EPHPHATHA “BE OPEN”
IS YOUR HEART OPEN?
“…love is the fulfilling of the law”
ROMANS 13: 8-10
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters, I pray that you stand on your guard and that this message finds you alert to hear God’s word to lighten your heart and bring you new found joy. Please give this gift to someone else, that they too may share in enlightenment and love.
Although, this message is meant to encourage and equip those who are single and unmarried, it’s message of relationship, the power of God’s perfect love, and the gift of brotherly love, will benefit everyone. I pray that you will “Be Open” and receive God’s perfect will for His children. If your life is filled with strife and conflict, alienation, disenfranchisement, pain, bitterness, hate, rejection, depression or loneliness, God has an endless source of peace and love that flows from heaven into those who receive His perfect love.
We must realize and accept that not everyone is to be given in marriage. We must not look down on them, pity or judge them. It is God’s plan for them. However, before deciding that this is the case for you, make sure you are open for the love God wants you to have. Make sure that it is God’s will for you not to marry and not your choice because you have closed your heart for one reason or another. If there is fear, doubt, selfishness, anger, hurt, hatred, lusts, unfaithfulness, pride, idol worship or perversion within your heart, you are not open. You have not been made perfect in God’s Love. Being open to love others or to marry, means first being open to know the perfect love of God and allow Him to perfect love within you.
EXCUSES TO CLOSE YOUR HEART
- Marriages never work.
- Marriage is not what it’s cut out to be.
- No one’s happily married.
- Marriage will interfere with my career.
- I’m too busy. I don’t have the time.
- Marriage will interfere with my calling.
- I’m tired of being hurt.
- I don’t trust people.
- I don’t trust the opposite sex.
- I just want to be left alone.
- I’m happy as I am.
- I don’t understand the opposite sex.
- I always pick the wrong people
- I’m set in my ways.
- No one wants me.
- I’m not attractive enough.
- I’m not smart enough.
- I’m too old.
- I’ve been there, done that and don’t want to do it again.
- I ruined my last marriage.
- I don’t want to tie myself down to one person.
- No one wants someone who has been divorced (once, twice, etc.)
- No one is going to take all I have and worked hard to get in a divorce
- I don’t make enough money.
- I was in an abusive relationship.
- No one wants someone with children.
- I’m not taking care of someone else’s kids.
- I can’t find anybody.
- There’s no one suitable for me.
- There’s no need to get married. I’ll just live with someone.
- Marriage is not just between a man and a woman. I wasn’t made to be with the opposite sex.
- No one wants someone with health problems or a disability
- I’m ashamed of my past
- I’ve got too many problems of my own to take on someone else’s, too.
I’m sure we could go on and on with reasons why people say they don’t want to get married, but…
Can Believers or anyone else think and talk like this and be healthy? What affect does it have on your walk with God?
Jesus wanted us to know our Father better; not so that we could have a relationship with Him alone, but to learn to love our neighbor; and to become better husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, friends, employers, leaders, etc.
To walk with God, you must have an open heart, able to love and be loved. Our relationships are important to God. Life began with a relationship and life continues because of relationships.
We were born with open hearts. Man was not created to be alone. We were created to love one another. While many people prefer and enjoy being unattached and even celibate, circumstances leave many people unwillingly single. Many would say that they are comfortable, happy or content with their single status. They find joy, contentment, fulfillment and comfort in the company of friends, family and their church. However, many singles become too comfortable and use people as a safety zone to avoid working on intimate relationships with others and a more intimate relationship with God.
While some people are alone by circumstance, others have embraced today’s new preferred lifestyle of Single-arity/Singledom. It is a lifestyle that promotes prosperity, status, vanity, non-commitment and promiscuity.
Still, others have completely closed their heart because they are in bondage to selfishness; fear; pain; afraid of rejection; afraid of being accountable; or afraid of hurting others.
EXPECTATIONS: How many people begin a relationship or propose marriage saying, “ I want to be with you because I want a Holy and Righteous Relationship to bring us closer to God and make us better servants?”
