Tag: God’s love

You have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name

Exodus 34:6Exodus 33-34 (excerpts)
The Command to Leave Sinai
33:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’
7 Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.
9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”

17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

34:5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

The Faith of Moses
Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.

24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

(Scriptures quoted from New King James Version Bible)

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Watchman’s adventure: an impossible mission

John 7:3738This daughter took the bother to ask her father for more. She urged her husband to ask for the land from her father first. Then she went to see her father and asked for more. She asked for the springs of water. And she was given accordingly. This historical record reminds me of what the Lord Jesus told the disciples, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) In the same context, Jesus assured the disciples that the individual believer will do what Jesus did and even greater works because he will have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him forever. Jesus went on to reinforce this truth, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:16, 23)

Watchman’s notes:
My recent month-long experience has again proven this important truth. In a humanly impossible challenge I had no backup except the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in me. When I looked at the “mountain” I cried out silently that it was impossible for me to move it. But I heard the calling. Just take one step at a time. Said the Lord. I was reminded to be faithful in the small things and then move on to the bigger things. Just speak to the mountain. I was told. At first I thought I would be there for seven days but I soon realized I had to add more days. In total I spent 25 days (with a short Easter break of 4 days) on the assignment.

No words can adequately describe the physical, mental and emotional “torment”. But the goal was worthy. In my utterly depressed moment I heard this word, “What you are doing to the least of My brother, you are doing to Me.” I learned that to the Lord, a life is more valuable than anything else. In this instance, to bring to physical and spiritual safety and care of an old Christian widow.
Looking back, I realize that because God is with me and in me the mission is completed within a miraculously short time. In His light, in His power and in His authority. In the name of Jesus. By the faith of the Son of God in me. By the power of the grace of God. All I did was daily aligning my action with His clearly expressed will and continued to put faith into action as led by the Holy Spirit and His word.

Was I equipped? I believe I was. Prior Easter I was led in my spirit to undertake 21 days of fasting (mainly Daniel fast) until April 13. When I had to embark on the mission I still had about five more days of fasting to do. Although I did not treat it as a legalistic ritual I continued to believe in the spiritual purpose and take light food and only one main meal a day throughout the mission (except for the four days of Easter break when I flew to another city to have a reunion with my loved ones).

The most important thing I have learned out of this experience is that God is love. His unfathomable love even for the least significant person in the eyes of human. For all who believe and become sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, and are baptized into Christ (put on Christ), there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)

The Land Given to Caleb (Joshua 15:13-19)
13 The Lord commanded Joshua to assign some of Judah’s territory to Caleb son of Jephunneh. So Caleb was given… 14 Caleb drove out the three groups of Anakites…
15 From there he went to fight against the people living in…16 Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the one who attacks and captures Kiriath-sepher.” 17 Othniel, the son of Caleb’s brother Kenaz, was the one who conquered it, so Acsah became Othniel’s wife.
18 When Acsah married Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What’s the matter?”
19 She said, “Give me another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

Jesus Promises Living Water
John 7:37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”[a] 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given,[b] because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

Footnotes:
7:37-38 Or “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in me.’”
7:39 Several early manuscripts read But as yet there was no Spirit. Still others read But as yet there was no Holy Spirit.

“I will plant in the wilderness; That they may see and know,”

isaiah-411720“The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18
I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
19
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box tree together,
20
That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
~~~Isaiah 41:17-20 (NKJV)

how to qualify for the sunset harvest: God is calling

sunset harvestBecause God is calling urgently and intensely and has spoken so clearly twice (through a man and woman both hungering for God) as I personally encounter within two months in two different countries for sunset harvest laborers for one specific people group (the elderly: 60-80s) whom He is now saving, nurturing and discipling, I have compiled a list on the qualifications required to be part of this Great Commission. The target remnant group lives in the cities and urban towns, usually alone and separate from relatives and friends. Some live with their family but have difficulty of interacting with the younger generations who have pre-occupation with their own lives. Some are seekers of God. Some are new believers or believers who have not been discipled. Often the willingness to know God deeper and wider is in their heart. They yearn for God and His way for an abundant life.

The List is not exhaustive and may be used as a first draft. You will note that this list is not the usual traditional church list for ministry to the elderly. I pray that we all think out of our boxes and do the great paradigm shift. I pray we become the neighbors who can slow down our pace, pause, and stop for at least one whom God is determined to save, help, give an abundant life and demonstrate His love through a willing heart.

THE QUALIFICATION FOR DEEPER MINISTRY TO THE LOST REMNANT GROUP: THE SUNSET HARVEST

  1. Be willing to go to them. Because many cannot come to church due to physical reasons.
  2. Be available in terms of time. They need plenty of time during the ministering. because they cannot remember as we normally do. They need lots of repetitions.
  3. Be aware that this ministry is a one to one ministry. The target is an elderly woman or an old man.
  4. Be filled with the Spirit of God. Because God is love. This ministry is a ministry of love above all.
  5. Be savvy in modern technology. Because their current one need is love. They usually live alone and have limited access to transport or other relatives. They sit in the house whole day and want to know God and what God is saying to them. They are tired of the secular TV. They want a different message. A different and genuine love, joy and peace which they have heard that our God can give. They have been exposed through the multimedia to a better and easier way to learn about God and how ti live the Christian abundant lives that Jesus has promised and they want more. They want to learn the new way to access more information and perhaps even join in and participate by watching and listening how others worship and praise God or pray.
  6. Because of the difficulty and cost to learn and use a personal computer they prefer learn to use mobile phone to access the internet.
  7. You need to be conversant in their native language. Many cannot use English. If you happen to be near a Chinese community you need to use Chinese language, spoken and written, at least enough to read and explain the terminologies of a mobile phone. You need to use their language to explain and demonstrate how to access the various basic internet functions.
  8. Because they cannot type, you need to help them to install the Applications they need: audio Bible, Christian channel for audio and video watching, Christian songs. Most of them can read. But typing is a bit difficult as they do not know how to use PinYin which requires using Romanized (English alphabets and sounds) typing. Some do not have steady fingers and cannot use the writing mode as an alternative.
  9. You also need to show them how to delete, uninstall, remove cluttering of unwanted stuff from their phones. Teach them the setting. Teach them where to look at their internet usage. And there are many more little useful details which they can learn to maintain their little useful technological window to the Christian world and have the virtual mobility they want and need to learn God’s way.
  10. You need to know the Bible and are always ready to answer questions about the Bible on God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Bible verses

Luk 10:37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luk 14:21 “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’

Luk 14:23 “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

Luk 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Rev 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Rev 19:1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!

Rev 19:6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

Day five: God says, “Love does not cheat!”

LoveOneAnotherCan one cheat in love? God says “NO”! Love is a covenant. In a covenanted relationship: No cheating. Love demands: purity, honesty, fairness and justice in monetary reward economic system, protection of the disadvantageous and weaker ones, love of goodness and righteousness, honor and mercy to one another, respect and reverential fear of God -the ultimate Supreme Judge. Love can sum up in one key: “Know God” (Who is good and does not change).

Bible reading ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Malachi 3 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Coming Day of Judgment
3 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
2 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD. 4 Then once more the LORD will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.
5 “At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
A Call to Repentance
6 “I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. 7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’
8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease.[a] Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
13 “You have said terrible things about me,” says the LORD.
“But you say, ‘What do you mean? What have we said against you?’
14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’”
The LORD’s Promise of Mercy
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.
17 “They will be my people,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
Footnotes:
3:11 Hebrew from the devourer.

Day four: God gives a Call to Faithfulness for love

christian-wedding-vowsCan Christians divorce? Today God speaks this: Love means being faithful to the one you have vowed to love.
