Posts tagged ‘relationship’





Today’s lesson centers on the word love, and we begin our lesson today by answering our own question, and we answer it simply with one word: “EVERYTHING!”  We were first created by a loving God.  He created us to love and be loved.  He commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  This day simply means that we take the opportunity to pause and reflect and think deeply upon what it means for us to love and be loved; then share our thoughts and true feelings of love with those that mean so much to us.  Remember, we are the reflection of that person in the mirror, and that person is a child of God, created to love, and to be loved?

MaxImillion and Tida experiencing the joy of a loving relationship (Photo by Pastor Davis)

MaxImillion and Tida experiencing the joy of a loving relationship (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Now let us understand a few basic facts about love and being in a loving relationship.  First of all, we’re all either in a relationship, getting out of one are looking for one.  No matter what the situation may or may not be, everyone is seeking love.  Some of us are seeking it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.  No matter, we want love.  We want to be loved and we want to experience it in ways that will define who we are.  Weather we are young or old, rich or poor, we are trying to reach a place in life that will define our happiness, our joy, our place in history, as a man or woman, a family or whatever.  We seek love; we seek to be loved, not knowing that; Love is the foundation and the apex of the pyramid of our existence.

Now listen to what God’s word teaches us about love, it says, “If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith, which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is,

Shared moments of love and romance (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Shared moments of love and romance (Photo by Pastor Davis)

in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen. (1Corinthians 13:1-7 Phillips)

Love suffers for a long time.  Our modern “throw-away” society encourages us to get rid of people in our lives who are difficult to get along with whether they are friends, family, or acquaintances.  Yet this attitude runs in complete contrast to the love described in God’s word.  True love puts up with people who would be easier to give up on.

Love does not envy.  If our love is directed toward others, we will rejoice in the blessings they receive rather than desiring those blessings for ourselves.  Fundamentally, the selfless love that God calls us to does not involve pride or glory.  It does not parade itself and is not puffed up.  In fact, true love does not seek its own.  If we truly love others, we will set aside our own plans, agendas, and entitlements for the good of another.

Love is not provoked.  That is, love is not easily angered or over-sensitive.  When we truly love others, we are careful not to be touchy concerning other people’s words or actions towards us.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.  The godly love described in this lesson has nothing to do with evil, but has everything to do with what is right and true.  It believes all things and hopes all things.  This does not mean that love is blind or naïve.  When we love, we may recognize problems and failures in people, but we do not lose faith in the possibilities of what people might become.  Love never gives up, knowing that God can change lives for the better.

Finally, love endures all things.  Love accepts any hardship or rejection, and continues unabated to build up and encourage.  When your relationship has been built on this solid foundation of Godly love, no weapon that the enemy may form against it shall ever prosper.  Love is the glue that bounds all hearts that are filled with Godly love together.  After you have carefully studied this word, prayed on it, meditated on it, I leave you with the question that we begin this word with, “WHAT DOES LOVE HAVE TO DO WITH VALENTINE DAY?”  Now you complete the rest of the story in your own words to the one you love.




Two Different points of view (Photo by Shirley Rhodes)



By Shirley Rhodes

One thing I’ve determined about life is that at some point we will be hurt, and that is to be expected, because we are human.  Jesus often spoke about forgiveness and there actually is healing in forgiveness. The main problem is that many of us don’t want to forgive; holding on to grudges, anger, disappointments gives us a sense of power/control over those we’re angry with. For some reason we feel that if we forgive someone we’re letting them get off easy but the truth is that when you forgive you’re releasing, letting go sets you free. Many do not know that by holding on to resentment, they create a mental bond to that person they claim to want no part of, like a game of chess it keeps them locked into the game.

The Flower of Forgiveness (Photo by Shirley Rhodes)


If someone has done you wrong tell them what they did, why it hurt and then let it go. This can be accomplished by writing a note or talking with the person; once everything is out in the open and the person you’re angry with is willing to make amends, open up and with clear thoughts, seek to gather an understanding of what each of you are feeling. It may all boil down to a simple “I’m sorry I let you down” and I’m here because I want to make amends.

In order for us to be able to put the past behind us we must be willing to forgive. Pride and miscommunication often lead to broken relationships/bonds because no one wants to be the first to say “I’m sorry.”

FORGIVENESS —“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he will lay down his life for his friends. John15:12-13. Love is patient and kind.



Cover of "Relationships (Libertysavard.Co...

