Category Archives: Love

How To Love God, How To Love others, How To Love Yourself

~ Loving God is Loving People ~

loving-God-loving-people3

If you are loving God with ALL your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength…. Loving people is easy.

  If you are having a hard time loving people … you may want to check up on that first part.

          We know that the New Testament Commandment is Love, but I think we miss the fact that the commandment has 5 parts to it.

Mark 12:29-31 ~ 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.

Loving God with all your: 1) Heart. 2) Soul. 3) Mind. 4) and Strength. 5) And your neighbor as your self.

          It may be safe to say that your relationship with God is 4 times as important than your relationship with people. There are specific instructions on how to love both and those instructions are very different. The thing is, you will never be able to love people as yourself if you are not loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

          Have you ever thought of how to love God with your soul? Your Mind? Your strength? Those are expressions that most are not familiar with. We Have all heard the expression “love with all our heart”. but when it comes to loving God … that is not enough.

Love_Is_A_Verb          Love takes action to be expressed. The chief expression of love is to GIVE, so we need to learn how to give every part of our being to God, our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is only when we achieve this level of love that we will be able love people the way Jesus did.

          Love is not a mere feeling, but a commitment of devotion that is directed by the will. We must learn to love in spite of feelings. This is where true faith is birthed.

“Faith works by LOVE. If you can’t love with out feeling, you will have a hard time believing without seeing.”

Galatians 5:6 ~ For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

JC 

~You can’t FALL in Love … It takes WORK~

We have all heard the old phrase “I’m falling in love” but you can’t fall in love,
that is just infatuation. To fall into something indicates a mistake or
something accidental. Love is far more purposeful than that. It takes concentrated effort and focus.

Love is not defined until you have worked at it for a while, invested something in it. If you truly LOVE, then you have given of yourself in a selfless, no strings attached way.

Love can only be expressed through the actions that it prompts. Love cannot be conveyed through words alone, love must be shown. LOVE is a verb, not just a noun. To really learn about LOVE, we must learn from the person of LOVE. The bible says that GOD IS LOVE.

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God’s is always reaching out to us wanting to invest in us, expressing His Love to us and through us. He desires to impart His very nature and character in us. Our New Testament command is to LOVE. To fulfill that command we must open ourselves up to be loved by the creator, allowing Him to show us HIS love.

Mark 12:30 ~ And you shall  love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment.

You didn’t “Fall in love” with God. He first loved you, He planted the seed, He made the investment, he put in the work FIRST. That is what enabled YOU to love Him. Love only comes from one place, the LORD. If truly love another person, that is evidence that God has made an investment in YOU.

1 John 4:19 ~ We love Him  because He first loved us.

Love is a selfless commitment of devotion that is directed by your will, and its source is God. Love on purpose.

~The Most Important Thing You Can Know In This Life ~

Back in early 1996, I was single and living in a small three-bedroom house. At the time I had taken in some Christian brothers that needed some help and I let them stay in the extra bedrooms. I was used to living alone and so, having two other single men living in the house, coming and going all the time, pulling on me for advice and help, had put a serious cramp in my life style. It seemed that I could never find an island of time in my house where I could just be alone with God and enjoy His presence.

I came home from work one day and was almost knocked over by the total silence in my house. No one was home but me! It had been weeks since I had the house all to myself. I remember grabbing my bible, pen and paper as I sat down on the couch. I finally had some peace and quiet and I was going to make the most of it.

I lifted my bible up to God and said “Lord, show me something cool in your Word”. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like the most spiritual of prayers, but I said it in faith and I launched it from my heart. Quite to my surprise, God spoke to me in a strong inward voice. The Lord said to me “Jack, what would you like to know?”

God had not spoken to me that strong and that clear for a long time. This wasn’t just the inward witness, it was so strong it shocked me and took me a little off guard. I got completely still. I was in the presence of God! I knew that at that very moment I could ask God any question about His Word and I would get a clear and definite answer.

What an opportunity! What an honor! For a few seconds my mind was racing through all these big questions that have been argued over by theologians for centuries. (and a bunch of useless questions about alien existence, dinosaurs and how to become rich by tomorrow.) Then this one thought arrested me. (thank God for the Holy Ghost!)I spoke it out even as I thought it, I said “Lord I want you to show me what YOU know I need the most”. I had scarcely finished my request and God spoke to me again in that strong inward voice. He said    “1 Corinthians 13”. I began flipping through my bible at light speed and was half way to the verse when it hit me. That’s the love chapter! I smiled and.looked toward heaven and said “you got me.”

The Lord then spoke to me again and told me to get my Amplified bible and read it like I had never seen it before. So I did just that. I slowly began to digest the exhaustive description of love that the Amplified bible gives. I let God speak to me through His word. When I got to the end of the chapter and I was reflecting on how much I lacked in the love department, I was about to close the book and the Lord spoke yet again and said: “Read the next verse”. So I read on to 1 Corinthians 14:1 in the Amplified bible and this is what it said:

 1 Corinthians 14:1 EAGERLY PURSUE and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest];….

I knew that I had heard from heaven that day. God just told me by His Spirit, and through His word, that this was the one thing that I needed to know about the most. Then I realized that love is what we all need the most. It is the New Testament command to all believers.

Although this is something very personal to me, I believe it applies to everyone in the Body of Christ. I am still learning about the subject of love, and particularly how to love God, but I have realized this. Love is the most powerful thing you can acquire. It is the unfailing force that defines Gods character. It is the foundation of our faith. It is the one sure key that will open the door to the supernatural in your life. Love is a person. Love is God Himself!

1 John 4:8  ~ He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

The title of this post is: “The Most Important Thing You Can Ever Know”. That may seem to be a pretty “all-inclusive” statement, but take a look at the verse in 1 John 4:8 again. “He that doesn’t love … doesn’t know God”. Is our knowledge of God, our understanding of Him, tied to how much we know about love, how we express it, how much we walk in it? Look at the commandment we have in the New Testament, I think it answers the question.

Mark 12:29-31 ~ 29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30And 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. 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

I truly believe that the reason we don’t see more signs, miracles and wonders in the church now is because the church is weak and we have such little knowledge and understanding about love, which is God’s nature, His personality, His very being. We have a promise in the book of Daniel that really stirs me up to pursue this love:

Daniel 11:32 ~ Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

I don’t know about you, but I choose to do exploits! … I choose Love … I choose God!

~ Thoughts on God’s Grace ~

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 

If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of grace and the scriptures in general.

 We really need to stretch our understanding and theology to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

 We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in Ephesians 4:11

When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love”.

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 Grace is the influence and manifestation of the Love of God toward you and your expression of that love toward God and others.

 

*The Christmas Gift We All Want!

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Faithfulness, Goodness, Gentleness Self-Control and – 

God brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard.  Share them~

 Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23


Let The Children Come

God loves children. He does not discriminate against children. He does ask us parents, to train them. Do not underestimate your children’s faith. They can hear from God too. They can walk a victorious life in God’s love and grace just like adults. do 

May your children grow up to be your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

Mark 10:13-16 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Matthew 18:4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Luke 9:37

Don’t be a Holiday Pooper! :)

It Is the season to be jolly…

Create a chain reaction of kindness.

Be kind to yourself first, and be kind to others as well.

When you are waiting in line to pay for your merchandise at store, you get to do a little people watching.

You get to witness how a rude remark can spread bitterness through the line in seconds, and when all purchases are done, and people are gone… there is one sad, frustrated, and unappreciated cashier left behind.

How about we take a stand and do some damage control with kindness. We can’t control what people say or do, but we can stop a fire from spreading in a line. We can break the chain of rude remarks and not pass them on. Don’t contribute to holiday bullying. Be kind and follow the old saying—If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t anything at all!- *The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 *

We have the power to transform our own lives and the lives of others through simple acts of kindness. So, go ahead and dare to make the world a better place one purchase at a time.

Take a moment today to show kindness. Treat people with respect and share a smile as you go by.

Happy Shopping!

~ To Love God ? ~ So… What Does That Look Like? ~

I was in a time of worship and prayer. I had one of my favorite worship tapes playing and I had been singing to the Lord for about an hour. My devotional time had changed over the last couple of weeks from prayer and reading the Bible to just worshipping Him. Every day God honored me with His presence, and every day that went by, my life seemed to get clearer and less complicated. I began to see everything differently, God, people, myself.

There is something about worship that purifies you and puts life into its proper perspective. It’s like getting into a vehicle that takes you into the presence of the Almighty God. In His presence there is a wonderful exchange that takes place, and we always get the better of that exchange. You honor God with your love and devotion, and He transforms you, and you become more like Him. What a powerful thing worship is. Worship is also anther vital life connection which we will discuss in a later chapter.

As I was enjoying the sweetness of His presence the tape had ended and I just sat there in a holy silence. The joy that I felt was overwhelming. You can’t worship God for more than a few minutes without it bringing some kind of joy in your life.

I wasn’t sure what to do, I really didn’t want to move but I wanted to bless Him, so I said “Lord I love you SO MUCH!” Then I heard this still small voice on the inside, “Jack, how much do you love me?”  Without thinking I burst out with my reply, a phrase that we all have used or at least heard. I said “Lord I love you with all of my heart!”  The Lord then replied in that same small voice “That’s not enough”. With those words I became very still.

The entire atmosphere in that room had just changed. I was very aware that God had just asked me a question and I gave Him the wrong answer. I also realized that the Lord doesn’t ask us questions because He is looking for information. I could still sense His presence, but it was the presence of a Father bringing correction and instruction to His child in a loving and tender way. He was trying to teach me something and I was intently listening on the inside. He immediately brought to my remembrance this scripture:

 Mark 12:30 ~ And you shall  love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment.

It didn’t take my little brain long to do the math on that one. Loving God with all your heart is only one-fourth of what we are commanded to do. 25%! I thought to myself, “that’s pretty weak”.

I began to meditate on what it meant to love God with your soul, to love Him with your mind, and to love Him with strength. I had to admit that I really didn’t know what that meant. I was intrigued by this new line of thought, and at the same time, I was appalled to think that those three major areas were either weak or non-existent in my walk with God.

I was doing my best to show the Lord how much I loved Him, but my best is only my best until I can do better, I saw areas of my life that I could improve on. God was showing me that I could do better and I realized that I should have been looking for ways to do better all along.

From that point I began to take a long hard look at my life and my relationship with God. A relationship that I thought was pretty strong. I knew God was about to redefine my definition of “strong relationship”. The first thing I did was ask God to teach me about His love. He was obviously trying to show me something and I wanted to get everything He was trying to give me.

The second thing I did was get a concordance and look up the meaning for the Greek word Love. I thought I knew what it meant but after that kind of correction from God I did not want to take any thing for granted. To know how to love I first needed to make sure that I knew exactly what love was. The word for love that is used in Mark 12:30  is the Greek verb agapeo.

Now, I knew that “agape” was the Greek noun for the God kind of love and I had read 1 Corinthians 13 more times than I could count, but this word was new to me. It was far more powerful in its explanation. The definition in short is simply this:

agapeo = Love,  a verb.  “the commitment of devotion that is directed by the will…and can be commanded as a duty”.

It has been said that love can only be known by the actions that it prompts. In other words, love gives of itself and expresses itself in action or it is not love. Love is as love does. It’s not enough to just say you love someone, love is active and  alive, an aggressive force, to love is to give. In fact love is the highest and most honorable form of giving, while giving is the chief expression of love.

Look at the language that is used in the definition, words like commitment and devotion. If you have ever been committed or devoted to something or someone, you know full well that it takes some effort and some work.

Love is tied to your will. We must make a choice to love. By choosing love we have automatically chosen to give something of ourselves. Love is an act of your will, without action it is not love.

I come from a faith background and I knew that faith without works is dead according to James 2:26, but I just found out that love without works is dead also. That made perfect sense to me because Faith works by Love according to Galatians 5:6 . I began to see why my faith was not working at the level I knew it could.

We have all heard the old phrase “I’m falling in love” but you can’t fall in love, that is just infatuation. To fall into something indicates a mistake or something accidental. Love is far more purposeful than that. It takes concentrated effort and focus.

Love is not defined until you have worked at it for a while and invested something in it.

There are a lot of Christians today that are merely infatuated with God and they think that they really love Him. In fact if you told these folks that they really don’t love God they would be ready to fight you to defend their position.

Those that are infatuated with God are the folks like this: They go to church on Sunday (most of the time) because they don’t want to make the spouse mad or they don‘t want to feel guilty. These people know in their heart that God is real and they may even believe that God has great things for them. Unfortunately they don’t serve Him in the church, they don’t give of their finances and they don’t get involved with supporting the vision of the local church body, not even in prayer. Their bibles are dusty and all they do is play church. They always have an excuse why they can’t get involved in serving somewhere in the church and they will drop a few bucks in the offering plate as it goes by so it looks like they are givers and “doing their part” to those around them. These are the people who haven’t committed or devoted themselves to God.

Don’t be discouraged if I have just summarized your Christian life and walk with God. The good news is that it is very easy to move from being infatuated with God to truly loving Him. I have seen many people in my church make this transition as their faith develops. It is a glorious thing to see.

It is easy to tell if someone is really in love with God. You can see it in their expressions, their actions, and even the tone of their voice when they mention “The Lord”.

As a church in these last days we must make this transition into truly loving God with everything that is in us. No more half-hearted, part-time, milky toast Christianity. There is a world out there that is desperate to see this level of sold out commitment. The greatest witness that we have is our love for God and people. A lot of folks are searching for this and don’t even know it. The saved and lost alike.

I have asked the Lord to show me how to Love with the soul, mind and strength and have found that this is revelation that our entire Christian life is built on. Knowing what each aspect of this command looks like can make a huge difference in your life and ministry.

~The Most Powerful Faith Confession You Can Make~

~ Because the love of God is in my heart, I am patient and kind. I do not envy or boast and I am not proud. I do not dishonor others, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered and I keep no record of a suffered wrong. I do not delight in evil but I rejoice in the truth. I always protect, hope and persevere. I am always willing to believe the best of every person. I never fail. ~

1Corinthians 13:4-8 ~ NIV

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails….