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Is Love Love?

There is a slogan that has been getting a lot of media attention in Australia in recent times.  It is usually accompanied by rainbow coloured flags and claims that “Love is Love.”  So how can you best describe love?

The limitations of the English language, compared with others such as Hebrew and Greek means we only have one word for love.  That is love.  It is used widely to refer to people, objects and activities.  When I say I love my AFL team; fresh brewed coffee; steak (medium rare thanks!); reading; my wife and family, the english word for each is the same, LOVE.  However, the depth of meaning for each time it is used is vastly different.  I get alot of pleasure from the success of my AFL team in recent years, my son responds with excitment and high fives when he sees my excitment and happiness.  I greatly enjoy a fresh brewed coffee, and not much beats a juicy steak.  But does the love I have for those tangible items and activites realy match the love that I have for my wife and family?

In the ancient texts, known as the Bible, there is at least nine different Hebrew words and at least six Greek words for LOVE.  Here’s a few with a brief English translation.

Hebrew

aheb – to be attracted (like a nail to magnets) or attached to (as in parent and child).

hasad – an expression of emotional or economic loyalty amongst relatives, neighbours and friends.

raham – a one way love such as with a caregiver to the receiver.

ahava – to have affection or to be intimate with another person.

dode – a love by implication, most commonly refering to a relative.

Greek

eros –  a love for the body, shown through physical passion and desire.

agape – a selfless love with no limitations on whom it is shown to.

phileo – rich in emotion and feeling, relates to the love of the soul, often associated with a parents love for their child(ren).

philautia – a love for self often associated with narcissism.

pragma – long standing love, often making compromises to help develop the depth and longevity of a relationship.

Some quick research will uncover other non-English words for love.  Why not do your own research and you will discover that loving your spouse the same way as your favourite sportsteam might not be very romantic or provide a good foundation for longevity!  Here’s just a few.

FrenchAmour sans fin: endess love.

GermanIch liebe dich: a deep affection for another person.

Italianamore: affectionate love.

So why the rainbow?

As a follower of Jesus Christ and beliver in the Holy Bible, I am convinced that the rainbow was created by God.  It was done so as a symbol of His commitment (such as the Greek word listed above – agape) never to destroy human kind again as was done in the time of Noah and the great flood.

In Genesis chapter 9, verses 12 and 13, it reads that God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

This was, and will always be a sign of God’s covenant, not a flippant suggestion or for the sake of brightening up the sky when its couldy, but His covenant.  As a covenant is usually a formal agreement between two parties to do a specific thing, this is also a reminder back to God of His part of the agreement.  So if you think that God doesn’t or cannot love you, or wonder how He can exist with the turmoil in the world, then remember this: each time you see a rianbow in the sky, while it can be a sign to you of the God who loves you and will never destroy you, it is also His reminder to Himself that He desires a relaitonship with you and has already made the ultimate sacrifice for that relationship to be possible.

What do you think of when you see a rainbow?

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Prayer…and Fasting

SCRIPTURE: Mark 9:14-29 – ‘So He said to them, “This kind can only come out with prayer and fasting.'”  (v29 NKJV)

OBSERVATION:  A man had brought his deaf and mute son to the disciples for healing. The disciples were unable to cast out the unclean spirit that was holding this boy in bondage. Such was the stronghold over this boy that he would often convulse and be physicaly incapacitated.  As the interaction progresses, Jesus tells the boys father that “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (v23)

APPLICATION:  Are there barriers, attitudes or mindsets in your life that you are struggling with, that are holding you back from living the holy God centred life that God created you for?  Is there  a deafness in your life to hear clearly from God.  Have things transpired in your life that are keeping you mute from speaking up, from having your say?

In this story, we read, how despite being with Jesus so much, the discples lacked the ability to deal with this boys issues.  After hearing that the discplies had no success, Jesus asked this question to the whole crowd, not just the disciples, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you.”(v19)  Jesus was challenging their faith for greater things.  Jesus himself had been filled with the Holy Spirit, and understood the power in declared words.  Jesus rebuked the deaf and dumb spirit, commanded it to come out of the boy and not return. (v25)

Later that day, Jesus was asked by the disciples why they could not cast out that spirit. Jesus responed saying that, that kind could only come out through prayer and fasting.  Jesus himself had been through a season of fasting whilst in the desert after His baptism, and knew the power of spiritual disciplines.  Fasting is a spiritual discpline.  I am grateful that my church encourages this discipline, in fact we have an annual corporate 21 days of prayer and fasting.  This time brings people closer to God, it brings forth breakthroughs, clarity, and miracles.

If there are barries, attitudes or mindsets in your life that need to be dealt with to bring you through to a holy God centred life, then maybe its time you considered adding fasting to your prayers.  It is good for the physical man and the spirit man.

PRAYER:  Dear God, show me those things in my life that need a more concerted spiritual discipline to bring me closer to you.  Show me these things, and give me the courage to act on them as you speak to me.  In Jesus Name, AMEN.