Thursday, August 10, 2023

Love Defined


Love Defined

Though love is difficult to define, it is needed from the day we are conceived. We might think of it as a feeling. It can be felt at times, though it can exist without feeling. Looking at the Bible, there are different types of love. Also, the Greek (from which we received the New Testament) have many other ways to translate and describe love. In the English language we assume the many variations of love in relationships using the same word.

The primary ways to love are found in six Greek words:
·         Eros is sexual passion which is described as dangerous and irrational where – fiery - one loses control. David and Bathsheba or Adam and Eve are examples of such love in the Bible.
·         Philia is deep friendship that acts as comrades who are faithful, loyal, sacrificial, and vulnerable with emotions. Jonathan and David are who we see sharing this love in scripture.
·         Storge is familial love which is brotherly love or parent child relational love in the Bible. It holds the same characteristics of “philia” love. Abraham and Isaac displayed this love as did Mary and Jesus.
·         Pragma is long standing love that is mature – realistic – love found in long established couples. Here they love with compassion, compromise, patience, and tolerance. Zechariah and Elizabeth are examples of pragma.
·         Philautia is love of self. The unhealthy type is found in narcissism, obsessed with fame and fortune. But healthy it generates a deeper and wider capacity for love of others. Liking oneself brings compassion, sense of security, and grace toward self. Aristotle said, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of man’s feeling for self”. Jesus is the greatest example of this love.
·         Agape is love for everyone. It offers empathy, selflessness, and charity. It is the highest form of Christian love. C.S. Lewis called it “gift love”. Given without any requirements from the receiver, agape belongs in all types of love.

Only three or four of these words are found in the original text of the Bible. Still, they all exist in scripture and are exhibited throughout scripture. In each Greek word, love is clearly an action and not feeling. Generally, we act based on a choice, and love is a choice.

When looking at I Corinthians 13 we see how love is to be expressed. Then because God is love, His very character is the definition of love. Looking for the truth on this subject, I looked for God’s definition. It is found in I John 2:6 (AMP):  

And this is love: that we walk in accordance with His commandments and are guided continually by His precepts [teachings]. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should [always] walk in love.
by, Joy Pedersen

Author Joy Pedersen, founded Clear Hope Association in 2004 to equip and build the family of God. She has served over 25 years in ministry using the Word of God to teach, write, and counsel. As a dedicated and effective communicator, she walks alongside others encouraging a deeper, more personal, and effective relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Friday, July 7, 2023

BOOK RELEASE: Loving With All Our Soul


Joy Pedersen's newest book release is available now! 
Loving With All Our Soul

Loving With All Our Soul

What is the soul, and what does it involve? Understanding how the soul fits into our spiritual makeup is important so we can love God with all of it. Enticements and choices made are often confusing and detrimental to maturity. It is important to look at the soul infected, influenced, inspired, and infiltrated. Are you hoping to increase your relationship with God and others? Committed time of introspection through these pages will help you examine your love life, wean out the things that hold you back, and lean into the One who loves you most.

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Brief Biography: Joy Pedersen founded Clear Hope Association in 2004 to equip and build the family of God. She has served over 25 years in ministry using the Word of God to teach, write, and counsel. As a dedicated and effective communicator, she walks alongside others encouraging a deeper, more personal, and effective relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 2, 2023



Independence Day 

Just over a month ago, Memorial Day acknowledged the contributions of individuals who have fought for or are fighting to preserve 0ur freedoms here in the United States. Fourth of July is a celebration of our independence as a nation. It is a reminder of the freedoms that were established at the onset of our country.

The definition of independence, according to one dictionary, is freedom from control, influence, support, aid, or the likes of others. In some ways, it feels like we have become rather dependent on other nations – politically, industrially, economically, and socially. Freedom is defined as exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. Listening to what is happening around us it would seem our freedom is being threatened.

To remain free as a nation requires being united as “We the People”, both for and against things that could threaten our Constitution and Bill of Rights. United means standing together, upholding truth, banning cruelty, upholding justice, and caring for one another with respect and honor.

Adolph Hitler’s reign is a classic historical example of what transpires when fear and denial yield to brutality. A united goal and effort to gain freedom from the control of one man would have changed history. National destruction and crushed lives were the results of hate, misuse of power, and self-aggrandizement.  Accomplishing the greater good for all happens when united we stand. Divided we fall is the outcome of looking out for self above all others.

We gave up a life of independence for interdependence as followers of Christ. We are dependent on him for our salvation allowing for personal freedom from sin. The Bible reminds us that we need relationships - first with God and then with people. So, we are to interact and count on one another and work together in the Body of Christ. Our declaration of rights is based on the law of love as found throughout scripture. Because of who He is, we need Him to comply with what He says is loving. Looking at His name throughout the Bible, in Hebrew and Greek, we find He supplies our needs through His character as we call upon Him. For example:

·         He is Elohim - supreme God, strong One, creator who makes all things from the universe down to the new in our lives as believers, and He and rule sovereignly. (Genesis 14:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

·         He is El Roi – the God who is all seeing, Who sees me in the good and in the bad times He is ever watching us. (Genesis 16:3; Matthew 6:3-4)

·         He is Jehovah Jireh – provider of all things whether it is a job, food, clothing, strength,  friends, or more. (Genesis 22:14; Philippians 4:19)

·         Jehovah Rapha – He is the Lord that heals from the Old Testament into the New Testament through Jesus. (Exodus 15:26; Luke 6:17-19)

God gives people to walk alongside us, and He wants us to depend on Him to guide us in those relationships. According to Ephesians 3:20-21, He is able to do much much more than we could ever ask or hope for. As we lean upon and trust in Him He faithfully helps us through all kinds of situations. And what are our freedoms?

