Tag Archives: love

Eavesdropping

Snooping Businessman Holding Glass to Wall

by Stan Mitchell

I picked up a book written by Dale Jenkins recently entitled “A Minister’s Heart.” It is packed with wise, heartbreaking, encouraging (and sometimes funny) advice. I’m glad he wrote it, and I intend to buy several copies and give them to some young preachers I know.

But I have a question.

Would you “ordinary” Christians like to hear some of these items? Would you like to know how the church looks to a preacher? Any preacher of at least two years experience knows exactly what brother Jenkins means when he says:

  • At least three times, you’re going to wince when a guest speaker comes in and your arch enemy says clearly so that you can hear it, ‘Now that’s the kind of preaching we need!'”
  • “You are going to bury your best friend and mentor.”
  • “You are going to wonder who counsels the counselor” 
  • “You will be scolded for not visiting someone when they were in the hospital, even though they never told anyone they were going to be in the hospital.”
  • “You will have at least two people say that they hate you. You will have to preach a message of ‘truth in love’ to those same people.”
  • “You are going to have to defend your kids for doing something that if any other church member’s kid did, it would be overlooked.” 
  • “You are never going to make as much money in ministry as you could have using your skill set in the corporate world.”
  • “You will study 20 hours for a deep, meaningful, inspiring sermon only to be told that it was a ‘nice little talk.'”
  • You will be told in every church where you preach that the ever elusive ‘they’ are not happy with your work.”
  • “You will have every aspect of your work and personality critiqued and criticized. And you will wonder, ‘Should I just quit for the good of the kingdom?’ Don’t quit.”

Beloved brethren, I have allowed you to look over the shoulder of a more experienced preacher as he counsels a younger preacher. Perhaps you have seen by eavesdropping this way how the world looks to the gospel preacher.

I know there are false teachers. I know there are preacher “head cases.” I know young men make young men’s mistakes. But a young man with a good heart is worth preserving.

Could you do this for me, please: Be conscious of the effect your words and actions have on a young man. Understand that if he survives his young years as a preacher, he might become a massively important servant of the Lord in the mission field, in the US, or in a place that trains young men.

Satan wants these young people to quit the church in large numbers. Would you please do everything you can to disappoint him?

“Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease, night or day to admonish everyone with tears” (Acts 20:31Acts 20:31
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31 Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears.

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Preachers are responsible for the congregations they serve; congregations are responsible for the preachers who serve them.

The whole story

womenfriends3333

by Paula Harrington

I was talking with a sweet woman recently about her work day. She had gotten confused taking people’s orders, forgotten to give back change, and spent too much time lost in her thoughts.

Many of her customers had grown irritated with her but she had politely apologized for her behavior and gone about her day. She started to silently weep as she proceeded to tell me the whole story.

Her younger sister had lost her fight with cancer the night before. She would have given just about anything, she said, to be able to go to that big town a few hours away and sit with her brother in law that day, but bills were calling and she knew if she took any more time off work, she would lose her job.

I wept with her as she shared her story. Later as I thought back over our time together, I vowed to be more patient with those I come in contact with. Everyone is wounded. Everyone is broken and too many don’t know the hope that is found in Jesus.

Our schedule, stressors, plans, and achievements often wrap us in a cocoon of selfishness. We don’t plan it that way, but life has a way of keeping us focused inward.

However, Jesus instructs us to seek him first and then others (Matthew 6:33Matthew 6:33
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33 But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

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, Mark 12:30-31Mark 12:30-31
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30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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Today, as you venture into this big world, take the time to be kind to others. Have patience with them and remember that there’s a good chance their worlds are spinning out of control. Love them and offer a listening ear and caring heart.

The world needs love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. People need a friend who will walk beside them and tell them that there is a better way, a better place, and a better life.

Be that friend.

What do you want?

momdaughter444

by Paula Harrington

I recently encountered a skeptical soul who wondered why my congregation was helping his family. His exact words were, “Why are y’all so nice? What do you want?”

I explained that we didn’t want anything other than to show them the love of Jesus. With a raised brow and the wisdom gained from his twelve years, he explained that people don’t help other people without wanting something in return.

He knew that wasn’t how the world works and he knew the world well. He wasn’t belligerent or arrogant. He just found it awfully hard to understand people who would get involved with another, help them, and love them for no apparent reason.

What do you want?

The Lord asked this question to those who hunted him down in the garden. Who were they looking for (John 18:4John 18:4
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4 Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were happening to him, went forth, and said to them, “Who are you looking for?”

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Was it someone who had loved the unlovable, touched the untouchable, and listened to those without a voice? Was it one not only religious, but compassionate and merciful, or one who spoke words of light in a dark and lonely place? 

Those soldiers and officials couldn’t be looking for someone like that because people like that didn’t exist. Right?

