Posts Tagged ‘The Lewis House’

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/allanaguidry/journal

Here is the link to my wife’s CaringBridge journal.  It gives the most complete and up to date information on where we are at in our treatments.

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Continued record of selected entries from Allana’s CaringBridge Guestbook.  I have redacted most names though you can go to CaringBridge and see them.  I have started to add a few notes to some.  If you want to see the GuestBook entries in their entirety go to  Allana’s Page

Dear Allena .I have been reading about you in Believers.I have been praying for you and your family and will continue to do so .

Jesus is the same today as He was when He walked the earth in the flesh ,and He still perfoms miracles .I pray Jesus will give you and your family ,courage and strenght as you go through this ordeal .May He comfort you ,as He puts His arms around you .He loves you dearly ,you are His child .He will never leave you nor forsake you .

Much love to you and your family .

Entries like these are especially precious.  Believers is a FB group based in Massachusetts.  Brothers and Sisters all over who have never met us but learned about Allana through FB groups, churches, friends or who knows where have been praying!

Good morning. It is a wet raining one here today. I will take it and enjoy as I do every day.

I hope you feel my love for you in your presence. Please, keep fighting like a girl and kick that illness out the door. I am proud of you and your strength and determination.

Love you cuz. xoxo

My name is                     and I attended bible study with                      through a mutual friend several years ago.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1987 while 32 weeks pregnant.  I delivered 4 weeks later to a 6# 14 oz baby girl…completely healthy.  I started radiation immediately, this was April 1987.  In Feb 1988, it came back with a vengeance.  Started chemo.  Finished in Oct 1988 and have been in remission since.
I said all of that to say, I understand….
I would like to offer ANY help you may need to stay peaceful and in this fight.  I have my own cleaning company and would be happy to go to your home periodically free of charge.  I also love to cook and adhere to the “cook once eat twice” philosophy so I have some foods ready to eat now in the freezer.  They are not gourmet or anything but I would like your permission to drop them at your home.
Please know that this offer is from God….He wants me to do it.  Even as I am typing now I know He is in control of ALL!
I am praying for strength and healing for you Allana.  I also pray for you to have hope and stay positive.  Sometimes it will be all you can do but NEVER let the devil defeat you by feeling hopeless…if God is for us then who can stop us?
Heal quickly sister and please feel free to connect with me on facebook at                 or by calling                 .
God bless u and your family.

Was thinking of all these prayers going up to the Throne on your family’s behalf…and then got stopped thinking about our amazing Lord, who is the Great High Priest, constantly interceding on our behalf. Peace and grace. Thank you for always keeping it real and letting us walk along side you in this fight.

Blessings today! Strength for the big and little things that make up the hospital routine.  xoxo

Greta F

I left Greta’s name there because she is an amazing member of  The Bridge Metrowest Church where my brother Paul is pastor.  She created the CaringBridge site for us and in spite of my brain deadness!

Sam and Allana,

I am choosing life for Allana as I know you are also. I am praying for complete healing and a good report from the drs. I am praying for strength for each moment, God, our Father does know what He is doing, even when it seems so heart wrenching to us. I love you all. Allana and Sam, choose joy, choose life. I  love Allana’s  beautiful smile.

My husband, Darren and I, went to Houghton with Sam’s sister, Lisa and I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that we are praying for you here in Landenberg, PA.  You must feel like you  are getting a crash course in something you never wanted to know about and we are praying for God’s grace,mercy and healing for all of your family!

Love you my friend, you are very important to me. Your fight is Gods fight keep strong and remember > Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26

Lord, please give Allana your grace, strength and mercy to be able to endure this pain. I pray that these procedures will go smoothly. Most of all I ask for your complete healing. In Jesus name. Amen.

This wonderful lady has an amazing story of her own and has just adopted our family in prayer!

Hi, we are missionaries in Africa, we pray for you.

