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?

A Love Song to My Beloved

#Austria

In Austria. Photo by Danielle Medina
 
 

“I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love” Psalm 59:16

My Beloved is my melody of joy.
He wraps his arms of protection around me;
He leads me in the dance of life.

My Beloved is my rhapsody of ecstasy.
He enraptures me with delight;
He rains his sweet kisses over me.

My Beloved is my symphony of love.
He beckons the strings to entice me.
He strikes the tympani to captivate me.

My Beloved is my strength.
He lifts me up when I am weak.
He carries me when I am weary.

My Beloved is my love song.
I will sing of my Beloved in the morning.
I will sing of his love forevermore.

My prayer you:

Father, You have given us such a blessing in marriage. May all who read this love song be blessed with a long and joy-filled marriage. Heal marriages and fill us with the song of Your love forevermore.

From forgivness to healing … What are you choosing?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” Mark 2:9-11

Jesus meets us where we are when we come to Him. He told the paralytic that His sins were forgiven. That’s what the paralytic needed to address first.

Jesus also knew what the teachers of the Law were thinking … only God has authority to forgive sins. They were right.

Jesus met their thinking with a question:

Which is easier, to forgive or to heal?

A former guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister had been held approached her after she spoke at a Munich church:

I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’“ …

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ …

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

Corrie Ten Boom chose to lift her hand towards the man. She also chose to pray, asking God to give her the emotion of forgiveness that she could not stir up within her. God met Corrie Ten Boom where she was when she took action to forgive as the Word of God commands. At that moment, I believe that Corrie Ten Boom was healed of her past hurts, as God’s intense love coursed through her veins.

Which was easier for Corrie Ten Boom to do, speak about forgiveness in a Munich church or to lift her hand to her former guard?

Jesus came to teach, to heal, to disciple His followers and ultimately to die on the cross, taking on the wrath of God as payment for the world’s sins–my sins, your sins–so that we could obtain forgiveness.

Jesus chose to allow sinful men to beat Him, to scourge Him, to nail Him to the cross. As Jesus hung on that cross, He took on the sins of those who lived before Him, the sins of those who lived in His time, and the sins of those who would live in the future. Jesus chose to pay the consequences of those sins by taking on the wrath of His Father. He paid the price for the world’s sins, for my sins, for your sins.

Which was easier for Jesus to do … heal the paralytic or hang on the cross and become sin for the paralytic?

His question was an either/or question to the crowd in a Capernaum house that day. Jesus chose to heal the paralytic to demonstrate His power over the world’s natural laws, and He chose to forgive the paralytic’s sins to demonstrate the power of the Son of Man, the One who paid the price for sin, the One who brought forgiveness to man.

My prayer for you:

Merciful Father, may we understand the cost of our sins and the depth of Your love. We do not understand that kind of sacrifice, a sacrifice that necessitated Jesus becoming our sins, a sacrifice of You pouring out Your wrath upon Your own dear Son. All because You desire to be with Your children for eternity. What an awesome God You are! We fall down at Your feet and glorify Your name!

What choices are you making to forgive others?

What healing are you experiencing from that forgiveness?

What are you noticing as you wait on God?

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. … but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,  Acts 1:4-8a

Jesus told His followers to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit. This promise would give them power.

His followers waited in expectation on the promise in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, but their waiting was active. Acts tells us that they devoted themselves to prayer. They also appointed a replacement for Judas.

After the Lord impressed upon Keith and me that I would be healed of fibromyalgia, we waited in expectation, too.

We actively waited.

  • We prayed.
  • We studied the Bible.
  • We studied books on healing.
  • I worked with my doctor, and we tried new medications.
  • I tried new techniques of coping with the pain and fatigue.
  • We thanked God for the healing.

But it took time; days, weeks, months, and even years.

“Did the Lord promise to heal me?”

I’m sure that the followers of Jesus waited in that Upper Room waiting … waiting … expecting … wondering if they heard Jesus correctly.

“Did Jesus really tell us to wait?”

In Waiting on God, Andrew Murray wrote:

Come, and however feeble you feel, just wait in His presence. As a feeble, sickly invalid is brought out into the sunshine to let its warmth go through him, come with all that is dark and cold in you into the sunshine of God’s holy, omnipotent love, and sit and wait there, with the one thought: Here I am, in the sunshine of His love. As the sun does its work in the weak one who seeks its rays, God will do His work in you.

My prayer for you:

Father, we are waiting on Your healing presence in our lives. We are waiting in expectation of Your promises. Teach us to bask in Your light and all powerful love. Work in us Your plans for us, Your healing touch. Here we are, waiting for the power You are pouring out on Your children. Thank you, Father of Lights. To You be the glory!

Share your insights:

As you wait on the Lord, focus on His glory, His power, His promises, and share what He has shown you.

A friend prayed without ceasing – 40 years later she learned of miracles

Twisted, snagged, and bent, like the Joshua Tree, we reach to heaven and give God glory.

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1 Colossians 1:9-10

On August 28, 2011, I received an email,  “This is a voice from your past.” I had lost contact from a dear friend in high school.

She caught me up on her life in the first email, and I caught her up on my life in the next email, including the fact that the Lord had healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in 2010.

The next email from her brought me to tears as I praised God for her faithfulness to the Holy Spirit‘s urging to pray for me throughout all these years.

We had lost touch the last several years of high school. When I was 19, I ended up in the hospital, and there was a possibility that I would die from one of the tests that the doctors were performing. She had a dream that she ran through the hospital urging everyone to pray for me. When she woke up, she was very discomforted and only told a few people.

“But, the bottom line is, as weird as this sounds, through the years I have continued to pray for your health.

Prayer works! James tells us:

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18

Thank you, Elaine, for praying without ceasing for my health. Throughout the 40+ years of your praying, the Lord has worked great and mighty miracles in my family’s lives, including healing me and renewing my strength beyond what I had ever hoped for–all for the works that He had prepared for me to do from before the foundation of the world. Thank you for obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit and praying earnestly.

My prayer for you:

Our Father in Heaven, You alone are great, and Your Holy Spirit urges us to pray beyond our understanding. Bless our prayers and our spirits as we follow Your bidding. Thank You for great saints who persevere even when they do so in faith. Guide us in Your ways and teach us to pray without ceasing. Thank you, Father.

What are you fervently praying for?