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Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

Ephesians 5:27

So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Romans 16:17-20

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them! 18 For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive. 19 Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Matthew 12:34-37

Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. 35 The good person brings good things out of his good treasury, and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury. 36 I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Church.  Referred to as a place of worship, it is much more than a building.  The church is the body of Christ – made up of precious brothers and sisters, all who choose to accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers.  All sinful, condemned to die, all redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  All considered precious and beloved by our great and awesome, Holy God.

Also called the bride, the church is one day going to be without spot or blemish.  What a vision that is!  But all too often, we forget what we were saved from.  We bask in the forgiveness but can forget that our works in Christ will still be judged.  We easily can become distracted with petty disputes and forget that people are dying all around us.  While we fret over matters and seek to serve ourselves or elevate our position or status in church, people are desperately wanting to see us live out our faith.  God help us.

I have seen more hurt in the body of Christ over things that truly do not matter in the scope of all eternity, and it grieves God’s heart.  Tearing one another down with our words, judging one another and scrambling for position all resemble the world, not what we are now.

By God’s grace, we can still seek to be the beautiful bride of Christ.  We can put aside offenses, truly consider others more important than ourselves, humble ourselves and speak well of one another.  We can send the enemy flying out our doors by not listening to the flesh and being careful to utter out of our mouths only words that build up and encourage those around us.  Yes, it is a death when we do let go of our envy and bitterness, but it is a sweet death of evil, and makes us alive to glorify God!

When we look into the mirror of the Word of God, positionally we see Who we are in Christ, and it is astonishingly beautiful. May we seek to live out the grace that has been so abundantly given to us and not take for granted His mercy.  May we lavishly give the love and forgiveness that God gives to us and rise above the fleshly responses which should be foreign to new creations in Christ.  Most of all, may God be glorified by our acts of service, which are done for His pleasure and not our own.

Lord, You are so beautiful.  Help us to radiate Your beauty to the world around us and glorify you in our gatherings.

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