Return.

Mercy

God of mercy.  That is who He is.

The topical title for Jeremiah 3:6-4:4 is Unfaithful Israel.  “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done?” (Jeremiah 3:6. NIV84)  “But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to Me, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 3:20. NIV84).  Even so, the call “return” appears numerous times throughout these chapters.  Why would God want to call a people…a person who has been unfaithful to Him to return to His side?  God of mercy.  That is who He is.

Nehemiah 9 describes another instance of God’s mercifulness.

“You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; You heard their cry at the Red Sea.  You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all of his officials and all the people of his land, for You knew how arrogant the Egyptians treated them.  You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day.  You divided the sea before them so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths like a stone into mighty waters.  By day You led them with a pillar of clouds and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.  You came down on Mount Sinai; You spoke to them from heaven.  You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.  You made known to them Your Sabbath and gave them commandments, decrees, and laws through Your servant Moses.  In their hunger You gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst You brought them water from the rock; You told them to go in and take possession of the land You had sworn with uplifted hand to give them…” (Nehemiah 9″9-15, NIV84).

All these great, miraculous signs and wonders God had done and still the people turned from Him.  “But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey Your commands.  They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles You performed among them, they became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery” (Nehemiah 9:17b, NIV84).

How quick are we…am I to judge the Israelites?  Condemning, “They experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God, they saw His wondrous hand, they escaped slavery and peril because He miraculously led them out and they in full will turned away from Him.  What stupidity!”  Are we…am I so innocent of such?  Are not there are times when alike the Israelites we…I refuse to listen and fail to remember and obey in spite of what God has done to reveal Himself to us…to me?

Why would God want to forgive them…forgive us…forgive me?  God of mercy.  That is who He is.

“‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, FOR I AM MERCIFUL,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever.  Only acknowledge your guilt– you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'” declares the Lord.  “‘Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 3:12-14, NIV84).

May we…may I not take the mercy of God for granted.  May we listen to His beckoning, His merciful call to return to His side.  May we come.  May we see the Christ child in the manger as Mercy come down to us and revealed for us, the Forgiveness of God given…given.  May we acknowledge our guilt, accepting who He is– God of Mercy–, and return to walk at His side as individuals, as families, as churches, as communities, as countries.  That is my prayer this Christmas.

Victoria

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in the silent age

Last week I posted about the three days of silence between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ (click here to read).  Ah, did you know that there was another silence?  …which was MUCH longer than three days?

How much longer?

Try nearly five thousand times longer!  This period of silence lasted about four hundred years.  FOUR HUNDRED YEARS!  This silence occurred between the revelations of Christ foretold in the Old Testament (c.a. 400 B.C.) and the incarnation of Christ in the New Testament (c.a. 5 B.C.).  Could you even imagine what experiencing four hundred years of silence must have been like?

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“What fear we felt  i n   t h e   s i l e n t   a g e, four hundred hears can He be found, but broken by a Baby’s cry, rejoice in the hallowed manger ground” – Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground), Chris Tomlin

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In Luke 2, we are given a glimpse of someone who experienced such an anticipatory longing for Christ to end that silence and then experienced perfect joy when He did…25There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s CONSOLATION, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah.  27Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex.  When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: 29Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised.  30For my eyes have seen Your SALVATION.  31You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples— 32a light for REVELATION to the Gentiles and GLORY to Your people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32, HCSB09).

What was Simeon “looking forward to”?

It’s better stated: Who was Simeon “looking forward to”?  The long awaited Promise– the One who would bring consolation, salvation, revelation, and glorification!  Consolation (paraklēsis): comfort.  Salvation (sōtērios): divine salvation.  Revelation (apokalypsis): made fully known.  Glorification (doxa): unequalled splendor.[1]  All these were brought by Christ Jesus alone, as…  Jesus Christ IS the Consolation Of Israel!  Without Him there is only condemnation (John 3:18, 2 Corinthians 1:3).  Jesus Christ IS the Salvation Of All People!  Without Him there is only separation (John 3:16-17, Titus 2:11-13).  Jesus Christ IS God Made Fully Known!  Without Him there is no way to know God (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 4:16).  Jesus Christ IS the Most Splendid Redeemer!  Without Him there is no hope whatsoever of being freed from the captivity of sin (John 8:36, Titus 2:13-14).

