Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Buffer Week. .Fast Fact!

Well. .
If it was God's will. .
I arrived in Boston on Saturday afternoon with my mom and her friend. .
And they have been probably been living it up. .
While I have been slaving away. .
learning, learning, learning!!
I am finishing my classes today. .
And then we will fly home later. .
Prayers of safety are appreciated!
Hope your reading is going well so far. .and you are finding a lot of food for your thoughts throughout the day!
Here’s a little information on the book of Proverbs written by John MacArthur. .Hope it is helpful! 
The title in the Hebrew Bible is “The Proverbs of Solomon“ (1:1), as also in the Greek Septuagint (LXX). Proverbs pulls together the most important 513 of the over 3,000 proverbs pondered by Solomon (1 Kin. 4:32; Eccl. 12:9), along with some proverbs of others whom Solomon likely influenced. The word “proverb” means “to be like,” thus Proverbs is a book of comparisons between common, concrete images and life’s most profound truths. Proverbs are simple, moral statements (or illustrations) that highlight and teach fundamental realities about life. Solomon sought God’s wisdom (2 Chr. 1:8–12) and offered “pithy sayings” designed to make men contemplate 1) the fear of God and 2) living by His wisdom (1:7; 9:10). The sum of this wisdom is personified in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).
Author and Date
The phrase “Proverbs of Solomon” is more a title than an absolute statement of authorship (1:1). While King Solomon, who ruled Israel from 971–931 B.C. and was granted great wisdom by God (see 1 Kin. 4:29–34), is the author of the didactic section (chaps. 1–9) and the proverbs of 10:1–22:16, he is likely only the compiler of the “sayings of the wise” in 22:17–24:34, which are of an uncertain date before Solomon’s reign. The collection in chaps. 25–29 was originally composed by Solomon (25:1) but copied and included later by Judah’s king Hezekiah (ca. 715–686 B.C.). Chapter 30 reflects the words of Agur and chap. 31 the words of Lemuel, who perhaps was Solomon. Proverbs was not assembled in its final form until Hezekiah’s day or after. Solomon authored his proverbs before his heart was turned away from God (1 Kin. 11:1–11), since the book reveals a godly perspective and is addressed to the “naive” and “young” who need to learn the fear of God. Solomon also wrote Psalms 72 and 127, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. See Introduction: Author and Date for Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.
Background and Setting
The book reflects a 3-fold setting as: 1) general wisdom literature; 2) insights from the royal court; and 3) instruction offered in the tender relationship of a father and mother with their children, all designed to produce meditation on God. Since Proverbs is Wisdom literature, by nature it is sometimes difficult to understand (1:6). Wisdom literature is part of the whole of OT truth; the Priest gave the Law, the Prophet gave a Word from the Lord, and the Sage (or wise man) gave his wise Counsel (Jer. 18:18; Ezek. 7:26). In Proverbs, Solomon the Sage gives insight into the “knotty” issues of life (1:6) which are not directly addressed in the Law or the Prophets. Though it is practical, Proverbs is not superficial or external because it contains moral and ethical elements stressing upright living which flow out of a right relationship with God. In 4:1–4, Solomon connected 3 generations as he entrusted to his son Rehoboam what he learned at the feet of David and Bathsheba. Proverbs is both a pattern for the tender impartation of truth from generation to generation, as well as a vast resource for the content of the truth to be imparted. Proverbs contains the principles and applications of Scripture which the godly characters of the Bible illustrate in their lives.
Historical and Theological Themes
Solomon came to the throne with great promise, privilege, and opportunity. God had granted his request for understanding (1 Kin. 3:9–12; 1 Chr. 1:10, 11), and his wisdom exceeded all others (1 Kin. 4:29–31). However, the shocking reality is that he failed to live out the truth that he knew and even taught his son Rehoboam (1 Kin. 11:1, 4, 6, 7–11), who subsequently rejected his father’s teaching (1 Kin. 12:6–11).
Proverbs contains a gold mine of biblical theology, reflecting themes of Scripture brought to the level of practical righteousness (1:3), by addressing man’s ethical choices, calling into question how he thinks, lives, and manages his daily life in light of divine truth. More specifically, Proverbs calls man to live as the Creator intended him to live when He made man (Ps. 90:1, 2, 12).
