I wasn’t saved by love. The Gospel was not attractive to me. It was not made attractive to me by smiling Christians. I didn’t suddenly melt because of all the syrupy love Jesus flowed down onto me. I was saved by wrath.
This is NOT my Jesus
Glorious Jesus who was and is and is to come did not woo me to the cross. No one fulfilled my felt needs. No one befriended me and cajoled me into loving Jesus. He battered my head with a 2X4, dragging me kicking and screaming to the cross, where He made me face my sin. Once I saw my sin, I saw how ugly it is. I saw His coming wrath for it.
THEN I loved Him. After He opened my eyes I saw all His loveliness and grace and mercy and long-suffering and patience and grief over sin and sinners. But I was not wooed, nor was I loved onto Mt Moriah. It is not true that “Jesus won’t come where He isn’t welcome”. It is not true that “Jesus won’t force Himself on anybody.” People who say that never read of Paul’s conversion!
He is sovereign God! He goes where He pleases! (Psalm 24:1). He drop-kicked Saul/Paul to the ground AND blinded him! He didn’t ASK Mary if she’d like to become pregnant and an object of ridicule and rumor the rest of her life. No, He sent an angel to TELL her how it was going to be. (Luke 1:30-37)
He isn’t wringing His hands in heaven hoping that Jane or Tom or Mary will believe in Him, and maybe they will, if He just sends the Spirit to soften the pew cushions … or energizes the preacher with a louder “WOO!” … or if the musician plays one more verse of “Just As I Am.” Maybe if He can make church “exciting” then Harry will repent and believe. No.
It was the sovereign wrath that convicted me and convinced me. It is why I love passages like this from 2 Thessalonians-
GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT
This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. Since it is right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give rest to you who are afflicted and to us as well at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, executing vengeance on those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our witness to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)
Let us begin the marveling now. Marvel at a Savior who saves by His sovereign election, will, purpose, and plan! Marvel at He who is wrath and judgment and holiness and fierce anger! Be afeared of His anger over your sin. Marvel that El Shaddai… El Elyon …sent His Son to take on all anger for His elect’s sins. Marvel that He is also Jehovah Rapha, and Jehovah Jireh, the LORD that heals, the LORD will provide. Marvel at the wrath. It makes marveling at the grace all the more sweet.
I wrote about famine as a judgment from God recently. It is truly saddening to see these things happening because although I glory in His promises coming true it also means suffering and death for many. And death for the unsaved means an eternity away from God, in hell. In that essay I quoted a news article that said, “The striking images of the landscape seem to represent a deceptively simple assessment of the drought: the dirty work of Mother Nature.”
It is the LORD who sends the rain in preparation for the crops. (Psalms 147:8). It is the LORD who sends it to the obedient. (Leviticus 26:4). He appoints seasons in His own authority. (Acts 1:7). “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17) He sends the crops, the seasons and the weather for our benefit, to His glory. He can, and will reverse the process when we fail to thank Him and refuse to acknowledge His authority. That is the spiritual fact.
On a practical level, famine is both biological and social. It occurs to a person individually while it is also happening to all others around the sufferer. And unlike pestilence, where sick people are quarantined, privately sequestered, or are too insentient to socially connect, famine leaves the individual able to share in it with others.
Famine is sneaky because the population has no clue that this crop failure will lead to a continual shortage, or that this lack of monsoon rains will lead to a permanent drying-out. It is only after successive storms or failures or absence of expected weather that it become apparent that food will not be coming. By then malnourishment or early stages of starvation may have already set in.
The biological consequences of famine begin with scarcity, move to malnourishment, elevate to starvation, and finish with famine. Starvation happens when the energy demands of the biological unit exceed supply. Technically, starvation begins 4-6 hours after the last meal, when the body has broken down all that will be or is able to be used, and no new food is forthcoming. However since a person living in a healthy culture will then consume more within a reasonable time period after the last meal, the negative effects are not really felt.
After a day or so, though, dehydration, hypoglycemia, and ketosis begin. After 24 hours, there are impacts to the tissues as loss outpaces fat. As starvation continues, exhaustion sets in and there is decreased tolerance for work. People move more slowly and adopt an energy saving posture. “In mobilizing its reserves, the body progressively selects fat over muscle as fuel, allowing life to be sustained for one to three months in acute starvation.” (Dirks).
