What Does It Mean to “Love” ? Part 1

What does it mean to love someone? Does it mean you give them everything they want? Does it mean letting someone run over you? Does it mean you tell them what they want to hear? Does it mean you never make them angry? Does love ever end?

Webster defines love in this way; strong affection for another based on kinship ties.

Example: maternal love for a child. Attraction based on sexual desire. Admiration or benevolence. Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion. A beloved person: Darling. Brotherly concern for others. To hold dear. To feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness. An unselfish concern of God for man.

The scriptures tell us that “God is Love.” Tell me can you really truly love someone and not know God? Or better yet to the degree you know God; does it help you love in a profound way? According to I Corinthians 13 LOVE…….is PATIENT…….is KIND…….does not ENVY……. does not BOAST……. Is not PROUD…..is not SELFISH. Keeps no record of wrong doings…….does not DELIGHT in EVIL….but REJOICES in TRUTH. Always protects. Always TRUSTS. Always HOPES. Always PERSEVERES.

Does your definition of love encompass Biblical principles? Guess what? Well, whenever the above are not in operation it is not love. We all should seek to improve how we respond in love. Guard the Love the Lord Blesses you with!

I have found that love is a term that many people use loosely. If you listen clearly they usually base love on doing or not doing something for them. Love is not giving someone what they want. Love is not letting people run over you. Love is not telling people what they want to hear. If you love them you will speak the truth in love. Just know when you truly love people they will get angry with you sometimes! Learn to be “angry and sin not!”


I am eternally grateful that the LORD has bestowed His Love upon our lives and our marriage. I can say we genuinely love one another as husband and wife. It is not something we take for granted. We both are able to stand firm as individuals in what and who we believe in. Together we have faithfully allowed the Lord Center Place within our marriage. We are thankful for His Holy Spirit His Comforter. There is never question as to His Divine intervention in bringing us together. This was confirmed by our late Pastor/mentor. He told us it was important to not let anything come between the “circle” of love. We have held his godly wisdom dear to our hearts… It has helped us to weather the storms of life as well as the plethora of mountaintop experiences. We enjoy, genuinely love, respect, trust without doubt and care for another.

I am most thankful for God given coping skills. There is a Joy and an unexplainable Peace that is present even in the midst of sickness, sorrow, contention or spiritual warfare. The HOLY SPIRIT is a SPIRITUAL COUNSELOR! GOD’S TRUTH is POWERFUL. It will not allow you to freely move in denial but rather seek TRUTH. (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ANYWHERE IS HIDDEN TO THE LORD) A lie will keep you in bondage. There is no place in truth for delusional illusions to persists. I/we Thank the LORD for “Sound Minds!” And an undoubtable constant awareness of GOD’S OMNIPRESENCE everywhere you are. Always seek the TRUTH above all else… I fully realize without the Lord I am nothing but walking breathing formed dust. Yet in Him I am confident knowing that within me His Holy Spirit resides.

As we submit to the “WILL & WAY” of the LORD HIS HOLY SPIRIT leads us to ALL TRUTH!

It is important to readily strive to resolve conflict. It only serves to limit your own “Walking in the Spirit! Feelings need to be validated. Discipline needs to be embraced when responding or not responding. Confrontation exercised from the perspective; “this is how you feel” Be willing to “REPENT” whenever in error. Move forward allowing the Lord to build your character. Don’t let life make you Bitter Always strive to “BECOME BETTER!” Life is so very precious and you do not want to spend the majority of your marriage and your relationships in “much ado!” You get stronger in this as you practice it.

There are those who have lived with much turmoil. Rather than seek to resolve their inner turmoil they tend to continue to create it. They will often project how they are feeling upon you. Pray for Discernment!

Whenever you are dealing with someone who does not really understand love they will often misinterpret your intentions. Their perspective of you will fluctuate. They base everything on their feelings. Not usually looking at what they have done or said to make the relationship go south. Yet, you suddenly are no longer the kind wonderful person that they thought you were? All of a sudden you will be perceived as being cold, uncaring, and selfish. But yesterday you were the greatest… But now since you won’t let them have something or do something you are cold. Yet they have done little or nothing. Go figure? Watch the double mindedness. They will accuse you of not really loving them when you don’t give them what they want. Know they are hurting and want you to hurt too. This is not usually the case in a healthy marriage or relationship. You know one another and don’t try to reduce one another to a lower standard. You can disagree respectfully. Patience is key!

