Love

By Jennifer Moreno and Jeremiah Model

What is your definition of love? Do you think you have it figured out? Is love just an emotion?

In Hebrew “Ahava” is the root definition of love. Is there a difference between G-D’s love and human love? The answer is yes. But the Hebrew meaning is much deeper. The verb (le’ehov) defines “to protect and provide for” as well as to have “an intimacy of emotion and action”. Jesus said the Torah is summed up by “LOVING G-D and your neighbor” (Mt 22: 36-40), not in a simple emotional sense, but in action as well.

This is the secular definition of love – to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). An intense feeling of deep affection.

As you can see it refers to love as a feeling, but the definition of love in G-D’s eyes is completely different.

The definition of love in the Bible is the following- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Do you see the contrast? Did you see anything written about feelings in there? Or deep sexual attachments? The answer is a straight no.

What we can gather from the definition of the Bible is that G-D’s love is based on action, love is a verb.

These two versus exemplify love as an action, sacrificial, selfless and full of grace:

John 3:16 For G-d so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

That is the true meaning of love in G-d’s eyes. So how do we experience this kind of love and how do we give it? To be able to do that you first have to come to G-d and know him, understand how he works and through him you’ll be able to love others the way he loves us.

For example marriage is a great example of G-D’s love, in marriage a wife and a husband have to continuously show each other grace, sacrifice for one another and love. Marriage reflects the holiness of G-d and in turn you become holy in marriage. You are reflecting the love of G-d in a good marriage.

The apostle John affirms this in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” G-D does not merely love; He is love itself. And because it is in G-D’s nature and character to love, he loves the unlovable and lovable. Human beings have trouble doing that because of our fallen nature, but through the Holy Spirit, we’re able to love like G-D does because we are getting it directly from the source.

Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey Jesus who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34).

So which love are you experiencing, “Ahava” or the Webster’s dictionary version of love? Take a moment to ponder on that and remember that you can experience the love G-D speaks about by simply getting closer to him and embracing what he has to offer.

It’s the Law!

By Jennifer Moreno

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live in a world where there are no rules or laws? The world would probably be pretty chaotic, more than it is now. So it is only logical that we have a government and laws to keep things in order. Laws in place mean we can keep society at check, accountable and it means that there is some sort of justice in place.

The same goes for Christianity and why God gave us laws. It’s not really just a bunch of irrational laws put into place, but God gave us the 10 commandments as a guide to how we should live life according to his will. It is a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship.

God gave the 10 commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, (see Exodus 20:1–17). This comes at a perfect time since tonight is the celebration of Shavout.

Here is a brief look at what each commandment means:

1. Have no other gods – God has made this clear in both the Old and New Testaments. We shouldn’t worship other gods, if it is not our heavenly father (fyi it’s another god). This also applies to the gods we have in our life, like money and idolizing relationships, etc. God wants us to worship him only.

2. No Idols – You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. (During biblical times that was a pretty big problem and it still happens today). Psalms 115:4-8 says – Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. (Why would you worship something that man created? What power does that have?”)

3. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain – You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. vs. 7. (We shouldn’t say OMG, or use Jesus Christ as a bad curse word.)

4. Keep the Sabbath Day holy –
(This is the only commandment that God changed when the new laws were put into effect after Jesus died. All the New Testament Christians met on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. The Sabbath was Saturday.) Jesus is now the Sabbath, he is our resting place.

5. Honor father & mother – Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (I think this is pretty clear, even if they get on your nerves, you must honor them no matter what and your life will be longer and blessed).

6. Do not murder (Exodus 20:13)

7. Do not commit adultery – (God tells us that when you pick your spouse (husband or wife), it is for life.)

8. Do not steal – (God said very simply it is wrong to take something that is not yours. If you didn’t buy it, it’s not yours.)

9. Do not lie – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Tell the truth, even if it hurts).

10. Do not covet – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. (Don’t be jealous at what your friend has, be grateful and satisfied with what you have.)

