Phileo, phileo, phileo.

posted Jun 20, 2016, 9:42 PM by Mark Lein

Today I was watching a bible study by Matt Chandler and it was on Philippians. I can't remember how now, but he also got into John 21:15–17. He mentioned how when Jesus asked Peter the first two times if he loved Him, using the word agape which is a sacrificial, decision-based love, Peter replied affirmatively using the word phileo which is a brotherly type or a friendship type of love. The third time when Jesus asked if Peter loved Him, He too used the word phileo and Peter replied with the same word. 

 This was the first time I’d heard that they were talking about different types of love in that discussion. What really struck me was that it seems that Peter was admitting his own limitation. Jesus was asking "do you love me with a sacrificial type of love?" and Peter was replying with a "No but I do love you with a friend type of love." Now granted, I wasn't there and don't know for sure but I've said the exact same thing to Jesus. I've said that I want to love Jesus with an agape kind of love but I can only admit to loving Him with a friendship kind of love.

 I found it uplifting in that Peter came from there, from being strongly rebuked by Jesus and from denying Jesus three times to being the rock that Jesus would build His church upon and that the gates of hell would not overcome it. It gives me hope that I too shall be much, much stronger in my faith and closer to Jesus one day.

 And that brings me back to Philippians with the end of Philippians 1:6 - He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is at work in all of us and He will continue to perfect us every day, every minute even! For that I am eternally grateful to God.

Agape, it's all about agape

posted May 8, 2016, 10:46 PM by Mark Lein

Tonight my wife and I watched a marriage video by Jimmy Evans, it's called "The Indestructible Marriage". In it he was talking about the different words for love in the Bible. The one he focused on was agape love. This is the type of love that God has for us and the type of love that He calls us to have for Him and for others. What really struck me was how Jimmy described agape love as not being based on emotion or feeling but instead it was a decision or choice.

For a long time I was feeling lacking as I couldn't force myself to love God. I wanted to but I just couldn't bring myself to do it as I thought it was an emotional type of love. Agape changes that completely. I can (and have many times) choose to love God. I can make that decision daily with no problem.

It reminds me a lot of Joshua 24:15 where Joshua says "...choose for yourselves today whom you will serve..." Again, it comes down to choice or a decision. Funny how that is often the case with God. He gave us free will and He expects us to use it.

I feel silly having been a Christian this long without knowing this rather important piece of information but i'm eternally grateful that I know it now and look forward to all the other things i'll learn about God.

So today, once again, I echo Joshua's words - but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

My life, directed by God

posted Jan 6, 2016, 10:34 PM by Mark Lein

I really enjoy my 45 minute drive into work some days. Today was one of those days. I was driving into work and God brought to my attention a few instances of how, despite the plans i've made, He is the one who obviously directs my steps (Proverbs 16:9). Needless to say, His plans for my life are much better than my own plans (Isaiah 55:9)

I'm so grateful that God is the One in charge as He, and He alone, knows the entire big picture and He loves me perfectly. Those two facts combine to ensure that as long as I listen for His voice and follow His will, I will live a life that both pleases Him and is successful in the only way that matters,

Then I got to thinking about how i've also experienced His grace in that while I wasn't listening for His voice, following His will and even went against His will, He still used my bad choices for good (Genesis 50:20). God knew what bad choices i'd make, what situations those choices would get me in and He not only used them for good but also did it in a way that I would recognize if and when I thought about it.

Thank you Lord for taking care of me, for loving me and for working through my life!

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