We are free from sin and it’s guilt, legalism, and power. We have freedom to enjoy God (3 in 1), know Him, belong to Him, and own Him as our Lord and King.  We have been given freedom with others to serve, give attention to needs, and commune. And because of His love given freely to us, we can freely love others out of this gift. For believers in Christ freedom is eternal.

While focused on independence remember the freedoms you richly enjoy first as a believer in Christ and then as one who dwells in this nation.

Galatians 5:13 (AMP)

For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another.

by Joy Pedersen

Friday, June 16, 2023

Father's Day

Father’s Day is a reflection and appreciation day. When I do this, my mind recalls the hard work Dad consistently powered through until the very day that he went to Heaven. He tended farm animals and tended soil and crops. He built houses and led men in the process. He instructed his children by word and deed ethically and spiritually. He helped his neighbors in need. He provided shelter, food, and clothing for his family – at times others. He prayed daily with the family after sharing the Word of God. Though imperfect, he served the Lord faithfully in all he did. He has been gone from this world for 37 years, but I am so grateful for the impressions he left on my life, and looking forward to seeing him again in heaven.

In a world where pleasure has become a primary focus, the eternal reward is often forgotten. Rather, working faithfully and responsibly we are to recognize all our works – manual and physical - are opportunities to reflect God’s love to others and then reap an eternal reward for our service in Heaven. Colossians 3:23 (ESV) is our reminder. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

by Joy Pedersen

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Memorial Day Appreciation


Memorial Day Appreciation


A great price has been paid by many for our country's freedom. So express gratitude for their service. Greater still is the price that was paid for our personal freedom through Jesus Christ. It is a freedom all mankind can share through trust and belief in Him. When this happens, we experience freedom that can never be taken away. This kind of freedom is spoken of in the book of Romans in the Bible.

Romans 6:15-18 (MSG)

What Is True Freedom?

So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!

by Joy Pedersen

Friday, May 12, 2023




Psalm 139:13 (AMP)

For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.

Annually May comes around and we find Mother’s Day on the calendar. Depending on our childhood, we either want to celebrate it or hide from the occasion that is to honor our mother. We didn’t choose her and she didn’t choose us but we are bound by life to give respect for her position in our lives. 

Exodus 20:12 (ESV) reminds us to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” It is a command without consideration of the goodness, kindness,  or loving mannerisms of our parents. So what does it mean to honor our mother in the adult season of our life?

If we were raised in a loving environment,  admired, and shared life sweetly with them it is fairly easy to honor and respect her. If we grew up in an abusive environment this is much more difficult.

The Psalmist reminds us that we were put together in our mother’s womb by God. No matter the circumstances or persons involved, God himself formed us and put us together in her womb. It is amazing to think of His developing and organizing our innermost parts. And we were gifted purposefully to a particular mother with her imperfections and beauty altogether, This truth is beyond our understanding. And it is good only because He who created us is good. 

When we honor our parents we are in essence acknowledging the work of a good God. Psalm 145:9 (Amp) reads: “The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created].”

Honoring God and His creation of our mother [and ourselves], happens when forgiving the wrongs, praying for the Holy Spirit’s help in loving, enacting Christ’s love, and speaking kindly to and of her. So as you spend this Mother’s Day with or without your mother, may you seek ways of honoring her. Have a Happy Mother’s Day reflecting!

by Joy Pedersen

Sunday, April 30, 2023

A Great Promise


A Great Promise

Bidding farewell to friends and family throughout life, I know some of the difficulty in letting go as they depart. Adjusting to the idea of life without them is almost unthinkable. Denial is usually my first response followed by sadness.  The assurances that they will stay in contact and/or return for a visit is often meant well but not fulfilled.

Jesus’s disciples were in a similar situation.  Jesus had prepared them with details of His death and resurrection, but now He began to prepare them for His ‘move’ back to Heaven. Leaving the gift of spiritual life for all mankind, Jesus was going away. For three years they had traveled together, ministered side by side, and been trained for their ministry roles – but His going away was unimaginable! How would they go on?

Startled by His announcement, Jesus left a promise for them and us that was designed to bring relief and hope. The communication was caring and compassionate as He readied them for this part of His and their journey. Jesus gave reason for His going – a promise! Unlike the farewell promises of mankind, however, Jesus’s was not in vain. He promised a Helper - almost a replacement of sorts - that we continue to benefit from. How?

The Helper (Holy Spirit) exposes the truth of individuals sinfulness, what righteousness is, and God’s judgement for those who do not have a love relationship with God and others. The message of salvation can be accepted and believed by the hearer when conviction is received. The Holy Spirit’s revealed truth is a weapon against the ruler of this world, Satan, who fights against truth.

How good to have a reliable promise to hold on to. In what time I am afraid, I have a Helper (Psalm 56:3). He makes us effective witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8). He teaches us and reminds us to apply what He has said in the Bible (John 14:26). He goes with us wherever we go (I Corinthians 3:16). He strengthens us so we can mature in Christ (Romans 8:26-27). He helps become more and more like Christ (Romans 8:29).

Thank you Father, for the fulfilled promise of the Holy Spirit.

by Joy Pedersen