You see, “18[t]he birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  19So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.  20But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.  21She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because  H e   w i l l   s a v e  His people from their sins.”  22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him IMMANUEL, which is translated “G O D   I S   W I T H   U S.”  24When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him.  He married her 25but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son.  And he named Him Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25, HCSB09).

This is the Good News…that He IS the Good News! We do not have to be without God nor without Hope because Jesus Christ is IMMANUEL, God With Us!

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May you and yours have a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year with God and with Hope!

Blessings,

Victoria

On Behalf of the True Hope Ministries Team

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1. In the immediately proceeding portion of the text in Luke 2, we are given a glimpse of another who experienced such an anticipation for Christ to end the silence and the perfect joy when He did… “36There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and was a widow for 84 years.  She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.  38At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the REDEMPTION of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38, HCSB09).  Redemption (lytrōsis): liberation.  Liberation brought only by Christ Jesus!

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Purposeful Placement

You know the axiom, “a place for everything, and everything in its place”?  I believe that there’s a purposeful place for most everything, I truly do.  I’m a fan of order.  But why is a placement purposeful?   What makes it so?  I believe that a placement is purposeful because it is appointed and anointed by God!

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”  And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.  6And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”  7So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.  And it was so.  8God called the vault “sky.”  And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.  9And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”  And it was so.  10God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.”  And God saw that it was good.  11Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”  And it was so.  12The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.  13And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.  14And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.”  And it was so.  16God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.  He also made the stars.  17God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.  And God saw that it was good.  19And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.  20And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”  21So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good.  22God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”  23And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.  24And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.”  And it was so.  25God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.  26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  27So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  29Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.  30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.”  And it was so.  31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1, NIV84).

“For God is not a God of disorder” (1 Corinthians 14:33, NIV84).  Praise the Lord!  I hear those “amens” from my fellow OCDers, haha!  Seriously, think about it… God placed the creation of water and sky on the second day and the creation of every living and moving thing with which the water teams and every winged bird on the fifth day—not the other way around (See Genesis 1:6-8, 20-23).  Moreover, God placed the creation of the land and vegetation on the third day and animals then man on the sixth day—not the other way around (See Genesis 1:11-13, 24-31).  What sustenance would there have been for the creatures of the sea without the sea or for the creatures of the air without the air or for the creatures of the land without the land? 

Clearly, God knows what He’s doing– always has, always will.  “For I, the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6, NASB95).  You can rest assured that the where’s, how’s, what’s, and when’s of your placement whether it be geographically, academically, personally, professionally, or so forth have been appointed and anointed by God!  Therefore, your placement is purposeful!

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Wait a minute, you forgot the why’s!  Why have I been placed where I am?

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We all have been placed where we are to fulfill the purpose for which God has appointed and anointed!  No matter the precise where’s, how’s, what’s, and when’s of our placements, we are each on a mission– a mission to draw ever nearer to Christ and to encourage others to do the same!

“[E]verywhere I send you, you shall go” (Jeremiah 1:7, NASB95).

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21, NASB95).

Be obedient to God in the place you are, fulfill the purpose for which God has appointed and anointed you!  He has purposefully placed you!

Be Encouraged,

Victoria

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That our souls may live…

“Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55:3, NIV84).

How do we receive the Word of God?  Longing?  Hungering? Thirsting? Seeking? In amazement?  In expectancy?  In acceptance? In gratitude?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5, NASB95).

The ONLY way that our souls may live is in the Light of Life– Jesus Christ.  Apart from Him our souls are in darkness– irremovably stained with sin, blinded from the truth, owned by death, helpless and hopeless.  BUT because of Jesus Christ, “full of grace and truth”, our ears may hear and our eyes may be opened and our souls may live!

Our Hope came…

Showing His kindness to…

Though He did not have to…

But knowing we needed Him to…

That our souls may live.