The recurring promise of Proverbs is that generally the wise (the righteous who obey God) live longer (9:11), prosper (2:20–22), experience joy (3:13–18) and the goodness of God temporally (12:21), while fools suffer shame (3:35) and death (10:21). On the other hand, it must be remembered that this general principle is balanced by the reality that the wicked sometimes prosper (Ps. 73:3, 12), though only temporarily (Ps. 73:17–19). Job illustrates that there are occasions when the godly wise are struck with disaster and suffering.
There are a number of important themes addressed in Proverbs, which are offered in random order and address different topics, so that it is helpful to study the proverbs thematically as illustrated.
I. Man’s Relationship to God
A. His Trust Prov. 22:19
B. His Humility Prov. 3:34
C. His Fear of God Prov. 1:7
D. His Righteousness Prov. 10:25
E. His Sin Prov. 28:13
F. His Obedience Prov. 6:23
G. Facing Reward Prov. 12:28
H. Facing Tests Prov. 17:3
I. Facing Blessing Prov. 10:22
J. Facing Death Prov. 15:11
II. Man’s Relationship to Himself
A. His Character Prov. 20:11
B. His Wisdom Prov. 1:5
C. His Foolishness Prov. 26:10,11
D. His Speech Prov. 18:21
E. His Self Control Prov. 6:9-11
F. His Kindness Prov. 3:3
G. His Wealth Prov. 11:4
H. His Pride Prov. 27:1
I. His Anger Prov. 29:11
J. His Laziness Prov. 13:4
III. Man’s Relationship to Others
A. His Love Prov. 8:17
B. His Friends Prov. 17:17
C. His Enemies Prov. 19:27
D. His Truthfulness Prov. 23:23
E. His Gossip Prov. 20:19
F. As a Father Prov. 20:7; 31:2-9
G. As a Mother Prov. 31:10-31
H. As Children Prov. 3:1-3
I. In Educating Children Prov. 4:1-4
J. In Disciplining Children Prov. 22:6
The two major themes which are interwoven and overlapping throughout Proverbs are wisdom and folly. Wisdom, which includes knowledge, understanding, instruction, discretion, and obedience, is built on the fear of the Lord and the Word of God. Folly is everything opposite to wisdom.
Interpretive Challenges
The first challenge is the generally elusive nature of Wisdom literature itself. Like the parables, the intended truths are often veiled from understanding if given only a cursory glance, and thus must be pondered in the heart (1:6; 2:1–4; 4:4–9).
Another challenge is the extensive use of parallelism, which is the placing of truths side by side so that the second line expands, completes, defines, emphasizes, or reaches the logical conclusion, the ultimate end, or, in some cases, the contrasting point of view. Often the actual parallel is only implied. For example, 12:13 contains an unstated, but clearly implied parallel, in that the righteous one comes through trouble because of his virtuous speech (cf. 28:7). In interpreting the Proverbs, one must: 1) determine the parallelism and often complete what is assumed and not stated by the author; 2) identify the figures of speech and rephrase the thought without those figures; 3) summarize the lesson or principle of the proverb in a few words; 4) describe the behavior that is taught; and 5) find examples inside Scripture.
Challenges are also found in the various contexts of Proverbs, all of which affect interpretation and understanding. First, there is the setting in which they were spoken; this is largely the context of the young men in the royal court of the king. Second, there is the setting of the book as a whole and how its teachings are to be understood in light of the rest of Scripture. For example, there is much to be gained by comparing the wisdom Solomon taught with the wisdom Christ personified. Third, there is the historical context in which the principles and truths draw on illustrations from their own day.
A final area of challenge comes in understanding that proverbs are divine guidelines and wise observations, i.e., teaching underlying principles (24:3, 4) which are not always inflexible laws or absolute promises. These expressions of general truth (cf. 10:27; 22:4) generally do have “exceptions,” due to the uncertainty of life and unpredictable behavior of fallen men. God does not guarantee uniform outcome or application for each proverb, but in studying them and applying them, one comes to contemplate the mind of God, His character, His attributes, His works, and His blessings. All of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge expressed in Proverbs are hidden in Christ (Col. 2:3).
SO. .
Time for the fast fact of the week. .
What is the most beautiful thing you have seen in nature. .

