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Love is in the air, it's February after all.

Love -
the word that changes lives,
mends and bends relationships,
starts wars and stops them;
love makes the world go round in Ollie Jones’ song.

Everybody wants to love and be loved, and all around there are so many examples of it.
A boy and girl in their teen who fall in “love”, a mother who gazes at her newborn baby the first time, a husband returning from a long day at work into the arms of his wife, a child that recognizes his/her parents from a crowd and runs to them. All these are instances of “love”, yet each of these experience feels different.

So what is love?

·         As per the singer Fat Joe,

What is love? It should be about us, It should be about trust babe 

·         As per the singer Haddaway,

What is love? Baby don't hurt me, Don't hurt me, No more 

·         As per google,

Love is a strong feeling of affection or a great interest and pleasure in something. 

·         As per psychologist Robert Sternberg,

Love is explained by a triangular theory suggesting that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different combinations of these three components result in different types of love.

So it is established, that we experience love in one form or another at every stage of our life and so many have tried to explain what love is. However, I believe the bigger question to be asked today is, what is the greatest love of all?

It might seem like a question with no definite answer but hold on, actually there is an answer. To quote The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friendsand it is true when you think about it. If a person lays down his life for his family that can still be counted as a selfish motive. But when a person chooses to die for his friends, for instance, a patriot who dies for his countrymen is truly choosing to die on selfless grounds.

But again I ask, is there a greater love than this?

Yes, there is, and let me share a story, an excerpt from a wonderful study I found.

It is the story of a young man who is directed to marry a woman from among the prostitutes of his city. Whatever her past, there may have been some evidence of genuine repentance and he found his heart drawn to her in deep and unselfish love. Thus begins an unlikely love story.

The early days of their marriage were beautiful as their love began to blossom. And they were blessed with a son. How the young man’s heart must have swelled with joy. He was convinced that his marriage would be better than ever with this little one to brighten their home. They named the baby, Jezreel.

It was after the birth of Jezreel that the young man noticed a change in his wife. She became restless and unhappy, like a bird trapped in a cage. He went on doing what he did, he was a counselor and encouraged people from his wife’s old life to make the right decisions in life. But wife seemed less and less interested in his work, in fact, she may have grown to resent it. She probably even accused her husband of thinking more about his work than he did of her. She began to find other interests to occupy herself, and spent more and more time away from home.

The wife’s absences from home probably grew more frequent and prolonged and soon the husband was feeling the pangs of suspicion about her faithfulness to him. He lay awake at night and wrestled with his fears and worked with a heavy heart during the day. His suspicions were confirmed when his wife got pregnant again. It was a girl this time, and the husband was convinced that the child was not his. He called her Loruhamah, which means “unloved,” implying the lack of her true father’s love.

No sooner had little Loruhamah been weaned that the wife conceived again. It was another boy and the husband called him Lo-ammi, which meant “not my people”.

It was all out in the open now, everyone knew about the wife’s affairs. He pleaded with her, even threatened to disinherit her. But still she ran off with her lovers because they promised her lavish material things. He tried to stop her on occasion, but she continued to seek her companions in sin. The young man would take her back in loving forgiveness and they would try again. But her repentance would be short-lived and soon she would be off again with another new lover.

Then the final blow fell. Maybe it was a note, maybe word sent by a friend, but the essence of it seems to have been, “I’m leaving for good this time. I’ve found my true love. I’ll never come back again.” How he must have suffered! He loved her deeply and grieved for her as though she had been taken in death. His heart ached that she chose a life that would surely bring her to ruin. His friends were probably saying, “Good riddance to her, now you’ll be through with her adulterous ways once and for all.”

But the husband did not feel that way, he longed for her to come home. We cannot escape the message of his undying love.

This young man was Hosea, his wife was Gomer and this entire story is in the book of Hosea. Here God directs Hosea to love Gomer in spite of her past and present wrongs, to symbolize God’s love for his people.

The story though does not end there, just as God’s love does not end.

Hosea wanted to see Gomer restored to his side as his faithful wife. And he believed that God was great enough to do it. One day word came by way of the grapevine gossips that Gomer had been deserted by her lover. She had sold herself into slavery and had hit bottom. This was the last straw. Certainly now Hosea would forget her. But his heart said “No.” He could not give her up. And then God spoke to him: “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves” (Hos. 3:1).

