June 19 – Kinds of Love – Phileo

“Then said Jonathan unto David, whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee . . . And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” I Samuel 20:4, 17

The friendship between Jonathan and David demonstrates “phileo” love.  Although it is a soulish kind of love, based on the mind, will, and emotions, it is the highest form of love one can reach on the HUMAN level. “Phileo” love is expressed between friends through talking and fellowship.

This type of love should be cultivated in the Church today. The Bible exhorts people toward brotherly and sisterly companionship and toward hospitality. It requires an effort on your part to develop healthy friendships.

Many Christian marriages fail today because of a basic lack of friendship. They fall “out of love.” Friendship requires time spent together in meaningful conversation so that understanding can develop. Couples should PRAY together. Pray out loud and hear each other speak words of faith and love for God. “Phileo” is not God’s highest form of love, but it is a “down to earth” expression of your mind, will, and emotions . . . and “earth” is where you live. God can use “phileo” love to bring about His divine purposes.

PRAY:
“Father God, I yield my mind, my will, and my emotions to You today.  Sanctify me in Your love so that my friendships will be strong and pure.  In Jesus Name,  amen.”

June 18 – Kinds of Love – Storge

“Therefore (Lazarus’) sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. . . Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!” John 11:3, 35-36

“Storge” love is another type of love involving the body. It occurs within the family structure. It involves strong affection, but nonsexual touching. Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and Jesus shared this same feeling.

Somebody coined the phrase, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that the “blood” relationship between “family” members is generally stronger than the best friendship between “non family” members. This tight bond is often dormant and unrecognized until a time of crisis. A death in the family is sometimes the crisis that brings out these strong family ties.

The Apostle Paul has some pretty strong words about the responsibility of taking care of your family FIRST. “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8)

Cultivate your family relationships BEFORE the crisis comes. Make it a point to express your love and appreciation for your immediate family through a well- chosen compliment… it doesn’t go without saying. Send that friendship card. Make that telephone call . . . today.

PRAY:
“Father, Your friendship is never ending. Thank You for making me a part of Your family.  Help me to cultivate strong relationships within my own household.  Amen.”

June 17 – Kinds of Love – Eros

“And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” II Samuel 11:2

King David was moved by Bathsheba’s beauty;  moved to sin.   The Greek word “eros” defines this kind of love. It is sexual love stimulated by instinctive physical desires.  It is a human kind of love which says, “As long as you are beautiful, kind, and stimulating,  I will love you; but, if you change,  my love for you changes.” This sensuous form of love has depleted our society.

In Proverbs 31:30a (NIV), Solomon writes, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting. .. . “Society focuses on the superficial qualities of charm and beauty. Because the world is shallow, there is a market for superficial love. Women and beauty are grossly exploited. This kind of love does not satisfy for very long.

The only place for “eros” love to operate honorably is within the confines of a Godly marriage. In marriage, sex brings unity, as well as the miracle of procreation. The marriage covenant adds the element of responsibility that brings God’s blessing and lasting benefit. Godly love is based on a commitment and not “feeling” alone. Intimacy outside of marriage is sin and carries with it many sorrows.

PRAY:
“Loving Father, help me to guard my affections so that Your love is perfected in me and my relationships are pure. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

June 16 – Characteristics of Love #15 – Always Perseveres

“… (Love) always perseveres. Love never fails… I Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)

Love is endearing and it is enduring. That persevering quality seems rough sometimes, but it does have its rewards!

James 1:2-3 (NASV) says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces ENDURANCE. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be PERFECT and COMPLETE, lacking in nothing.” (Emphasis supplied.) It is interesting how the promise of “perfection”. . . lacking in nothing,” is on the road of endurance.

