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This week we explore two more priorities that I chose to develop in my walk with God and in leading my family.  They are a love for God’s bride and a love for the lost.

I have had to choose and I continue to make the choice to love God’s bride.  Growing up I equated God’s bride with the institutional church and the two aren’t the same.  There are many people who are in the institutional church that know Jesus.  There are also many people in the institutional church that don’t know Jesus.  But God has a big heart for His bride and a big heart for the lost, so both groups are loved by God!  Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) no matter what they look like.

I grew up with a lot of religiosity.  If that is your experience as well it may take a clear choice where you say, “I’m choosing to love your bride, Jesus!”  Or “I’m choosing to love churchgoers, even if they are hypocritical or lost.”  Ask God for His heart for His bride.  Jesus laid down His life for His bride and He wants us to be willing to do the same thing!  As we love each other in the bride it reveals the love of God to the world.  It baffles them!

Church has many expressions.   No matter where people meet, it is God’s people doing life together and gathering for worship, encouragement, nurture, and edification – studying and applying God’s Word together.   We are called to love God’s people.

And we are called to love the lost.  The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not wanting any to perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

In Luke 15 we see God’s heart for the lost revealed through parables. Jesus tells the stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.  Each of these shows the value God puts on those who are lost.

If you don’t have a heart for God’s bride or a heart for the lost – take initiative.  Follow the commands and the promises of Jesus!  Matthew 6:21  tells us, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”

So this week ask the Holy Spirit a few questions:

  • Which area do you want to grow my heart in?
    • Love for Your bride?
    • Love for the lost?
  • What is one thing I highly value?
    • Time?
    • Money?
    • Other?
  • Who do you want me to invest in this week to grow my heart for Your bride or the lost.

Then step out and go for it!

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Bob Swank

About 15 years ago our heavenly Father began encouraging me in my role as His son and out of that in my role as a father, both biologically and spiritually. Through multiple encounters on my journey God has revealed His heart as my Father and affirmed my sonship in Him. Out of this has come His call to fully embrace who He has created me to be as a father and to share that with others.

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