The Meaning of Agape!

Matthew 5.pngYou have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you. love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get” Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.                                              Matthew 5:43-48

 The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament. How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word loveagape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Jesus never said to love our enemies with the same love we have for our loved ones. It would be totally impossible and it wouldn’t be right. The essence of the word is different. This is quite another kind of love. For example, our love for our loved ones is different, we can’t help loving them. Then there is love that we describe as falling in love. We don’t have to go and look for this love. It comes to us and it is born from the emotions in the heart. But in the case of our enemies, love is not only something from the heart, it also includes something of the will. It is not something that comes spontaneously, we must will ourselves to do it. It is a victory and triumph over what comes to us instinctively.

Agape doesn’t mean the feeling of the heart, that which we cannot help and which is born without us asking for it. It is through determination of the mind that we want to demonstrate unconquerable good to those who wish to harm us. Agape is the ability to love those we don’t like and who don’t like us. We can only have agape if Christ enables us to overcome our natural tendency towards anger and bitterness.

So it is clear and explicit that the last thing agape or Christian love means is to allow others to do exactly as they please. This means that Christian discipline and punishment should not be aimed at vengeance, but at healing.

Love of God is the root, love our neighbor the fruit of the Tree of Life. Neither can exist without the other, but the one is cause and the other effect. (William Temple)

 

Prayer: Holy Spirit of God, help me to have the ability to love my enemies with Christian love.            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

We Can Find Joy

1 Thessalonians 5.pngAs you recalled this past Sunday we lite the third candle for Advent which is called Joy. This week, we have heard from the Apostle Paul, writing in his very first letter to the Thessalonians—the earliest piece of writing in the New Testament. What is the subject of Paul’s letter to the earliest Christian community? Joy. Specifically, joy in the midst of difficult nights. The Psalmist writes,
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:4-5, NRSV)
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning! As I think about the season of Advent, and read from Thessalonians on this third week into our journey, I can’t help but hear traces of the Psalmist in Paul’s words:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise the words of prophets,
but test everything.
Hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely;
and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, NRSV)My friends, nobody said the journey was going to be easy. Maybe it is for the best that Advent always starts off with a hard dose of reality. But as we enter into the homestretch of the season and begin final preparations not only to celebrate the birth of Christ into the world and his coming again in final glory, but also to welcome friends and family members who are coming down home, some of whom might not be gathering with good intentions, let us not quench the Spirit. Let it be in a spirit of grace that we acknowledge that for many of us, welcoming guests or going home will never resemble in any way the pictures of perfect familial bliss that we see in the constant holiday barrage of Photo shopped advertisements, holiday television specials, and Christmas movies. Nevertheless, let us enter into this time with rejoicing, prayer, and giving thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us. For no matter how hard the journey may be some days, we know that joy is our true home, and our true home is with our Savior Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Becoming A Prayer Warrior

Luke 6.jpgWhat is pray?, it is a conversation that we have between us and God. Pray is an important tool in the life of a Christian, and without this it is impossible for us to grow close with God and have a Spiritual Life with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Through out the Scriptures both in the Old and New Testament we read about the great prophets and their pray life. As we look into the life of Jesus, he knew how important one’s pray life is.  Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.                                                 Mark 1:35

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he designated apostles.                                                         Luke 6:12-13

But when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.                                                                                         Matthew 6:6-8

