Category Archives: Bible

Thinking of LOVE

LOVE – it has been the topic of many songs, books, poetry, plays and movies.  We all talk about it, but do we really understand what is love?

I love my wife.  I love my mom.  I love blackberries.  I love my guys in our Bible study group.  I love to sleep in on Saturday mornings.

Tina Turner sang about love….

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion

-Tina Turner

Can all of these be using the word love in the same context with the same meaning?  I don’t think so.  I understand love to be more than just an emotion it is an action we do for someone.

We show our love by actions – not by words.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary love has the following definitions:

  1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
  2. attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
    After all these years, they are still very much in love.
  3. affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
    love for his old schoolmates
  4. warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion  ::love of the sea
    the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration :: baseball was his first love
  5. a beloved person : DARLING —often used as a term of endearment
  6. unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: such as
    1. the fatherly concern of God for humankind
    2. brotherly concern for others
  7. a person’s adoration of God
  8. a god (such as Cupid or Eros) or personification of love
  9. an amorous episode : LOVE AFFAIR
  10. the sexual embrace : COPULATION
  11. a score of zero (as in tennis)

These definitions do describe how we understand love in modern day America.

However, in studying my Bible I read in the New Testament that there are several Greek definitions of the word love which give the word a deeper personal attachment.

Eros – represents the idea of sexual passion and desire.  It was not always used in a positive way either.  Eros had the idea of a dangerous and irrational form of love that could take hold and possess you.

Phila – was considered a friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them.

Storge – is the love and affection that is naturally shared between parents and children, and to other siblings.  It is a family love.

Ludas – is a playful love.  This can be seen in childlike love or the early stages of a relationship.

Pragma – is a longstanding love.  A love that is considered in making compromises over a long period of time for the good of the relationship.

Philautia – is self love – what we would consider on one hand a narcissist, but on the other hand a satisfaction of loving who you are and where you are.

Agape – is the most radical of love in that is unconditional.  God has an unconditional love for humans.  We can’t earn it and we can get away from it.  He loves us no matter what we do!

From what I read and understand about love I like to think of love as an action – something you do for somebody.  Yes I know that I still love blackberries, but I have no other way of saying that.  Other than I really like the taste of blackberries.  Correct it is, but not as short of a way to say it.

I found this quote somewhere and I use it often.  Love always does what is best for others.

Think about that.  When you say you love someone, do you do something for them that is best for them – sometimes over even your own comfort or desires?  To me that is love.

In John 15:13 Jesus said “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”  Then He went on to demonstrate that love toward us – He set the perfect example of love.  In our world today, to me the ultimate display  is to give the very core of who you are right now – your life – for someone else.  That is the ultimate high bar setting that we can only look to achieve.

So when you think of love, I hope you think that there has been a high bar set and that love is more than an emotion it is an action word.

Go love!

 

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Completely Obedient

This past week we had our men’s Bible study from Genesis 22.  I wanted to share with you the lesson that I learned from this passage.

This is the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac by God.  Abraham finally got the son he had asked for.  Abraham was 100 years old, and his wife Sarah was 90!  Talk about waiting till the last minute for a great gift!

So the most precious gift that God could give Abraham was in the form of this son Isaac.  Not cattle, not land, not money or fame – no the most precious gift was a son.

So one day God asks Abraham to sacrifice this precious non-renewable gift in his son.  I have one son in Austin, and I tell you – I would struggle greatly if I was asked to sacrifice my precious gift.  I can only imagine the thoughts that went through Abraham’s mind.

But Abraham was obedient, and got up early the next morning and let out with the sacrifice – his son.  They made their way to the place where God led them to and built an altar.  In obedience Abraham laid Isaac on the altar and was about to kill him when God intervened and provided a ram for an acceptable sacrifice.  Abraham did not stop in obedience – God stopped him after his obedience.

The lessons I learned this week from this passage are these:

  1. More important than the sacrifice God just wants me.  I have things to sacrifice and give to God (money and talents), but the real deal is those things are already His.  I am His also, but that is what He really wants (time).  Just like how I want my son spending time with me – that is what my Heavenly Father wants from me.  Spend time with Him.             I have been listening to a song that really brings this into focus.  Listen to CT and Becky Townsend sing “When I Lay My Isaac Down”.
  2. I got to thinking about what obstacles are keeping me from spending time with Him daily?  Work, wife, family, TV, yard work, selfish desires and social media.  All of these can be good things in my life, but they also play a hand in keeping me from giving Jesus the #1 slot in my life.  I have to focus on Jesus 1st thing in the morning, and the last thing at night.
  3. What is it that God really wants from me?  I believe He wants me to simply…
    • Read my Bible daily asking what Jesus wants to say to me
    • Pray asking what Jesus wants me to do today
    • Go out in my day and be obedient to what He has told me
    • Sleep – repeat the next day

When you read Genesis 22 – what does God say to you?

 

Yes – Jesus still heals!

Do you believe that Jesus still heals people?  I certainly do – because He healed me!

I had hurt my neck and shoulder from doing some yard work and was in some kind of pain.  I could not get comfortable to sleep at night and it hurt me during the day to the point of affecting my work.

The week after we happened to be in revival services at church and I was in our prayer room with a few good men.  After we prayed for the revival and for others, I asked if they would pray for my neck and shoulder.  They agreed and anointed me with oil and prayed for my healing from the great physician.

I went to bed that night already feeling better and prayed as I went to sleep that the Lord would continue to make my shoulder better.  He told me that He would heal me, and that I needed to do three things:

  1. do pushups in the morning
  2. thank the men who prayed for me giving credit to Jesus
  3. write this article

So here I am- thank you for reading.  And I do want give Jesus all the praise for healing – even if it didn’t happen to me.

About 5 months ago I was doing yard work of a different sort and I hurt my elbow.  It limited some movements that I do such as even picking up a coffee cup.  So I finally went to the orthopedic doctor and he gave me some meds and said that I had tennis elbow and it would eventually go away.  Actually the elbow was still hurting some when my neck and shoulder became aggravated.

So when I hurt my neck and shoulder I just knew I would be in for another body part that would be drawn out with ache and pain.  I just could not go through this kind of pain for very long I felt

You can imagine my excitement when just a few days after hurting my neck and shoulder it was actually feeling better from His healing.  I was for some reason surprised.

Then I got to thinking about why God chose to heal me.  Why did He give me three specific things to do in response.   And how did Jesus heal while He was in body form here on earth.

I believe that Jesus does heal.  Even today.  The examples we learn in the Bible show us that He heals and it is over, and sometimes He heals and expects the person to do something to accept the healing.

In Luke 22:51 we see that Peter cut off the ear of a soldier who had come after Jesus.  Jesus rebuked him for his retaliation and healed the soldier’s ear.  He just did it.  The soldier did not ask for it and neither did Peter – but Jesus healed.

Then we see plenty of examples where Jesus heals and tells the person to do something that I think make them accept the healing by asking for it or an action after the healing.  We see this in John 9:7 where Jesus heals the blind man, but tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  When was the man healed?  When Jesus put spit and mud on his eyes, or when we washed it away?

I know that Jesus doesn’t always heal either.  We don’t always understand why He does or doesn’t heal.  But I do think He expects us to demonstrate our faith in Him.

Are you in need of healing?  I suggest that you pray to Jesus asking for specific healing and then listen if He wants you to do something to receive that healing.  If we don’t listen and then respond I am not sure that He will heal as we have asked.

 

40 ways to Pray – Pray with the Sick

Day 6 – Pray with Someone who is Sick

The Bible teaches in Matthew 14:14 that Jesus had compassion on people in a crowd and healed their sick.

In Mark 6:13 Jesus sent His disciples out to drive out demons, anointing the sick with oil and healing them.

James 5:13-15 teaches us that if we are sick to call for the elders of the church, to anoint us with oil and pray for us.

Now compare those two scriptures to what I hear today – “I will be praying for you”.

I think people have good intentions to pray for the sick and hurting, but rarely do.  And let me make a clear distinction between praying for the sick and praying with the sick.  Notice the difference?  It is proximity.  Praying with the sick indicates you and the sick person are near each other.

When we pray for a sick person I am careful not to say that this person will be healed, because that just may not be the will of God.  Healing in this body and healing we will have in Heaven are two different things.  I believe God can and will heal everyone who puts their trust in Him – one day.  It just may not be the healing we are expecting.

But I do like to pray with the sick for the following reasons:

  1. To encourage them.
  2. To hear what God has to say about the situation.  He gives me a word sometimes about a situation, but if it is not encouraging I might not share with the individual.
  3. To be obedient to what the Bible says about praying for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
  4. Healing comes from prayer.  If I just wish it, or send my thoughts I am really not doing anything of significance.  Only by the prayers of the righteous and humble will God hear and heal.

 

Brag on my Wife

JohnCindy McCloudMtnDo you know who I can brag on the easiest? Me. I know all about me, and I know the great things that I have tried to do with my life. If you would just listen and see what a great guy I am you would agree as well.

Now in reality, the conversation above happens in my head at times – subconsciously of course. But in reality, I cherish myself more than anyone else. Or at least I appreciate myself more than anyone else – and so do you.

As a husband I should be consciously giving those same accolades to my wife. I really should not be bragging on me – I need to brag on her. I do so because I am to love her just as I love myself. I should not brag about me, but I certainly should her.

The Bible says: So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. Ephesians 5:28-30

So I should brag on her because she is a part of me. I need to nourish her with my words. I need her and others know that I cherish her.

I believe there are at least 6 different people that need to hear me bragging about my wife.