Mel. .I think the most beautiful thing that I have seen in nature. .is the VAST assortment of flowers!! I am a gardener at heart. .and the beauty. .and details. .and differences in the thousands of varieties just astonishes me!! I just have to think. .What an AMAZING God. .to be so thorough in decorating our world!!
Looking forward to hearing from YOU!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Buffer Week!!

You survived (I hope) the first month of bible study!!
This is a bit of a weird week. .
1/2 October and 1/2 November!
It will work out much better. .
to NOT start the book of Galatians this week. .
So in lieu of starting our next book with this half and half week. .
We’re going to do a week of something else. .
NOT taking a break though J
I had a hard time deciding what we should do. .
I will actually be at a conference in Boston the first part of the week. .
And since we are getting into some good reading habits. .
I didn’t want those to be put aside. .
so here is the deal. .
For the next week. .
I would like you to read the book of Colossians. .
at least 3 times (it’s only 3 chapters so don’t panic.)
 My copy had so many notes and underlines and highlights. .
and it pulls in so many things that we have been learning!!
BUT. .it also highlights the importance of WISDOM in several verses. .
and my FIRST idea was to read through the book of Proverbs once during the week. .
At roughly 4 chapters for 7 days each. .
I was afraid that would be too overwhelming for some. .
SO. .read Colossians. .
but ALSO try to read at least the first 4 chapters of Proverbs and chapter 8. .
Those chapters talk a lot about why God desires us to become wise. .
and HOW we gain wisdom (aside from life experiences. .and when we learn from the school of hard knocks)
If you feel REALLY powerful this week. .
Read all of Proverbs. .
but be warned. .
have your highlighter in hand BEFORE you start. .
cause I KNOW. .that you will want to make some marks!
To get you started this week. .
Here is some background information on the book of Colossians by John MacArthur. .
Colossians is named for the city of Colosse, where the church it was addressed to was located. It was also to be read in the neighboring church at Laodicea (4:16).
Author and Date
Paul is identified as author at the beginning (1:1; cf. v. 23; 4:18), as customarily in his epistles. The testimony of the early church, including such key figures as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius, confirms that the opening claim is genuine. Additional evidence for Paul’s authorship comes from the book’s close parallels with Philemon, which is universally accepted as having been written by Paul. Both were written (ca. A.D. 60–62) while Paul was a prisoner in Rome (4:3, 10, 18; Philem. 9, 10, 13, 23); plus the names of the same people (e.g., Timothy, Aristarchus, Archippus, Mark, Epaphras, Luke, Onesimus, and Demas) appear in both epistles, showing that both were written by the same author at about the same time. For biographical information on Paul see Introduction to Romans: Author and Date.
Background and Setting
Colosse was a city in Phrygia, in the Roman province of Asia (part of modern Turkey), about 100 mi. E of Ephesus in the region of the 7 churches of Rev. 1–3. The city lay alongside the Lycus River, not far from where it flowed into the Maender River. The Lycus Valley narrowed at Colosse to a width of about two mi., and Mt. Cadmus rose 8,000 feet above the city.
