The Truth about Love

There are three common types of love. Each one is distinctly different, but we can feel all of them at one time – for one person or many people. EROS is passionate physical love. It includes sensual desires and longing.

Relationships built only on Eros usually end when sexual passion wanes. That is why people have affairs or casual physical relationships. Therefore, marriage needs more than Eros to survive.

PHILIA means friendship and connotes affectionate love between friends and family. It displays dispassionate camaraderie. Philia includes loyalty to friends, family and community. It exhibits Godly virtue, impartiality and delight.

Philia denotes a friendly type of affection between family and friends. It is a desire for companionship and enjoying activities with each other. Having a friendship with the people in your life and enjoying time to play, pray and share in common pursuits is vital in any relationship.

AGAPE means unconditional love. It refers to a deep sense of God’s pure, holy love. Instead of the sexual attraction of Eros or the deep affection of Philia, Agape is sacrificial.

Agape provides us with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction as we put each other first and highly esteem one another as better than our self (Philippians 2:3-4). True love takes effort and is not dependent on the other person.

Christ lives in us and is love personified. Regardless of how someone treats us, we love them with God’s love within us. It is not how we feel, but what we do to express God’s love to one another.

This does not mean that we do not honestly communicate to others how their behavior makes us feel; but we never give up on the relationship. We may have to establish boundaries, but we keep the relationship active.

Love is not what we expect from others, but what we provide for those in our life whom we care about. We are called to love one another, just as Christ loves us. Sometimes, that is a tall order to fill.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to display love to our parents, spouse, children, church family and even strangers regardless of how they treat us. This is only possible as we submit to Your will for our life and allow Your Spirit to reprogram our thinking to have the mind of Christ. Remind us that once we have this spiritual love, then the physical and the emotional feelings will follow after it.

Cause us to submit our self to You and to resist the devil. Then he must flee from us (James 4:7). His destructive suggestions that putting our self first, estrangement and divorce are not wrong, and that You want us to be happy, will vanish with his departure. Remind us that You want us to be holy. Help us to develop Agape love for others as we focus on submitting our self to You.

Thought for the Day:
Most people realize that we are far from loving one another with true self-sacrificing, lasting and sincere love; Eros and Philia come and go throughout the years, and they are never intense for long periods of time, but Agape lasts forever.

Ceasing from Futile Efforts

Much of what we do in this world is busyness. We get overly involved and double-booked in our schedule; yet make no time for play, worship and fellowship with family and friends.

We burn the candle at both ends until we burn out, making our self sick in the process. We have so many irons in the fire that we can barely keep everything straight even with a calendar and sticky notes.

We have so little of our self to put into each endeavor that they are all lacking to some degree or another. We constantly run from one plate to another to keep them all up in the air and spinning.

The rare person who learns the value and secret of entering God’s rest, ceases this striving in the flesh, follows the leading of God’s Spirit each moment of the day, and trusts in God’s overall plan for their life (Hebrews 4:7-10).

They are more interested in accomplishing the works which God preordained for them to do than in fulfilling their own goals and agendas (Ephesians 2:10).

They are not tempted by the world, the flesh or the devil to compete or to get ahead in this world. The trappings of life have lost their glitter and are no longer appealing.

They line up their desires with the purpose of God for their life. They love Him above all else and they hunger and thirst for the manifestation of His presence to fill their body, soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your law, which showed us the futility of attempting to reach fulfillment by human means and measures. We are so glad that Your law pointed us to Christ and His finished work on Calvary.

A life in Your presence is ours once we convert from a child of this world to Your child – forever free of the cares of this life and joyously cared for by You (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:19-25; 1 Peter 5:7). Thank You for using us to demonstrate Your righteousness to the world around us and draw us ever closer to Your rivers of living water within us.

Thought for the Day:
What time is there in life for rest, recreation, serenity and fulfillment amidst the turmoil of agitated rushing after useless pursuits in a state of disorder, the tyranny of cares and the mountain of depression rising within our soul?

Natural and Spiritual Mind

The natural mind cannot comprehend spiritual truth with the intellect. Without the Holy Spirit of God resident within our spirit, God’s truth seems foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Without the Spirit of God, we pick and choose what we want to believe from the Bible, if anything at all. We attend church services to feel good and make friends. We may even find a place of service in the church and community.

Our inner being needs strengthening by God’s Spirit, so that we can receive Christ in our spirit (Ephesians 3:16). If anyone is willing to trade pride and rebellion for humility and submission to God’s Spirit we can experience salvation (Matthew 5:5).

Then God fills us through our entire being with all of His fullness and gives us the richest portion of His presence, so we become a body completely filled with all of God Himself (Ephesians 3:17-19).