Cover of Relationships (Libertysavard.Com)


Today for whatever reason it may be, we all find ourselves in a relationship, just beginning a new relationship are ending a relationship.  Whatever stages your relationship may be traveling through we present you with strategies to help you grow and develop a strong and positive relationship.  We understand that a loving relationship is a cornerstone of a joyful life.  And yet many people suffer unhappiness and yearn for satisfying love.  Maybe you sense some cracks in your relationship and want to heal your bond of love or maybe you are starting a new relationship and you fear repeating old patterns.  Whatever your relationship is like, whether you are in a traditional marriage or another form of committed relationship, whether you love a person of the opposite or the same gender, there are principles at work that determine whether your relationship will increase or undermine your wellbeing.  As you read and study our relationship strategies here at the Vine and Branch World Ministries you are sure to find a wealth of information that can help you develop those strong ties that bind your relationship together.  So we encourage you to read and study all our relationship strategies that are listed here under the heading of RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES.

We are reorganizing this part of our Ministry to make it easy for you to visit it often and study the many RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES that can help you to grow and bind your relationship together.  So whenever you visit here, remember to stroll up to the top of the page and click on RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES for new and updated strategies of a regular basic.  We welcome your comments and we know that they will help all of us to be better stewards over our RELATIONSHIPS.



Couple 01

Image via Wikipedia


We all have experienced love and hate relationships at some point in our lives.  However, the most important thing for us is that we at some point are able to find ourselves, come to an understanding that in order for us to ever really be happy in our relationship, we must learn how to forgive.  Sometimes this can be the hardest part of a loving relationship.  Because when we don’t forgive, we lose the joy of that great romantic sexual experience that so excited us in the beginning of the relationship.

Remember this, “the art of a lover is to make the romance last as long as possible.”  How can we make the romance last when we want allow ourselves to forgive the other person for whatever they have done.  We say this time they have really done it and this is too big for me to ever consider forgiving them for what they have done to me.  When we don’t forgive others we are only hurting ourselves more.  The pain of hurt and angry, that we keep bottle up inside of us, only acts to destroy us from the inside.  It breaks down our immune system and makes us susceptible to all sorts of germs and diseases.  If we want peace, happiness, joy and love to really rule and command a present in our lives, we must consider forgiveness as a way to changing us from the inside out.

Forgiveness works two ways.  You must forgive to be forgiven.  For every person has the need to be forgiven.

Forgiveness should become a habit.  When Peter ask Jesus how often should I forgive a person for the crimes that they have committed again me, Jesus answered and said, “Until seventy times seven.”  He who forgives to infinity will never hate.

Forgiveness should start now.  Putting off forgiving only deepens the wound.  Clinging to bitterness postpones happiness.  Life is short, time is fleeting.  Today is the day to forgive.

Forgiveness is the way to personal peace.  It is performing mental surgery in you, probing deep within to remove hurts, grudges and resentments.  It is forgetting wrongs as though they had never been.  It is flooding your mind with the powerful medicine of forgiveness that cleanses and heals.  It is discovering a serenity you’ve never known before.

When you discover deep within your soul that you were created as a lover and you have the power to love and be loved, then the spirit of forgiveness is awaken and it becomes just a part of your daily score and love for you will never walk out the door.  You will become a mirror of peace, love, joy and happiness.  This will define who you are.

Now enjoy your new found freedom.  It was meant for you to have.  For what God has given to you, is for you and can’t anyone take it away from you.


Finding Comfort in Closeness


Today let us begin our conversation with the word closeness and then try and focus our minds of what this word means to us as we try and draw closer to our mate. First let us understand that the word closeness means more than physical proximity: it is the feeling that you can be wholly yourself in your partner’s company, that just being together has natural positive value. If you lack this feeling you can be like strangers going through the motions of sharing a life without the warmth of intimacy. Closeness takes many forms; physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual. Each of these types is potent and can enrich a relationship in a different way. Ideally, you should aim to develop closeness in all these areas, but in practice, most couples tend to be close in some ways and not in others. Focus on your weakest forms of closeness first. Bear in mind that for most couples the most important types of closeness to cultivate are emotional and physical.

There is no doubt that human beings feel closes to each other when they enjoy body contact. As babies, we are happiest when we are cuddled up, skin to skin, with our mother or father. And throughout adult life we continue to derive a sense of security and comfort from physical closeness with others. Unfortunately, most couples touch each other less and less as their relationship matures, and their emotional remoteness tends to increase with this loss of physical contact.

To help rediscover physical and emotional closeness, why not start a new routine of hugging each other. You can start by hugging whenever one of you leaves the home or returns. Try to stay in the hug for at least two full in breaths and out breaths. Allow yourself to relax and focus all your attention on the sensations of warmth and closeness. Once you have developed the habit of hugging each other at certain times, you will find that you start to touch each other more often, in a more spontaneous way.  Why not try it, you just might rekindle a flame that has gone dim and ignite a spark that can start a fire of romance that you never knew you could enjoy.  What is it going to cost you?  The moment is upon you.  Tomorrow may never come in a way that you might have the opportunity to be a part of it.  Reach out and take your lover in your arms, embrace your lover, relax and just enjoy the moment.


