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Posts Tagged ‘.THE POWER OF LOVE’

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June
one day a girl came in on her bicycle.

she had another friend with her
and this friend’s father was president of the city college.
and she was an agnostic.
but i loved her anyway.
i wrote poetry with her;
i laughed with her.
i arm-wrestled with her on the floor;
i jogged with her;
i rode a ten-speed with her.
i shared Jesus with her everytime i got a chance.

she would call me some nights
and in the middle of of a conversation
she would slam the phone down in my ear.
i don’t know how often the phone slams in your ear
but i didn’t exactly appreciate it.
i mean after all,
she was the one who called me.
but i loved her.
although, i really shouldn’t say so
because sometimes i really wanted to give up.
and sometimes i really wanted to smack her in the mouth.
but Jesus in me loved her
through thick and thin.

and then one day seven months later
the phone rang.
she was sobbing and crying,
“ann,
i don’t know how to tell you
but today at school,
in an unexpected, obscure moment,
it came to me —
God has to be.
because no one in my life loved me the way you loved me.
if anybody can love me through my moods
and the drugs
and all my mess the way you loved me,
there has to be a God.
ann,
in an obscure moment today
i found Him.”

just about a month ago,
i got a letter from June.
she has Bible clubs everywhere.
Jesus is Lord of her life.
she’s out to win her family to Jesus.
she believes.
just because somebody loved her
through thick and thin
and you see, you can’t stop love.
love finds a way through.

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Excerpt:  “I’m Out To Change My World”  Ann Kiemel, 1974

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The Power of Love

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

The term “love” brings up all sorts of ideas in our widely mixed Western world. The media tend to picture love with desire and feelings and most often promote an equation of love with lovemaking—especially when love is the result of chemistry that bursts into passionate magic. Most of today’s thriving online matchmaking services market their brand of “happily ever after” using personality tests or compatibility pairing—and all of them brag about their success rates.

Speed-dating services and companies like It’s Just Lunch—along with Zoosk, OurTime, ChristianMingle, SingleParentMeet.com, and a host of others—promise to find love for you with “that special someone.” eHarmony alone has more than 15 million members and Match.com has more than 21 million.1 One reliable source estimates that the dating industry brings in over one billion dollars in revenue each year in the U.S. alone, and the average client spends well over two hundred dollars per year to find the “right person.”1

Reasonable, you might say, if real love is found.

It is interesting to note, however, that although the Bible does validate physical lovemaking in marriage as the purpose and design of the Creator, the concept of recreational sex outside of marriage is never promoted in Scripture—all promiscuous, premarital, and extramarital sex is strictly forbidden. Biblical love is based on a much different premise.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand the focus that God requires in a love relationship (both in marriage and in friendship) is to note the play on words in the interaction between the Lord Jesus and Peter after the resurrection. The apostles met with the Lord on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus asked Peter if he “loved” Him. Jesus used the word agapao.2 Peter responded with phileo. The interchange in John 21:15- 17 runs like this:

Jesus: “Do you LOVE Me?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord, You know I LIKE You.”
Jesus: “Feed My lambs.”

Jesus: “Do you LOVE Me?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord, You know I LIKE You.”
Jesus: “Tend My sheep.”

Jesus: “Do you LIKE Me?”
Peter: “You know that I LIKE You!”
Jesus: “Feed My sheep.”

These two words are at the heart of the human problem. God’s love—the love that God exercised when He “gave His only begotten Son”—was agape love.3 That kind of love is unilateral. That kind of love is a promise from the giver to the receiver with a mental commitment to continue that love without regard to circumstances, feelings, or reciprocation. When reciprocated, agape love produces a bond that is almost impossible to break. Yes, the human heart is fallible and sometimes breaks a relationship established on biblical love. But God’s love never fails. Many may reject His love, but God’s love was extended to all humanity with the request that they believe that He loved them.

Human love, on the other hand, in its normal form is phileo love—love that is based on mutual fondness. Hence, the emphasis of the modern dating services on compatibility. And it works…for a while. If folks like each other and enjoy the same sort of behavior, they can get along together under normal circumstances. But when any kind of crisis erupts, disability occurs, or serious differences of opinions develop (and they will), the “like” shows its weakness because it is not “love.” The relationship suffers and may ultimately dissolve.