More than often, people are attracted to one another by appearance, lusts, status, common interests and self-gratification. If you look at the beginning expectations, the ending results are usually predictable. What are you drawn and attracted to? Look at your past expectations and the results they produced. More than likely, you had to change your expectations. What should we expect from a relationship?
Today people look at marriage and relationships as an investment. They expect something in return. Yes, even Christians have this mentality. Relationships are not investments, they are opportunities to love and give back to God and our fellow man. A relationship should be based on serving someone else and to love them with perfect love.
Marriage is meant to help break you; to humble you; to help you learn to die to yourself and live in Christ; marriage is meant to teach you how to serve in the Kingdom and bear His fruit. As God gave Eve to Adam, a spouse is a gift from your Maker to teach you His love, ease your burden, reproduce your seed; to teach you how to lean and depend on God; marriage is meant to glorify God through the perfection of man.
Nonetheless, people always want to know what’s in it for me. And when their expectations are not met, they are finished with the relationship.
1st Corinthians 8:1-3
1 Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
God expects nothing back from us but love. We can’t give God anything but love, because everything belongs to Him. Our love is manifested in our obedience and the fruits we bear; the Fruits of His Holy Spirit (faith, forbearance, gentleness, goodness, joy, love, kindness, peace, self-control).
- A healthy relationship must bear fruit.
God said that if you love Me, you will obey Me. Part of that obedience is loving others as we love ourselves.
- To build a healthy relationship, you must truly love God “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” To love Him is to trust Him and put Him first.
When we find ourselves in relationships filled with turmoil, strife and self-righteousness, we must remember who we are. We are children of God. God said, Be ye Holy, for your Father in Heaven is Holy.
- To have a successful relationship, fill it with God’s Holiness and Righteousness.
So many people base their relationships on trusting man instead of God. Their expectation is that the other person should never fail, betray or hurt them. They put their trust in money never running out; the accumulation of material wealth; the outer beauty never fading; the sex always being good; the fire not dying out; the health and body not breaking down; the children being perfect; not having to extend their help and love to family members; people staying the same and not changing, people being faithful and trustworthy; the world and other people not interfering; and so on.
The Psalms of David repeatedly demonstrate his trust in the Lord. Like David we must know who to put our trust in and where are deliverance comes from.
YOUR WALK WITH GOD
Jehovah God can provide all our needs, therefore, it is right to believe that with God and Jesus, we have everything we need and that’s enough. However, having everything also includes having God’s Will for us; His perfect plan for our lives; and having the desire to submit to His will and obey; for to follow Jesus is to accept and obey God’s perfect will because of His perfect love for us.
God’s perfect love is not conditional or limited. Therefore, if we allow Him to make us perfect in love, neither will His perfect love be conditional and limited within us.
Some people even use God as an excuse not to marry. Just as some religions forbid their clergy to marry, opening the church doors to the demonic spirit of perversion and making the congregation the prey. We cannot impose celibacy and forbid what God has ordained. God is the author and the finisher. He knows what is best for our lives.
Many believe that the power of perfect love is limited and lacks the capacity to love both the Father and a spouse; for you would be tempted to love your spouse more than God. When Jesus asked Peter do you love me more than these, He was not asking Peter to love Him only nor to lower his capacity to love his fellow man. He had commanded that the disciples love one another to prove that they were His followers. No, what Jesus was asking Peter to do was to proclaim His sovereignty over his life and for Peter to relinquish his love of the world and fear of man. God becomes jealous when we put more trust in the world and man than Him; when we allow others to have more influence and control over us than He does.
Those who believe that we cannot love God first and most have no understanding of the height and depth of perfect love. We must see God as the beginning and end of everything. Love begins with God and emanates from God. We cannot love others perfectly, unless we love God FIRST! He is the ROOT of perfect love. We must love and cling to the source of our love, first and foremost; for without it, we cannot love perfectly. To understand this vital connection, MAKES you love God more. He becomes your FIRST LOVE. In you heart you know and say, “I can’t breathe without You Father! I can’t love without You Father and I can’t live without You Father! You are the beginning and the end of my relationship with life!”
