Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love Week (Part 1): PROMISES

By His wounds we are healed!

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, and such a time has been deemed the "Love week." In my heart I wanted to share with all of you all over the world over the course of the next 7 days that love is not exclusive to a week, or a particular group of people. It certainly isn't about candy coated; milk chocolate sweets, not even stuff animals and there companion the infamous bouquet of red roses. No! Love is far more grand then what your local super market carries, or the street vendor may mark up to make a profit off of you. Love is Someone. That's right! Love is a person. Love is sacrifice. Love is unconditional. Love is impartial. Love is eternal. Love is Jesus...God is Love.

Now before you dismiss anything and say to yourselves I already heard this, allow me to open up your heart to something most people on the western part of the world may not know and certainly do not embrace. Love is a covenant. Now, what is a covenant? Thank you for asking. A covenant is a binding contract that much of the world apart from the western world still operates on, and upholds. A covenant has been used through the exchange of one's personal belongings that are considered priceless, or of great wealth. Such as in Africa, where a Christian missionary who desires to share with a tribe the Good News of Christ. They would go into covenant agreement which is binding with the Chief of the village, and would exchange a possession of theirs considered of wealth such as food, medical aid and attention, water, etc.. for a personal item of the Chief that would signify stature to him and his tribe; which would in most cases be his staff. Thereby the missionary walking through the village and lifting up the staff would have the respect, honor and attention of the tribe as if he was the chief. 

They're many stories in the Bible that speak to such covenants, but I will only include one and leave you the great joy of seeking the rest for yourselves, as well as in a group. It's located in (1 Samuel chapter 18 in verses 3 through 4), "Then Jonathan and David made a covenantbecause he loved him as his own soulAnd Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt."

Why did I include this story of a covenant transaction? To show the great importance of an exchange of stature. Jonathan was the son of the then king of Israel, and his very status is of a prince. In giving David his garments and belongings, this displayed Jonathan's position of the heir to the throne transferred to David. Such was a reminder to David as well as Jonathan himself that David was to be treated as royalty by him, not to harm him as he wouldn't harm himself, and that he would be treated with love and respect.

This was an exchange of promise between two men. 

Another covenant promise not observed in the western society but very much embraced and known by many other cultures and societies as being significant and binding, being of true love, respect and friendship is the greatest covenant; that is the blood covenant. The blood covenant is the exchange of blood through the sacrificing of animals, human beings and a hand shake. This would not only be symbolic of a promise, but the ultimate exchange of promise being that of love, respect, friendship and honor. It was a reassurance to the individuals in the blood covenant promise as there is no closer personal exchange then of blood to rectify a dispute that would otherwise lead to blood shed and death. As the Word of God describes so eloquently, 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.' (Leviticus 17:11 NKJV)

The way this covenant was made was through the cutting of the flesh having the blood pour out onto the area that would be the grounds of the sacrifice/offering as a gesture of good will and forgiveness needed, desired and in faith given (as we can see in the message of the Cross of Christ in the Gospels). With men it would be the embrace of hands, flesh upon flesh, blood for blood and a ritual that each man would cross onto the side of the other, symbolically saying what is of yours is now mine. The two would show the place of their wounds and by seeing it they would instantly see the scar and remember the covenant promise they entered into, which was not to take the life of the other for any reason. 

This very cut; piercing of the flesh and permanent scar should be both a joyful reminder and encouragement to spur all of us on who believe by faith and receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord to walk worthy of our calling as co-heirs to the throne and ambassadors to this world as if God was making His plead through us (see Romans 8:15-17/2 Corinthians 5:20). Amen. We should all walk both in word and deed wherever we go in joy and victory knowing that both Christ and the Church have permanently switched sides through the sacrifice that was made by Jesus' willingness to pour out His life as a pleasing and perfect sacrifice/offering that both joy and peace would remain between us and God the Father forever (see Philippians 2:8). Amen! Our sin and the penalty of death which was upon us for breaking such a blood covenant, was now upon Jesus who would take on the penalty of the original covenant being broken which was death, and now His holy righteous position as the Son of God was given unto us to be considered children of God (see Isaiah 53:5,12/John 1:12-13/Galatians 3:26). So by One dying many were saved (see Romans 5:15). Amen! Praise the Lord!  

So when he hear, read or share the most popular verse in all of existence, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life," let us remember the wound, the scar, the eternal sacrifice that was done for us, and take communion by the very love and commitment we will keep to Jesus our Lord. Amen. 

That is a promise that is worthy of celebrating, not merely during Easter, but for all time. God's love seen and known intimately in Jesus is no love week, but an everlasting love. Amen. By the blood of Jesus we who believe in Him are all saved. 

By these very words we can rejoice, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

This is my prayer and desire for all of us: Let it be onto us in Jesus name. Amen.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NKJV)

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