love them!!!

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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

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

The Many Faces of Love, What is Love?

Did you know that in 2012, Google reported that the most searched phrase was, “What is love?” That was baffling to me while also a confirmation. The world is searching for love and trying to figure out what it really is. More often than not, that is a challenging task. In fact, most people would have a difficult time defining the word love. Would you be able to? And would you be able to in one or two words? Probably not. This is merely because the word love in the English language has several meanings. Unfortunately, this presents the confusion towards the understanding of the true meaning. And when I say true meaning, I mean, the True meaning from the One who created Love itself, God the Creator of all.

Here are a few of the many meanings of love as Merriam Webster defines it;

Strong affection based on kinship, personal admiration, commonality, devotion, or sexual attraction, a cherishing of someone, a person’s adoration of God, and a score in tennis.

Wow! So many different directions and possibilities for one little word. And though it is a little word in size, it is one of the most powerful words we have. What do I mean by that? Well, think about it. This word and the use of this word, has the power to build up and the power to tear down. We can give it and we can take it away. It can bring joy and happiness to a person’s heart or it can completely shatter the heart. Think for a moment about what you do and have done with this word and how it has made you feel. I know I have been on both sides of the seesaw, up top and full when I had love and at the bottom broken when it was taken away. Unfortunately, I have also been the giver and the taker too where I have broken hearts. You know what though? That wasn’t really love. It was caring and affection, but not really love. I know that the True Love didn’t come until I came to know the True God. He is the creator of love and without knowing Him and allowing Him to love you, your definition of love will always be skewed. Why? You cannot completely and fully understand its meaning without understanding Him who is love.  I actually had no idea how much could be said about one four letter word that, in my opinion, represents life. Not only are we all made in love, because God, who is love, made us, but we are all desiring love, merely because He who made us wired us that way.

19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (MSG)

A life created in love, by love and for love is what we are. Think about that, just for even a minute, or a second, though I think it deserves at least a minute of your time, if not more! Meditate on love and remembering again, that God is love and He made us in love.

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NASB)

How does that make you feel? Do you know God’s love or are you possibly one or those people who goggled, “what is love” and are searching? Let me key you in, the majority of us have been in that place or still are. Until, each of us has an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, love is mostly just a word or a feeling and not a way of life. I spent over 30 years of my life trying to find love, or what I thought the definition of it was. God has helped me over the last 10 years, begin to understand this little word which has so many different human meanings, has only one true “God” meaning.

Katharine Hepburn, in her book, Me : Stories of My Life, defines loves very simply,

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” 4

The Many Faces of Love : Just a taste…

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LOVE… 

This four-letter word is simple yet complex. It has many different meanings and implications. It can rule your life both positively and negatively. The simplicity of the word and its true meaning is something I am seeking coupled with its application. God, the Creator of our universe, is the definitive definition and the greatest example of the word, love, in its truest meaning. In fact, in the Bible, the first half of first John chapter 4 talks about love and the love of God. John, very simply, but profoundly, says the following in         1 John 4:8: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love”. In essence, GOD is love and love is GOD.

The world and ultimately Satan has changed this word, love, to mean so much more. Simply because, Satan is the opposite of love. Chew on that for a bit. What would be the opposite of love…? HATE.

As we dig in and look at the many different “loves” out there, we will come to the final and true meaning of the word. Moreover, we will understand the true meaning of love as it was intended from the beginning of time by our Daddy, God the Father. Walk with me on this exciting journey, as we discover the truths and the lies about love. Become equipped to be “covered in love” as Colossians 3 tells us to do and “love because He first loved us” as we are told God does in 1 John 4:16. In the end, my prayer is that you and I will see love through God’s eyes and not only know what love is but know WHO love is…

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