What does your congregation want? Are you known in the community for…

  • Loving, serving, and making a difference in the world around you?
  • Being locked tightly behind double doors?
  • Getting involved with others because they look and act and sin differently from you?
  • Being so set in your ways that you refuse to bring others in?
  • Do you want to be left alone as you go about your Sunday and Wednesday routine?
  • Do you turn a blind eye to the needy, hurting, and lost?

The world is watching and expecting the church to be arrogant and judgmental. Blow their minds.

  • Love because Christ loved you.
  • Forgive because you’ve been forgiven.
  • Give grace when you don’t have to.
  • Don’t just go the extra mile; go out of your way to get there!

Love others so much it makes them wonder why. And when they ask what you want, tell them you want to be like Jesus because the world needs a Savior. Then, introduce them to yours.

Factors of good communication

communicationtheory444

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Communication is almost always listed in the grievances among dating and married couples who come to counseling.

As counselors try to help them through these struggles, three factors must be considered. When they are addressed and accounted for, the couple can begin to make progress.

First, communication must account for personality. Many people have a difficult time expressing their feelings. Instead, they may use other forms of speech.

A quiet husband may get up early, go to work, come home, cut the grass and take out the garbage. His wife gripes because he is not verbally expressing his love. However, he is speaking loudly through his actions and cannot understand her anger.

Someone is not going to become a completely different person in every aspect of life. At some point our personalities are set.

We can all learn to do better to accommodate our spouse. In the one-flesh marriage bond, our spouse is a part of our bodies and we care for them more than we do ourselves (Genesis 2:18-25Genesis 2:18-25
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18 Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. 25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

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Accordingly, it pains us when they are suffering. The effort made to express our feelings will be worth it in the end.

Second, communication must account for trust. We must feel safe as we open ourselves up completely to another person. This trust must be earned and it can be easily destroyed.

When someone has been hurt in the past, they will protect themselves at all costs. Their hesitation is understandable and they may have a difficult time trusting another person. The problem is that we cannot have a one-flesh bond without trust.

Third, communication must account for knowledge. When our loved one allows us into their hearts, we begin to learn more about them. The more we learn, the deeper our communication should become.

The selfish person cannot grow in this area because they do not see anything outside of themselves. We must allow our spouse true access, if they have proven themselves worthy.

True unselfish love will not allow us to hurt the other person without serious pain on our part (Ephesians 5:22-29Ephesians 5:22-29
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22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. 24 But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly;

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The groundwork for communication is too often overlooked and couples suffer, as a result. Successful communication requires a large sacrifice as well as courage and patience.

When we have the type marriage God desires, we will be more than willing to do the work required because the joy will be exhilarating.

Kindness is timeless

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Social media brings out the worst in so many people. Anger, hostility, rudeness and profanity have replaced civility and younger generations are accustomed to obscenity as the soundtrack of their generation.

Perceived humor in our day is built on innuendo and without it, this generation is practically speechless.

As we age, we see the trends come and go, and they become less important to us. We can ride the waves in a desperate attempt to remain relevant or we can try the timeless approach.

Regardless of what is considered cutting-edge in any year, the practice of kindness never goes out of style.

We spread flowers, not hate and nastiness, when kind, positive words emanate from us. In so doing, we change the people around us and bring light to dark worlds (Matthew 5:16Matthew 5:16
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16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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God’s people should make kindness a law in their lives (Proverbs 31:26Proverbs 31:26
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26 She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue.

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Kindness disarms anger (Romans 12:20Romans 12:20
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20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

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) and transcends time and place so it is never out of fashion. Kindness touches the heart and soul of humanity as nothing else can. We need it desperately in a coarse and hateful world.

If every soul were treated with kindness, so much evil would be overcome. When we add Christ to a kind disposition, it is an unstoppable force for good (Colossians 3:12Colossians 3:12
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12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance;

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Spread kindness, goodness and love to the world and then share Christ with the open heart.

Kindness opens doors that anger would never see. When we lift others above their doldrums, they begin to see the world in a different light. In so doing, we create the possibility that Christ can finally be seen.

Abundant consolation

by Michael E. Brooks

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-42 Corinthians 1:3-4
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3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

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A number of Church members and co-workers in South Asia are currently struggling with various problems. One young preacher and his wife lost their anticipated first child to premature delivery.

Another co-worker’s mother has been diagnosed with advanced stage cancer and has undergone surgery and treatment. The continued global economic crisis places virtually all Christian families in under-developed nations in great stress.

One frustration of cross-cultural ministry is the difficulty of bringing comfort. It is hard enough in our own language and among people we know well.

Many think, “I just don’t know what to say.” When different ways of thinking, social expectations, and manners of expression are involved, we really do not know what to say.

