Archive for January, 2011

Why is it important to love?

January 24, 2011

Of course, we all know that the greatest commandment is to love God, ourself and others. Matthew 22:37-40. And many of us have tried living like this. I do believe we all have work to do in every area, including me. Loving is why Jesus came, and is the main theme of His sacrifice.. because He loved the world.

In this ministry, our focus is on love and forgiveness. No matter what topic you teach on, love and forgiveness is always a part of it.  If you teach on child behavior, fear, guilt and condemnation, finances, world view, whatever it is, it ALWAYS needs to include love and forgiveness. I have heard preachers say, “There is more to teach on than just love and forgiveness.”  Really? I ask? Because without love and forgiveness you have nothing!

I wanted to spend a couple of minutes sharing with you the reasons we are to love and forgive. As you notice I’m not just talking about love, but including forgiveness, because in order to love, we have to forgive, or have been forgiven. When we received God’s love, with that He forgave us. So they are connected continually.

Before I share these points, I want to preface it with these 2 passages:

1 John 4:21 “Love God, and love our brother also.” It correlates to Matthew 22:37-40. This tells me that when I love God, I do love my brother. And when I love my brother, it’s evidence that I love God. They go hand in hand too. So what does loving my brother look like? Do I love them then leave them? Do I love them and say, I never want to see you again? Do you love and tell them you love them but don’t like them?

1 John 4:19 “We love God because He first loved us.” Have you ever tried and tried to love your brother and find it difficult? It’s because you first  need God’s love in you before you can love others or even Him back properly! So the first order of business is get your heart in line with God and His love for you. It has to be IN you! And that little word “in” plays an important role in having your prayers answered, as you will see shortly.

(Note: There are instances that we are around abusive people, and God doesn’t want that. But.. even in that, we are still to love them, not their behavior. And we are to remove ourselves from such persons too. I’m not talking about that. I’m simply talking about your every day life. How many are mad at their neighbor for cutting a tree down? How many are mad at your spouse for something they did years ago you haven’t been able to forgive. These are the kinds of things I’m talking about.)

So, with that said, here are the points:

1) When we love our brother, God’s love is perfected in us!  (1 John 4:12). So, if love is perfected in us, that also means we are free from fear. Because perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4;18). Then if you have ANY fear, it must mean one of two things: You aren’t receiving God’s love for you, and/or you aren’t loving others and yourself. INteresting, that it also backs up Matthew 22:37-40 “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love others as you love yourself.” You have to decide which (or both) it is, and repent.

2) We over come the world! Now that is awesome. Isn’t that what Jesus said. “I have come that you may overcome the world?” It’s His love that overcomes the World! What is the world? The earth? No. The people. Overcome the people… the fear, anger, hate, jealousies, etc., is what we overcome.

3) The wicked one cannot touch us… when we love God, others and ourself! (1 John 5:18). I had an incident some time ago where the enemy literally stormed my house to do harm, but no harm came to my family or any other person they were after. God kept us from all harm!

4) We don’t lie. When we walk in love we don’t lie. (I John 5:10). How many of us don’t tell our “loved ones” the truth about our heart and mind? We just go along with everyone and everything, and end up getting hurt or resentful. Truthfully, if we stay true to ourselves, and speak from our heart at all times, we won’t get into some of the messes we find ourselves. It’s not just about learning to say “no” it’s about simply being honest. I find that when we are honest the load is light. There is a scripture that says, “His yoke is easy and  His burden light.” And the Lord showed me the past week what it is we are to carry! Truth. So when we are truthful, we are also walking in love, because Jesus is the truth made flesh, and He never lies.

5) When we love each other, our prayers are heard and answered according to His will (1 John 3:16-24 and 1 John 5:14-16). So, we open up the possibilities even more when we love one another.

6) When we are “in” Him, we walk in love. How many times do you read being “in” Christ, or “in” God. It’s not just a word we tack on to the end of a prayer, it’s an actual place we live. So that when we pray, we are asking “in” Him. Makes a big difference. So how are we “in” Him? By receiving all that Jesus has done, receiving God’s love and forgiveness, and forgiving and loving others… that is how we are “in” Him. Then… when you ask anything “in” His name, and it will be done. But what people think is that they just tack on “In the name of Jesus” at the end of their prayers, and that is sufficient. There is more… because to be “in” Christ, is to already be “in” Him when you pray.

We all have a long way to go, no matter who we are, in really living “in” Christ. I think today is a good place to start saying, “Father, I want to be “in” Christ more. Help me. Show me. Teach me.”  Because then, you will learn to walk in love, because when He is In you… it is there for you to use!