Do not ignore the Light, my friends!  He is Life!  Open your ears and hear, open your eyes and see that the great Grace and Truth of Jesus Christ is too precious to not long for, to not hunger for, to not thirst for, to not seek, to not be amazed of, to not be in expectancy of, to not be in acceptance of, to not be in gratitude of!

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“And it’s all because of YOU, JESUS, it’s all because of YOU, JESUS, it’s all because of YOUR LOVE, that my soul will live” (“Scandal of Grace”, United).

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My Soul Lives,

Victoria

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Reassurance…

I have a good friend who will be leaving in a couple of days to travel over a thousand miles away.  Even though he will be there short term this time, he’ll be greatly missed 😦  But I am glad for him, as I know that he is going to where the Spirit of the Lord is leading him 🙂 It got me thinking…the Lord Jesus Christ will be as present with him out yonder as He will be with his family and friends here!  For the Lord is everywhere present!  EVERYWHERE!

O Lord…Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7 NASB95)  There is no place where God is not!  Oh, what reassurance that brings!

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Reassurance (rēəˈSHo͝orəns/)– removing doubts and fears.

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We are promised, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. HE will be with you; HE will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NLT07)!  Thank God for His presence!  Listen to the reassuring promise of this scripture too: “HE will not allow your foot to slip; your PROTECTOR will not slumber.  Indeed, the PROTECTOR of Israel does not slumber or sleep.  The LORD protects you; the LORD is a shelter right by your side.  The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all harm;  HE will protect your life.  The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever” (Psalm 121:3-8, HCSB09)!  WOW!

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“Everywhere YOU are there, earth or air surrounding, I’m not alone, the heavens sing along, my GOD You’re so astounding, how could YOU be so good to me, eternally I believe that…there is no one like YOU, there has never been anyone like YOU, there is no one like YOU, there has never been anyone like YOU, there is no one like our GOD” (No One Like You, David Crowder)!
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Matt, I pray that the Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever!  He is with you always!

Many Blessings In Christ,

Victoria

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When PRAISE = SUBMISSION…

I put another mechanical outline together for a passage of Scripture that I’d like to share with you!  As I mentioned the last time I posted about mechanical outlines of Scripture, this is my rendering with emphases of words, concepts, ideas, etc.  which stand out to me in the outlined passage of Scripture.  You could absolutely create an outline with different emphases for yourself— and I would encourage you to do so.  The passage I’d like to share with you today comes from Psalm 95…

Psalm95_MECHOUT

What I have noticed in this passage of Scripture as a result of creating my mechanical outline…

God’s Lordship Is Predominant.  God is Supreme!  He is King!  He is Sovereign!  Almighty!  Above and Over everything and everyone!  And rightly so because He has made everything– He is Maker!

God’s Lordship Is Personal.  Yes, God is Maker of the depths and the peeks and the sea and the land…but He is also Maker of you and me!  He is “a great God and a great King above all”…but do we accept and acknowledge Him as “our God” (vv. 3, 7)?

God’s Lordship Demands Our Praise. “Come, let us…FOR the Lord is…Come, let us…FOR He is…” (vv. 1, 3, 6, 7).  Sing and shout with joyful, triumphant, thankful praise to Him!  He is the Rock of our salvation– completely reliable and dependable!  Worship, bow down, and kneel before Him, revering Him and submitting to Him as Lord– THE Leader and Shepherd of our lives!

Jesus said,  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” (John 10:14, NASB95).  Knowing Him, as His sheep, is more than having mere head-knowledge– it is honoring Him as God and giving thanks for His Lordship over our lives!  Living in submission to His Lordship alone is, or should be, our praise– going beyond words or lyrics to a song.

Do we live as “the people of His pasture” and “the sheep under His care”?  Do our lives sing and shout “[t]he Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1, NASB95)?

Victoria

always on His mind…

“Jeremiah 29:11” is sort of like the “John 3:16” of the Old Testament.1  It’s likely that most of us are familiar with it…”For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV82).  It is such a phenomenal verse!  There is encouragement in knowing that even if our situation is not panning out like what we have expected, as happened to the Israelite captives, we can confidently trust God and acknowledge that He has established all– the beginning, middle, and end!