Things go rapidly downhill from there, with all sorts of nasty things happen to the individual’s biology. And that’s just starvation, not famine. But you can see, it happens quickly. Though drought and famine take a long time to set up, when it hits, the body, mind, and soul shrivel pretty quickly.
I wrote above that in the first few sentences mother nature was blamed, and in addition, war also precipitates famine. War does have a devastating connection with famine. In Revelation 6, first there is war, then there is scarcity, then there is death. Those are Seal Judgments two, three, and four. In history, famine has almost always followed war. As the Red Cross says in discussing humanitarian aid, “the fact must be faced that food aid alone will never eliminate famines nor the suffering they cause. It still falls short of meeting the victims’ needs and appears essentially inadequate to solve their problems.” That’s because there are complex reasons for it that also include war, conflict, and strife.
Famine is destructive to those societies where malnourishment is always present, and soon after initial starvation sets in, financial ruin and disease take over. For some societies, they may at first adapt to conditions that in many cases don’t affect them. There is such a thing as “class famine.” We see in Revelation 6:6 that millions starve, unable to afford more than a loaf of bread even though they worked all day, while in Revelation 18:13 we see that all the while, a hefty trade in food luxuries had been ongoing. (“and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep…”) There are the very rich and the very poor, and you can bet the very rich will not be affected by famine. The Tribulation’s predicted scarcities will be characterized by class famine.
When famine conditions deepen, the ‘Law of Diversification and Polarization’ comes into play. As Dirks quoted Sorokin, “simply put, this means that catastrophe brings out the best and the worst in people. It exaggerates what is already there.”
Sociological studies show that at first, people share when disaster strikes. As the disaster continues, and/or as supplies run short, sharing ceases. Starvation’s biological effects are that people become exhausted and irritable. Volatile situations erupt. Populations tend to migrate, looking for better conditions. The 1901 Indian Famine Commission called it “unusual wandering.” When adding to that the prophecy that love grows cold (Matthew 24:12), people are unthankful, (2 Timothy 3:2-4) and their thoughts are only evil continuously, (Matthew 24:37, Genesis 6:5) then you can see that violence will soon become the norm just at the time when people are physiologically least able to handle it.
So let me sum up the ivory tower talk: famines have always occurred and will continue to occur, followed by the worst brought out in people who are marauding hither and yon, looking for anything they can steal so they can stay alive. Violence breaks out and a true Darwinian human ‘survival of the fittest’ is played out in front of atheists everywhere, with the starving exhausted falling where they lay in irritable convulsions, dying by degrees while no neighbor cares.
Oh, but Jesus cares. His famines may be one of His sore judgments, yes, but it is to alert rebellious people that He is still in control and He is still holy. His control includes an eternal and infinite love for all His children. He wants you to turn from your carnal thoughts and lifting up of Mother Nature and replace those with perfect thoughts and spiritual infinity in His love. As long as you have not rejected him and slammed the door shut, you can enter the door to heaven by repenting of sins. He is the door and he stands ready to allow all who would believe to enter. (John 10:9)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7) What is beyond that door? Certainly not war or famine or exhaustion or violence. See what is there:
The Gospel is exclusive: Jesus is the only way. The Gospel is inclusive: any person can accept Jesus as their savior and forgiver of sins. I hope you enter in to His rest, escaping all the Tribulation things and choosing to partake of the Eternal things. What it takes is a prayer to Jesus that you know and understand you’re a sinner, unworthy to enter His realm, and ask Him to forgive those sins. Since He is sinless and died as the sacrifice for your sins, your debt is paid. But you have to ask. Do it soon, my beloved friend. Soon.
It’s really easy when we’re stressed, or depressed, or confused (or any time, really) to drift away from the throne. We might skip church once. Then twice. We might leave off praying, or not focus on it and make the prayers short. We might stop reading the Bible. I know I’ve had seasons like that.
Six years ago almost to this day, John MacArthur preached the sermon, “Hope for a Doomed Nation“. The doomed nation is America. It was a sermon from the pastor side of him, not the teacher side of him. He did not explain the Bible verse-by-verse. Instead, he was speaking from the heart to his flock about today’s world.
MacArthur has been a Christian all his life and a pastor for 52. He has perspective. His thorough knowledge of the Bible and his pastoral heart give him a unique ability on this world’s stage to see both the past and the future insightfully. The progression of God’s work in giving over a rebellious nation is in full flower for America, and he spoke to his congregation as to why.
He quickly reviewed the tenets of the God-ordained, Holy Spirit enacted restraints put upon the world so it does not self-destruct from sin. Conscience, family, civil law/government and the church are four ways the Spirit restrains sin in the world. In addition, Romans 1 shows what God does to societies when societies leap over those bounds; what happens is sexual revolution, homosexual revolution, then reprobate mind. He said we are in the midst of a judgment he called ‘the wrath of abandonment’, since it can be clearly seen that America has leaped beyond those restraints and God has given us over to those different kinds of perversity. There is an eschatological wrath, and there is an eternal wrath, both of which people are familiar with in the Bible, but the current judgment is neither of those. The eschatological wrath is coming, and we can all agree, that is promised. But the current wrath is the judgment of abandonment. “That one is not coming. We’re in the midst of it,” MacArthur said.
He then listed 12 points that are driving this nation to its terrible demise, a spiritual pathology that is causing us as a nation to run so fast to the cliff. Keep in mind that this powerful sermon was delivered 6 years ago. If you think back to 2015 and all that has happened since then, I think we can see that the Wrath of Abandonment as outlined in Romans 1 is certainly active here in the US. If we couldn’t ‘see’ it before, we can now.
I think any one with discerning, biblical sense can see how far along the prophetic timeline we are. Many people I work with who are of biblical maturity and discernment believe this as well. I know I do.
and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
It might indeed be time for our 245 year old country of America to fall. It seems to me that God has been a moth, working silently and unobserved to fray the garment of our country (Hosea 5:12). The garment dissolves when we open the closet and put it on, full of holes and ragged to the point of disintegration. We are not anything special, certainly if God was a moth to Ephraim – His beloved, set-apart country – he would be the same to any nation that rebels so egregiously.
The sermon ended with Matthew 5:43. Love our enemy. No matter what happens, while we were still enemies, Jesus came down to rescue us, His enemies. So we are to love our enemies because we were them before grace came. The enemy is our mission field.
You’re never more like God than when you love your enemies, because you were one of the enemies God loved. Romans 5:10, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God. Your enemy is your mission field. The world of enemies was God’s mission field. God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. …
To convert a sinner from his eternal doom is of far greater significance than the deliverance of an entire nation from temporal evil
His speaking of Godly love after 47 minutes of darkness was a Light that was powerful and incisive. Imagine demonstrating that kind of love in this very dark world. It will stand out brightly. Here is the sermon’s ending prayer:
Help us, Lord, to be a force for the gospel in this very, very doomed world. Lord, open up doors for us to preach Christ to perishing souls. Use us, Lord, to call Your own to Yourself. Help us to be faithful in proclaiming the truth and living it out. We’ll thank You, in Christ’s name. Amen.
Psalm 5:5, The foolish shall not stand in your sight: you hate all workers of iniquity
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
I was asked about an apparent contradiction between a God who says he hates people who sin and the love He expresses in John 3:16.
There are different types of God’s wrath. There’s cataclysmic wrath such as in when He sends tornadoes or hurricanes or earthquakes. There’s His wrath of abandonment such as when he ‘gives a person over’ to their sin (Romans 1:24, for example, or hardening Pharaoh’s heart). There’s eschatological wrath, prophesied to come in the future. And so on.
There’s different kinds of love. There’s God’s beneficent love to all general mankind we see in John 3:16 (That kind of love is shown as common grace, sending the rain to the wicked and the righteous alike). Then there’s His covenant love toward those He has purposed to save.
There’s different kinds of hate, too. Look at Luke 14:26,
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Is Jesus telling people to literally hate their parents? No. How do I know that? Because Jesus would not advise breaking the Fifth Commandment, “Honor thy Mother and Father.” No, He was using hate as a metaphorical comparison, you must love Jesus SO MUCH that by comparison is seems that your love for your parents is hate.
Is the hate expressed Psalm 5:5 the same kind of hate? No that is literal hate. It seems weird that God is love is also a God who hates.
That’s because in this day and age people vastly underestimate God’s hatred of sin. We’ve had a generation or two of “Jesus loves you and wants you to have a good life” kind of evangelism. It used to be “You’re a sinner that God will send to hell for rebelling against Him.” Sin is a huge problem to a thrice holy God. (Revelation 4:8, Isaiah 6:3).
Since God is love, sin is the polar opposite of everything He is. He hates sin- and the people who perform sin. Which makes his love for us all the more spectacular. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, He clothed them. Even though they had just done one of the most evil deeds in the universe of all history (Judas’ betrayal being #1, this can be seen as #2) He still loved them enough to clothe them and send them on their way and did not kill them immediately. That’s love through hate.
We’re familiar with the phrase “Love the sinner but hate the sin”. It’s a wonky phrase that actually does more damage than is helpful. If we are to love the sinner we must confront his sin. Here, Cameron Buettel explains in a clear and concise way about how important it is not to divorce the two, the sin and the sinner performing it.
That determination to separate who a person is and what he does has also infiltrated the church. The exhortation to “love the sinner and hate the sin” is a clever Christian cliché regularly used to deflect people’s responsibility and accountability for their sin. While it’s true that we should both love sinners and hate sin, the cliché distorts those truths by unbiblically severing the two.
We should love sinners. We should hate sin. And we shouldn’t divide those two truths into separate categories. Our hatred of sin should manifest itself in a love that warns sinners—compassionately, but no less clearly—of the dire consequences their sin demands. Short of that, how could we ever claim to truly love them? Source
We can take this trajectory to its ultimate conclusion. Once a sinner has been warned, given the Gospel, refused and rejected, we turn it over to God. God knows the heart and knows when it it time for His general love to turn to hate, giving the person over to his sin with the sure and devastating consequences. Since He knows the heart, He knows when it’s time to love and a time to hate.
If we agree with the advice in the essay, and apply the same principle to God, we know He would do it in perfection and purity since He is perfectly holy.
Here are two good articles talking about God’s hate. This short devotional from Ligonier makes the love-hate situation really clear. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis short article is good also.
I don’t like writing about myself and I never talk about my internal emotions and thoughts. I’d really rather die than talk about what’s going on inside me. But I have to this time, because it’s about Jesus.
As a woman who grew up in a difficult circumstance, I learned to rely only on myself and to be strongly independent and self-sufficient, and have been so for 50 years (since I was 8). Yet when I was given the grace of salvation 15 years ago, I learned also that the Lord wants me to share my burdens and to interlock in mutual submission with others in caring relationships. I don’t know how to do this, it’s literally beyond my life experience and my emotional capacity. But with God all things are possible.
I am learning His lessons about trusting Him in sharing burdens and loving others- as well as accepting love from others. My prayers are being answered day by day, His glory is being shown- through all of my different families- Twitter tweeps, School family, Church body in a huge and impactful way.
Life before salvation and outside of church, was a bewildering swirl of relationships between others…not knowing how to break in or even particularly wanting to:
I still have difficulty with socializing and developing or maintaining relationships. It’s not a matter of trying harder or willpower or shyness. It’s irritating when people try to sympathize by saying “I’m shy too” when it’s literally a matter of different brain wiring, and not behavior modification. I know they are trying to be nice, but it’s a totally wrong thing to say.
Though my brain is made differently, nothing is too difficult for God. Through the incessant work of the Holy Spirit, like water eventually wears through stone, the glory of God that is shown through my friends, after 5 decades and a loving set of families the Lord has given me, we have this:
I still don’t know the “how” of it. But I can feel the love. I love you back.
I’m old enough now that the songs played on the radio’s Oldies station are the songs of my youth and teen years. The Supremes’ 1964 song “Baby, baby where did our love go” is catchy. It was on the radio the other day. It got me thinking in pictures. As in, ‘love’ going somewhere. Did it pack its suitcase and slink out the back door like a thief? Did it wilt then droop then evaporate, like the steam on the bathroom mirror?
The secular world sees love as a noun. Especially romantic love. They see it as a thing to be grasped. Something to be possessed. They see love as a thing that comes, then goes. That would mean that love has a mind of its own, will, volition.
The Christian knows that love is not a noun to hold but a choice to be made. Love is a verb. We choose it and we live it. Colossians 3:14 announces love as something we “put on”, indicating again that love is an act of our own volition. We are in charge of love, it is not in charge of us nor is it in charge of itself.