Don’t fret! God knows your heart. Pray for them. (In a trusting relationship you don’t go here…) Stand fast. Be patient and allow the Lord to bring what is really happening to the forefront. Don’t manipulate or don’t allow anyone to manipulate you. Seek the Lord fervently for direction. In the meantime pray for them. Begin to practice healthy boundaries with them. Or you will engage in a continuous cycle of dysfunction.

There are many angry people who will chew you out at the drop of a hat. They have oodles of pent up unresolved anger. Cancer, high blood pressure, eating disorders, temper tantrums and depression are just a few results of stored anger and or unresolved conflict. It’s okay for them to have a tantrum. Its okay for them to vent and rant. Its okay for them to do very little. Like a spoiled child they want what they want right now. Usually at your expense. But you are expected to appease them.

Anger is natural. It takes discipline to combat anger. Encourage them to learn to be patient and find healthy ways to express their anger. Suppressing anger is unhealthy. Just know it takes more control to not respond than to throw a fit. Did you know you can be angry and sin not?

By the way you must let go of some people you love. I am not talking about letting go like in divorce. Divorce occurs because two adults are not able to work through whatever problems they are experiencing. They are not able to keep the commitment they made to each other for whatever reason. Often this is because they really didn’t think things through first. The responsibility to nurture the marriage is not mutual.

Many couples are unaware of the necessary tenacity for building an enduring marriage. There are also those who come to marriage to get rather than to give. They have been so hurt that they remain insulated from learning how to really love and keep the vows that they made. Sometimes living behind a wall of shame… (But that’s another column/sermonette). When I say letting go I mean putting them in hands of the Lord. Allow Him to intervene.

There are those who just enjoy a habitat of tension and confusion. They will often go the mile with a coworker or a friend and their spouse receives the leftovers. Or as a friend you will have to carry the load the majority of the time. They tend to participate in just about everything at their place of worship, or work related activities, yet their home life suffers and takes secondary place. Their need for acceptance is the priority. This should not be. It is clear that they don’t perceive God’s Omnipresence.

Anger and dysfunction need to be confronted. Avoiding conflict is not healthy. Did you know you could break unhealthy cycles by employing better ways to resolve conflict? Allowing a cooling off period before discussing the problem may be helpful. Always seek direction from the Lord He will never lead you wrong. He will help you to humble yourself. Learn to walk in meekness. Which is power under disciplined control.

Sharing a one sided account of what has happened to your friends will not help your relationship. It may get you some momentary support. But it won’t help you to grow spiritually. Words spoken in a fit of anger can be very damaging. Taking responsibility for your actions is always a step in the right direction. Letting go and allowing them space to feel the consequences for their actions can be beneficial to their spiritual maturity.

The world is a very inconsistent place. God’s standards are not often respected nor appreciated by many. God must be the central focus of your life for true successful living as a believer. Life will present challenges. But with the help of the Lord; He can and will deliver you through it all. The prophets pleaded over and over with God’s people to return to His principles. But many still preferred to do their own thing. Knowing the WORD of GOD for yourself is important. God wants to be first in your life. Remember after all you claim you belong to Him?

As believers we have been grafted into His family. He wants us to know Him through His Word. God has instructed us to; “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, and with all thine might. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto they children and talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest……. (Deuteronomy 6) God loves us and is faithful. ALL HIS WORD IS TRUE.

‘”GOD IS LOVE!” Love will help you weather the storms of life. Love must be balanced. The term “unconditional love” is often used today. I often hear SOME SAY; “I can do without your kind of love.” Well, “your kind or my kind of love” is not love at all. This is really more about how you are feeling in the moment. Remember, God sets the standard for love, for “God is Love” Unless we measure it by His standards it’s merely subjective opinion. For example; the more I don’t rock your boat you love me. Once you rock my boat I tell you to get out. Now all of a sudden you cry, “You don’t love me anymore.” As long as I let you rock my boat it’s thought of as love. This does not have to be. WRONG! This is immaturity. How can something as important as Love be reduced to such insignificant terms. This is what I call “intoxicating affections.” It mimics love and doesn’t last.