And the final outcome of walking in love and forgiveness, is that you reflect our Heavenly Father on this earth. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

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What is God doing? Do we ever ask that?

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!  Today I read some passages of the Word before even getting out of bed… so I flipped open the Bible and it landed on Job 10. I just started reading and got an insight that I believe will help us understand what God is doing! Especially those times when it seems like He has abandoned us, or allowed something to happen that wasn’t pleasant…  Because don’t you have times when you see God working wonderfully in your life, then the next day it seems like all hell breaks loose and you wonder what you did? You wonder where God went? And then confusion, doubt and unbelief sets in. We begin to waver in our faith, and then stop trusting, stop believing…  So I hope that this passage of scripture and the way the Lord explained it to me, helps you too..

Have you heard the song sung in Mary Poppins called, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?” Well, that’s what this passage is all about. Let me share a portion of it here and then I’ll share with God laid on my heart.

Starting in Job 10:8 – Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee. If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.

Job is saying to God… I see you doing awesome things in my life, and now bad things happened. And he was getting confused. He would rather God never had let him be born than to have to go through these things! (If you continue reading in Job 10, that’s what Job ends up saying.) And in the end his famous saying that I hold onto is, “Though you slay me, yet will I trust You.” See, Job had to go through something here. God was purging him from pride and fear… and this was the way He did it for Job. So what does this have to do with us? Everything. because don’t we see God doing amazing things in our lives, then something bad happens? Sometimes it seems to come all at once? It’s because God is doing a purging in our lives. He is trying to get at something in us, just like He did with Job. And if you read the last chapters in Job, Job repented for his sins. God has to work in our lives, but if  He just goes after it with fury, without mercy, grace, love – “a spoon full of sugar” we will be utterly destroyed in spirit. But… every time there is a glimmer of hope held out for us during these things, and we have the strength to press on. That is His plan! He is pulling you toward the finish line…

And like that song, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” If we didn’t get a dose of joy, or peace, or victory in the midst of what God is doing to cleanse out the chaff in our lives, we wouldn’t make it. But he adds those “spoons of sugar” to help Him in His surgery on our lives!

Recently I had this myself. For the past 3 months I was on the ride of my life… every time I turned around something was happening that caused me to either run TO God or run FROM Him… of course, even in my weariness, I ran toward Him… and always, always, always, He worked things out. This testing lasted about 3 months… and within that 3 months everyone involved was changed! Our hearts were healed, our health was healed, our lives were restored, relationships repaired, and or sins purged. But it took this experience to get the job done! God was there all the time… He had to allow the bumps and bruises in order for us to deal with issues we kicked and screamed about or didn’t know was there, or didn’t want to face. And because we endured…. Now, on New Years day…  the sun is out (in spirit of course, cause it is raining outside today) and there is restoration, hope, and we all even “feel” different. We have more peace than  ever had before, and now realize that this time was to bring that peace to each of us. God loves us all the same, and wants blessings for all, not just for one or two, but all concerned… and it happened… because we kept trust Him no matter what!

My faith was strengthened during this time BECAUSE I CHOSE to run TO Him… not from Him. It was like being on a surgery table… and then recovering from the experience.. now I’m healed.. and experiencing the wonderful benefits of that surgery.

God’s knife is sharp, it cuts clean and true, and cuts both ways. We have to allow that cut to be healed, not run to and fro in doubt and unbelief, but rejoice in ALL things, Believe ALL things, Hope All things…  that is the Love at work here toward the Lord… That is our call as a believer, to Believe Him… in and for all things.. Yes, the enemy is in there wreaking havoc but, God is greater, and when we put our confidence and trust in God… we will come out on the other side, better than before we went in.

How many of you are going through the most trying time of your life? You may have even said, “Oh no, here I go again.” Well, you need someone to help you get to the other side… Ask the Lord to send you someone who can pray with you, and talk you through to the other side…  And won’t give up on you or faint in the process. We all need that from time to time. That is why the Lord taught on 2 or more gathered… and why He sends us out in twos, because when one falls the other can lift them up. But don’t let that stop you, or cause you to fall into self-pity cause no one is there… God is there all the time, call upon Him to be your help. He has everything you need for your life in the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus who made the way for our abundance in Him. And watch and see what comes from it… but be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you don’t faint.

So continue to cooperate with God every day of our life, and choose to trust Him no matter what… Just like Job did…  If you read the whole story, you’ll find that He went through a huge trial, I’m not even sure how long it was for…  but in the end, he came out on the other side, and everything that was robbed from him was returned in double portion! And he didn’t have anyone to help him, as a matter of fact, they tried to discourage him from trusting God… What will you do today? Wait I say on the Lord…

Have a wonderful peace-filled New Year!