When I’ve come across this verse in the past, I’ve often tended to see it with emphasis on the future and the hope.  This time I’ve been compelled to see it from another perspective with an emphasis on the thoughts, and more specifically, the ONE who has those thoughts.

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God has thoughts toward us!

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Isn’t that absolutely awesome!  God has thoughts toward us!  Psalm 40:5 confirms, “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You.  If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count” (NASB95)!  Psalm 139:17 too, ” How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered” (NLT07)!

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We’re always on His mind!

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God knows us!  He’s not some “clockmaker” who set the world in motion then left it to itself.  He is NOT distant, unresponsive, uncaring.  He IS personal, concerned, loving!  And the fact that He has thoughts toward us demonstrates this!

Do we believe that?  Are we able to say with conviction, as the psalmist has, “how precious are your thoughts about me, O God”?  Should we dare to consider that the question ought to become, “if we’re always on His mind, how then shall we live”?

On His Mind,

Victoria

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1. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV82).

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Gently, Lovingly Leading…

At the beginning of this year, I began a chronological Bible study along with my family. We recently made it to the 8th century B.C. and are reading from 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings, Isaiah, and Hosea.

You know, one of the innumerable awesome things about studying God’s Word is that whether you’re reading or hearing a passage for the first time, the tenth time, or the thousandth time– God speaks to your heart every time (Heb. 14:12)!

So I came to the closing chapters of the book of Hosea which, as the earlier chapters do, speaks bluntly yet beautifully about the goodness and kindness and mercifulness of God’s affectionate love.  I did a double-take when I came to Hosea 11:4 in the New King James Version (82) which reads, “I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them”.

Gentle cords? Bands of love?

The Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon helped me understand that “gentle cords” means to draw humanely or kindly. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (09) translates Hosea 11:4 like this, “I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food”; the New Living Translation (07) like this, “I led Israel along with My ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I Myself stooped to feed him”; and the New International Version (84) like this, ” I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them”.

The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible helped me understand that “bands of love” is parallel to “gentle cords”, again meaning to draw. “Bands of love” (or “ropes of love” or “ropes of kindness and love” or “ties of love” ) further implies a gentle, loving leading.

 So what does this have to do with me?

Essentially, Hosea 11:4 depicts God’s fatherly appeals of affection for you- His child!  Ever find yourself wondering if God cares about what is going on in your life– the victories and joys, the struggles and hurts, the certainties and uncertainties, the decisions and responsibilities…?  Well you don’t have to wonder any longer because He absolutely does care and will gently, lovingly lead you!  Listen and you’ll hear the Father’s soft, tender voice faithfully and affectionately leading you, His beloved child!

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“…the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78–79, NASB95).

“your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always” (Isaiah 58:10-11, NIV84).
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Being Gently, Lovingly Led…

Victoria

What Love Is This?

When we use the word “love”, what are we even talking about?  What does “love” mean?  What is “love”?  An emotion?  An action? An idea? It goes without saying that there are many different opinions on this issue.

So how can we know what love truly is?

Know its source.  If you want to know the true, intended definition of something, consult its source. True, intended love is therefore defined by from where or more appropriately from whom it comes. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:7-8, 16, NASB95).

Love is not separate from God, God is not separate from love.  It logically follows then that any expression or manifestation of love is a reflection of God– who He is.  True love is “grounded in the nature of God Himself”[1].  “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth” (Exodus 34:6, NASB95).

Know its structure.  “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so 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 4:9-11, NASB95).  We know what love is because God loves us and revealed Himself to us.  We are compelled to respond.

How do we respond?

Receive His love, appreciate His love, reflect His love.  Love Him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deut. 6:5).  And love Him by serving others through love– loving your neighbor as yourself (Gal. 5:14).  It is interesting to note that God, though He does not have to, provides us with a qualification for why we are to love others: “I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18, NASB95).  In other words, “love because I love”.  This also serves as a reminder that any expression of love toward others is a reflection of Him to be done for His honor and glory.

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Let’s not do a disservice to God by labeling things “love” and talking about “love” in ways which are so far from the true nature and definition of love and do NOT reflect who He is.