Don’t get love confused with how you feel in the moment. You can not like what someone does and still love them. It is love that actually helps you to respond properly or not respond to them despite the way you feel. Remember God’s love rejoices in the truth! Although it can be painful shift through what someone says to you and see if there is any truth in it. Make an adjustment whenever necessary. This is how you shape your character. Beware of counterfeit love. When you have been truly loved you will know the difference.

In a healthy marriage or relationship you do not seek to reduce the love you have for one another. You take responsibility for your actions and how you are feeling.

There are only a few that find genuine love. But God really wants this for all of us. Love is precious! It is never too late to seek GOD’S LOVE! This is true if you are married or single. “Be ye perfect because I AM Perfect” God really does wants us to become perfect in HIM. Which means to become complete in HIM who IS LOVE! No one is flawless but JESUS. This is why we all need HIM as SAVIOR & LORD! HE says; we ALL CAN BECOME PERFECT in HIM! Scriptures tells us that love covers a multitude of faults. This does not mean we ignore or condone sinful habits. Don’t be deceived. There are consequences for sin. This is why it is so very important to know His Word for yourself!

Growing your love in a healthy marriage or genuine relationship should be a mutual priority!

We are living in some interesting times when some of everything is happening all over the world. The Spiritual Warfare has heightened. The devil’s agenda is to reek extreme havoc upon the children of God as well as those in the world. He will use whoever he can. He knows that time is winding UP!

Now is a good time to seek the Lord above all else. In the Word, God says; “Is anyone of you in trouble! He should PRAY!” James 5 Humble yourself before the Lord. Be encouraged for GOD always has a way to HIM 24/7…

See Part 2


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Depression: Spiritual Relief

Depression is America’s number one health problem. A growing number of our population suffers from depression. Depression can be brought on by trauma, prolonged stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain, living with a substance abuser, sexual abuse, obesity, unemployment or unresolved family dysfunction. A decrease in neurotransmitters is also a major factor in depression. When anger is not dealt with properly it can actually manifest in the form of depression. Depression is actually unresolved anger turned inward. A person can actually be depressed for years and not know they are depressed.

A depressed person suffers from self- defeating beliefs. Here are a few of those beliefs. I have to be loved to be happy. I must give up my beliefs to please others. If others don’t like me I can’t be happy. I can’t trust others they will only hurt me. I’m inferior to others. I should never hurt anyone else’s feelings. This is why it is so important not to compare yourself with others. Comparing will either make you feel superior or inferior. Everyone has there own unique shortcomings. We all are in a state of “becoming”. Know that God made us all uniquely different yet equal.

There are varying degrees of depression.The foundational causes of depression are usually rooted in some type of personal injury. A deep sense of hopelessness, fear, bitterness, anger, ambivalence and despair are usually a side bar of depression. Depressed people are usually focused inwardly. A deep sense of shame often keeps the depressed person in a state of emotional isolation. Angry with themselves and sometimes even angry with God they experience a great deal of conflict. Depression is often described as feeling as though you are totally alone in a black bottomless hole.

A chronically depressed person may often have suicidal or violent thoughts towards themselves or others. They also suffer from distorted thinking, which can resort in magnifying situations. A great sense of loneliness is realized since they feel unwanted, unimportant and unloved. They may over eat, under eat, sleep excessively or to the extreme be unable to sleep at all.

In extreme depression there is frequent loss of emotional control and frequent crying spells. Overwhelmed by the depression their being inhabits a deep void. Although often remorseful after improper behavior, they have the potential to exhibit extremely violent and self-destructive behavior. A depressed person can use their depression to manipulate others. Attention getting depression frequently ends up in loss of mate and friends.

Bipolar depression alternates between manic and depressive moods. There is much medical evidence to substantiate genetic predisposition in some individuals. In between episodes they can have long periods of normal functioning. This type of depression can take a toll on those afflicted as well as their friends and loved ones. Depression of this magnitude accounts for the majority of mental hospital admissions. In most cases the assistance of a prescribed anti-depressant medication is necessary to correct the chemical imbalance. This helps to replenish the depleted neurotransmitters. This kind of treatment is only viable by a qualified Psychiatrist or a medical physician.

Depression is of a spiritual nature as well. Although the word depression is not mentioned in the Bible, on numerous occasions it mentions hopelessness and despair. Remember when King Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and wandered eating grasses, grew long, long, hair and his nails grew as claws.