As we are quiet before the Lord, He inspires us (Psalm 46:10). Christ abides within us by His Spirit, influencing our thoughts, words and deeds; helping us to fulfill God’s pre-ordained purpose for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

We stop stressing over life, or attempting to find God’s will, or to make a living and to amass worldly goods. We enter God’s rest, and He floods us with His peace and joy regardless of life’s circumstances.

God directs each moment of our day and provides for our every need (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are the only Bible some people will ever see, so let us live life in God’s fullness and righteousness.

We exemplify to them God’s reality, love and peace, which transcends all human understanding. We are the branch on the Vine, bearing fruit used by a lost and dying world to nourish their souls and strengthen their spirit, so that they too can believe (Ephesians 3:16; Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, we realize that all of You dwells in every Believer at the moment of salvation; but Your Word teaches us that we can increase the intimacy of our union with You (Psalm 42:1-2; Zephaniah 3:17; John 14:21).

Remind us to pursue You rather than worldly gain, and to taste and see just how good You really are (Psalm 34:8; Hebrews 6:5). Your Word is sweeter than fresh honey to our mouth (Psalm 119:103). We delight in You always and rejoice in Your presence in us through every trial and tribulation we ever experience in this sin cursed world (Philippians 4:4; Psalm 37:4; Matthew 28:10).

Thought for the Day:
At the coming of Christ, the whole earth will be filled with His glory, just as the waters now cover the earth. – Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34

Unreached People Groups

In this modern world, it seems impossible that there are still people who have never heard the gospel of Christ (Acts 4:12). They have had little to no opportunity for outreach and evangelism (Revelation 15:4).

An unreached people group is one that has less than 2% of Believers in their country and has no church planting capabilities or Bibles in a language, which they can understand.

Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the world and to preach the gospel to every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20). Christians in every succeeding century have followed suit.

Of course, America and England sent out the most missionaries so far. However, in today’s spiritual climate, other countries are now sending missionaries to England and America, due to our lack of faithful, committed Believers. Churches are continually closing here.

We are afraid to speak to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors about the difference that Christ makes in our life, and how God’s unconditional love provides us with so many benefits both now and in eternity (Romans 15:21; Psalm 67:1-3).

The Apostle Paul is a great example to us, since he took several missionary journeys covering large land areas and started over 50 churches to carry on the ministry of spreading God’s Word to the masses (Romans 1:5).

God calls all Believers, even today, to reach as many people in our area of influence and to plant as many churches as there is a need, in order to take as many people to Heaven with us as we possibly can (Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10; Mark 13:10; Acts 13:45-47).

Prayer:
Father God, as we go about our day, remind us to preach, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and then to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and cleanse the lepers (Luke 24:45-47; Matthew 10:8).

Help us to be strong and courageous, because wherever we go, You are there with us and in us (Joshua 1:9). Move by Your Holy Spirit in the lives of people we know and those unreached people groups all over the world, so that the soil of their lives will be ready to receive the seeds of the gospel, which we commit to spread as sowers of Your Word (Matthew 13:18-23).

Thought for the Day:
All the ends of the earth shall remember what Jesus did and turn to Him, and all the families of the nations of the world shall worship before Him. – Psalm 2:8, 22:27, 67:5-7, 98:2-3

Living in the Moment

The Serenity Prayer, the whole prayer and not just the first paragraph, teaches us to live in the moment. This is the key to living a life full of the peace and joy of the Lord.

The next moment does not yet exist; five years ago only exists as a memory and can no longer really affect this current moment; unless there are unresolved issues from our past, which still haunt us today, and which God wants to heal.

The only true reality is now…this one moment in time. We may pass from life one moment from now; so living this current moment fully is imperative to our joyful existence.

The excitement about this one moment of time is that we do not have to wait for it. It is already here. We can make of it what we choose. We can live in God’s perfect will for every single moment of time (Ephesians 2:10).

As we pay attention to this exact moment, we take note of our breath. Is it shallow and tense or peaceful and deep? What thought is in our mind? Are we concerned about an issue or enjoying the presence of God?

What emotions accompany our thoughts? Are we angry, anxious, addled or are we basking in the love the Lord? How does our body feel? Is there pain, are we tired, do we have an unusual amount of energy?

As we learn to be present in the moment with our self, then we can take the next step of being present in the moment with God’s Holy Spirit. Abiding within us, He gives us creative options, inspirational direction and Godly wisdom.

Do not be afraid of paying attention to who you really are inside. You may not like yourself, but God loves you. So you have value, which you never explored or acknowledged, just waiting for you to discover.

We do not need a mask, addictions or an escape to deal with our negative emotions or circumstances. This only postpones the inevitable need to face who we really are. Take time to look in the mirror and to love your self.

Living in the present helps us to care for our own needs, as well as the needs of people God brings into our life. We will look deeper than the manifesting emotions, into our own heart and into the heart of others.

