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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Love: keeping short accounts

“…But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 12)

Why is love so vital? A look at 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4 describes love and its outworking. 

I want to touch very briefly on ONE ASPECT OF LOVE: that is keeping short accounts.

Short accounts

‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’ wrote Solomon. If we go to bed having made peace with whomever we might have “had words” with in the day, we — and they — will sleep better. 

Keeping alive conversation, relationship in spite of sore feelings or disappointments means we have shalom, GOD’s peace, and between ourselves and another person, his is such a huge expression of respect and love. 

Forgiveness

We can’t force ourselves to forgive, but we can ask for GOD’s help. Even if we aren’t ready to forgive another person whom we feel has wronged us (sometimes our emotions are stronger than our spirit within us and the emotions trump what we know spiritually we need to do), it is important that we still keep the relationship, the conversation going. How many of us have felt shut down by someone who doesn’t even tell us why they are angry? Time Out is valuable, but after a time of a breather, we do need to come back together to work out how to move forward.

Festering and Offence

It’s too easy to judge another person’s behaviour without knowing the facts. And in today’s climate, it’s far too easy to get offended as the mood of society seems to encourage it. But stewing rather than communicating is the stuff of ulcers; and negative emotion robs us of joy. Instead, let us work out our own way to forge ahead, recognising hurt and disappointment but not living in it indefinitely. “GOD has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) That means when we focus on hurt and disappointment, then fear creeps in to tell us we must protect and defend ourselves, rather than allowing GOD’s love and protection over us. Instead, let us give way to love and the power of GOD, and experience a calm mind rather than one full of agitation. This will bring us into a deeper revelation of GOD, of ourselves in Him, and even of the other person with whom we have had a clash.

Conclusion

I’d like to leave you with this one particular scripture on which to meditate, to contemplate, and to pray:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11)

Bless you beloved.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Commitment to Love your Enemies

Jesus calls us to ‘Love your Enemies’… But is that only New Testament teaching? When exactly are we introduced to the idea to love your enemies?

Let’s begin with an excerpt from Psalm 35

Psalm 35:11-14 reads,

“Fierce witnesses rise up;

They ask me things that I do not know.

They reward me evil for good,

To the sorrow of my soul.

But as for me, when they were sick,

My clothing was sackcloth;

I humbled myself with fasting;

And my prayer would return to my own heart.

I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;

I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.”

King David and Love

In spite of the cruelty others impose on David, when they are in need, he prays for them. He looks after their needs. He devotes his heart to them. 

David knew, from his relationship with the LORD, that we are to love our enemies.

When Saul wanted to kill David out of fear and jealousy, David knew not to touch the LORD’s anointed. His turn would come…

David knew we are to respect our enemies.

And so when Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-48,

“… love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. …”

it may have shocked the hearer, but it was not new.

The Holy Spirit inspired David. The Holy Spirit was with Jesus. The Holy Spirit inspired all scripture — it is all GOD-breathed.

So, our commitment to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, is not Jesus’ revelation but GOD’s from centuries before. 

GOD is consistent. He asks us to be consistent: to love Him, to love our neighbour, even to love our enemy. 


Love is the most important quality in us. GOD is love. GOD in us is love. 

“… But the greatest of these, is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)

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GOD'S STORY Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

GOD’S STORY: part 3 Love for Israel

Here at Preparing the Bride, I’m telling GOD’S STORY. Presumptuous?! Not when simply looking at scripture, because scripture is the unfolding of God’s story to us who read it.

This is GOD’s Story: Part 3. GOD’s love for Israel.

Let’s look at GOD’s story through His Psalm 105 to see GOD’s love for Israel.

GOD is Love.

The Hebrews en masse didn’t catch the depth and breadth of GOD’s love for them. Surely if they had, their nature and their nation would have experienced more joy, peace and confidence as they trusted and obeyed their Creator and advocate.

Looking at Psalm 105 the other day, I noticed how it starts with a celebration towards the LORD and responds with a sharing of His love for His chosen people: the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The reader is called initially to thank and celebrate the LORD, and to share His good deeds among His people — While today it could refer to those who believe in Him, Jew and Gentile alike (as we are grafted into the vine), historically, most certainly “His people” refers specifically to the Hebrews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That has never and will never change. 

The psalm is divided into 45 verses. It is a poem of praise to the Creator,

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD!… Sing to Him…. Talk of all His wondrous works!” (v1,2)

Then, His chosen people are identified: “O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (v6) and the LORD’s covenant is referenced (v9) and His devotion is quoted, “Do not touch My anointed ones…” (v15) 

A description of the history of Joseph and Moses in Egypt and all His goodness and protection in the wilderness toward them is referenced before the psalm ends with His holy promise of blessing and His practical demonstration of commitment to this chosen nation as “He gave the lands of the Gentiles, And they (the Hebrews) inherited the labour of the nations, That they might observe His statutes and keep His laws.” (v 44-45)

Why is it that repeatedly the miracles of the plagues against Egypt, the provision to the Hebrews of manna and quail, the guidance and protection from the pillars of cloud and fire… why are these things spoken of quite frequently in scripture? I think this is so because this history reveals HisStory of His grace, His supernatural power, His steadfast love and commitment to these His chosen people. They reveal His consistency as well, toward those who have turned away; He loves the sinner both Jew and Gentile and does not forget His promises to any of us.

The tragedy is that His people, in majority, have not kept His laws and so throughout time they have suffered loss including jealousy, accusation from others and a distance from GOD. Praise the LORD that things have been changing… There are and always have been a group of committed Jews, some Orthodox and some Reformed; but most excitingly, there are now an increasing number of Jewish people who are recognising Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah as well. These Messianic Jews suffer rejection from their own Jewish neighbours and yet they stand fast for the Lord Jesus. I finished reading Psalm 105 thinking not of the Hebrews nor of myself, but predominantly of the sadness of the LORD. But as they turn back He receives them and so it is for all of us as well.

Do we consider His loss, His mourning, His sadness as a Father, who’s children rebel?

He loves us all. He loves His chosen. So many have turned away. What is His feeling in all of this? What is His story? 

We know the LORD created us in His image. We know we suffer when we experience rejection, sadness and loss. So, is it reasonable to think that the LORD GOD Creator of the Universe likewise suffers when we reject Him?

Consider the father and the prodigal son. What does the father experience when his youngest son asks for his inheritance and leaves the family homestead for a life of debauchery and excess? We are not told. We only know that upon the son’s return, he is welcomed by his father with open arms. (Luke 15:11-31)

We are the prodigals. The father is Our Father. And we who are saved have already been welcomed with open arms. A part of His story is that He continues to wait for others, including and especially for the Jews, the descendants from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob aka Israel. This cannot be ignored. Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, wrestled for his blessing (Genesis 32) and was then renamed Israel, which is where the nation got its name, and has kept its name throughout millennia. The Father, LORD of the universe, has not broken His covenant with the people, and continues to love them just as His love is shown in Psalm 105.

We do not know when He will send His son to judge the earth. No one knows, only He (Matthew 24:36). But I certainly believe that left to me, I would have run out of patience, both with the Jew and the Gentile, long, long ago.

GOD’s love for us is clear. He teaches us to worship and obey Him because it releases us to a life of joy and peace. Let us pray for those who have yet to respond to Him, and particularly for the descendants of His people the Hebrews, that they would come to know the perfect peace and grace of a father’s unconditional love. This is what we can pray for. This is what we can minister into: That the world, and His chosen ones, will be saved.