For all the ills that technology seems to bring it also has united the people of God in ways never before imagined.

Our family of 7 is praying for your family of 7. When you don’t have the strength for one more minute, we will pray that God continues to supply it, one minute at a time.

Families praying for families!  Amen

Allana I read your post on Laura’s FB page. I’m a friend of hers from Childhood at Bethesda Church. I was diagnoised with AML Aug 18 2009. I was told I had TEN days to live.. I flew from our home in Hawaii to Seattle to Fred Hutchinson. They pioneered the Stem cell Transplant over 30 yrs ago. I went thru treatment and received a Stem Cell transplant Dec 21,2009. I blogged daily on carepages. Go to carepages.com
Search

Like you I have a 18,15,9 yrs old children
Married 23 yrs
Was fine then bam out if the blue!!
Here’s the deal
“GOD WANTS YOU WELL”
700 club aired my miraculous healing look it up on YouTube just type in my name

This is I’m not gonna lie not easy but its doable. You got lots of reasons to live.
Keep that attitude. Keep declaring Gods healing promises over your body.
If you private message me I want to mail you a booklet of Every healing promise in the Bible. I declared that daily thru all 22 blood transfusion
All 9 bone marrow biopsies
All the chemo
I’m healed Whole living and well.
God bless you.
I’ll send you my cell if you like with questions you may have just message me. You have my email on your guest book I also gave it to                .
Be In Health
In Christ Name

Love the many testimonies we have heard of cancer, leukemia and other physical issues.
I’ve been thinking about you all night tonight, praying and thinking, praying and crying. Calling out to God to heal you to have you continue to do HIS work that you do so well. I pray for His will to be done. I pray that His will is to heal you, strengthen you to continue to run the Lewis House. You all have done amazing things with the kids there and all others important things your family does for the schools and the community. I don’t believe God is done with you yet. You still have so much life and love to give. You are such a giver  An amazing woman of God. I love you more than you will ever know Allana…nothing will ever lessen the love i have for my very dear friend that i’ve had for many many years,

As I do every morning. . . woke up praying for you all. . . actually woke up through the night praying for you.  As this chemo flows we are praying that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit flows in continuous and increasing measure. Praying that you will find a safe and peaceful refuge in His arms.  I ran across this old Scott Wesley Brown song yesterday. . .

“If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders, I know my Sister (Brother, Nieces, Nephews)  that He will carry you. . . ”

 You are loved! You are loved! You are loved! You are LOVED!!!
Dear, sweet Allana, you have been on my heart and in my prayers as you fight this fight against leukemia.  I thank God that your fight is not alone but that you have an army of spiritual warriors that have gone into battle with you and for you!  I pray for God’s peace and strength for you and your family during this difficult time.  Much love to you my friend!!
Praying for you!!   I am so sorry you have to walk this!!  Wish this bitter cup could be removed from your lips… Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions as you walk this out!  CANCER AND ITS TREATMENT SUCKS!!   JESUS in the garden prayed 3 times for the bitter cup to be removed… He was afraid and not looking forward to the next part of His journey.. The opposite of faith is not fear its unbelief….I know you have great faith and love Him, but please allow yourself to be human and feel all the emotions …. I pray He surrounds you with safe people that allow you to have your garden moments… Love, Like and respect you…!  Kerri
Kerri is a nurse, member of  Compelled Church and has been a tremendous blessing to Allana (and her husband ain’t such a bad guy either)

Allana and Sam,

We are lifting you and the kids up each moment of the day. There isn’t an hour that goes by that you are not fervently held up in prayer. We pray for strength, rest, peace, Christian nurses and doctors to bring healing and aid, courage and health. May God cradle you all in His arms today and give you rest. May your battle widen His kingdom as those whose lives you are touching physically and virtually experience your faith and grow their own. We love you.
This was a prayer that was answered!  We were so blessed to have so much of the medical staff not only treating us with the science of men but praying for us too!