Colosse was a thriving city in the fifth century B.C. when the Persian king Xerxes (Ahasuerus, cf. Esth. 1:1) marched through the region. Black wool and dyes (made from the nearby chalk deposits) were important products. In addition, the city was situated at the junction of the main north-south and east-west trade routes. By Paul’s day, however, the main road had been rerouted through nearby Laodicea, thus bypassing Colosse and leading to its decline and the rise of the neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Although Colosse’s population was mainly Gentile, there was a large Jewish settlement dating from the days of Antiochus the Great (223–187 B.C.). Colosse’s mixed population of Jews and Gentiles manifested itself both in the composition of the church and in the heresy that plagued it, which contained elements of both Jewish legalism and pagan mysticism.
The church at Colosse began during Paul’s 3-year ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19). Its founder was not Paul, who had never been there (2:1); but Epaphras (1:5–7), who apparently was saved during a visit to Ephesus, then likely started the church in Colosse when he returned home. Several years after the Colossian church was founded, a dangerous heresy arose to threaten it—one not identified with any particular historical system. It contained elements of what later became known as Gnosticism: that God is good, but matter is evil, that Jesus Christ was merely one of a series of emanations descending from God and being less than God (a belief that led them to deny His true humanity), and that a secret, higher knowledge above Scripture was necessary for enlightenment and salvation. The Colossian heresy also embraced aspects of Jewish legalism, e.g., the necessity of circumcision for salvation, observance of the ceremonial rituals of the OT law (dietary laws, festivals, Sabbaths), and rigid asceticism. It also called for the worship of angels and mystical experience. Epaphras was so concerned about this heresy that he made the long journey from Colosse to Rome (4:12, 13), where Paul was a prisoner.
This letter was written from prison in Rome (Acts 28:16–31) sometime between A.D. 60–62 and is, therefore, referred to as a Prison Epistle (along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon). It may have been composed almost contemporaneously with Ephesians and initially sent with that epistle and Philemon by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21, 22; Col. 4:7, 8). See Introduction to Philippians: Author and Date for a discussion of the city from which Paul wrote. He wrote this letter to warn the Colossians against the heresy they faced, and sent the letter to them with Tychicus, who was accompanying the runaway slave Onesimus back to his master, Philemon, a member of the Colossian church (4:7–9; see Introduction to Philemon: Background and Setting). Epaphras remained behind in Rome (cf. Philem. 23), perhaps to receive further instruction from Paul.
Historical and Theological Themes
Colossians contains teaching on several key areas of theology, including the deity of Christ (1:15–20; 2:2–10), reconciliation (1:20–23), redemption (1:13, 14; 2:13, 14; 3:9–11), election (3:12), forgiveness (3:13), and the nature of the church (1:18, 24, 25; 2:19; 3:11, 15). Also, as noted above, it refutes the heretical teaching that threatened the Colossian church (chap. 2).
Fast Fact will be back on Wednesday. .
with a little more information on the book of Proverbs. .
Instead of doing a discussion next weekend. .
I would just ask that you each plan to throw out some discussion sometime during the week. .
You may include one time with your fast fact if you choose. .
I know that there will be a LOT of information that will stand out to you all. .
just take a few minutes to throw out some meaningful scriptures, thoughts, or even questions (though know that I may not have time to do a ton of research to answer)
Next week. .the first full week of the month. .
be ready to get back into our routine. .
in the book of Galatians. .
Have a great week!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

