Daily Devotion for March 24, 2017

'Jesus LOVES our Church!'

Ephesians 5:25-30 NAS

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

You know what I love about this portion of scripture? I love being reminded that Christ LOVES our church! That is, I'm comforted and encouraged because these verses remind me that the church I love, I belong to, I'm concerned about, I'm committed to—even my local church—this church is the SAME church Jesus died for and is in love with! Moreover, He loves this local church body WAY more than I! In addition...

I love remembering that He's SANCTIFYING our local church body: what we are going through now (our lack of a pastor) is part of the process that's making us more like Him...

I love remembering He has “cleansed” our local church body by “the washing of water with the Word!” This should make us want to wash ourselves daily “with the Word,” so we are increasingly “cleansed” and made new, that we may glorify Him even more...

I love being reminded that one day He will “present to Himself the church (which includes this local church body!) in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing!” Though we are not perfect now, one day we WILL “be HOLY and BLAMELESS!”

I love remembering that Christ is the One who “NOURISHES” us! Though we lack a pastor, we ARE being nourished by our Savior...1) through reading/meditating on His Word, 2) through the guidance/help/strength/wisdom/love of His indwelling Spirit, 3) through speaking God's truths to one another, 4) through encouraging each other, 5) through praying for one another, 6) through our fellowship and support of one another...

I love being reminded that Christ “CHERISHES” us as a bridegroom cherishes His bride—He cherishes US! We—this local church body—we are precious, important, and beautiful to Him!

I love remembering “we are members of His body!” Our local church is a “body,” not a business; it's an organism, not an organization; it's a place where each member is to serve, where each one of us has a function—and every one of us has a part! His body, the church (our church!), has been selected by God to communicate the gospel to the lost people (right here!) and to share His Good News to a lost world.

Lord Jesus, thank You for making the church (our local church!) part of Your Bride! Thank You for LOVING this local church body—more than we could ever ask for or imagine! Moreover, we thank You for sanctifying us, cleansing us, nourishing us, cherishing us, making us part of Your kingdom purpose, and for one day soon presenting us without spot! We humbly submit to You—to our Bridegroom and Head, the One who LOVES us, sustains us, and holds us together—as we each do our part for You in our local body. Meanwhile, hold our “body” close, Jesus! In Your name, we ask You grant this local church Your strength, Your patience, Your endurance, Your wisdom, and Your love as You make us ready for our new pastor, and as You prepare the new pastor You have for us...

AMEN!!!

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