Allana you don’t know me. I heard about you through a friend, Rae, on FB. What an amazing story you have and you are reaching out to so many people. I pray for you every day, and love the way you let The Lord lead and guide you. I love your testimony and I know God is going to bless you……..He already has. Be brave and lean on His everlasting arms!

Coppell, Texas
A Christian friend

Thank you Jesus for providing Your nurse to pray over that first bag, so overwhelmed by Your goodness in all of this.

Hey Little Girl, your babies at home have worked like champs at cleaning this morning and I got the floors cleaned – thank you mr hoover. We love you but of course you know that. Fight the good fight! Your kids and I and your brother are all cheering you on. YOU CAN DO IT! With God’s strength and love – of course.

Love you bunches,
Mom
Susan B

Grammy Sue has been such a blessing to us! 
The “ugly cry” ensued when I read that your precious nurse prayed over your first bag of chemo…God bless that woman! I continue to pray without ceasing Allana! God is good all the time!
Kathy has her own prayer need going on.  Her husband is currently hospitalized with blood clots.  Pray with us that these clots will resolve with no damage to his body!

Allana and Sam,

Praying for you guys continually..You are on my heart and mind constantly. Praying for comfort,peace,hope, and that you feel God’s constant presence. You guys are such and inspiration to me and many others. We love you so much:)
We sang “We still believe on Sunday”  Every time we sing that song I remember that awesome worship retreat we went on together:) I also remember calling you Allana Banana..Thank you for not hitting me for doing that..:)) I am believing with you guys..
Yep Allana is pronounced like banana (just in case you have been saying it wrong…though I am pretty sure God can figure it out if you have 🙂
Psalm 20:1-9May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings. Selah
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

I love this Psalm.  We sang it at a Happy T Ranch summer camp back in …well nevermind but we sang the last few verses as a worship song.

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This is  a study that I first wrote before Nisa’s birth and before the present trial that God has placed in our path.  More than ever the depth of God’s love for His people as illustrated by Hosea’s call and response to that call inspires my heart and lets me rest in the knowledge of His Grace.

“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry ; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD.”  So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”  Hosea 1:2-3

Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”  Hosea 3:1

Hosea is first and foremost a love story.  It is a live action representation of the redemptive love story called The Bible.  When I first read this amazing story I glossed over these two passages.  I did not really conceive of what God was asking of Hosea.

It is in chapter three that the reality of Hosea’s call becomes clear. Suddenly all of the technical sniping about the legal ramifications and the arguments over interpretation seem shallow.  Hosea was called by God to create in life a wonderful picture of His love for us, the love that culminated on a cross outside of Jerusalem and was fulfilled by an empty tomb!  It is a love that is sacrificial, one that accepts rejection and seeks redemption.  It is love that forgives offense and pursues atonement but it is a love that recognizes the requirements of holiness and demands a response.  It is a love that understands that in the absence of that response destruction comes.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.  You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies.  Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors”  Hosea 10:12-13

In this case I like the NIV’s translation of CHECED (rendered kindness by the NAS), “unfailing love”.  I think this considers well the overall theme of Hosea.

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love…”

This foreshadows Jesus’ response to the Pharisees in Matthew 22 when asked what the greatest commandment was.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind soul…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”


The formula is simple: Righteous living = Love.  God called Hosea to graphically demonstrate this love, the love of Righteousness.  He also calls us to love the un-lovable and shows us that this can be done without sacrificing righteousness.  Hosea never accepted and/or condoned her sin but he went and loved her, went and redeemed her where she was at.  In just the same way Christ came to our sorry estate and loved us, redeemed us.  Now he waits for our response.  Just as Hosea required a response from Gomer,

Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days.  You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.”  Hosea 3:3

Here the story of Hosea ends and the application to Israel begins.

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them.  For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteousness will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”  Hosea 14:9

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Allana’s Caringbridge Journal

What do you do when the academic suddenly becomes life, when things that you have read about, heard about or even seen become experience?