1 John. .week 4. .Discussion

Well, here it is. .
the last discussion of the first month. .
I don’t know about you all. .
but I REALLY loved reading the book over and over again.
I am amazed that by the 25th time I’ve read it. .
new things continue to comfort me and stand out to me. .
depending on the day and my needs!!
This is how we learn. .
and many of the verses that I can remember today (though not memorized or able to flip directly to them). .
come from times like this. .
when Jesus speaks TO me THROUGH the written words on the pages!!
I have quoted things out of 1 John multiple different times this month when John’s words apply to Sunday school. .
or just in visiting with someone about spiritual things! The best thing, I think. .
is that those words will NOW come back to you when you need them. .
we’re hiding the word of God in our hearts. .
and that’s the best tool we have!!
So I thought that this little Life Lesson paragraph from Max Lucado’s study guide was appropriate for the last week. .
since it addresses the last verse of 1 John. .
listen. .
All kinds of things in this world clamor for our attention, affection, and allegiance. And here’s the bottom line truth: To whatever or whomever we allocate our best time, energy, and resources, THAT is what or whom we worship. John’s 1st epistle reminds us that God is the only one worthy of all that we are and have. Nothing matters more than knowing him, than cultivating a rich relationship with him that changes us and moves us to love and serve others. No wonder John counsels us to beware of getting sidetracked. Watch out for teaching that diminishes Christ’s glory. Look out for idols that get you to take your gaze off Jesus!
The books that I have read this summer nail that concept as well. .
and that is where God is leading me during this season of my life. 
So. .
our assignment this week was twofold. .
first things first. .
How has the book of 1 John changed my life. .
What has He shown me. .
ABOUT me. .
that needs to change to align myself to what His scripture says??  What am I doing about it? If I haven’t done anything yet. .
give us a specific plan for how you will be a DOER of the word rather than a HEARER only. .
My own life has been in a pattern of change for a couple years now. .
long story. .and some of the things that John spoke of, I have been working through. .
worldliness, and the sin patterns in my life that I mentioned last week. .t
he first step to change is RECOGNIZING what God sees as DISHONORING. .
and then the rest is a process. .
So. .the thing that God pressed on my heart from this chapter. .
was to make time for fellowshipping with other BELIEVERS.  
I have a busy family. .a busy work schedule. .and a busy extracurricular life. .
so taking time to fellowship with anyone that I didn’t give birth to. .wasn’t a priority.
 Last month I took a day and went with 3 friends in Christ (2 that I barely knew) and enjoyed a spiritual retreat for a day. .
This month, I did the same when we saw Beth Moore. .
It was refreshing for me. .and energized me a way that I hadn’t been for a long time!
Our Sunday night bible study discussion has been much the same. .
people. .with the same thoughts. .the same goals. .the same future. .
sitting around visiting about things that are ETERNAL. .
They give me the courage and support and strength to keep stepping forward in faith and obedience. .
So. .my goal. .is to continue this little 1 month trend of meeting with people on a social level. .
over lunch. .or a dinner out with godly girls. . 

The other thing that was brought to my mind last night as I read chapter 5:4. .
It’s easy to SAY I trust Christ to give me the victory against evil. .
but sometimes. .I just get DISCOURAGED!!
It’s been a frustrating 2 days in the health department. .
full of selfish, godless, world loving, me-pursuing people. .
no morals. .no values. .no light in them. .
and I want EVERYONE to know that Christ is available to them. .
I WANT them to understand. .
and I have been working this month. .
on remembering that God IS who God IS. .
He IS in control. .HE changes people and their hearts and their beliefs. .
Not me. .NEVER me. .It’s not my job. .
MY job is to abide. .In the only light there is. .the ONLY truth. .the ONLY way. .
I am learning how to abide. .and listen. .and obey. .
And. .some days. .that is just FLAT HARD!!
But it’s what He calls us to do. .And in His strength. .we CAN!! Amen and AMEN!!
2nd part is to answer one of the questions below. .
 Just so you know. .
I didn’t make these questions up. .
I mentioned earlier that I have a study guide to use with 1 John from Max Lucado that I intend to do some day. .
I swiped random questions from the guide to provoke some thought. .
they are geared toward different concepts that we read during the month. .
Keep reading 1 John through the weekend. .
and be looking Monday for our next book information!!

1.)     List some attitudes and actions that you consider “wordly”

2.)   Which of the promises in 1 John 2:12-14 are most promising to you and why?

3.)   The teachings attributed to Christ are widely regarded as being wise and helpful. .so does it really matter whether he actually lived (remember, the false teachers said he didn’t and some today believe he was only a good man)?? WHY?

4.)  What are some practical things that Christians can do to strengthen their fellowship with one another? Why would it be important?