God will give us discernment about the true needs in our soul or in the life of our family, friends, acquaintances and even total strangers that we meet along the way.

God will show us how He wants to use us to help, heal, provide for, or to pray for these needs. As we walk in His Spirit every moment of every day, we further His Kingdom.

Prayer:

Father God, most of us have calendars that are so full of activities and responsibilities that we have no time to just “be” in Your presence. We rattle off a quick prayer as we rush out the door, but we have not truly connected with our self or with You.

Teach us to fully abide in each moment of time. Help us not to regret the past or fear the future. Remind us that You have a perfect plan for every moment of our life, and teach us to walk in Your Spirit through every one of them.

Thought for the Day:

God calls us to adopt the attributes of a little child – to trust the Lord without reservation, to be open to new experiences in life, to enthusiastically enjoy our current activities, and to joyfully, lovingly and freely walk in His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day.

– Matthew 19:14; Galatians 5:15-26

God’s Comfort through Grief

The death of an intimate relative is one of the most challenging, disturbing, overwhelming, and painful experiences we may ever survive. Grief shakes our core foundations and creates devastating and sometimes unrelenting loss and chaos in our life.

For a period of time, depression dampens all of our activities and feelings, and it interrupts our normal schedule. Grief has even been known to hasten the death of the surviving partner or parent.

Our life may never totally recover after the loss of a loved one. At best, life will take a new course, which brings change and fear of the unknown. This change is often one we would never select if we had a choice.

Grief may even accompany the loss of a cherished personal possession, a pet, or even financial security or a part of our body. Aging also produces aspects of grief as we experience the loss of friends, health, physical appearance, energy, family support and memory.

Divorce is another loss from which some people never recover. It causes traumatic grief in most cases, which is similar to or even more distressing than a death, because our mate chooses to leave us.

Each person alive experiences grief in some form or other in their lifetime. Even minor losses will trigger heartache. Grief from former losses will accumulate over the years and add to the sorrow we feel in current losses.

That is why it is important to allow our self the time and opportunity to grieve until we feel closure from any loss as it arises. Ignoring or suppressing grief compounds this devastating emotion in our soul.

Taking our grief to God allows us to heal more completely than if we try to heal on our own. His solace provides peace and joy, which surpasses human reasoning and emotion. We feel His presence within us, filling us and lifting us up.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for walking with us through the valleys of grief we experience throughout our lifetime. Your comfort transcends any mantras we utter or human counsel we receive during these times of loss.

We come to You and Your Word and find our wellbeing through Your life-giving truth and wisdom. We know we will see our saved loved ones again, but please fill their void in our life with more of Your presence than we ever felt before now.

Thought for the Day:
God brings physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual healing to us in every instance of grief we experience during our lifetime.

This Free Gift is Yours

At the age of 18, I was plagued with negative emotions from betrayal by my father, who was supposed to protect me. I tired of my string of boyfriends, because I could not find my soulmate.

I wrote morbid poems about the devastation, which I felt inside, and I even contemplated suicide. This drove me to question the empty spot within myself, which called out to me for fulfillment.

Thankfully, during an extra work-day to ready our college yearbook for press, I met a vivacious red-head who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me (John 3:16-18).

This resulted in God giving me feet like hind’s feet to traverse the heights of His love (Habakkuk 3:19; Psalm 18:33; 2 Samuel 22:34). Since then, I feel no shame in proclaiming to the world that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord.

So often, we reject Christ, because we fear the rejection of our family and friends, as well as ostracism by those we respect and hold in high esteem. Yet, we are willing, by our unbelief, to alienate the King of kings for all eternity.

I share the free gift of the gospel of Christ with anyone who will listen. I view every stranger as a potential friend, and I realize that everyone I pass in a day’s time is a prospective member with me in the family of God.

Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but He gives it to us as a free gift (Romans 6:23). We do not deserve it, and we cannot earn it (Ephesians 2:8-9). We simply receive it.

There is no end to God’s love. I want everyone to enjoy God’s bountiful benefits. There is no valid reason to miss out on His free gift (Psalm 103:2).

Prayer:

Father God, Your love is boundless and Your generosity is limitless. You spoil us as Your children and You share with us the inheritance of Your Kingdom for all of eternity. We simply need to believe and to surrender our entire body, soul and spirit to Your Lordship.

You do not demand perfection before we come to You; you perfect us from glory to glory once we trust You with our life (2 Corinthians 3:18). Your only requirement to receive Your free gift of salvation is that we love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Romans 6:23; Mark 12:30). This is so easy to do, because we simply respond to Your love for us.

Thought for the Day:

God gives us both the desire and the ability to walk in obedience to His ways. –  Philippians 2:13