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:14).
Matthew Henry explains the Colossians verse-
In order to all this, we are exhorted here to several things:—1. To clothe ourselves with love (v. 14): Above all things put on charity: epi pasi de toutois—over all things. Let this be the upper garment, the robe, the livery, the mark of our dignity and distinction. Or, Let this be principal and chief, as the whole sum and abstract of the second table. Add to faith virtue, and to brotherly-kindness charity, 2 Pt. 1:5–7. He lays the foundation in faith, and the top-stone in charity, which is the bond of perfectness, the cement and centre of all happy society. Christian unity consists of unanimity and mutual love.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2335). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Warren Wiersbe explains-
Put on … love (Col. 3:14). This is the most important of the Christian virtues, and it acts like a “girdle” that ties all the other virtues together. This is not something that we turn on and off, like the TV set. It is a constant attitude of heart that makes us easy to live with.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 138). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Baby, baby, where did our love go? It didn’t go anywhere,t he person loving another simply got tired of choosing it.
Choosing to love is the hardest thing in the world, especially if you’re married. Making the choice to “put on” love toward someone who isn’t acting right, or who wronged you, or is just being a pill, is not easy. But love is the binding that holds the Body together and it is the quality that makes Christ attractive to the pagan. It is supreme.
Don’t be a bystander watching love come in and go out. Put it on, choose it, live it.
We are told that the times during the Tribulation will become increasingly loveless (Matthew 24:12). They are turning cold even now. Many people tell me they are experiencing it or sense it. As the times become more cold, and love ekes away, many people may find they are searching for warmth.
Isaiah 53:3 says “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Recently I was thinking of when He was alone in the Garden and everyone fell asleep even though He had asked for company. And later, how Peter said he didn’t know Him, denying Jesus three times. That had to have hurt. I thought about the universe’s most ultimate betrayal, Judas. I thought of Jesus saying to Judas, “What you must do, do quickly.” (John 13:27).
You see, Jesus KNEW Judas was going to betray Him, but He loved Judas perfectly anyway. That is a powerful model of love. If I knew I was going to be betrayed and rejected ahead of time, would I love the people all the same? I’m human but sinful and Jesus was human and sinless. Therefore I know I would not.
Jesus came to earth SO THAT He could feel these things with us. Did you know that? We rightly focus on the salvation aspect of His time on earth and His sacrifice as the Lamb. But did you know that He is not only Messiah, but also High Priest? He was fully God and fully Man and He came to feel every emotion that we feel.
Hebrews 2:17-18 says “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
He is the most faithful High Priest, not only to save us but to sympathize with us!
Now let that stop us for a moment. The God of the Universe poured Himself into human skin to live a full life, so that He could save us by dying, but before that, to feel what we feel as we are tempted. When you are feeling lost, lonely, sad, rejected, tempted, betrayed, angry, bitter, or anything else, remember, that when we pray to Him, He is there. He knows. When we feel betrayed, He knows. He has been there. He serves God as our High Priest, interceding for us in a way that is fully empathetic. He is God, yet He came to us as fully human this so He could empathize with us in our times of sorrow. Are you not floored by knowing this?
Know this also, Psalm 56:8b- “Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” He not only numbers the hairs on your head but sees and knows every tear shed in His name.
Psalm 34:18- “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” So, just knowing He WILL do it, helps us until He does it. That is faith.
Many people tell me they feel lost inside their own church. American churches are infested with goats, and the sheep are squeezed out. They cry for a good, solid place to worship. They cry because they have been hurt. They cry because their workplace is cold, or they are mocked at school for being a born again believer, or marginalized from their unbelieving family. The dividing lines are widening, you see, in churches, at work, in homes…
Luke 12:52-53; “for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” As the times grow closer to when He calls the Bride to Himself, the dividing lines will deepen. Division is a natural part of belief- if the truth is central. It will happen, but it still makes us sad.
This from Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Your face may be wet today, but he will dry it Himself on that Day! Isn’t it worth the wait, and the tears, just knowing He will fulfill His promise to wipe them away with His own hand? If your tears feel large to you today, just imagine how small they will be when His hand erases them into oblivion and gives you perfect peace.