5.)   What resources does John say God gave us to keep us from being led astray?

6.)   What are some specific protective measures you need to take to better prepare for the false teachers you are likely to encounter (remember that Revelation tells us that there will be a MAJOR false prophet coming with the Antichrist soon and will lead many people astray. .we should be ready too!)

7.)   How does the truth of “Christ in you” encourage you as you seek to live a life of obedience?

8.)   In Matthew 16:13-23 the apostle Peter makes one insightful, God-honoring statement, only to turn around and utter a devilishly inspired comment. What does this tell us about our need to be discerning?
Have a G-R-E-A-T weekend!!  Love ya all!! Melanie

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 4. .Fast Fact Wednesday!

Today. .
I wanted to mention, briefly. .
Cain and Abel. .
1 John 3:11-12 mentions that we should not be like Cain. .
If you aren’t familiar with the Old Testament passages in Genesis that discuss Cain and Abel. .
I wanted to enlighten you a minute. .
If you want to read the story yourself. .
check into Genesis 4 this week. .
Cain was the first born son of Adam and Eve. .
many believe that, as the way the scripture is written. .
that Cain and Abel were twins with Abel being the second. .
As they grew up. .
Abel became a shepherd and Cain was a farmer.
Genesis 4:3 describes the big issue. They were to present a gift to God. .
Cain presented some of his crops to the Lord. .
and Abel gave the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel’s gift. .
but He did NOT accept the gift of Cain. .t
he bible doesn’t specify why not. .
and there are theories and speculations to why He didn’t. .
But the point that John is tying into Genesis is from verse 6. .
"Why are you so angry?" the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do WHAT IS RIGHT. But if you refuse to do what is right, then WATCH OUT! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to CONTROL you. But you MUST subdue it and BE ITS MASTER.” (emphasis mine)
Those words were from the Lord OUR God Himself. 
It would be conceivable that Cain KNEW what was wrong with his offering. .
but he was pouting anyway. .
and using his free-will. .
to make the choice to do what CAIN wanted and NOT what He knew from God to be correct. Allowing that anger to take root. .
leads to jealousy and deeper anger. .
until we cannot even contain the sin. .
That’s why an unforgiving heart is so detrimental to our spiritual hearts (and why the bible references the important aspects of this often!)
As you continue to read the story. .
Cain harbored that anger in his heart even after God’s pretty explicit warning. .
The anger took root and grew. .
until Cain took Abel out to the fields and killed him. 
Cain was then questioned and punished by God. .
it’s really a fascinating story. .take a minute to read through it. .

So to finish up. .
here’s a couple excerpts from one of my study bibles on 1 John 3:12-15. .

Cain killed his brother Abel, when God accepted Abel’s offering and not his.
Abel‘s offering showed that Cain was not giving his best to God, and Cain’s jealous anger drove him to murder. People who are morally upright expose and shame those who aren’t.
If we live for God, the world will often hate us because  we make them painfully aware of their immoral way of living. .
John echoes Jesus’ teaching that whoever hates another person is a murderer at heart (Matt 5:21-22). Christianity is a religion of the HEART; outward compliance ALONE is not enough. Bitterness against someone who has wronged you is an evil cancer within you and will eventually destroy you. Don’t let a “poisonous root of bitterness” (Heb 12:15) grow in you. .or your church!!


And now. .
The moment you have REALLY been waiting for. .
Today’s fast fact. .

What are some of your favorite hobbies. .and raising kids doesn’t count!!  GOOOO!

