In this video I briefly review what we’ve talked about over these past seven videos. Hope you were blessed as I was in putting this together. I also strongly encourage you to mentor someone else and in this video give some tips on it.
Exodus 15:3 The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name
When I think of war, I think of killing and destruction – is this our God?
Deuteronomy 32:39 ‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.
1 John 4:8b for God is love.
God is love. All that He does is in love. How can war and the pain it causes be about love? Can the two really co-exist? In regards to this topic, we often read about God’s holiness and justice, but here I want to look at His love. Like the perfect parent with their children, there is perfect justice but also pefect love. Here are some of my thoughts on it . . .
There are two different accounts demonstrating this man of war I’ve been thinking about:
Many wars directed by God occurred as the Israelites moved into the promise land. But the motive of these wars was rooted in love because God is love – as we’ll see. God’s plan of reconciliation included Christ being manifested in a sinful body, like our own, so He could be the sacrifice that stood in our place uniting us back to God. God revealed Himself to the nation Israel – and it was through that lineage Jesus would come.
As God’s people moved into the land He gave them, He instructed them to wipe out the nations before them. He did this because the other nations were so corrupt that if they remained they would corrupt His people as well. Judges 2:3 Once taken in by other nations and their gods, they would be deceived and lost. And the state of the world at the flood of Noah would happen once again. He wiped out the nations to protect His people, and those He left were used to test them. Judges 2:21-22 Through Abraham God’s family came – not of the physical seed, but through the promised Seed of Christ. Romans 4:16 He had to preserve His people enough so that through them He could manifest the life of Christ to save us all. Those nations died, so His people could survive, so we could be delivered through His son, Jesus. That is love. Joshua 23:3, Deut 7:16
What may seem unfair, unjust or even unloving to us in this sliver of history was an act of love in the span of eternity. There is a much bigger plan and purpose, and that purpose was crafted in love because God is love. God did what was required to protect His family. The thought comes to mind – what would you do if your family’s life was in danger?
Second, wars of God were a result of the actions of the wicked, whether unbelievers or God’s people. When people go their own way, there are repercussions. Joshua 24:20. In the Bible, we see over and over how people became so wicked that they destroyed themselves and others, which happens when people follow their own will. God created mankind to walk and abide with Him in love. When they don’t, spiritual death is manifested. Physical death, in these wars of God, is the materialization of the state of their souls.
In God’s infinite wisdom, He does what is best. Like those who died in the flood of Noah, it was better to end the wickedness, than let it continue on causing more damage and pain. Genesis 6:5 They weren’t getting better, but worse. God knew the end to the path they were on. If you see a suffering animal and there is no hope for recovery, what is the most merciful and loving action to take? In the bonds of evil, people suffer and suffer greatly and the harm they do to others is extensive. God sees the beginning and the end – for any one life, He knows best. And He does what is best for all mankind.
A side note . . . we need to learn that only by being united to God is there life. Apart from Him is death. To abide in true life and love, which God desires with us, we needed to possess our own will. Robotic forced love isn’t love. But now there is people’s free will to contend with. In our free will, God laid out the choices before us Deut. 28, 30:19 God designed this life to operate in a certain way. He told us there is a path that leads to life, which is following His will, and a path that leads to death, which is following our will or anyone else’s other than Him. There are consequences to going our own way. If we are separated from Him, then we spiritually die because we were created to be united to Him in love. The fact that our bodies return to the dust from which they came is nothing compared to spiritual death.
I think one of the main reasons we are here on this earth and experiencing the evil we do is to learn that following our self-will doesn’t work. Following the will of God is the path of life, which we also get a taste of on this earth when we walk in His ways. This truth is what we all have to learn so that we willing follow God’s will and thus abide with Him in love. When people chose to follow their own will then they are making their own judgments about what is good and evil. (represented by the tree of knowledge of good and evil) They are driven by their own understanding, which is limited and wrong. Spiritual death is manifested. However, when we follow God’s will and are led by His Spirit, we aren’t making the judgments God is. (the tree of life) We are following His lead and therefore walk in life because His ways are life. In order to abide with Him in love and freedom, we have to choose His will, not ours, and that means we have to learn the difference and the consequences of both. Thus, this life here on earth were we are seeing both played out. Only by being united to Him is their true life.
God knew we would go astray. That is why the plan was always life in Christ Jesus and to provide a way in which we would be a part of Him. Because when His Spirit is in us, we live according to His will because that is who we are. 2 Peter 1:4
I believe in the end when we see clearly – we will see how every act of God, a Man of War, was the ultimate act of love.
Here is what the Spirit has been teaching me this week. And this one is for the MEN as well!
People hold different images of what beauty is and true beauty comes in many varieties. In my opinion, true beauty isn’t just about outward appearances. The outward appearance can be very deceiving about the true self. True beauty moves from inside to out. The inside and outside are connected. A huge mistake in this society’s wisdom is that it too often tries to separate the two and deal just with the outside (medications, diets, surgeries etc). If you want outward changes focus inward because when we attend to the inside then the outside will follow.
True love is the defining element of true beauty; love of God, others and yourself. Yes yourself, because you can’t truly know the love of God and not have a love for the creation He made and loves, you. I realize this can be a slippery slope – this love of self – because it can be be a negative false love in terms of narcissistic, self-absorbed and so on. But when the love of self comes from the love of God it is as it should be.
What is the ultimate beauty secret? Love. And how do we gain this true love of God? Stir the Deep, the one thing that changes everything else. I know I say this is the answer to everything, but I have found in my life that to be the case. When I read Matthew 6:33 – I decided to live it. And found it to be true. As we draw close to God in truth and abide in His Word as a bride (what I call stirring the deep), our spirits born of Him grow and strengthen in us. As a result we become more united to Him, and His love, truth and wisdom fill our beings – our thoughts, actions and lives. Many “issues” that we have, which resulted in broken down bodies and a lack of care for ourselves, are resolved as we draw near to Him in truth. It isn’t an instant process by any means. But it is the only path to true life.
When our spirits are NOT rightly connected to God– then this is what we see:
Destructive stress, bottled up resentment and bitterness, festering anger, jealousy, emotional pain, lack of self-worth, envy, unforgiveness, endless worry, and the list goes on. These things eat away at our lives destroying them. They wreck havoc in our spirits thus our bodies. All these affect us starting inward moving outward. For them we eat too much or not enough. We live with stress, lack of balance, harmful addictions and habits, and self-loathing. We don’t take care of ourselves. We treat ourselves worse than we treat our cars. We make poor decisions, which leads to more problems. What’s happening in our physical bodies is often a result of what’s happing inward. Our spiritual health affects our physical health and treatment of ourselves.
When our spirits are rightly connected to God and anchored in His love this is what we see:
As we learn the truth about us, God and others, the jealousy and envy flee and instead we enjoy uniqueness, freedom, and joy in which we flourish. We experience the love of God which gives us a love for God, others and ourselves, which affects how we attend to each one of these. As we understand our value as His cherished creation and child, we start to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves with respect, which spreads to others. From the wisdom gained, we make good decisions in all areas of our lives and the self-destructive behaviors and habits dissipate. As our relationship with God grows, our trust in Him expands and the stress and worry wane and balance, rest, peace, courage, and power increase. As we experience His mercy, forgiveness floods our hearts and resentment, anger and bitterness flee.
We start to live as the new creation that we are in Him – and that changes everything.
Our lives are governed by our spirit – our thoughts, words, actions, reactions. When our spirits are rightly connected to God, then we live as we were created and God created us very good. Everything is affected by our relationship with God. If you are wanting to make outward changes in your life – start inward with your relationship with Him – because then your efforts won’t be in vain. What we need is a daily diet of God’s Word.
Proverbs 4:22 For they (God’s Words) are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
I was in an adulterous affair for years. I claimed alliance to my husband, but my actions told a different story. I spent my time and energy cultivating trust and intimacy elsewhere. In all honesty, my husband and I didn’t have much of a relationship; it was in word only – not of the heart. We rarely talked. We hardly spent time together. Oh, I played the act of the good wife at the right times, but that is all it was – an act. Yet, I expected him to do so much for me. I hung out more with our friends than him. It was extremely backwards. I was very selfish and one sided. I was so caught up in my adulterous emotions because it felt “good” that I didn’t really think about what I was doing to him, me or to us. I didn’t realize I was living a lie that would never fulfill.