“He finally lifted his eyes to the Lord and praised Him. His understanding was restored.” Read Daniel 4: 32-34. What about Job, Moses, David, Elijah or Jeremiah, these are just a few examples. Or how about King Saul who had a persistent tormenting spirit? Encouraging a depressed person to think realistically from a biblical perspective is crucial to their healing. Depression can be cured with the right therapeutic help when it is not of a biological nature. The power and direction of the Holy Spirit is much needed in dealing with a depressed person. Help them to understand that God loves them because of who He is and not because of who we are. (Without God we really aren’t much of anything.) His love for us is not based on what we do or do not do. That He loved us so much He allowed His son Jesus who was sinless to die for us. When we accept Him as Lord and Savior He stands patiently waiting to help us with our varied sin weaknesses. A truly Christ centered life will give your life new meaning! Fellowshiping with balanced committed Christians is a plus. Spending time doing something for someone else will give them less time to spend in introspection or self- pity.

Let them know God already knows all what has transpired in their life. Encourage them to develop a personal intimate relationship with Him. Not a religious knowledge! But to really begin understanding that the Bible is not a fantasy! The examples therein are for us, then, today and tomorrow! Once you accept Jesus He is forever there for you. Just don’t leave Him out! You are adopted. Your old self should gradually begin to take on the characteristics of your heavenly Father. But for this to take place you must spend time with Him. Begin to meditate on His WORD! Start with Romans 5:1-6 and Philippians 4: 6-9. Be patient know that God has promised to work everything in your life for good eventually. Learn to properly verbalize your anger. Don’t suppress it. It’s okay to be angry!

Christians often experience depression. Feelings of abandonment override their ability to rationalize that God really loves them right where they are. This is why it is so very necessary for committed teachers of the Gospel to expound with wisdom and simplicity. Keeping it on a level for all to understand. To reinforce that we can really do ” all things through Christ that strengthens us”. To know that fear is not from the Lord. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the daylong; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“Beyond The Walls” by Alpha 7. Smooth instrumental music that will calm the agitations of the soul.

Also see “Getting Your Joy Back”

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Co-dependency

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Family

Co-dependency

What is happening to our Christian families? Codependency has become a major dysfunction. Families are experiencing a famine in the area of healthy nurturing. Let’s begin to break generational cycles of codependency. Why is this necessary? A person who is co-dependent is trapped in a compulsive cycle of control. They are usually over achievers who are virtually motivated by their desire to be loved. They often have been subject to major rejection in their early childhood. In order to feel a sense of security they will over extend themselves in many activities in order to gain the approval of others. It is very difficult for a co-dependent to deal with someone who they can not control. They will often even appear submissive in order to gain control of someone. This behavior is really manipulation in order to dominate. The boundaries of a co-dependent are usually blurred. The hurts of childhood abandonment and rejection fuel their need to control. They have a great need as well to be the center of attention. Unable to let go of the past they really feel empty and unloved. They are high maintenance people. Their constant need of approval is countered by resentment when not satisfied since they suffer from low self-esteem. As I have said before and will say again and again ” your true security and significance can only be found in God”.

For the co-dependent it is necessary to realize that God is really not a respecter of persons. We are equal yet different as His children. Although scripture tells us “it is not by works that we are saved” a codependent can be manipulated into many activities. This is fueled by their need of approval. This often causes them to develop a surface relationship with God. Their busyness leaves little time to “be still” and find the freedom and rest only God can provide. Contrary to popular belief you are not required by God to participate in most man ordained auxiliaries especially at the expense of neglecting your family. Pastors as well as Christian workers who suffer from co-dependency must be careful not to be pre-occupied at the expense of not having some time for their own families. Your works should display your faith not someone else’s. Creating healthy boundaries are necessary. Spend some time developing your personal intimate relationship with God. Begin to implement His principles in your life. Grace and peace is multiplied when you increase your knowledge of GOD!

Consciously allow what God desires and requires of you to override your need to control and/ or gain the approval of others. Don’t be a people pleaser! God is not impressed by manipulation. Always examine your motives in the light of His WORD. Take charge by letting go, which is the opposite of controlling. Remember scripture says it is “the meek that will inherit the earth.” Meekness is not weakness it is power under control. Cycles are hard to break but with God even the impossible is possible.