I LOVE baking/cooking. .gardening. .antiquing. .traveling. .decorating. I’m a passionate person by nature. .and have a LOT of “loves”. .this CAN and HAS gotten me into trouble!!  Enjoy your day! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

1 John. .Week 4. .Assignment

Hope ya’ll had a great weekend!!
It was salsa day here. .My friend Lisa and I. .
have been making salsa for TEN years now!!
Our families start asking about it by mid summer!!
The first year. .we had one little pot and an antique water bath canner. .
we worked ALL day and had about 20 jars to split between us. .
Now we have at least 3 pots on the stove simmering through the day. .and 2 canners. .
This year our water bath was on the front deck on top of Jeremy’s propane turkey fryer burner!! (we’ve also canned using the side burner of our grill!)
We’ve learned a few things along the way. .and are a LOT more efficient!!
Saturday. .we worked from about 8:45 until 5. .and canned a little over 37 GALLONS. .of salsa!!
Yes. .that is G-A-L-L-O-N-S!!
My house always smells like a million bucks. .
and there is NO shortage of opinions on the flavors J
 It’s one of the best forms of exhaustion that I know!! (By the way. .the mustard yellow wall color is soon to go. .the last drag race of the season was today. .and NOW. .I’M the honey do list!! Woop, woop!
So. .Let's get back to the book of 1 John. .
It's our last week here!

What is love? 
Have you ever REALLY thought about it??
Many would say that love is a feeling. .
and I agree with that. .
Love may START as a feeling. .
but then if someone disappoints. .
that love turns to dislike or even hate. .
so how does that go wrong??
I LOVE my kids. .
but there are many days that I don’t FEEL love. .
I feel irritation, I feel disappointment, so what becomes of love then??
The divorce rate stands at nearly 50%. .
those people didn’t go into a marriage EXPECTING a divorce in their future. .
They were in LOVE. .
so WHAT happens to that??
I don’t know if many of the rest of you have felt this. .
but my honeymoon LOVE was over a long time ago. .
and sometimes love is still that feeling. .
but for a LONG time, when love CEASED feeling like that. .
I wrestled with it. .where is the LOVE??
Until. .I came to terms with the fact that love is a CHOICE. .
And the love that Jesus talks about throughout the bible. .
is a CHOOSING kind of love. .
We choose to serve others. .
we choose to be kind to our enemies in addition to our brothers (because even the pagans love their brothers Matthew 5:43-48).
John instructs multiple times in 1 John. .
that we should LOVE others. .
and if we don’t love others. .
we are not abiding in God. .
God IS love. .
so can we understand the magnitude of what he is telling us??
 I hope this little word study will help us see more clearly. .
Did you know there are different kinds of love??
There are. .
and the Greek language had 3 words for love. .
but only one word that it translated into in English. .
Eros. .a greek form of the word love. .
describes a sexual or passionate type of love. .
it’s where our English word EROTIC comes from. .
Uh, not the love we find in scripture.  

Phileo. is "mental" love. It means affectionate regard or friendship in both ancient and Modern Greek. This type of love has give and take. It is a dispassionate, virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts, philos denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

But a third kind of love. .
and the love that I believe that John is talking to us about in his book. .
is that of Agape love. .
This is a “Love-as-God-loves type”. .
it’s unconditional. .
it’s a selfless love--when we give love. .
but expect NOTHING in return. .
a human quality??
 I don’t think so!
 It’s a love that comes FROM God!!
I can’t GIVE that kind of love from my own efforts or desire. .Can you? 
 Read what Wikipedia says about this type of love. .
Even if you are familiar with this concept. .
read thru this. .I found it intriguing and enlightening.

Agape Classical Greek: ἀγάπη, agápē  is one of the Koine Greek words translated into English as love; one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for humankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Although the word does not have specific religious connotation, the word has been used by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including biblical authors and Christian authors. Greek philosophers at the time of Plato and other ancient authors have used forms of the word to denote love of a spouse or family, or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to philia (an affection that could denote friendship, brotherhood or generally non-sexual affection) and eros, an affection of a sexual nature. Thomas Jay Oord has defined agape as "an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being (stop and read that line again. .it is a bit tricky. .read it outloud)

A journalist of Time Magazine has described John 3:16 as "one of the most famous and well-known Bible verses. It has been called the 'Gospel in a nutshell' because it is considered a summary of the central doctrines of Christianity." The verb translated "loved" in this verse is ἠγάπησεν (ēgapēsen), past tense of "agapaō".
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
—John 3:16, 

Agape received a broader usage under later Christian writers as the word that specifically denoted "Christian" love or "charity" (1 Corinthians 13:1–8), or even God himself (1 John 4:8, θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, "God is Love").
The term agape is rarely used in ancient manuscripts, but was used by the early Christians to refer to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another. When 1 John 4:8 says "God is love," the Greek New Testament uses the word agape to describe God's love.