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
God’s perfect love helps us to fulfill the requirement for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. God was not jealous of the relationship between Adam and Eve. He gave Eve to Adam, wanting him to have a helpmate; to learn perfect love; and to live a full and happy life.
You can not love another perfectly, unless you love God more! What an awesome God to give us such a powerful gift! It is when we cling to the world, self-gratification and the approval of man that the darkness robs us of the abundant life that is promised to us.
Your Father in Heaven longs to give you the desires of your heart. He wants to give good gifts to His children because He loves us so much. Knowing and loving God enriches every area of your life, especially our relationships.
God created the relationship between a man and woman to make them better people and servants; and to increase the Kingdom. If you have weaknesses in relationships, how can God perfect your weaknesses, if you don’t allow Him to teach you His perfect love? Only God can finish the work He began. You cannot choose how or when He will work by living in fear of life, love and people. When we totally surrender to God, we also give Him our weaknesses.
QUESTION…DO YOU REALLY LOVE YOURSELF? If you do not love yourself, then how can you love another?
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Do you accept negative statements spoken against you or family curses hanging over you? Do you question your sexuality? Do you disrespect your body with chemicals and drugs? Have you forgiven yourself from the sins in your past, that God has already forgiven? Do you blame yourself for wrong that others have done to you? Do you take failure and disappointment in life as meaning you are not worthy of God’s blessings?
We have allowed others to abuse, neglect, hurt and betray us because we didn’t know who we were in Christ. We didn’t love ourselves as God loves us, so how could we really love others or be loved as God would have us to be--in perfect love?
There are many things within us that can prevent us from becoming ‘OPEN’. When you know who you are in Christ, and find joy in your life through Christ, you are more open to share your life with someone else. You realize the mistakes of the past happened for a reason and whatever lies ahead is for a reason; and through it all, God is with you, teaching you to trust Him.
Learn to love yourself; care for yourself; and uplift yourself through the Word of God. Surround yourself with people who will do the same; people who know who they are in Christ.
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
Adam walked with God. God had a plan for Adam‘s life. Adam was given everything by God, yet, he too, needed someone comparable to himself to walk beside and love. But, how did Adam’s relationship with Eve affect his walk with God? Adam failed to trust God, completely. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden; not because God no longer loved them, but because they had not learned perfect love.
There are those of us who receive everything from God and still live in fear, selfishness, or hardness of heart from past relationships and cannot find it in our heart to love again. How does this affect our walk with God? Have we surrendered everything to Him? Do we trust Him completely? Throughout all are hardships, trials and tribulations, God has not forsaken us. He wants us to learn perfect love; to have true joy and not settle for the fleeting happiness of the world.
One may ask, why God did not remain Adam’s one and only constant companion. It was not in God’s plan. God is not bound by human form. Adam’s spirit had been placed in a human form to have a relationship with the world around him. Adam needed a helper in human form. God created our bodies to respond to earthly and tangible things, giving us sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste. Adam needed another human being in which to share and experience these things in life, while being a helpmate to him. God wanted Adam to have a full and abundant life on earth; knowing love as He knew it. Loving and taking care of others brings us closer to God and the understanding of His Love for us.
So, your plans did not work out the way you wanted, so, you’re giving up or taking another route. Is that a reason to close your heart? Overcoming our pain and hardships makes us stronger and more appreciative of what we have and what is given to us. Your plans were not God’s plans; for God cannot fail. It’s time to let God do the driving. He knows which way to go and the destination. A relationship with another human being helped Adam to grow in perfect love; just as it can do for you.
As much as some would have it to be, we are never completely alone in this world, for God promised never to leave us alone. His divine presence is all around us, upholding the stability of the world and universe; even for those who deny or forsake Him; even for His enemies. As God sees fit to accept us, love us, guide us; have patience for us, provide for us, tolerate and forgive us, with all our imperfections, certainly we can find room for others in our life. It is time to say, “Your Will, Lord, not mine. It is time to truly surrender all to Him, and allow His Holy Spirit to teach you “perfect love.”
