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

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The Will of God

Matthew 6b.pngAs I continue to share with you the Lord’s prayer which is taken from the Gospel of Matthew 6:9-13 “Your kingdom come, your will be done”

This prayer is simultaneously a liberating and a challenging one.  It is liberating because it brings us to believer’s acceptance of God’s perfect will. It challenging because one of the most difficult things for humans is to submit ourselves to God. From the start God has a master plan with His creation-and that includes the life of every person. God wants to carry our His plan, but Satan is always trying to subtly sabotage it. By praying this prayer, we ask no less than the death of our own willfulness and this means surrendering our loves. With this, we surrender ourselves completely to God. We humans suffer from an almost indestructible, strong and eternal self-love and that is why this is a dangerous prayer: It could cost us our lives, Martin Luther claimed that it was a dangerous prayer, because it meant obedience without taking back. Of course, we are sometimes willing to compromise, a part of His will; half a quarter, or, in  a generous moment, we are prepared to give up nine-tenths of our will.

With this prayer, we ask for the strength to be obedient and devoted to God’s will; we ask for the power to resist Satan. Some people do the will of majority; others say they are their own boss and will do as they please. Who can really meet God’s demands? No one! It is impossible for humans. On this broken earth there was One who could do God’s will to perfection: Jesus, the living Christ!  My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent Me, and from finishing His work. (John 4:34)

“The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Thankfulness

James 1.pngEvery good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change life shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.   James 1:17-18

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in America are we can take the time to remember the history behind the first Thanksgiving celebrate with the Pilgrims and Indians years ago. However, as you think of that time we learn in school do you also take the time to celebrate the many blessings that comes from our Heavenly Father, our Creator, the “Great I Am” I truly believe that too many times we as humans take for granted our blessings that we do have. Take the time to take a walk to see all the beauty that our land has to offer, the beauty that God has created for all of to enjoy. Everything that we have, everything that we own truly are God’s bless to all of his children. Try to think for a moment just imagine you standing in the presence of God, the “Great I Am” the Alpha and Omega, our Creator. His very name at times my soul shakes because I am unworthy to look into his eyes because I am a sinner. I am standing in His presence and I take my shoes off because I am standing on Holy Ground with My Great Redeemer. I can hardly breathe or simply say a word for I am totally amaze as I look into his eyes. His love for me his child, can I simply and honestly  put it into words within my heart, what I am truly feeling at this very moment at this very second.  I stand in the presence of the “Great I Am”, in His embrace, I loose all sense of time and all my problems I may have brought to him in this place as all but disappear for I am in His presence. Whenever I feel tempted to grumble I will simply go to you and simply talk it over with you. As I open up to you my Lord, give me your peace to calm my spirit down, so that all the cares of the world simply fall away. Help me to trust you by opening up to you each and everyday. I can’t wait until I become so discourage I just need to come to you with all of my concerns. As I talk it over with you, I will remember to thank you for all that you have done, for all the prayers that have been answered and the ones that will be answer in your time. My gratitude will provide a helpful framework for the things that concerns me. As you and I talk about everything, I think of looking into your face with all of its beauty and amazing light and my worries simply disappear forever. When I spend this time with you my Lord I will come away with joy and peace spending the time with you and this world that I have come to know can never rob me of that anymore.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Are You Able?

Jeremian 32.jpgIn the Gospel of Matthew a man came up to Jesus and ask “Teacher , what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Why do you ask me about what is good? Jesus replied, There is only One who is good. If you want to eternal life, keep the commandments.” Which ones? he inquired. Jesus replied. “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. All things I have kept, the young man said. “What do I still lack? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. The Jesus said to his disciples. “truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved”? Jesus looked at them and said. “With man this impossible, bit with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:16-26

There are many people even Christians that are not willing to change their lives for Jesus, for me at times it is hard to understand how they would not be willing. We have become a nation that is so focus on material things and not spiritual things. For whatever reason everyone one wants the fancy cars, bigger houses, more vacation time, become work alcoholic and never spend anytime with their families and why because we have to have everything we see, guess what everyone we have created monsters within our own children.  With each passing generations most families spend less and less time with each other, eat fast food instead of someone preparing a meal and sit down at a dinner table and have good old-fashion table talk. There is a lot to be learn when doing so, learning about your child that God has created. We as adults are not teaching our children to have a personal relationship with Christ, and for the most part it is because most adults do not either. Instead of taking sometime out of their busy lives on a Sunday and spending time worshipping our Heavenly Father, they have become too busy for God, guess what when the day you leave this world, where do you think that you will be spending eternally with God? You better think of a better answer because God may said too most of us here on earth, sorry I am too busy for you, come back another time and there is not another time for you, it will be too late. However when we do decide to accept Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we begin to seek and by seeking I mean read scriptures and a pray life with God. And overtime God changes us from the inside out, like Jesus tells us with man it is impossible to do that on our own, however with God all things are possible. So what are you waiting for start now, remember no one is promise tomorrow, it just maybe too late for some.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Possibilities

Matthew 19.jpgJust then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ” Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? “Why do you ask me about what is good? Jesus replied. There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Which one? he inquired, Jesus replied , You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. All theses I have kept, the young man said, “What do I still lack? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ” Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter in the kingdom of heaven, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God? When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked,” Who then can be saved ? Jesus looked at them and said, ” With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”           Matthew 19:16-26

Wow as we read these words from the book of Matthew it is a lot to understand what is going on here. First off we can not worship God and money, it is one or the other. As you can remember when God gave Moses the ten commandments which is in the book of Exodus 20:1-21 God spoke these words You shall have no other Gods before me. It is only by God’s grace that any of us are saved, thru Jesus being crucified on the cross for all mankind. Our sins have separated us from God however Jesus bridge the gap between us and God. As we also read in Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?  the answer is no. Long after child bearing years Abraham’s wife Sarah had a child called Isaac, everyone including Sarah thought it is impossible, yes for man but not for God. All thru scriptures we can read all the wonders that God has done, as well as he continues to do for us today. I remember when I was first married and I long to become a mom however, the doctors didn’t give me and my husband much hope, my answer that I told my doctor at that time, I don’t know how or I don’t know when that God will bless us with a child. And within two months I was carrying a child and gave birth to a baby girl on my own birthday. We all seem to forget that we serve an Awesome God, the Great I Am, our Creator, and their is nothing impossible for him to do. I remember the year my daughter was born and I wanted to help with the children’s program at my church during the summer called vacation bible school, everyone told me it was impossible. I stood up and said I can not find the word can’t anyone in scriptures It say I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength Philippians 4:13. From then on and for more than fifteen years I directed the program. It wasn’t me but God working thru me to do his will and believe me I love every moment of it. You see children always have faith even when we as adults don’t understand but they do, that yes God exists and that God can do anything.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends