Love in 2021

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 ESV

All we need is love and we must love for one another. Who are one another? How do we show love? What is love? I have spent most of my life feeling unlovable, is that a thing? What is the purpose of love? And why are we talking about love when we have just been talking war and recognizing the works of the enemy?

Dear Heavenly Father – Thank you for your love, for being love, and for loving us first! Please open our ears to hear what you are saying. Please open our eyes to see and open our understanding that we may know you. Please continue to pour out your grace upon us! Continually, all we want is more of you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

QUICK REVIEW:
One: We started this year by jumping right into studying spiritual warfare – focusing on standing, on the unadulterated Word of the Lord, and our conversations with God (prayer time)
Two: Then we got into false teachers and prophets – guarding against them, knowing how to recognize them, and staying away – not fighting them, but avoid them as 2 Timothy 3:5 says.
Three: Transitioned to censorship and preparation…. Which lead us to love.
And no matter what happens, stay humble, prayerful, and in the spirit of love.

JUMPING INTO TODAYS STUDIES:
Love. We are nothing without love. I grew up feeling like no one could actually love me – because, the enemy has been serving the people of this world a false love for so long that real love is unrecognizable to many of us. 
Oh Lord, show us your love. Teach us your love. Bath us in your love. Fill us to overflowing with LOVE so we may pour out your love on everyone. ~ Amen

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
1 John 4:4-21 ESV

End of verse 8 – “God is love.”  It is not that I, or any of you who have felt that way, are unlovable. It is that GOD IS LOVE – and unless someone is overflowing with God, they cannot love you. It isn’t you or me – it is them!

Jesus came to earth and befriended the misfits and sinners. He loved them. His love changed them.  Cause God CAN and WILL change people. But not by any other means than love. Let us learn to love – like Jesus did.

I have a prodigal son and a few Christian friends said I need to take a firmer stance again his sin. I maintain that if he knows I believe his actions are wrong, but I still love him – then the love of God will penetrate and transform him from the inside out. I know this – I was a prodigal and my family and “friends” condemning and judging my sin pushed me away from God.  But God scooped me up in love in a moment when I needed love the most. God is love. It transformed me. So hate the sin, but love the sinner.

We say we want the deeper relationship with God. We talk to him and we read his word and we have the basics of a relationship with him as part of our daily lives and we do well – deeper… mean love comes oozing out of us and onto everyone. Love is so inside us that when people think of love, they think of you or me. God is love, if love is inside us, then God is inside us and the passage above says exactly that. This is the deeper relationship.
I have read about this my entire life and many times it brought me closer and deeper… oh but to say: It is written and therefore it is! To be loosed of all inhibitions and to run into God’s love with abandonment! To experience the fullness of love. 

In the church I grew up in, there is a lady who is love. Ask anyone and they will describe her as love. There is no other way to describe her. Although others also show love – this women somehow stands above all the rest as being love.  That is a spiritual goal! That people will meet me and think – that woman IS LOVE (not that I am loving and kind, nor that I am capable of love – NO! I want to be known by my Father who is love! Therefore love. Love. Love.

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”  John 4:18 ESV

It is worth repeating verse 18 even though during the past year, with fear running rampant (and continuing to do so), because LOVE cast out fear – and in 2 Timothy 1:7 with that LOVE (to cast out fear) God gave us power and a sound mind (peace in our thoughts).

As we strive to understand God’s love, let us remember HOW BIG GOD IS! Each time I say it, my concept of him enlarges. And I am reminded he is bigger still!  He is mighty because His love is the only force known to us that can transform, truly change, a person.  I have more changes that need to happen – I need more love to change me.

Let us reflect back on spiritual warfare – there is no love for demons or devils.  Give them the word of God rightly divided. Cast out demons, break chains, and teardown stronghold!
We do not fight people – we deliver them! We love them. We heal them. We open there eyes to see and their ears to hear. We stretch out the crippled limbs. We pull straight the crooked backs. We even raise the dead! We love them! The grace that so gloriously transformed me we extend to other.

Let us reflect back to false prophets and teachers – we avoid them, turn from them, stay away from them. God is love – and yet in His infinite wisdom, we aren’t told love will have any effect on them.
Those trapped under or fighting to figure out what is and what is not a false teacher and prophet – them, we love and we do not turn from. We pray them in – not hitting them over the head with scripture verses and telling them they will go to heal for believing the false teaching, no, no, no. We love them. Love shine the light for inner conviction to repentance. As we know God is bigger than we give Him credit for – well people are more fragile than we give them credit for.
These are areas for intercessory prayer. God opened our eyes, He can open their eyes.

Let us love ourselves as God loves us – and let us draw closer to God so that His love flows through us.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

I CONFIRM:
I confirm that through my relationship with God and through prayer and communication with Him, I will actively seek to know a deeper love and seek God’s love flowing through me. I will ask the Lord to reveal love and change me in love.  I praise and thank Him for His grace and goodness!

MEMORY WORK: 2 Corinthians 10:4
NKJV – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds”
NAS – “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
ESV – “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
NLT – “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”
NIV – “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Genesis 22-24 NKJV

Abraham’s Faith Confirmed

22 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the [a]lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the [b]lamb for a burnt offering?”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

So he said, “Here I am.”

12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, [c]The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

The Family of Nahor

20 Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, “Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 And Bethuel begot [d]Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.

Sarah’s Death and Burial

23 Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, “Hear us, my lord: You are a [e]mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.”

Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and [f]meet with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you.”

10 Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!”

12 Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; 13 and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.”

14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 “My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So bury your dead.” 16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.

17 So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded 18 to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city.

19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place.

A Bride for Isaac

24 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear[g] by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”

And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?”

But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your [h]descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.

10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, for all his master’s goods were in his hand. And he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”

15 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah,[i] who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”

18 So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19 And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20 Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. 21 And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.

22 So it was, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold, 23 and said, “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father’s house for us [j]to lodge?”

24 So she said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah’s son, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 Moreover she said to him, “We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge.”

26 Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord. 27 And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” 28 So the young woman ran and told her mother’s household these things.

29 Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban, and Laban ran out to the man by the well. 30 So it came to pass, when he saw the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebekah, saying, “Thus the man spoke to me,” that he went to the man. And there he stood by the camels at the well. 31 And he said, “Come in, O blessed of the Lord! Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels.”

32 Then the man came to the house. And he unloaded the camels, and provided straw and feed for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33 Food was set before him to eat, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told about my errand.”

And he said, “Speak on.”

34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and to him he has given all that he has. 37 Now my master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell; 38 but you shall go to my father’s house and to my family, and take a wife for my son.’ 39 And I said to my master, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’ 40 But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and [k]prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house. 41 You will be clear from this oath when you arrive among my family; for if they will not give her to you, then you will be released from my oath.’

42 “And this day I came to the well and said, ‘O Lord God of my master Abraham, if You will now prosper the way in which I go, 43 behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass that when the virgin comes out to draw water, and I say to her, “Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink,” 44 and she says to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also,”—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’

45 “But before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah, coming out with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down to the well and drew water. And I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46 And she made haste and let her pitcher down from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels a drink also.’ So I drank, and she gave the camels a drink also. 47 Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the nose ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 And I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. And if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.”

50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good. 51 Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.”

52 And it came to pass, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that he worshiped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth. 53 Then the servant brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.

54 And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and stayed all night. Then they arose in the morning, and he said, “Send me away to my master.”

55 But her brother and her mother said, “Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten; after that she may go.”

56 And he said to them, “Do not [l]hinder me, since the Lord has prospered my way; send me away so that I may go to my master.”

57 So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.” 58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”

And she said, “I will go.”

59 So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:

“Our sister, may you become
The mother of thousands of ten thousands;
And may your descendants possess
The gates of those who hate them.”

61 Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

62 Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. 64 Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; 65 for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?”

The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself.

66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 22:5 Or young man
  2. Genesis 22:7 Or goat
  3. Genesis 22:14 Heb. YHWH Yireh
  4. Genesis 22:23 Rebecca, Rom. 9:10
  5. Genesis 23:6 Lit. prince of God
  6. Genesis 23:8 entreat
  7. Genesis 24:3 take an oath
  8. Genesis 24:7 Lit. seed
  9. Genesis 24:15 Rebecca, Rom. 9:10
  10. Genesis 24:23 to spend the night
  11. Genesis 24:40 make your way successful
  12. Genesis 24:56 delay

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