“In-it-for-the-long-haul” love never fails. That is how our love for others should be. Love never gives up. Even when your mate squeezes the toothpaste in the middle… love never gives up! (smile)

The exercise of endurance and perseverance is not passive . . . it involves INTERCESSION.  Prayer and intercession during the endurance process will keep your heart pure and will open the door to the supernatural… then anything can happen! Intercede in prayer for that person that has wronged you.  Talk to God about your situation as you would talk to a loving father.  “Hang in there!” God will not let you down!

PRAY:
“God, You have never given up on me. Your love and mercy is unfailing. Cause me to see through Your eyes of love and walk through the valley of endurance. Amen.”

June 15 – Characteristics of Love #14 – Always Hopes

“… (love) always hopes. .. .”  I Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

HOPE is the natural emotion that causes us to keep going. HOPE plus God’s Word equals FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now FAITH is the substance of things HOPED for . . .” (Emphasis supplied.) Without HOPE, you cannot have FAITH. HOPE is the VISION that you want FAITH to reach. You could say: HOPE is the target and FAITH the arrows, and one without the other is ineffective.

Godly love always hopes that things will work out… that things will change . . . that an answer is on the way; but HOPE is not PASSIVE. HOPE is very ACTIVE and stands between two other action words: LOVE and FAITH. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. ” (I Corinthians 13:13) Sandwiched neatly between LOVE and FAITH,

HOPE forms the bridge of vision to activate the others.

Keep hoping. Do not let your heart get discouraged. HOPE in God. Base your HOPE upon His Word. Pick out a specific Scripture that you can stand upon, and then, “having done all, [just] STAND.” (Ephesians 6:13) His Word will restore your VISION. Keep your VISION strong for without it, your FAITH is powerless. LOVE ALWAYS HOPES.

PRAY: “Lord, You alone are my Source of HOPE.  My VISION and direction comes from above, and I look to You to lead me in Your LOVE.  Let my life be a testimony of FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE today. Amen.”

June 14 – Characteristics of Love #13 – Always Trusts

“. . . (love) always trusts…“ I Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

The Bible says “love believes all things.” That seems rather naive in light of the dishonesty that pervades society. What it really means is that love CHOOSES to believe the best about a person and assumes his or her motives and intentions are pure.

When you choose to believe, you are demonstrating TRUST in that person. When a person feels trusted, he feels loved, and often “rises” to the occasion.

Jesus turned some rough, tough fishermen into carriers of the Gospel of love, through TRUST. Even after they chose to go back to fishing (John 21), Jesus appeared to them again, reaffirmed His TRUST, and commissioned them for the ministry. “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21b).

By trusting someone, you are being merciful and forgiving. Proverbs 3:3-4 exhorts you to operate in MERCY and TRUTH… “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of GOD and MAN.” (Emphasis supplied.) It is through CHOOSING to be trusting and forgiving that you can expect to please both God and man.

People are imperfect.  But so are YOU. Love always trusts. Love believes the best. Let God do the rest.

PRAY:  “Trusting heavenly Father, You have demonstrated Your love for me by giving me Your salvation, even while I was yet in my sins.’ Thank You for Your trusting love.”

* Romans 5:8 (paraphrased)

June 13 – Characteristics of Love #12 – Always Protects

“(Love) always protects…” I Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

Love always protects by enduring the offense and being willing to suffer in silence without divulging and publicizing the wrong. Human nature wants to tell others about how you have been wronged and draw them to your defense, but godly love suffers in silence.

Your silence gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in the heart of the situation, away from the complications that getting others involved bring.  Your silence also builds godly character in you.

Covering a transgression protects a friendship.  Proverbs 17:9 says: “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Confidentiality builds trust. Trust builds friendship.

Adversity is a test of true friendship. When “the chips are down:’ your true friends will come to your aid and give you support. Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loveth at ALL times, and a brother is born for adversity.” It is in the time of trouble that your true friend (brother) will rush to your protection.

Consider today to whom YOU are a friend, and purpose in your heart to bring protection to that relationship.

PRAY:
“Dear Lord, thank You for Your covering and protection.  Your patience with me causes me to trust You more.  I love You.  Amen:’