The Christian usage of the term agape comes almost directly from the canonical Gospels' accounts of the teachings of Jesus. When asked what was the great commandment, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)

In the King James Version of the New Testament, the word agape is translated "charity" [in some places] which has a contemporary connotation of giving to meet needs of the less fortunate.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love (agapēseis) your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love (agapāte) your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
—Matthew 5:43-46, 

Christian writers have generally described agape as a form of love which is both unconditional and voluntary. Tertullian, in his 2nd century defense of Christians, remarks how Christian love attracted pagan notice: "What marks us in the eyes of our enemies is our loving kindness. 'Only look,' they say, 'look how they love one another' " (Apology 39).

Anglican theologian O. C. Quick cautions however that this agape within human experience is "a very partial and rudimentary realization," and that "in its pure form it is essentially divine." Quick suggests that,

If we could imagine the love of One who loves men purely for their own sake, and not because of any need or desire of his own, purely desires their good, and yet loves them wholly, not for what at this moment they are, but for what He knows He can make of them because He made them, then we should have in our minds some true image of the love of the Father and Creator of mankind.

In the New Testament the word agape is often used to describe God's love. However, other forms of the word agape (such as agapaō) are at times used in a negative sense. Such examples include:
2 Timothy 4:10— "...for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved [agapaō] this present world...".
John 12:43— "For they loved [agapaō] the praise of men more than the praise of God."
John 3:19— "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved [agapaō] darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
In these cases, the sense is that the object of that agapē is an idol, taking the place that should be God's own

So. .
ponder the different types of love this week. .
as you read. .
and really consider how you can show the agape love of God to those around you!!

This week. .
we will be reading 1 John for the last times. .
read in whichever text you prefer, or continue looking through different translations.
Our assignments for the week. .
will include
considering how we have caught ourselves changing our habits and lives based on what we have spent the last month studying. .
if you haven’t made any changes. .
Be accountable to us as to WHAT you PLAN to start changing based on 1 John studies. .
You may want to make a new sheet in your notebook. .
Heading. .I want to be a DOER and not a HEARER (James 1:22)
HOW will 1 John change my personality and my life. .
make a list of goals to work on.

Finally. .
choose one of the questions below to consider and research if needed so that you can provide an answer to the group next weekend. I don’t care if everyone uses the same question. .
it actually would be quite beneficial for each of us to consider EACH question. .
and then you can fight it out next weekend to see who gets to answer first J

1.)     List some attitudes and actions that you consider “wordly”

2.)   Which of the promises in 1 John 2:12-14 are most promising to you and why?

3.)   The teachings attributed to Christ are widely regarded as being wise and helpful. .so does it really matter whether he actually lived (remember, the false teachers said he didn’t and some today believe he was only a good man)?? WHY?

4.)  What are some practical things that Christians can do to strengthen their fellowship with one another? Why would it be important?

5.)   What resources does John say God gave us to keep us from being led astray?

6.)   What are some specific protective measures you need to take to better prepare for the false teachers you are likely to encounter (remember that Revelation tells us that there will be a MAJOR false prophet coming with the Antichrist soon and will lead many people astray. .we should be ready too!)

7.)   How does the truth of “Christ in you” encourage you as you seek to live a life of obedience?

8.)   In Matthew 16:13-23 the apostle Peter makes one insightful, God-honoring statement, only to turn around and utter a devilishly inspired comment. What does this tell us about our need to be discerning?

Enjoy your last week in 1 John!!