Gomer was still beloved of Hosea even though she was an adulteress, and God wanted him to seek her out and prove his love to her. How could anyone love that deeply? The answer was right there in God’s instructions to Hosea, “even as the Lord loves.” Only one who knows the love and forgiveness of God can ever love and be loved this perfectly.

So he began his search, driven by that indestructible divine love, love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things, love that never ends. And he found her, ragged, torn, sick, dirty, disheveled, destitute, chained to an auction block in a filthy slave market, a repulsive shadow of the woman she once was. We wonder how anyone could love her now. But Hosea bought her from her slavery for fifteen shekels of silver and thirteen bushels of barley (Hos. 3:2). Then he said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you” (Hos. 3:3). He actually paid for her, brought her home, and eventually restored her to her position as his wife. While we do not find anything else in Scripture about their relationship with each other, we assume that God used Hosea’s supreme act of forgiving love to melt her heart and change her life.

So is the love of a man ready to lay down his life for his family the greatest?
No, the love of man ready to lay down his life for his friends is greater.
But the greatest love of all is when a man ready to lay down his life for his enemies to be saved.

And there was a man such as this, he did not lay down his life for those who were his enemies in the past, but for those who were still his enemies.

The bible says in Romans 5:8, “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And again in John 3:16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

When Jesus chose to die for you and me he knew what he was doing. He chose death so that we who were in sin might live. It is because the wages of sin is death and he took out punishment on to him.

The bible teaches us God is love. He the embodiment of love and he loves as a default setting, unconditionally and without any expectations in return. God loved us so much, that he gave up his son for you and me.

So this Valentine when love is in the air, would you like to experience the greatest love of all. A love that has no limits, a love with no conditions, a love that comes searching for you, a love that will never run out, a love that will last for eternity.

And imagine if God’s love loved us when we were still enemies, how much more the love when we become the children of God.

The best part of this love is that it patiently waits for you, the scripture says in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

God waits for you to open your heart to his love, how about you?

 

It is February, love in the air, but are you ready to experience the greatest love of all?

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So there has been a lot of talk around the Feast of Tabernacles in the recent dayS. I skimming through articles on the internet that shed light on the same and I found this Article to be quite informative, so thought I'll share it here.

 

"AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT EVERYONE WHO IS LEFT OF ALL NATIONS WHICH CAME AGAINST JERUSALEM SHALL GO UP FROM YEAR TO YEAR TO WORSHIP THE KING, THE LORD OF HOSTS, AND TO KEEP THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES." ZECHARIAH 14:16

Some may ask why are thousands of Christians coming up to Jerusalem each year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles? After all, isn't this a "Jewish holiday"?

The answer lies in the unique universal significance of this ancient biblical festival and its past, present and future relevance for all nations.

Every biblical holiday given to the Jewish people has these three aspects. Israel was commanded to observe the holiday in the present in order to remember something God had done in the past, and because of some future prophetic purpose hidden within each festival.

Thus Jews begin Shabbat each week by lighting of two candles, which stand for "Keep" and "Remember". In so doing, they remember how God rested on the seventh day of Creation while also looking forward to the Millennial rest promised for the whole earth.

Likewise, Passover and Pentecost look back on the great Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the law at Sinai, while their hidden prophetic purposes were fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the birth of the Church fifty days later.

The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, is the third great annual pilgrimage festival when the Jewish people gather together in Jerusalem not only to remember God's provision in the Wilderness but also to look ahead to that promised Messianic age when all nations will flow to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.

A Feast for All People

Tabernacles is unique, however, in that the nations also were invited in ancient times to come up to Jerusalem at this season to worship the Lord alongside the Jewish people. This tradition first arose from the command given to Moses that Israel should sacrifice seventy bulls at Sukkot, which were offered for the seventy nations descended from Noah (see Numbers 29:12-35).

When Solomon later dedicated his Temple at Sukkot, he also called on the Lord to hear the prayers of all the foreigners that would come there to pray (2 Chronicles 6:32-33). Thus, Jerusalem and the Temple itself were destined from the start to be a "house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13).

A second unique aspect of Sukkot is that it is a feast of joy. It is a fall harvest feast to be marked with great rejoicing in the ingathering of the fruit of the land. Israel also was called to instruct the nations in the laws of God and the people were to take joy in this task. Thus, Sukkot also serves as a harbinger of the joyous last-days ingathering of the nations.