Her
The first and foremost place I need to brag on my wife is to her directly. She needs to hear the words of affirmation that I love her. I need to nourish her soul with positive words in private and in public. Like a plant needs water to keep it healthy, I need to water her with uplifting words directly from me.

Her family
Her family needs to hear me lifting her up and complimenting her. I made the mistake of chastising my wife in front of her parents the other day, and later I felt so bad. I had to go apologize to her that night. My negative words were bad for her and her parents – nobody was encouraged. Her family needs to see that I cherish the baby girl they raised into a woman.

Our Kids
I need to model lifting my wife up with my words in front of our kids. By doing this they see the correct model of a marriage. They also see that I honor her and respect her, and will expect the same attitude from them. As the leader of our family I also set the correct attitude of my family by lifting up my wife.

Friends
Our friends need to hear me brag on my wife. Not overly bragging, but positively giving her compliments. It steers our conversations in a positive direction, and encourages them to do so with their spouse.

Coworkers
My coworkers need to hear me brag on my wife for a couple of reasons. First when I brag on my wife I announce to other women I come in contact with that I am a taken man. Flirting and advances from other women quickly stops when I give positive light to my wife. The second reason is for me to be an encouragement to others in their marriage. I think we all have times that we could use some encouragement in our marriage.

Me
Of all the people who need positive reinforcement about how great my wife is – I am the one who needs hear it the most besides her. I am the one who sees her flaws – I smell her early morning breath, I hear her complaints about work, I see the struggles with family and friends, I know where she hurts and why. So there is no doubt that I need to focus on the great ways she cares for our kids, how humble she is, how giving she is, and that she really tries to respect me as her husband and the covenant of marriage that we made.
Shoot – if nothing else, she is the only one who has to put up with me! So kudos to Mrs. Grigsby!

So how are you bragging on your wife or husband? If you are not sure – ask them. Your spouse will be the first to tell you if your compliment bank is full or empty.

If it is empty; try setting down and making a list of the great things about your spouse on a sheet of paper. Then find a way to communicate each one of those positive attributes of your spouse.

Where do you turn?

This week has been really tough for me for a sundry of different reasons.  My personal, professional, spiritual and family life have all been attacked by satan.

My wife knows my struggles and we talk, but sometimes I need to bounce ideas off other people.  As I have went through getting over the trials I have had the thought – where do I turn for help?  Who do I look to?  What helps me feel better and see clearer?IMG_5117

Through this week’s experiences I had a chance to step back and look at my situation and judge how I reacted.

So it all came together last night at church.  Our Wednesday night services are a help to me in a lot of ways, so I know I needed to be there – that was my first right turn.

While I was setting there by myself listening to the sermon I could not help my mind wondering back to my own situation.  What do I need to do to make things right?  Who can I talk to?  Should I get in my vehicle and drive till I have an answer?  What would I listen to – something to excite me or sooth me?

Then a question really stopped me.  When the service is over – do I bolt out the side door or talk with my church family?

To bolt out the side door I would avoid any questions, showing my current emotions or having to act like nothing was wrong.

If I chose to talk to friends I would surely show my emotions and have to answer questions.

Where do I turn?

Well, I chose to turn in and talk to my friends and church family.  And it was a wise decision.

I did put on my “happy” face and talk, but soon I was caught up in hearing about others that I forgot about my problems.  We made plans for the coming week and talked of blessings that God has showered us with.

I wound up practicing with the praise team and was blessed by my time there!

As the night wound down and the next morning came I realized that I was leaning into God’s word and worship music.  And you know what?  I was feeling better!

The problems didn’t go away, but the became less amplified because I chose to turn to God and His blessings instead of giving satan another battle win.

Psalms 121:1 says

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
A good reminder to me – where do I turn – I turn to God!!

Merry Christmas

I wish you a Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas wreathWe hear it this time of year, but what does wishing a merry Christmas mean?  What does it mean to you?

To me there are several things in mind when I wish you a Merry Christmas.

First and foremost I am wishing you well wishes at a time we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus the Christ, who came to earth as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Without His birth in the way and the manner in which it happened, then He would not be qualified as a perfect sacrifice.

John 3:16-17 says “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. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” No other man do we celebrate this way, and no other man should we celebrate this way.

Secondly wishing your Christmas to be merry means I hope that the way you celebrate His arrival brings joy and peace in a festive way!  I hope you celebrate His gift by giving to those you love!  Sometimes that means we buy things they would like and present them as gifts, but it also means giving of your time and attention.  That is why I am glad we eat and play at Christmas parties and family gatherings – enjoy each other with lighthearted fun!

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Lastly I wish you a merry Christmas season.  Not just a day, but a time to celebrate, give thanks and share love.  To do that right it will take more than just a day – it will take a well orchestrated season.  A day can be built up and fall so anti-climatic, and you will have to stuff so much into one day.  But in a season you will have time to enjoy and share with more people – more time to spread the love as Jesus taught us!

So from me and my family of four – we wish you a Merry Christmas!