Three love words

Love

In Taipei, Taiwan
 

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,  and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14

God’s love for His people endures forever, even when they reject Him for other gods. In God’s mercy, He speaks of alluring His people back just as a man might court a woman.

God told Hosea, a prophet in the days of Uzziah, to marry Gomer, a harlot, and have children with her. She had two children with Hosea and she left him and went back to harlotry.

She left Hosea and pursued her lovers, but she was not treated well. Some think that she became a cult prostitute, while others think she might have become the property of another man.

God speaks of Israel leaving Him and acting like a harlot. Hosea 2 indicates that God punished Israel, and later, He speaks of her lovingly, planning to allure her to Him.

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. Hosea 2:19-20

God told Hosea to love Gomer as a picture of how the Lord loves the Israelites. Hosea bought Gomer for 15 shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley, worth another 15 shekels of silver, the price of a slave.

What a picture of the love of God towards His people AND the love of Hosea as a husband! Hosea reflected God’s love towards Israel as he redeemed Gomer and brought her into a restored relationship as his faithful wife.

In the New Testament, Paul urges husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, His bride:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Three love words

  1. Gave himself for her. God betrothed (engaged) the Israelites in righteousness and justice. Jesus betrothed the church by taking our sins upon Himself and paying the price, death on the cross. He rose from the dead three days later and sits at the right hand of the Father, speaking on our behalf.
  2. Cleansed her by the Word of God. God allured Israel and brought her to Him in steadfast love and mercy. We see that love and mercy through the Word of God.
  3. Presented her in holiness, without blemish. God engaged Israel in faithfulness, so that she would know Him.

What if husbands allured their wives and spoke tenderly to them?

What if husbands gave themselves fully and sacrificially up for their wives?

What if husbands read the Word of God to their wives?

What if husbands presented their wives in holiness to the Lord?

How would wives respond?

My prayer for you:

Father of love and mercy, thank You for Your tender love that surpasses our understanding. Give us the capacity to reflect Your love to others and especially to our spouses. Restore marriages and our relationship to You, so that we may know You in all Your fullness and in all the promises and plans that You have for us.

How will you show your spouse how much your love is?

Flames balloon lift to wings of the dawn

“For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.” Exodus 40:38

This morning, Keith & I ballooned over Temecula Wine Country. Flames lifted the balloon to the wings of the dawn.

God led the children of Israel through the desert with a cloud overshadowing them by day and kept them warm by night with a pillar of fire.

God always overshadows His children with the cooling cloud in the heat of the day and the warm flames of the pillar of fire in the cold desert night.

Yet, we also go through trials of fire. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were tossed into the fire because they would not bow down to the image that King Nebuchadnezzar made. Dan 3:13

There are many different reason why the flames of fire might be engulfing us. Sometimes, it takes the flames of challenges and trials to lift us to the stratosphere, so that we can see the overarching vision God has for our lives. Other times, the flames might be the Refiner’s fire that is making us pure, so that the Refiner can see His reflection in our lives.

“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.” Mal 3:3

My prayer for you:

Heavenly Father, show these dear readers the warmth of your overshadowing pillar of flames to keep them warm in the cold darkness of the desert, and when they are in the midst of the heat of the flaming trials, enable them to recognize your loving refining as you carefully control the heat, so that they become more like You and reflect Your holiness in their lives.

What is your memorial before the Lord?

“Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.  Acts 10:4b

One year ago today, the Creator of the Universe, my Great Healer, touched my body and spun me around in a new direction. Jehovah-Rapha, healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome at the lowest point of my life—I was on the brink of disability and considering resigning the position I dearly loved.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia—just coping skills, just one day in front of another.

Days filled with prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers for coping. Prayers for direction. Prayers.

I longed to fill my days with alms or deeds of charity. Alms for God’s work. Alms for God’s people. Alms for the lost. Alms.

Our prayers and alms ascend as a memorial before God. The Israelites also built memorials before them to remind them of God’s miraculous work in their lives, and they taught their children how God intervened in their lives. And God established memorials for the Israelites.

“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” Exd 12:14

This day is a memorial to me, and I shall celebrate it as a day to the LORD; I will proclaim the mighty works of the Lord and His power to heal and to thrust His people into the works He has planned for them before the foundation of the world.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed.” Psalm 103:1-6

What memorials have you created before the Lord?