The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Altar of Love"
As we have frequently referenced in these messages through the years, our personal troubles, pains, and difficulties form an altar within our hearts whereupon we view our challenges as opportunity to pray for and minister to others who hurt. By His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and giving of the Holy Spirit to believers, the Lord Jesus Christ birthed a new race of spiritual beings inhabited by the love of God who follow their Savior's nail-pierced footprints…
"Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor" (Ephesians 5:2).
In his second epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul bore witness to such sacrificial grace in Christ that turns us inside out, as it were, delivering from the selfishness of "Why is this happening to me?" unto the otherness of "Who is this happening for?" "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation" (II Corinthians 1:3-6).
What if in the midst of our tribulations, the Holy Spirit beckons us to the Throne of grace for the purpose seeking comfort for someone else who hurts? Certainly, this is true. The Spirit of the Christ who prayed for others as He hung on Calvary's excruciating cross now lives within us as the very Life of our lives. We can thus be sure He moves within us to transform our crosses into trees that bear healing leaves and fruits for others as we pray (and also as we offer ourselves for any other service God may determine). We all know hurting people for whom we can pray. We can also pray for those we don't know, but who may benefit when we intercede for others rather than sink into our own sorrows. "So then death worketh in us, but life in you" declared Paul when affirming the miracle of ministry whereby the love of the Lord Jesus leads and empowers us to "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved" (II Corinthians 4:12).
Somebody, somewhere hurts like we hurt. Somebody, somewhere hurts in a profoundly different way. The nature of the challenge does not matter. What matters is the nature of Christ. What matters is that "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which given unto us" (Romans 5:5). What matters is that we know the opportunity, the altar for others, that beckons us in our pains. What matters is our realization of a most miraculous ministry found only we realize and respond to our Lord's movement of love within us to see our pain as the river that may carry comfort to others. What matters is the somebody, somewhere will find a measure of grace from the Lord in which we served as a small, but significant tributary for its journey to their hearts and lives. Yes, what matters is that the Christ who dwells within us works to redeem everything in our existence and experience, including the pains that call us to the altar of love for others, constructed by our Lord first for Himself, and now for us.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.… For all things are for your sakes."
(II Corinthians 4:8-12; 15)
Weekly Memory Verse
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.
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