As we are perfected in Christ, so are we made perfect in love and faith. This love and faith allows us to see with God’s eyes and feel with His heart. God yearns to share Himself with us, certainly, if we are perfected in love, we also yearn to share ourselves with others in holiness and righteousness. We will be driven by perfect love to pour out God’s love on others. We will be FREE from fear, hate, bitterness, pain, doubt and bondage. We will learn to look beyond the flesh and worldly desires, die to our will and accept God’s perfect will.
If we love and trust God, we cannot think of a relationship as strictly our choice alone, because we have specific preferences, likes and dislikes. Relationships are part of God’s design for man and an important part of His plan for our individual lives. He has set His children apart from the world.
The “yoke” is mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible. It is an important symbol of a relationship; a connection and responsibility. Animals that are yoked to a cart are expected to work and pull the cart filled with a load that would be too heavy for a man to carry alone. Jesus tells us that when we are yoked to Him, He will never give us more than we can bear. When we are yoked to Him, our burden in life is much lighter for He helps to carry the load. Yoked to Jesus, we come to know Him and find rest and peace. God admonishes us ‘not’ to be unequally yoked with others. He has provided the means to be equally yoked through Christ Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 12:29-30
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
Therefore, what God asks His children to do is nothing beyond their ability, if they come to know and abide in Him and His Son. This gives us a better understanding of the saying, "What God has for me, is for me." He knows your beginning and your end. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He knows your hearts desires and He knows what you need. Everything that He provides and plans for you is created especially for you. You can not compare it to what anyone else has. You can not find, provide or create anything better than what God has planned for you. He asks you to trust Him, because He knows what is best. God never gives us more than we can bear. He never asks us to do anything without making a way for us to do it.
My friends, EPHPHATHA, BE OPENED! Tomorrow is not promised to us. God has given us a season to sow and reap.
32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;
34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
Jesus performed many miracles that our eyes and hearts may be opened, our faith may be renewed and we would be turned back to the Father. When we are yoked to the Triune God, He leads us and guides us, lightening our load, even carrying us, at times. When we enter into a relationship with someone, we cannot force them to join us and become yoked to Christ. If they do not accept Christ’s yoke, we will be unevenly yoked. We can not follow God one way and go in the opposite direction at the same time. Conflict arises in the relationship. Then, we look to God to help us do what is contrary to His Will and Way. Our Father, who loves us, allows us to go through trials and tribulations, heartache and pain, to turn us from the wrong path, but He never leaves us, alone.
Never give up on God! He has not given up on you! He is waiting. Your blessings are waiting. He is waiting for you to follow Him again, His way. He will take away all the pain and heartache from the past, if you just trust Him. He will make everything new. He will strengthen you where you are weak and let His beauty shine through you.
What God has for you, is for you. Who He has for you, is for you. True love is found by resting in the beauty of God. In the beauty of His Holiness, your relationship will find strength and longevity. Yoked to His Son, He will restore peace and harmony after each storm. Comfort the grieving heart and restore your joy. Every problem must be laid at His feet. Every sin must be laid at His feet in repentance. Forgiveness rests in His grace and mercy. He wants to make you perfect in love, able to forgive and forget; to show grace and mercy; to humble yourself and live to serve others; this too is part of carrying our cross; part of abundant life.
Jesus came to open our eyes and our hearts to Our Father and all that He would have for us. Accept this miraculous gift, “EPHPHATHA, BE OPEN!”
Father, today we pray for the miraculous opening of eyes and hearts; that the hardness around them will crack and fall off; that people will invite you into their heart and lives and be open to Your Transforming Word.
Father, we pray that they will give You all the pain of their past relationships; the betrayal; the abuse; the rape; the drugs; the shame and guilt. We pray that You will transform their hearts to forgive cheating and adultery; stealing; lying; and all wrong doing against them.