To wrap this up, God gave these laws for several reasons and Paul speaks about this in his letters in Galatians. Galatians 3:19 says “Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised.” (Essentially it was created for us to realize that we are nowhere near perfect like God is, we can never accomplish these laws without failing and for us to understand that we need Jesus in order to be made right with God). Galatians 2:15-16 says “And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

The good news my friends is that Jesus died for our sins on the cross when he came to earth. Galatians 3:13 says “But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

What an amazing God, he took that curse upon himself when he didn’t have to, we really don’t deserve it. Our human nature is sinful, but God loves us so much he sacrificed it all for us to have eternal life with him.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Living a Prayer Life

By Jeremiah Modelo

In Hebrew “Tefillah” means prayer, the English definition is to beseech, beg, implore. The sages have written about Jacobs ladder and its meaning one meaning is that his ladder represents the effects that the righteous have on the Heavens when they pray to the Father of lights. One verse I would like to explore from the Bible is James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

I can attest to this verse that it is true with all of my heart. I have seen lives changed by the power of prayer, I have received gifts by the power of prayer and have seen souls saved and diseases cured by the power of prayer. I will give you a small example of when I prayed for something specific and received it. This happened about four years ago, I really wanted a Mac computer but I didn’t have sufficient funds so I prayed for a specific mac computer. To make a long story short about a week later a friend of mine who had client in Fisher Island invited me over to visit his client, so I decided to go when I arrived there I was bit out of place because they were talking and I was thinking to myself why am I here I am not doing anything. Then there was this weird silence and they both were starring at me smiling. Then they told me we have something for you and I was like what do you have? The owner opened up a closest space only to show me a beautiful mac that he had for me, I was in shock because it was exactly what I prayed for.

Some questions I have for you. Do you believe prayer is important? Do you yearn to want to pray and have a powerful prayer life? If you do pray do you believe its about words and how many eloquent words you say?

This is an example of someone who had an amazing prayer life his prayers were so powerful that it caused a drought over the land of Israel for 3 three and a half years. His name was Elijah this is how the verse goes James chapter 5 verse 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Elijah was a man just like you and I, he was flesh and bone. But what set him apart from the people of his day was his extraordinary intimacy with the Father in Heaven.

One thing to note is that prayer does not work hand in hand with logic, reason, rationalization, or a selfish heart. Prayer is about intimacy and relationship with the three triune aspects of G-D. James chapter 4 verse 3 explains why some do not receive answers from prayer You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures. Prayer is not about you, prayer is giving honor to whom it is do. If you want to see develop intimacy just spend time with the boss, take a walk in the park and speak to him, go to the beach and speak to him, speak to him in your car, in the rest restroom, at the restaurant. Just start a dialogue. Just do it like the Nike commercial says.

Letting go …

By Jennifer Moreno and Jeremiah Model

Letting go is not easy. We all deal with this struggle of letting go of pains, regrets, abuse, scars, sorrows and anger. Some people release pent up emotions on other people, like the saying goes, hurt people hurt people.

But how do we truly let go when we feel we’ve been hurt so bad that there is no room for forgiveness? Is it worth not forgiving? What are the consequences of not forgiving and releasing? And who is truly getting hurt here in the end?

Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Forgiving allows us to set the captive free and to free ourselves. Sometimes people say ‘forgive, but don’t forget,’ but that really doesn’t solve the problem. If we replay in our minds the hurt, we will once again open that door to bitterness.

Maya Angelou once said “you can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentally. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.”

Forgiving as Maya says should come from the heart because if you let the hurt fester, it can grow into a kingdom.

One way to evaluate your heart is to compare it to the verse in Luke 6:45 which says ” The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright, and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

So what this scripture is saying is that whatever you harbor inside your heart it comes out one way or another.

How are you letting it go? What is your release? Our release is the cross, we look towards Jesus and we release all of our burdens unto him. But you ask how are we so sure that we can release our burdens to the cross? Isaiah 53:4 says “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,” and it continues on to say ” but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Mathew 6:15 says “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

It is important to understand what this verse is saying, your Father forgave you for your sins, your wrongs, your iniquities, your injustice, then why would you not forgive someone who has wronged you? What is holding you back? What files are you holding on people? What viruses are in your system that you need to terminate?

Will you allow yourself to experience freedom by forgiving?