The Past: Remembering the God of Provision

The most visible symbol of Sukkot is the small hut or booth which the Israelites were commanded to dwell in for the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43). Jewish families across Israel build these booths on their patios and balconies, and decorate them with colourful fruit, ribbons and pictures. Some families eat their meals in the sukkah and even sleep there at night.

These flimsy booths serve as a reminder to Israel that they once dwelled in makeshift huts during the forty years of wanderings in the Wilderness. It was a harsh environment and they were totally dependent on the Lord. Yet during that time, God was ever faithful to provide water, manna, quail and every other thing they needed to sustain them in the barren desert. He even was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night - a shade from the noon-day sun and then warmth and light in the darkness.

Indeed He is Jehovah Jireh, the "Lord who Provides", and who even provided Himself a sacrifice for our salvation (Genesis 22:14). So there is every reason for Christians to also celebrate the faithful provision of the Lord in our lives at Sukkot.

The Present: Celebrating His Presence Today

Sukkot also marks the ingathering of the harvest at the end of the summer season, providing sustenance for the coming winter. There is also at present a great harvest of souls from every corner of the world into the Kingdom of God. This too gives us reason to celebrate, as Christians from around the globe gather to worship the Lord together in Jerusalem at Sukkot.

It may surprise some, but Jesus also celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. The Book of John, in chapter 7, tells us that one year the disciples went up to Jerusalem for Sukkot but Jesus stayed behind and then came up secretly. Then on the last "great day of the feast", he stood in the Temple courts and cried out: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)

So Sukkot is a time for Christians to rejoice in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in our earthen vessels.

The Future: Entering the Joy of the Lord

The prophet Zechariah foretells of a time when all nations will ascend to Jerusalem from year to year to "worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (14:16). Thus we keep Sukkot now because of that future prophetic purpose hidden in this unique festival which will soon be revealed - and it has to do with the second coming of the Lord.

Throughout the Messianic Age, the entire world will celebrate this feast because I believe it will mark the return of Jesus to the earth. For a thousand years, we will look back on the day of his appearing to take up the throne of David in Jerusalem and to judge the world in righteousness and peace.

At that time all nations will be required to join in this yearly gathering, but for now it is voluntary. Yet when Christians flock to Jerusalem now to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, it serves as a powerful statement of faith that we believe that day is coming when the earth will finally be at rest in Messiah, the King of Israel.

For the past thirty-five years, thousands of Christians from all over the world have come up to Jerusalem each fall to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. They come with much expectancy to take part in a dynamic worship experience, knowing the One we worship will soon be sitting on His throne in this great city. Indeed, celebrating Sukkot now gives us a foretaste of the joy of the age to come.

 

 THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS FOUND ON THE LINK: http://feast.icej.org/about

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Hold on!!

My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart!

My heart is pounding in me;

I cannot be silent,

Because you have heard, O my soul,

The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war.

-Jer 4:19 (New American Standard Bible)

 

Hold on oh my soul..

 

God is control oh my soul

when trials take their toll

through the winters cold

and the rains of fiery coal

 

Each day I further wither like grass

Why me Lord ??… the question you ask

Remember you’re chosen for a greater task

& These trials will truly reveal the “real” you

 

Hold on heart.. don’t go cold

His promises are true and for eternity they will hold

God has forgotten you… falsely by some you have been told

But remember you are God’s beloved… forged in his mold

 

Jesus, our savior gives us eternal hope

Hope beyond the world’s understanding or scope

On earth.. pilgrims we are trudging an upward slope

Yet everyday one step closer are we to our eternal abode

 

Don’t give up yet… wait on the Lord

The Lord’s hands are never short

With his Son’s life, he gave you a second shot

Now let nothing sever that Agape love’s cord

 

At times no goodness can you see

All around… inside out is misery

But the riches of heaven’s treasury

Awaits the faithful who carries on his duty

 

For when all is good and all is calm

There ariseth no need for the soothing Gilead’s balm

When evil rises to destroy and harm

Then will you see the power of the Lord’s mighty arm

 

My soul never fear

For our Living God has an attentive ear

and if you listen closely you will hear

the Lord whispering “Dear, I’m always near !!“

 

God works in ways incomprehensible by human mind

For with every trial comes greater mercy and grace entwined

Seek… seek… the Lord almighty, the gentle and kind

For beyond every battle he has laid great treasures for you to find

 

Hold on … oh my soul

Hold on !!

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THE BEGINNING

thebeggining

 

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