The family system of a co-dependent usually has a powerful effect on their behavior dynamics. Often there is a scapegoat, a martyr and a hero in the co-dependent family. The scapegoat gives everyone something to focus on rather than deal with the real problem. The martyr sacrifices for everyone and feels sorry for themselves. The hero makes the family look good to outsiders. A multigenerational pattern of faulty unhealthy dynamics can appear as normal. Do you notice any generational patterns? Unconsciously the family will fight to keep these dynamics operating. All families have an element of dysfunction. Destructive family dynamics have been in operation since the beginning of time. The story of Joseph tells how his Dad favored him over his brothers. Joseph’s father gave him a beautiful coat. This caused so much jealously that they designed a plan to destroy Joseph. His brothers called him a dreamer. Little did they know that the Lord had His hand on Joseph. God being in control worked this to good although their plans were evil. In the final analysis Joseph became the chief provider for his family as well as country. Eli was a priest. Although a servant of the Lord he had two sons who were outwardly rebellious. They disrespected not only the offerings but the people of God as well. I wonder how much time Eli spent nurturing his own sons?

Family secrets such as mental illness, incest, abuse and alcohol or drug addictions often go unaddressed in the co-dependent family. Denial becomes a survival dynamic for the family. This fosters an unhealthy physical as well as spiritual environment. Family secrets are often described as though one has a white elephant in the living room. Everyone just walks around it as though it doesn’t exist. Or they just avoid it altogether. Thinking it will just go away. It won’t! Christians need to take a stand and move to a higher level of functioning. We must learn to address the sin issues in our families and not continue to make excuses. God has promised to direct our paths when we put our trust in Him. We must learn to responsibly take responsibility.

God in His omniscience is well aware of the shortcomings of all of us. We must look at the unhealthy dynamics in our family of origin and consciously find ways to abandon the generational cycles. Don’t continue to sweep things under the rug. Learn to confront issues as they arise. It’s never to late! Start by not supporting or reinforcing any unfavorable behavior. The truth must be faced to break free and enjoy the present.

Sometimes it is necessary to pursue professional assistance to resolve family conflict. A conscientious therapist should be well informed about inappropriate behavior. They objectively are able to recognize that the faulty behavior presented is really a mask for an underlying unmet need. The co-dependent needs to find a positive channel to release inner tensions. A family intervention is useful in most situations. Then proceeding to establishing a way in which their unmet needs can be satisfied is recommended.

In a Therapy environment a healthy atmosphere is crucial. The equal safety of the client and the safety of the therapist should always be a priority. A committed Christian therapist knows the importance of establishing healthy boundaries. A congruent environment implies that the therapist is trustworthy, genuine, integrated, and openly honest. There are many cultural differences that can inhibit a fluent understanding of the client. Stereotype thinking must be abandoned. Each client must be viewed as an individual. Labeling often changes peoples perceptions of others. There is a substantial diversity among any given group of people.

Christian therapy although not new is often unwelcomed from anyone other than the pastor in some instances. Many pastors who may be well-versed in scripture may not be equipped in some areas of counseling. Many on the other hand or overwhelmed by their ministerial duties. There are some pastors who should not counsel. The sincere efforts of a Christian therapist although well meaning may be often misconstrued as out of line and unwelcomed.

The use of small cell groups can often be quite therapeutic and beneficial for the co-dependent as well as for managing other interpersonal problems. A conscientious facilitator will maintain order and model control. Confidentiality and free expression should be encouraged. Conflict arises when individuals become resistant to someone’s insight or opinions that have been communicated. Uncontrolled anger is not welcomed in a cell group. Establish boundaries. Keep the group spiritually based. Making use of regular Bible study and prayer are key elements for success.

Emerging from codependency is painful. The compulsion to rescue dependent people is really a form of bondage.God never intended for any of us to be slaves to sin. Self-control is a fruit of His Spirit. His resources are unlimited. The co-dependent person first must acknowledge their compulsion to control. They must work towards redirecting their inclination towards other control to self-control. To seek healthy ways to have their unmet needs fulfilled. To process dispelling dysfunctional cycles this is a must. Don’t allow pride to hinder your progress. It is an obstacle to your well-being. God also hates pride it is an abomination to Him. Confess any known sin and press forward. It takes courage and a lot of hard work. It is in our weakness that we can become strong through God’s awesome power. God has left the Comforter which is His Holy Spirit to lead teach and direct you. Never forget God loves you! Take control by taking control of yourself. The truth really will set you free!


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