My husband was God. (not my earthly husband)
Today I have a wonderful relationship – beyond my expectations. I’m so thankful He never gave up on me.
Adultery is a deceptive beast because the adulterers are so captivated by the sensual emotions that they don’t realize all the damage and pain they are creating.
There are two sides to adultery. On the side of the adulterer, there are feelings of excitement in the newness, the unknown, and the combined desire. On the other side of the one being cheated on, there are feelings of intense pain and hurt taking claim of their hearts. With adultery, you can’t have one side without the other. They are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, there is nothing about love in this act. It’s a selfish act that creates intense pain.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
God is our husband; we are His bride. God uses the example of adultery, something we can understand emotionally, in the Bible so we can taste how He feels when He isn’t our first love, what it does to us and our relationship with Him. Ezekiel 23 (Those who profess a relationship with God are the only ones who can cheat on Him, and play the harlot as He speaks of in His Word.)
I’ve talked before about how God’s people play the harlot against Him today. For example, they willingly trust in other things or people when they should be cultivating trust in God. They don’t spend time in His Word fostering intimacy. Without thought, they put other things and people above Him, even the church. They hold a lackadaisical attitude about spending time with Him. They don’t try to trust Him to be their Teacher about Him. They neglect to personally get to know Him. They give others the place of “first love”. They spend their time on everything else even serving Him but not with Him.
The alluring emotions of playing the harlot blind and deceive people to what they are really doing in their relationship with God – destroying it. This is a description of how I use to be. I’ve often considered the pain and loss, but what recently struck me was the other side of the coin – the enticing emotions that pull people into an adulterous affair so they forsake their first love and how blinding those emotions are to what they are truly creating. And I see many people being blinded by these emotions today.
When we are on the side of the adulterer, it doesn’t seem so bad because it feels “good” even though those emotions are fleeting, only in our heads and not reality. Reality is pain and death are being created in our life. But those emotions and the empty promises they allude to lure us in. They emotionally overtake us pushing us farther into the situation and mask any damage we are creating. We want more of what we are feeling and the cost of our actions is thrown to the wind. Actually, we don’t think about the costs, because we are consumed by the emotions and blinded to all sense of judgment, discernment, wisdom and true love. But the reality is we are creating much pain for all involved. Sometimes we don’t think about how our lackadaisical attitude or not spending time to get to know God affects His heart. But we can understand His heart through His Word as He uses the descriptions of harlotry over and over.
Ezekiel 23:19 “Yet she multiplied her harlotry In calling to remembrance the days of her youth, When she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
Love is about intimacy, putting others first, looking out for their needs, desiring to be with them, knowing them, listening and talking with them. No one trusts God perfectly, but what is our heart’s desire? What do our actions and efforts show? Do they show we desire intimacy with our Lord and for Him to be our first love?
It is very easy these days to be blinded to the state of our own hearts. Because of the “feel-good” emotions being pressed upon us by many leaders, teachers and pastors, we are mislead to thinking what we feel is love with God because His name is mentioned when it really is selfish indulgence. If it is so deceptive, how do we know we haven’t been lured in? Look at your life, how do you spend your time? What motivates you? What truly is your desire? Who are you listening to the most? Examining our hearts in earnest prayer with God and in His Word will expose the truth in us. 2 Corinthians 13:5
Until I really spent time and acted like a God’s bride, I never saw my actions for what they were – adulterous. I wasted years where I could have been in an incredible relationship. I’m thankful I’m not wasting anymore.
If you have found that your actions haven’t lived up to your words, make a renewed commitment to Christ to be your first love then start living your life to show it by making time to spend with Him, seeking His will, reading His Word, and listening and talking to Him. God is merciful and is looking for those who will come to Him in truth and spirit. Many of us, probably almost all have been in an adulterous affair against our Lord at some point. But now is the time to set things straight with Him.