I sincerely expected my first post after the birth of our daughter Nisa Faith to be one of the joys and trials of new parenthood.   She is definitely much more joy than trial.  She is beautiful, sweet, cute and everything that I prayed for in our new addition.  I cannot let this new storm in our lives detract in any way from the miracle that she is.

Please forgive my rambling, there has been precious little sleep in the last few days.  Actually it has only been five days, five days in which one word, spoken by one doctor has changed everything, “Leukemia”.  I had heard that after a doctor speaks words like cancer or leukemia that everything else becomes a haze.  Now I know that it is true.  My wonderful wife of 11 years has leukemia at 34 years of age and with a 3 week old baby this ugly disease has raised its head and threatened not only the life of my beloved but our family, our ministry and our very way of life.  Well Leukemia we refuse to be threatened.  Allana has declared that we are not to speak that she “has” Leukemia, Allana is “fighting” Leukemia.  We are all fighting leukemia.

The outpouring of concern and support from God’s people, friends, family and even people who have just heard our story is amazing.  We are overwhelmed by the response and so thankful for those who have taken on the job of coordinating it.  I find myself over and over thinking how blessed we are, certainly not in having to deal with this horrible disease but in the fact that God has our back through it.

“…because of the tender mercy of our God,

whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:78

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Nisa Faith was born on 12-16-2012 at 9:40 pm.  She was 7 lbs. 3 oz. and 20.5 in. long.  Yet those simple statistics do not in any way define the miracle of faith that she is to this family.  A physical living expression of the journey that God has taken this family on over the past decade.  I have been literally overwhelmed by her presence in our lives and not just by the usual intensity of life with a new baby.  I am going to re-post my blog from July 31st because today I stand with the realization of that post in my arms:

                  (Nisa- Miracle)

Faith

Guidry

We have prayed for this day for 9 years.  We have ached for the losses and doubted our faith.  We refused to give up even when we were labeled as a “Chronic Miscarriage” case.  When the entire world (and even God himself from a purely worldly standpoint) seemed to be saying emphatically NO, the Holy Spirit whispered in our ears to leave it in the Father’s hands.  So we did.  Don’t get me wrong we cried, we wailed, we begged over and over again.  We wanted at times to throw in the towel and act out of our own understanding.  We still do not completely understand, but understand this:  We have a mighty heavenly Father who cares for us in ways that I cannot begin to fathom.  He loves us in a way that is so far beyond my understanding that I only touch the edges of what AGAPE really means!

Several weeks ago while in prayer God gave me the name Nisa Faith.  Indeed she is a miracle of faith, not the simple faith of a single prayer or even the cry for healing but the faith of a 9 year journey.  She represents to us the faith of Abraham as he led his entire family to Canaan.  She represents the faith of Joseph as he waited in slavery, in prison for God to act.  She is even now, yet in the womb that miracle, an incredible act of God.

The difficult part to grasp is that my statement about our Father’s love for us is not just true because Nisa is healthy and strong.  It is an eternal truth that is expressed in both the tragic and the joyful.  He does not love us more now than he did on the very days that we miscarried our other seven precious babies.  The reality is that our journey to the fulfillment of the call that He had placed on our lives led us directly through David’s “Valley of the Shadow of Death”.  While we might prefer a detour around the Valley, God does not promise that.  He does promise that he will be with us, standing by us with His rod and staff and even more importantly for New Testament believers dwelling in us.  Many times it is not until after we are through the Valley that we are able to look back and see that God wielded His rod and staff on our behalf as we walked that  difficult road.