KNOWING GOD LEADS TO SELF CONTROL; as one of the fruits of the Spirit, self-control refers to mastery over sinful human desires in every aspect of life.  The Greeks considered this a highly prized virtue. Their focus, of course, was entirely on self-effort, but the problem was that self-effort always fails in the long run because it may control the body but does not affect inward desires.  We know from Romans 8:13 and Galatians 5:22-23 that Christians have the Holy Spirit’s help to gain self-control.

The quality of self-control must then lead to patient endurance, the ability to steadfastly endure suffering or evil without giving up one’s faith.  Endurance is not a stoic indifference to whatever fate allows; rather, it springs from faith in God’s goodness and control over all that happens in believers lives.

Such endurance leads to godliness,  this is another word that is unusual to the New Testament, but common to Greek ethics lists of that day, we see that Paul emphasized godliness in the Pastoral Epistles as being the virtue that should characterize the life and conduct of the believers.  Godliness was the primary word for “religion” and referred to a person’s correct attitudes toward God and people, usually referring to performing obligatory duties.  Here we discover in 1st Peter the word describes an awareness of God in all of life – a lifestyle that exemplifies Christ and is empowered by him (the same word is used in (1st Peter 1:3).  Christians must have a right relationship with God and right relationships with fellow believers.  The false teachers claimed such “godliness,” but were sadly lacking in reverence toward God and in good attitudes toward others.



There are churches all over the world where the Holy Spirit is not present.  He is not present because the people don’t fear God.  They may be socially active, economically viable, and organizationally functional; but where there is no fear, there is no godliness.  Where there is no godliness, there is no anointing.  There can be no comfort because God will never comfort you when you are outside His will.

People go to some churches week in and week out seeking to be comforted in their sin.  You can find a church that makes you comfortable with its ritual, its tradition, and its ministry emphasis.  But it is a tragedy if a church’s leaders do not strain to create an atmosphere of godliness and the body does not fear God as it works out its salvation.  The comfort one finds in that situation is one of the greatest deceptions of the devil.

Satan desires to make you comfortable in your sin.  If you are comfortable in your sin, you will not see the need to confess it.  If you do not confess your sin, you will not know the cleansing forgiveness of God.  Without His cleansing forgiveness, you cannot enter into His presence, because your sin separates you from Him (Isa. 59:2).  Then Satan has you right where he wants you–in sin and apart from God.  If you are in sin and comfortable in your church, please know that you are being deceived by the enemy.  God won’t help you walk in sin.  What He will do, however, is help you get up and walk away from that sin so that you might get back on the path of righteousness and walk in the fear of the Lord.  He says if you walk in fear of Him, you will know the comfort of His Spirit and a fruitful, spiritually productive relationship with Him.

Philippians 2:12 says, “Theerefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  Paul said work out your own salvation in a holy reverence for God and a righteous “afraid-ness” of Him.  You don’t work for your salvation; you work out your salvation.  You don’t work to get saved.  Your salvation is fleshed out in a daily process of living in the power of the Spirit of God.

A remarkable thing happens when a church is foull of godly men and women who work out their salvation with a fear of God.  Acts 9:31 says, “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified.”  Now watch this:  “And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were maltiplied” (emphasis mine).  The church grew numerically and spiritually, quantitatively and qualitatively.  Why?  They did so because they walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  Walking in the comfort of the Holy Ghost does not mean shouting, running down aisles, laughing uncontrollably, barking like a dog, or jumping across benches.  The comfort of the Holy Ghost is that ministry of the Spirit that stabilizes you.  It is the settling of your spirit by His Spirit.  It is when God strengthens you by coming alongside you in your particular set of circumstances.

The context of the Acts 9 text suggests that at the time this comfort settled on the aforementioned believers, the church was suffering intense persecution.  Christians were sought and killed for following a man named Jesus.  But in spite of their oppression, they were edified and growing individually and collectively.  They were growing because the Holy Spirit was comforting them, and there would have been no comfort without fear.

By the way, fellow pastor, how is your church growing?  If it is alive, it ought to be growing.  If it is not growing, maybe God is calling you to examine the spiritual atmosphere in your congregation.  Dear pastor, maybe God is telling you to examine your own lifestyle and your own heart.  Now, don’t take my position to the extreme.  I am by no means suggesting that the only gauge for vitality and growth in a church is the size of its roll.

The world will always “out crowd” the church.  Crowds have assembled for every reason, from viewing the tail of a comet to supporting a follower of Mohammed.  Don’t measure the godliness of a church by the size of the crowd.  The Bible says “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).  Don’t count bodies.  Count lives.  See if the people followed Jesus into the assembly or if they followed some other leader.  See if there is a holy, reverential fear of God woven into the fabric of their behavior.  A growing church is filled with people who walk in the fear of the Lord.  Because they fer the Lord, they know the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  This is the path to godliness and growth in any church.  How is your church growing?


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