And finally, remember the Love chapter from 1 Corinthians 13. Love bears all things. Love means we have to open ourselves to people and love them, even knowing that rejection, betrayal, sadness and hurt will come along with that. We don’t like it, but Jesus said to choose this kind of love as an expression of the Gospel He came to proclaim. His hurt and betrayal was so monstrous, how can we then complain of ours? We cannot. Begin praying for others. Pray for missionaries in places where their mission will bring them death. Converts in the dangerous places where their faith may bring them imprisonment or worse. Praying for others in worse circumstances helps us put our things into perspective; HIS perspective.
The key is to focus on Jesus. He is the lens through which all trials are put into proportion. He gives comfort and He gives a Kingdom perspective, of eternity. Prayer helps and prayer works, because the Spirit brings to mind his Word, and his Word is always the triumph over all. Why? It is the greatest love letter ever written, and relying on it through submission to and by the strength of the Spirit revives even the poorest, saddest child of Jesus.
Hebrews 12:28-29 says “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
And so the Word revives us. He promises us the unshakable kingdom. There will not be any cracks. There will not be any quakes. There will not be any shocks. There will not be anything interrupting the joy He has promised to deliver. We show Him gratitude in advance of this promise of inheritance through faithful service, letting the sadness we may feel diminish because after all, it is only temporary. He is a fire of wrath for the ungodly but a fire of zeal and eternal love for the believer. Therefore let the Man of Sorrows comfort you in your sorrow. You will find the more you rely on Him to minister to you as High Priest, the more joy you will end up experiencing!
To the women who claim to have cuddled with Jesus, heard His whisper, sat on His lap, felt His ‘caress’, had their fondest dreams validated, (and I’m speaking of Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, Kim Walker Smith, Joanna Gaines, and all the rest), hark to this paraphrase from Revelation 1:12 by John MacArthur,
He [John] turns when he hears this booming voice that sounds like a trumpet, and the voice is speaking, and he turns and sees that this voice belongs to a person in his vision moving among seven golden lampstands. Verse 20 says the seven golden lampstands are symbolic of the seven churches; they’re lights in that sense. And he looks into the middle of the lampstands and must be with some hope for comfort and encouragement, and instead he sees a warrior; he sees a frightening warrior, “one like a son of man – ” a term from Daniel expressing God in form, manifesting blazing glory, who has authority and power and dominion, as it says of the Son of Man in Daniel “ – clothed in a robe reaching to the feed and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. And His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
There is nothing cozy and cuddly about that vision of Christ. In fact, it is so terrifying that in chapter 1, verse 17 says, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.” It literally, it literally took away his breath.
Beware of substituting the love of feelings and drama and emotion for the love of God. Some of us come to Him in tears; others in quiet surrender. Some come running, others walk, others are led by another, but the end result is the same. The bottom line is this: God is sovereign, and He will do it His way. It’s not about how we feel—it’s about who He is. more here
See Jesus for who He is: not the hand-wringing needy Jesus who begs for attention from us, but the Warrior in charge of His church, having ‘things against us’ when we do not obey His commands and threatening retribution. (Revelation 2:4, 2:20).
And for a laugh that hurts a little because it’s so true, read this from the Babylon Bee:
RAPID CITY, SD—Sources are reporting that local woman Britney Mollison experienced the presence of her own emotions more powerfully than she has in a long time during a time of worship Wednesday night. According to Mollison’s own testimony, about three-quarters of the way through the set of dramatic songs blasting from the band onstage out to the worshipers, she was finally able to surrender all to her feelings. “In that moment, when the bridge to ‘Oceans’ reached its crescendo and the keyboardist masterfully applied the wah pedal, my emotions were more real to me than I can remember,” Mollison sobbed to sources. “It was just me and and my personal relationship to the chemicals in my brain responding to stimuli. Nothing else mattered.”
More at link.
Be theological. It’s the best way to love Jesus, because it is the way He revealed Himself to us.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
Jesus lived a perfect life and He fulfilled the Law. We know this. But what this means, what it really means … is that Jesus loved the Father with all His heart, all His mind, all His strength, and all His heart, every second of every day. All His life.
No human on earth has been able to fulfill the Law to that degree … except Jesus. No one else except Jesus has ever been able to be an ambassador for God. No one else has ever been His covenant Keeper, except Jesus. What a unique and incredible Person He is.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me: As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on. ~Battle Hymn of the Republic
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