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Know its substance.  “Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT07).  Love may be expressed as an emotion, action, or idea BUT if that emotion, action, or idea is not patient and kind but jealous, boastful, proud, rude, selfish, unbecoming, irritable, disrespectful, distrusting, unfaithful…then it’s not love at all!

Love is an honest, humbling, and holy calling to be taken seriously, as we are to reflect God’s very nature. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB95).

To answer the question, “What Love Is This?”: this love is from God to be manifested in us and through us in such a manner that genuinely reflects who He is and what He has done for us in Christ through the Spirit!

Love In Christ,

Victoria

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1. Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).

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HOLY GOD

“I can’t comprehend YOUR infinitely beautiful and perfect love, oh, I’ve dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars, but they’re never bright enough, after all, YOU are HOLY, Oh HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” (David Crowder, “After All (Holy)” <– click to view the music video).

Holy (Heb. qāḏôš) is an attribute of God.  Holy is who He is!  He is His Holy Awesome, Holy Excellent, Holy Incomparable, Holy Righteous, Holy Glorious, Holy Worthy!  Oh how we ought to be compelled to offer praise to the Holy God (Heb. hāʾēl haqqādôš) for who He is!  Even though finite words could never fully express the infinite majesty of Holy God, we do have a responsibility to respond to His Holiness in sincere repentance and reverence and rejoicing.

Deuteronomy 10:14-21 speaks of the Holiness God and of our responsibility to respond: “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe…You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name [loyally remain in covenant with Him].  He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen” (vv. 17 and 19-21, NASB95).

Psalm 145:1-21 equally speaks of the Holiness of God and of our responsibility to respond: “Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable…On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.  Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.  They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness” (vv. 3 and 5-7, NASB95).

Isaiah 40: 12-31 speaks of the Holiness of God and of our responsibility to respond as well: “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him?  With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?  And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding?  …To whom then will you liken God?  Or what likeness will you compare with Him?  … Do you not know? Have you not heard?  Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is He who sits above the circle of the earth…who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in…“To whom then will you liken Me that I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing” (vv. 13-14, 18, 21-22, and 25-26, NASB95).

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 “And it feels like there’s not enough praise inside of me, with all these words, all my heart can sing is HOLY, YOU are HOLY, JESUS CHRIST YOU bled YOUR love, laid down YOURSELF and gave me life, in naked shame YOU hung and YOU were lifted high, here I lay in awe and wonder, I am afraid for no one’s ever sacrificed and loved me this way so on my face I fall under YOUR heavy grace, here I lay in awe and wonder” (Leeland, “I Wonder” <– click to view the music video).

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John bore witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  He was exiled to Patmos where God gave him the Revelation of Jesus Christ to make known to us.  The Holy Spirit took John to witness the throne of Holy God in heaven where He, the Eternal Living Lord, is worshiped day and night without cease– “”Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is in and who is to come”…”Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created”” (Revelation 4:8 and 11, NASB95).

In the right hand of God who is seated upon His throne, John saw a sealed scroll and a mighty angel who proclaimed, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” (Revelation 5:2, HCSB09)  And John cried because no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it.  BUT “one of the elders said to me [John], “Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals.”  Then I [John] saw One like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne” (Revelation 5:5-7, HCSB09)!  Heaven was filled with praises and prayers of worship to the Lamb– Jesus Christ the only Holy, only Worthy “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, NASB95)!

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“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, end You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth….The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!…Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever” (Revelation 5:9-10 and 12-13, HCSB03)!

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 This Easter season is not meant to be just another consumer holiday, it is a HOLY-DAY. It’s a HOLY-DAY because it is a day meant to be set apart for us to respond to the Holy Lamb of God in a special commemorative celebration of repentance and reverence and rejoicing.  “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10, NKJV82)!  He has saved us because He alone is Holy Awesome, Holy Excellent, Holy Incomparable, Holy Righteous, Holy Glorious, Holy Worthy!

Praise be to the majesty of Jesus Christ!

Have a blessed Good Friday and Resurrection Celebration!

 Victoria

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