Even more than she represents the miracle of life to us, she is the miracle of faith itself.  Perhaps a better way to say it is that she is an expression of miraculous faith.  Faith inspired by the ongoing presence of God in our lives.  It is the faith that kept Abraham going on his 400 mile journey.  It is the faith that kept him in relationship with God even when he arrived only to face famine.  It is the faith that saw the birth of Isaac and the substitution of a ram for his only child on the mountain before God.  It is not a faith of the perfect life or of perfect people. It is a faith that traverses pitfalls and carries us through our own mistakes; faith that originates not with us but in the very heart of God and comes to us as a gift from the hands of our heavenly Father.  It is Nisa Faith.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lied down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

PSALM 23

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“He has done it!” ends David’s psalm 22.  The New American Standard Bible labels this Psalm: “A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise”.  David accepted  that all suffering is simply the path to the miraculous for those who are followers of Jesus.    Nisa will be for us a miracle of new life.  Our family in many ways is born again with the impending birth of this precious girl.  This is an attribute of the miraculous.  It brings rebirth to those it impacts.  Our very transformation from beings steeped in sin and unacceptable in the presence of God to children of the living God and those who are guaranteed an eternity in His presence is perhaps the greatest miracle of all.

If one dares the term, lesser miracles also carry this sense of new beginnings.  They are those points in our lives when our cries of anguish turn to songs of praise.  They are intended to transform on a spiritual level not just impact our physical beings.  It is this spiritual aspect of the miraculous that is so confusing to us.  When we approach the miraculous as simply God impacting our earthly lives (perhaps as reward or even punishment) it fogs the very nature of the miracles.  We become magicians searching for the “spells” or the correct formula of prayer (or behavior) that will manipulate God into acting the way that we conceive that he should.  Paul was singing praises in prison not because he thought this would enable, encourage or force God to act on his behalf.  He did it because he anticipated the miraculous in whatever form it would come.  (Acts 16:25ff)

Right now I can only anticipate and imagine the incredible joy that I will feel when I hold Nisa in my arms.  I am living in the confidence of Paul.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

Paul gives this statement as a basis for his ongoing joy.  He anticipated the miraculous.  Our ability to live out this type of anticipation is a function of the degree to which we embrace the initial miracle of our rebirth into the family of God and our ability to keep our spiritual eyes focused on Jesus.  It is the understanding that the miraculous is not so much about our physical circumstances as our spiritual lives and our relationship with God.  The miraculous operates within its own economy, one established and ordained by God.  It is an economy that ensures  joy for those who live by faith and anticipate the miraculous.

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We had our baby shower for Nisa Faith on Friday.  It was a joyous occasion!  She is truly a miracle of faith.  As I watched our many friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who came to celebrate Nisa with us I considered the nature of the miraculous.  It came to me that as wonderful and amazing as miracles are in our lives they are born from, take place in the midst of and birth burden, or a weight upon our lives.  Consider a story very much apropos to our situation, Hannah and Samuel.  The miraculous event of Samuel’s birth was born out of the burden of Hannah’s barren state, born into the burden of a Spiritual vacuum in Israel and birthed the prophetic burden and kingly burden that would eventually be carried by the house of David and eventually and eternally by Jesus Christ.

It is with incredible joy and godly heaviness of heart that I look at the burden that set the stage for our miracle child.  The burden that miracles are born out of consists of suffering.  It would suggest a corollary for the Christian, for all who have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That is that all suffering is simply the path to the miraculous for those who are followers of Jesus.  The final assurance of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  This promise seemed stale and far away when we were in the midst of the burden.  Just as the promise of God’s intervention must have seemed distant to a mourning and desperate Hannah as she endured the initial reaction of Eli the priest.  David felt the burden and the distance when he penned Psalm 22, pouring out his soul in verse and weaving a prophetic tapestry of the Messiah under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”  (vs 1-2)

David ends this Psalm with a recognition of the burden/miracle relationship and his own rendition of Romans 8:28:

“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.  They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn:  He has done it!”  (vs. 30-31)

He Has Done It!