1. Love involves a vow made in a covenant relationship between two parties.
2. God is the witness (the third party) of this love vow.
3. The legitimate parties of the covenant are bound by the demand of faithfulness.
4. The ultimate court of appeal for the wronged party is God.
5. The ultimate Supreme Judge looks for one performance standard: Kindness is due performance of your vow of love. Love does not cause harm.
6. God looks at the heart condition.
7. Wordiness (without due performance to fulfill your vow) does not get you anywhere in this court of justice of love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses:
Malachi 2:10-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?
11 Judah has been unfaithful, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. The men of Judah have defiled the LORD’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols. 12 May the LORD cut off from the nation of Israel[a] every last man who has done this and yet brings an offering to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his.[b] And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce!”[c] says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.
“How have we wearied him?” you ask.
You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD’s sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Footnotes:
2:12 Hebrew from the tents of Jacob. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation.
2:15 Or Didn’t the one Lord make us and preserve our life and breath? or Didn’t the one Lord make her, both flesh and spirit? The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
2:16a Hebrew For he hates divorcing.
2:16b Hebrew to cover one’s garment with violence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Matthew 19:3-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

And Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” He replied, “Have you never read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” The Pharisees said to Him, “Why then did Moses command us to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because your hearts were hard and stubborn Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery[a].”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 19:9 Some early mss add the phrase “…and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Day three: God speaks of the positive aspects of love

God speaks loveGod speaks of the positive aspects of love as we listen to Him through reading Malachi 2.
1. Love is a command from God.
2. Love requires making a clear decision.
3. Love honors God. Love requires reverence of God.
4. Love is a covenant.
5. Love’s covenant in practice brings life and peace.
6. Love’s words, when spoken, should preserve the knowledge of God.
7. Love’s words are spoken by the messenger of God.
8. Love does not show favoritism.
Malachi 2:1-9 New Living Translation (NLT)
A Warning to the Priests
2 “Listen, you priests—this command is for you! 2 Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies,
“or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart. 3 I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile. 4 Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
5 “The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.
7 “The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 8 But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 9 “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.”

Day two: God defines love in action

20150603 an evening 3God defines love in action: (Malachi 1b)
1. Love means giving one’s best without reservation.
2. Love is the highest form of gifts.
3. The gift of love is pure and holy, according to God’s prescribed revealed standards.
4. Love gift requires a cost, a sacrifice.
5. Love can only be binding in a legal relationship.
6. The opposite of love in a legal relationship is contempt.
7. Love requires honor and respect.
8. Love can be seen by all.
9. Love is the measurement for performance appraisal.
10. Love is never cheap or cheat.
Unworthy Sacrifices (1:6-14)
6 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!
“But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’
7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.
“Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?[c]’
“You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. 8 When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
9 “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings. 11 But my name is honored[d] by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer[e] sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table. 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the Lord,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the Lord.
14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!
Footnotes:
1:1a Hebrew An Oracle: The message.
1:1b Malachi means “my messenger.”
1:7 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads defiled you?
1:11a Or will be honored.
1:11b Or will offer.

When God talks, it’s about love (Malachi1a)

1John419Today we start a new reading on God’s revelation to prophet Malachi. The subject matter is love.God begins by declaring His love. “I have always loved you,” “This is how I showed my love for you:”

Summary:

  1. God talks .
  2. God talks about His love for His people.
  3. God talks to the person who can hear Him.
  4. God also shows how He loves.
  5. When you see for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the Lord’s greatness reaches far beyond…(whatever boundary you have set to limit God’s love). 

Malachi 1:1-5 New Living Translation (NLT)

This is the message[a] that the Lord gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi.[b]

“I have always loved you,” says the Lord.

But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”

And the Lord replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals.”

Esau’s descendants in Edom may say, “We have been shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins.”

But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies replies, “They may try to rebuild, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom the Lord Is Forever Angry.’ When you see the destruction for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the Lord’s greatness reaches far beyond Israel’s borders!’”

Journy to see God: “I LOVE”

God says: I LOVE. Let us read what God has said about His love and the love He requires of His people.

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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT GOD SAID ABOUT LOVE:
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;
[ The Essence of the Law ] “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.

And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,

And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.

He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.

Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.

[ Israel Beloved of God ] “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved;

Isaiah 61:8

“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT LOVE:
And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
[ Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet ] Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.

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CONDITIONS FOR LOVE

Deuteronomy 7:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV) Blessings of Obedienc

12 “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. 13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.

Hosea 11:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

“I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;[a]
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,[b]
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.[c]
I stooped and fed them.

“He shall not return to the land of Egypt;
But the Assyrian shall be his king,
Because they refused to repent.

Hosea 14:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

Assyria shall not save us,
We will not ride on horses,
Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’
For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”

“I will heal their backsliding,
I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from him.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
He shall grow like the lily,
And lengthen his roots like Lebanon.

 

perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this

esther 7

Once again, we read about the story of  how God uses two persons-a Jew named Mordecai and his cousin queen Esther- to save God’s people from annihilation in many lands under the Persian Empire. There is a whole book in the Bible (“Esther”, Old Testament) on this awesome move of God. The Jews remember this in an annual festival called Purim.

Esther 4:14 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther 9:20-22 New Living Translation (NLT) The Festival of Purim

20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, 21 calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days.[a] 22 He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.

Footnotes:

  1. 9:21 Hebrew on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar.

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Purim begins this year on Wednesday evening, March 4, 2015, and continues through Thursday night, March 5.

How do the Jews spend the day? Here are excerpts taken from Jewish sources.

  1. Hear the whole megillah. The megillah, a.k.a. “The Book of Esther,” is the scroll that tells the Purim story.
  2. One of Purim’s primary themes is Jewish unity. Haman tried to kill us  all, we were all in danger together, so we celebrate together, too. Hence, on Purim day, we place special emphasis on caring for the less fortunate.Give money or food to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim, March 5. In  case you can’t find any needy people, your synagogue will likely be collecting money for this purpose. At least, place two coins in a charity box earmarked for the poor. On Purim, we give a donation to whoever asks; we don’t verify his or her bank balance first.
  3. On Purim, we emphasize the importance of friendship and community by sending gifts of food to friends. On Purim day, March 5, send a package containing at least two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage) to at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of Purim. Men send to men and women to women.
  4. During the course of Purim day, March 5th, gather your family, maybe invite a guest or two, and celebrate with a festive Purim meal. Traditionally, this meal begins before sundown and lasts well into the evening. The table should be festively bedecked with a nice tablecloth and candles. Wash for bread or challah, and enjoy a meal featuring meat, wine and plenty of Jewish songs, words of Torah and joyous Purim spirit. Sing, drink, laugh, have fun together.
  5. On Purim, we include the brief V’al Hanissim section in all the day’s prayers, as well as in the day’s Grace after Meals. This prayer describes the Purim story and thanks G‑d for the “miracles, redemptions, mighty deeds, saving acts and wonders” that He wrought for our ancestors on this day many years ago. In the morning service, there is a special Torah reading (Exodus 17:8-16), describing the battle Joshua waged against Amalek—Haman’s ancestral nation—almost one thousand years before the Purim events unfolded.
  6. On Purim, children—and some adventurous adults, too—traditionally dress in costumes, an allusion to G‑d’s hand in the Purim miracle, which was disguised by natural events. Make sure your children masquerade as good, cheerful characters, such as Mordechai and Esther. Dress up your kids before taking them to the synagogue for the megillah reading. Many synagogues have a masquerade party, along with prizes for the children, during or after the megillah reading.

(above taken from http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1362/jewish/Purim-Guide.htm)

Genesis 2: “but they felt no shame.”

On the second day of this calendar year, we read Genesis 2. Do you know why the first couple felt no shame? Read on.

Genesis 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested[a] from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth.

The Man and Woman in Eden

When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil.Instead, springs[b] came up from the ground and watered all the land.Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. 11 The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. 12 The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. 13 The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. 14 The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man[c] to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs[d] and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”

24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:2 Or ceased; also in 2:3.
  2. 2:6 Or mist.
  3. 2:19 Or Adam, and so throughout the chapter.
  4. 2:21 Or took a part of the man’s side. 

first couple

original unmodified flowers
original unmodified flowers