The Bible speaks of the two pillars of the Law upon which the relationships of man with God and man with man rest. The first pillar is called the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This pillar, of course, summarizes the first four of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-11).

  • God is to reign—nothing is superior.

  • God is not reproducible—there is no other likeness.

  • God is to be reverenced—He is not “ordinary.”

  • God is to be remembered—He is the Creator!

The second pillar is: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matthew 22:39). The neighbor has a broad application according to the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). That second pillar is summarized by the last six of the Ten Commandments.

Coupled with the obvious emphasis on the agape love outlined in the Ten Commandments, the Bible speaks of a two-master problem. You cannot love two opposing ideas (people, lifestyles, worldviews, etc.); one or the other will dominate your heart (1 Timothy 6:9-10; Matthew 6:23). Put simply, relationships with God and with other humans will either be based on a mutual fondness (phileo) or an intellectual, unilateral commitment (agape).

Perhaps the greatest test of whether love or fondness dominates our lives is examining our practice to see if we do not love what God does not love. And that boils down to how we relate to the “world” (1 John 2:15-17)—the system that places self and monetary success or personal dominance over submission to the authority of the Creator.

On the positive side, “love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). This kind of human love is really an expression of God’s love. That love is easy to define, even if difficult to keep, and is found in the classic passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. God’s love is summed up by the following qualities:

Individuals seeking God’s character and instructions for a successful life (i.e., successful in God’s eyes) find their focus in a love for the Word of God (John 14:15-24; 1 John 5:2-3). Our secular world is struggling to find love and falling prey to relationships based only on a mutual fondness that fades with time and circumstance.

In stark contrast, God’s love stimulates good works (Hebrews 10:24). It causes us to honor our leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). God’s love produces confidence and even fearlessness (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18) and a growing maturity in our ability to understand and cope with life (Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 2:2). And God’s love enables us to love others as He has loved us (John 13:34).

Ultimately, of course, God’s love—made efficacious in us through His salvation—provides confidence in His sovereign control (Romans 8:28) and security in His faithful preservation (Romans 8:35-39). When God gives instructions for husbands to love their wives, He uses agapao rather than phileo (Ephesians 5:25). That kind of love continues “for better or for worse” and does not waver when circumstances change. Agape love commits for life; phileo love falls away when the passion fades. It allows only surface sacrifice and protects self rather than the other. But God grants the twice-born special ability to demonstrate the powerful agape love that unreservedly sacrifices for the sake of the one loved. “Greater love [agapen] has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

References

  1. Online Dating Statistics. Statistic Brain. Posted on statisticbrain.com January 1, 2014, accessed January 7, 2014.

  2. Agapao is the verb form, and agape is the noun.

  3. John 3:16.

* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Henry Morris III, D.Min. 2014. The Power of Love. Acts & Facts. 43 (2).

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The Power of Love

Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8

The power of love is what it achieves. Stephen demonstrated the immense power of love when he prayed for the people stoning him: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). This is what God wanted—this display of love.

Stephen, who almost certainly was Paul’s role model, is one of the most outstanding people in the Bible. I cannot express how much I admire him. And then I examine his mastery of the Old Testament (Acts 7) and observe how he put his opponents in the succession of the disobedient in ancient history: You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (v. 51). Although no one was immediately converted, never had one spoken with such power.

The whole time he spoke, the pure love of God flowed through him and from him. The proof of this was his concern for them, not himself, when they were stoning him. He, therefore, fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” It was a virtual reenactment of Jesus’ prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

The love of Christ that resided in Stephen got to Paul. Paul wasn’t able to shake off the power of love that Stephen showed, which led to the conversion of the greatest of the apostles.

Again, when Paul and Silas were in prison, they sang praises to God, and love took over in extraordinary power. God affirmed them with such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Even the jailer was suddenly converted!

The one who is filled with love allows the omnipotent God to move in. It becomes vulnerable, that is, the one governed by love is losing the battle to win the war. That’s power.

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997

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http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/devotionals/by-love-transformed/?devFor=2013-07-13

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