Next: In the Midst of Burden

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“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children… My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, And they have played the harlot, departing from their God. They offer sacrifices on the tops of the mountains And burn incense on the hills, Under oak, poplar and terebinth, Because their shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters play the harlot And your brides commit adultery.”  Hosea 4:6, 12-13

As you may have noticed I am studying Hosea.  I would like to thank Dr. Stephen Dempster of Crandall University for recommending Douglas Stuart’s works on Hosea and the Minor prophets. I came across these Characteristics of Idolatry in Word Biblical Themes Hosea-Jonah.  The parallels to modern life and modern Christianity are unmistakable.  While we may disdain the ancient Peoples who worshiped gods of wood, metal and stone I wonder how really far removed we are from them.

1.  Idolatry claimed to offer results that were guaranteed

2.  Idolatry indulged the selfish interests of people

3.  Idolatry was easy

4.  Idolatry was convenient

5.  Idolatry was normal

6.  Idolatry seemed logical

7.  Idolatry was pleasing to the senses

8.  Idolatry was indulgent

9.  Idolatry was erotic

The world has not changed so much in the last 3000 years in the way that it entices God’s people to abandon their covenant with him and in the way that it seeks to prevent the lost from finding Him.  The allure of idolatry is just as strong (if not stronger) today for God’s Church as it was for God’s People in the days of Hosea.  How we respond to the siren song of Neo-idolatry shapes our relationship to God on both a personal and corporate level.

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“Go take for yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry’ for the land commits flagrant harlotry forsaking the Lord.”  Hosea 1:2b

For the complete text of this study including extensive scripture references click here

 

The word of the Lord which came to Hosea the son of Beeri during the days of…”  Hosea 1:1

 

The formula “the word of the Lord” is of paramount importance to who we are as the people of God.  Without this formula Christianity simply becomes a collection of well thought out doctrines without divine power.  It appears Eleven times in Acts, Seventeen times in the New Testament, only once of which is a direct quote from the Hebrew Scriptures ( 1 Peter 1:25 ).

(See full text for references)

It appears Thirty two times in the Minor Prophets and constitutes the very base of their message and core of the authority by which they spoke.  Unfortunately it is very clear that this formula was also utilized by those who spoke falsely, for personal gain or from fertile imagination, often without immediate repercussions.

(See full text for references)

This formula is used Nine times in the Pentateuch.  Twice it refers to a personal message from God to Abraham.  Twice it refers to those who feared or respected God through his messenger Moses.  Three times it refers to the specific will of God concerning a situation and then twice it is used to denote the general commands of God.  In all cases it is something that should be greatly respected, immediately and continuously obeyed and contains the combination of promise and consequences involved in obedience or disobedience.

(See full text for references)

“The word of the Lord” appears Seventy Five times in the Historical Books of the Old Testament,(See your Bible for references) defining a theme of the redemptive history of the Bible.  Add to it the Four appearances in Psalms and the One Hundred and Twenty appearances in the Major Prophets (See your Bible for references) and we have a biblical formula that must not be ignored.  (This gives a grand total of 267 in the NAS)  Yet it is one that I am afraid is down-played in our modern times.  In fact I would even go as far as to say it is largely ridiculed, relegated to examples of crazy ranting, embarrassing exclamations or simply inappropriate use. However the message of the Bible is clear.  The Word of the Lord is IMPORTANT.  It contains promise, command and consequence.  It brings real love, real judgment and real salvation to a humanity that fell in the garden, abandoned God in the Flood, rejected God at Babel and throughout the redemptive record has struggled with the concept of “The Word of the Lord.”

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”  Matthew 23:37

 

Those who have carried this Word have been dismissed, ignored and persecuted throughout history.  So rarely have they been embraced as to almost make it suspect when the general public (even of the People of God) embrace their words.  Today the lack of respect continues even within the church in a land where we have more Bibles per capita than perhaps ever in the history of the world.  We quibble about translations.  We reject inspiration.  We modify to fit our experience and common choices.  Can the end be any different from those who throughout time have rejected the very authority of the Word of the Lord?