Father, in the Name of Jesus, we break the chains of bondage wrapped around them, keeping them from living free and holy lives; keeping them from receiving Your blessings; keeping them from entering the Kingdom. We bind the devil, his demons and curses upon Your children; oppressing them and leading them into sin. We bind all manner of disease and illness that prevents them from rising up to be who You would have them to be. We pray humbleness upon their hearts. We pray the Fruits of Your Holy Spirit into their lives to make them acceptable in Your sight.
Father, we ask You to renew their minds; wash them in the precious blood of Jesus; put a hedge of protection around them. Father, we ask that whoever you send their way, they will be open to receive Your love from them. Let not their eyes and hearts be polluted with prejudice, vanity, judgment; pride; or any worldly or unclean thought.
Father you say that we have not because we ask not. Father, we are asking, in Your Sons Name, Jesus! and if it be Your Will, fill our lives with loving relationships, yoked to You. We’re asking Father and we pray for all those who are single, either by choice or circumstance. We pray for those who are to remain single to follow Your plan. We pray for those whom you have joined together in marriage. We pray for those in struggling or abusive marriages. We pray that we will become open to receive your love, Father, so that we will be open to love one another as we should.
Father, we are asking; Please, let the power of Your Holy Spirit fall down on those who feel they are facing life alone. Help them to be open to the love of others. Remove fear and insecurity. Heal the pain and hurt from their past. Help them to rely on You for strength and courage to move forward to receive the blessings that you have in store for them.
Father we are asking; Open the hearts of others to receive single people into their lives and families; to be a friend to them and love them; to encourage them and to help them.
Father, we are asking; help us to be mindful that a hardened heart cannot enter the Kingdom. Help us to see that we cannot love others until we have learned to love You, Father, and accept Your Holy Spirit to teach us how to love as You do. Father, let them know that we must learn to truly love ourselves and believe that we are worthy of love. Not, just any kind of love, but the love of our Father.
Father, You said that as Christ loves the Church, so must a husband love his wife. Father, as You know, Satan has a war on marriage and families. Many marriages lack that love Father, because they do not put You first in their marriage. They do not seek the Kingdom first. Father, there are many husbands and wives out there who want change, but they don’t know how. Father, we’re asking; Bring them to their knees and Help them to see that by building their marriage with You as their foundation, they cannot fail. They may fall, but You can and will pick them up and keep them together and strengthen their bond.
Father, I pray that every man and woman first learn who they are in Christ before they seek a relationship; for we cannot seek our identity in others. We cannot expect others to make us happy. Happiness is a choice. Joy cometh not from the world, but from knowing You, Father; for You give us joy that the world cannot take away.
Father, we’re asking for your heavy hand of chastisement upon us to correct us, and direct us, Father. We know what we’re asking. Help us to see that love given and taken back, was not love at all. Help us not to hurt others and then expect others not to hurt us. Father, help us to trust Your unfailing love. Father, we’re asking You to increase our faith and trust in You. Like Your Servant, David who spoke over and over again, about Your unfailing love, help us to truly believe in Your unfailing love in every area of our life, especially in loving others.
Again we ask, Mature us in faith, Father, to make us obedient and perfect in love, Father, through Christ Jesus, help us to learn the true meaning of love. Love that only comes from You, dear Lord. Father, break the chains of bondage and let us “Be Open”! Amen
Who I Am in Christ
(From Neil Anderson, Living Free in Christ)
I am accepted…
- John 1:12 I am God’s child.
- John 15:15 I am Christ’s friend.
- Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
- 1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
- Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
- Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
- Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
- Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
I am secure…
- Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
- Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
- Romans 8:31-34 I am free from any condemning charges against me.
- Romans 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of God.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
- Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
- Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 I have been given a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
- Hebrews 4:14-16 I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
- 1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I am significant…
- Matthew 5:13-14 I am the salt of the earth.
- John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, and a channel of His life.
- John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
- Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ’s.
- 1 Corinthians 3:9 I am God’s coworker.
- 1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
- Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
- Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
- Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
- Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Published by Mishael T