Some of you may say to yourself, why should I even pray if God is who he says he is and knows all, why should I even pray then. The answer is simply, God longs a relationship with all of his children and we do that thru prayer. When you have something of great importance don’t you go and meet with your friends, or family member and share in with all of your joys and sorrows? your answer would be of course, so why not go to God with all of your joys and sorrows and not just someone close to you. If there is ever a time you just don’t know what to say, or even the words don’t come easy at that very moment, no need to worry because the Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf. God wants you to watch in hope as you wait for Him, your Savior. The longer we have to wait, the more we must learn to trust Him and him alone. If you feel a little anxious, seek his help as Jesus my Lord and Savior, here I sit and wait, wait for your peace within my soul, I love you father however at this times the words come hard to find. Your words just needs to be simply and you don’t need to go on and on, just talk with him as you would your friend. During our prayer time we need to confess to God any of our wrongs doing, God is a forgiven Father, and he will love you regardless of what you have done. Knowing that God forgives us allow us to forgive someone who has hurt us in any what shape or form. Pray for others as you would pray for yourself or a family member, in praying for someone else will also allow you to draw close to your Heavenly Father. We are all here on earth to help one another and if the only way you can help is thru your prayers, don’t worry yourself because that is the best thing you and I can ever do is to pray. We need great Prayer Warriors here on earth to bring peace to our world, no the only one that can change a human beings heart is God and not us however we can ask God to do his will. Humble yourself and ask God to see if there is anything within you that he needs to change for you to become the person he as created you to be and believe me he can and he will.

Praise God for all you have and trust Him for all you want!        (By John Wesley)

You who are born of God according to the marks laid down in His Word well know that you are His children. Your hearts assured before Him. Everyone who has observed these marks can sense and know of a truth at this very moment whether, in the sight of God, you are His child. The question is not anything else: What are you now? Is the Spirit of adoption now in your heart? Make the appeal to your own heart: Are you now the temple of the Holy Spirit? He now dwells within you.

Lord Jesus!

May everyone who prepares his or her heart to seek Your face receive that Spirit of adoption and be enabled to cry out “Abba!” Father” Let them now have power so to believe in Your name as to become children of God and know and sense redemption through Your blood and the forgiveness of sins.

Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

NEW YEAR

new-yearsToday is New Year’s Eve more than eight hours away here in my hometown to the started to a brand New Year. This is a time in our lives in which we can reflect over the past year, or even the past few years in our lives. If you could, would you change anything in your past, I know I would. As we begin to celebrate a New Year, this as well as everyday brand new day is a gift from God. You see yesterday is gone forever we can not go back and change a thing even thro we wish we could, to do over the mistakes we made in our lives would be great, but we can not. Tomorrow well, this is not promise to any of us here on earth. However today which is call P-R-E-S-E-N-T is our gift from God, and as I ask myself what will I do with such a wonderful gift that was given to me just for this one day, you can also ask yourself. The present is a gift from God, and what we do with it will be our gift back to God.

Each day we have hope from God and hope as things unfold in our own lives. As I began to search the scriptures with words of hope I come across many different ones. The first comes from the Old Testament in the book of Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. Another is in the New Testament the book of Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Also Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before is, has entered on our behalf, He has become a high priest forever. God has promise you and me if we seek him with all of our hearts we will find him. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. These are words of courage and of hope for me in my own journey each and everyday with our Lord. The baby we celebrated last week in a manager grows up and gives hope to all of his people. Jesus knows all to well how hard it is to live here on earth and their are days too many days that all of us would like to throw the towel in and just to give up. But my friend Jesus doesn’t want any of us to simply to give up with our life, it is all to precious for all.  When your life or even mine gets to hard for us and you wondered to yourself why should I bother, I am telling you this bring all your worries and cares to God himself. He understand your pain, your loneliness, your broken heart, he understands what it is like to be poor ( he was born surrounded with animals in a stable). He knows every sin that you and I have ever committed in our lives and what we will do in the future, and Jesus says to you,  My precious child, I love YOU. I concord death, I have defeated the enemy himself (Satan) and you have hope in me.  Here are some words to a song you can find on YOU Tube by Aaron Shust

I meet with you and my soul sings out, as your word throws doubt far away,

I sing to you and my heart cries, Holy Hallelujah, father, you’re near

My hope is in you Lord, all the day long, I won’t be shaken,

A peace that passes understanding is my song, and I sing my hope is in you Lord.

For me when life seems so difficult and overwhelming songs of Praises to my Lord, my voice lifts up to sing, and then all my troubles seems so far away, as I turn my eyes towards Jesus and I once again have the hope that he has promise to me.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS

GRACE AND PEACE