The importance in this modern world of the declaration “The Bible is the Word of God” is primary. It is the watershed of modern theological controversy. On the right of this mountain peak are all those who believe that the Bible is the revelation of God and is infallibly inspired. They may differ on many details of interpretation of that revelation, but they agree as to its authority. On the left of this peak are all those who reject the Bible as the primary authority in faith and life, substituting for it any one of several forms of authority ranging from the human mind to the common experience and agreement of the church. Some of these on the left may hold with us as to the truth of every primary doctrine of Scripture, but they themselves do not belong to us because they accept those doctrines on a ground which is insufficient, and if the pressure of the battle becomes too great, they will relinquish those doctrines such as the virgin birth, the unique deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the bodily resurrection, the second coming, etc. Therefore, though we may differ in many details with those who are on the right of this watershed, we belong together and must recognize this modern division in the theological world. Only on the basis of the Bible as the Word of the Lord can we ever have agreement on Christ, on the way of salvation, and on ecclesiastical matters. When we reject the Bible as this authority, it results in the “don’t care for doctrine” attitude of the liberal.”  Dr. Harold John Ockenga  (http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_word_ockenga.html , 10-6-2012)

For Hosea the entry of the Word of the Lord to his world was a life changing proposition.  This was true through out the Bible and continues to be true today.  If one were to research each of the biblical references for this formula I am guessing that one would find someone whose life was changed.  This would indeed be the case for our protagonist Hosea.  He was about to embark on a life journey which would express the heart of God and the depth of His plan for the salvation of a lost world.  It would be an embarrassing and difficult journey.  Disrespect for the Word of the Lord is nothing new.  False prophets, crazy prophets and mistaken prophets clouded the vision of God’s people then even as they do now.  Skeptics doubted and the intellectual explained away the impact of God on Israel, relying instead on the might of nations, the power of wealth and the scheming of men to preserve the nation.  Hosea had a Word of the Lord for them.

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“And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ ‘This is the great and foremost commandment.’ ‘The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ ‘On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’

Matthew 22:37-40

Αγαπη, Such a simple word from a relatively simple language.  How much God has packed into these 5 Greek letters! (Ok for the Greek scholars out there most of the forms actually used in Scripture have more than 5 letters).  Quick numbers that I picked up from various sources show that AGAPE and its forms are used over 200 times in the New Testament.  Of course the Old Testament was not written in Greek but when they translated the Septuagint (probably 3rd century) they used this word over 300 times.  There have been uncountable numbers of sermons, teachings, devotionals and studies done on this word.  It is featured prominently in the names of churches, ministries, books, articles and music.  One would think that with its great prevalence in the literature and arts of the Christian world that it would be something that we do well… or not.

Many have tried to define this word.  I am not sure that it is even possible in any human language.  Where our words fail us Scripture provides us clues:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever should believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world but that the world might be saved through Him.”  John 3:16-17

“But God demonstrates his own love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created things, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

I could go on over 200 times and then start on the Old Testament references but I think that you get the idea.  With so many teachings out there on this subject my purpose is not to create a new word study here.  Perhaps it is just to refocus myself on an aspect of our Faith that is so key to the ministry that God has called me too.  So I just want to pick out a couple of things that stand out to me.

Agape involves being called and being sent.  Over and over the Love story that is our Scripture tells us of God calling people out of their comfort zones to be his hands and feet of Love.  Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, The Disciples and Paul were all called out of their own lives and comfort zones in order to experience and to exhibit this quality.

Agape involves sacrifice.

“1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves ; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:1-8

Thirdly, AGAPE involves obedience to the one true source of love in the created realm, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

“If you love me you will keep my commandments.”  John 14:15

“If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”  John 15:10

While these three aspects certainly are not an all encompassing examination of AGAPE, they are certainly a great place to start.

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