We cannot be certain how our well-meant words will be interpreted or whether we may do something that is taboo or offensive. On the other hand we may fail to do something that is expected.

I must continuously remind myself that comfort comes from God. What a great name, Paul ascribes to him — “The Father of mercies and God of comfort.” We are simply channels through which he sometimes works. Notice the progression of activity in the verses quoted above.

First, God comforts us “in all our tribulation.” There is no circumstance in which we can be prevented from experiencing and knowing God’s love and mercy (compare Romans 8:38-39Romans 8:38-39
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38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Secondly, we then can comfort others. As has often been pointed out, we cannot repay God directly for the good he gives us. We show gratitude by service to others of his children (Matthew 25:40Matthew 25:40
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40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers The word for “brothers” here may be also correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”, you did it to me.’

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But note that the source of our comfort is that consolation with which God has filled us. Until we have received God’s comfort ourselves we cannot be in position to fully console others.

This does not mean that we must have experienced the exact same tragedy as the person we are seeking to console. All humans know sorrow.

All Christians should know God’s help in dealing with our troubles. Once we are awakened to that knowledge — once our spirits are sensitive to and in tune with God’s spirit of mercy — we are equipped to pass on that wonderful aid to others.

In subsequent verses, Paul adds a third event to this sequence — salvation.

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for entering the same sufferings, which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation” (2 Corinthians 1:5-62 Corinthians 1:5-6
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5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

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It has long been recognized that times of grief and suffering often provide evangelistic opportunity. It is not necessarily the time to begin a Bible Study or an evangelistic appeal. Rather it is the time to live the message by showing the love of Christ as we minister to those in need.

All of us suffer afflictions of various kinds. Comfort is needed because of suffering. The apostle reminds us that these facts can be factors in drawing others to God.

He is the God of comfort — the Father of mercies. Let us turn to him in times of need, and let us bring others to that fountain of blessings.

Unconditional love

by Stan Mitchell

Jesus loves me when I’m good,
When I do the things I should
Jesus loves me when I’m bad,
But it makes him very sad.
(From a children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me”)

I have often heard it said by religious people that “God loves us unconditionally.” Perhaps it’s the way it was said, or the context of the conversation, where the speaker seeks to free himself from his responsibilities that makes we wonder if we have understood God’s love correctly.

God loves us continually, profoundly, graciously.

“But God shows his own love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8Romans 5:8
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8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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He offers forgiveness for every sin, and to every sinner.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:91 John 1:9
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9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Even when we have sunk to the lowest, slimiest pits of sin, he still loves us. Even in the pigpen of our own making, our father loves us.

  • His love is unconditional, but his salvation is not.
  • His love is constant, but his mercies are conditional.

The terms he offers are his terms. He demands that we change our lifestyle (“repentance”) — now that’s conditional. And he requires obedience to his will — that’s conditional, too. He commands immersion into Jesus Christ — a condition, to be sure.

Make no mistake, he loves the sinner. But he requires that the sinner leave the pigpen, and return home. Though he might accept me, “Just as I am,” be demands that from that beginning point, I begin to live like him!

“Repent, therefore and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out”(Acts 3:19Acts 3:19
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19 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,

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Why I love the Bible

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

To me, the Bible is more than just a book. It is a living thing, breathing wisdom and power. It is a message from God and a window to the future. It is one of my life-long loves.

I share my passion for the Word of God in hopes that readers will grow in their love for the Bible and will spend more time with Scripture.

Reading is one of the most important things in life and I cannot remember not being able to read. Books have been my constant companion. So, why would I neglect the greatest one ever written?

I remember Bible class as a child and winning a Bible for reading the New Testament. That was one of my proudest moments and I still have the Bible today. Later as an adult, one of my Bibles was stolen and I remember vividly the trauma I felt.

The Bible is God’s Word to humanity (2 Timothy 3:16-172 Timothy 3:16-17
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16 Every writing inspired by God literally, God-breathed is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction which is in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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God’s Word was settled before time began, so it will never change (Psalm 119:89Psalm 119:89
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LAMED 89 Yahweh, your word is settled in heaven forever.

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We study, learn and live God’s Word and it is always prescient and pertinent. A student can never grow bored studying Scripture and will continually stand in awe at its brilliance.

I find myself in this book from God and that takes my breath away. I learn who I am, why I make so many mistakes and how I can grow and understand better how to deal with others. My marriage and my parenting find root in God’s Word.

I see the world in the Bible and I understand why evil exists, why people live as they do and how we can all grow closer together. Every problem of mankind finds a solution in Scripture because our Father loves us.

God’s Word is a highway to holiness (Isaiah 35:8Isaiah 35:8
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8 A highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but is shall be for for him who walks in the Way. Wicked fools will not go there.

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Live in the Word, love its Message and share its glory with everyone who will listen!

So loved

by Paula Harrington

Our congregation has a bus ministry and we’re blessed each week to have several neighborhood kids participate.

Last Sunday morning, I sat beside one very rambunctious little boy and tried to wrangle him during the service. As I kept quieting him, he continued to talk aloud and make noises.

The Lord’s Supper was nearing and my patience was running thin so I grabbed a pen and sheet of paper and handed them to him. I quietly instructed him to write something.

He replied, “Something God would write?” I nodded. Anything, I thought; my inner voice begging him to calm down and be quiet. A few moments passed before he looked up and sincerely whispered, “But I don’t know anything God would say.”

His sweet little eyes searched mine so I took the paper and pen and wrote the words, I love you, and then handed the paper back to him. “God loves me,” he read and then looked my way.

I nodded at the statement that seemed more like a question. I took the paper and wrote, Mrs. Paula loves you, too. He read the words aloud (of course), “Mrs. Paula loves me but God may love me.”

He emphasized the word may too heavily and I couldn’t stop the flood of emotion that overtook me.

Yes, we were in a worship service and the plates were being passed but all that mattered on the back row of that church building was that a sweet kid with too many problems in his young life, living in the Bible belt of the greatest nation on this planet wasn’t completely positive that the Creator, the Father, the God of Heaven and Earth loved him or not.

I took that piece of paper and wrote, God loves you, Jesus loves you, and Mrs. Paula loves you, and then I put my arm around him and relaxed.

Maybe he did make too much noise. Maybe he was extremely wiggly. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be comfortable and hear everything that was being said from the pulpit that morning because, at that moment, what mattered most was going on where I was sitting.

We can shout that God loves this world from the rooftops but if we don’t take the time to show others that love then our words don’t matter.

We can proclaim the peace that passes all understanding until we’re blue in the face but if we are impatient and rude to others, it means nothing. We can write articles, sermons, and books on the great grace of our loving God but if we don’t give it then what good is it?

I hugged that little wide-eyed boy and vowed to tell him every chance I got that God loves him. I want him to know the one who not only preached a message of love, he lived it.

He wasn’t too good, too busy, or too tired to change lives. He walked among us and saved us. He sent his disciples out into a dangerous and broken world and told them to make a difference. And he tells us the same today.

So, Lord, help us show others your love until they are certain of how loved they are. Guide us while we try and forgive us when we fail but never let us forget how much you care.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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Photograph used by permission http://ordinaryphotograph.wordpress.com/

Steel and love

by John E. Werhan

At the dawn of God’s creation, God declared that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:1-31Genesis 1:1-31
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Genesis 1 1 In the beginning God After “God,” the Hebrew has the two letters “Aleph Tav” as a grammatical marker. created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day. 6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so. 8 God called the expanse sky. There was evening and there was morning, a second day. 9 God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good. 11 God said, “Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth,” and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day. 14 God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of sky to give light on the earth,” and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of sky to give light to the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. 20 God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky.” 21 God created the large sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. 24 God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind,” and it was so. 25 God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good. 26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. 30 To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

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“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:26-27Genesis 1:26-27
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26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

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This was God’s ultimate creation since it was man in whom he gave not only the breath of life but an eternal soul (Genesis 2:7Genesis 2:7
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7 Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

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To his creation of man and woman, God gave instructions as to their worldly union. Man being alone, God deemed that he must have a “help meet” (Genesis 2:18Genesis 2:18
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18 Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

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). So from man God formed for him a suitable creation (Genesis 2:21-22Genesis 2:21-22
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21 Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man.

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Man’s response to this new creature was as follows:

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24Genesis 2:23-24
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23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh.

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God instituted a union between the man and woman that was to be a binding stronger than steel, yet tempered by love.

The words translated “hold fast” (cleave) is from the Hebrew word dabaq which means, “to cling, stick, stay close, cleave, keep close, stick to, stick with, follow closely, join to, overtake, catch.”

This God instituted union is manifest in the love that binds man and woman together into one unit. It is because of this love that King Solomon notes:

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22Proverbs 18:22
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22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor of Yahweh.

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“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25Ephesians 5:25
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25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it;

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In essence when a man and woman commit themselves to this union, it is as much a blessing to them as it was to the first man and woman at the dawn of time.

Let us each look into the mirror of our souls and see if we are manifesting such a love in our God-instituted union.

  • Take the time to tell your spouse of your undying love.
  • Show them your love by your actions.
  • Never take each other for granted.
  • Strengthen your union daily and never let anything weaken it.

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:6-9Mark 10:6-9
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6 But from the beginning of the creation, ‘God made them male and female. 7 For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh,’ so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

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John preachers for the The Northeast church of Christ in Sentinel, Oklahoma.