Tag Archives: God’s love

How God’s Love Works With Your Faith

Your ability to live and operate by faith, is in direct proportion to your revelation of the Love of God.

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

          Concerning faith, we must believe first before we receive. Our ability to believe and receive by faith is tied to how much Love we have for God.

Some people have a real problem receiving anything from God, while some receive virtually everything they pray, and believe for. I have never been able to answer the question; “Why?” until the Lord revealed to me a powerful truth about His Love.

We are all probably familiar with this passage:

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

I have been taught that if you want to have strong faith then you must have a strong love walk. And that is true, but what does a strong love walk look like? You can learn about love, read books on how to express love, try to love more or love better, but all those efforts are vain if don’t know how to RECEIVE love. This is tied directly your understanding of how much He loves you.

If you judge God’s love for you on the basis of how you are performing, you will never be able to receive His unconditional love.

Receiving love always comes before giving love. God set it up this way. Your ability to receive things by faith is in exact proportion to your ability to receive God’s love.

Romans 5:5  says: “the love of God is poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit…” but you must learn to receive that love before you can enjoy it or give it away. It is the same with healing; 1 Peter 2:24  says: “By His stripes you WERE healed.” Past tense! But you will NOT enjoy healing UNLESS you RECEIVE it.

Do you see the correlation? Healing is an expression of His love for you. To receive healing is to receive His Love. If you can’t receive His love, you cannot receive His healing. It is not a faith issue, it is a love issue. This works the same for peace, prosperity and every other promise in the bible. His promises to us are expressions of His love for us. We MUST receive His love if we are to receive His promises.

Folks tend to get stuck in condemnation and a twisted, self-inflicted torment. Thinking that God is upset with them and is withholding from them because of their poor performance. That is such a lie of the enemy. The Devil wants to erode your self-image to the point that you see yourself as a worthless piece of wasted flesh with no value what so ever.

Remember that the value of a thing can only be determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God loved you so much that he paid the highest price imaginable for you.

You have been BOUGHT OUT by the blood of Christ, so don’t beat yourself up because you are not sold out to Him.

Know that you are always God’s Priority, not His option.

          We serve a good God! A loving God! I see now how faith and love work together. I am clear why faith works by love and this is what the Lord said to me:

“I have commanded you to love Me with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:30) Understand that this is the same way I love all my people … with all My heart, all My mind, all My soul and ALL My strength. Your ability to receive anything from Me hinges on your ability to believe and receive the love I have for you.”

If you have a problem expressing love, then you need to receive HIS love for you. If you have a problem receiving things by faith, then you need to receive HIS love for you.

 Don’t measure and judge God’s love for you on your limited experience with it. Even an earthly parent’s love pales in comparison to His great love for you.

Now we can better understand Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.

Ephesians 3:17-19 ~ that Christ may dwell in your hearts through
faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

To be filled with all the fullness of God, you must receive the fullness of His Love.

Blessings to all, 

~ Jack ~

~ Love, The 4 Part Harmony ~

I was rocking back and forth in my chair with my eyes closed as I was listening to the last song on my favorite worship tape. I had been singing to the Lord and praising Him  for almost an hour and His presence filled the room. The tape ended and I was  smiling from the inside out as I enjoyed the sweet silence and communion with  my master. Tears of joy were running down my cheeks and my heart was so full of emotion that I wasn’t quite sure how to express it.

With eyes still closed and the tears now flowing I said “Lord I love you so much”. He then spoke to my heart very distinctly, “How much do you love me, Jack”?  “I love you with all my heart, Lord”. He said “Jack that is not enough”.

My eyes popped open and I realized that God was trying to show me something. When God asks a question, He is obviously not looking for information. He then brought to my remembrance the passage in Mark 12:30 “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.”

I saw instantly that loving God with all my heart was only one-fourth of the love commandment. One fourth…25%! I thought to myself, “Man that is weak”. I began to consider what it might mean to love the Lord with my mind and my soul, and how to love Him with strength and realized that I really wasn’t sure. I asked the Lord to teach me how to love Him with these other parts of my being and He began to open my eyes and show me what true love really is.

After the Lord’s correction on how I loved Him, I began to pray and ask questions. “How do I love you with my mind and soul Lord”? I realized that the first thing to do was to define love as the bible teaches it so I took some time and really solidified what love is in my understanding. Immediately I began to see that my ignorance and the church’s ignorance on this topic was glaringly obvious.

Without going in to exhaustive word studies, hermeneutics and exegesis I will just rely on the printed text. You see it is very simple. God is love.

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

Love is a 4 part harmony, and when all four parts are expressed in fullness I begin to understand more of who God really is…..and more of who I am.

We see in Romans that He has put inside us everything we need to properly respond to Him with love. He has put His own nature, His character, the essence of His being inside us, giving us every opportunity and every necessary tool to connect with Him in intimate relationship.

Romans 5:5 ~  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

This love He has placed inside us has many qualities and characteristics, which is expressed in 1 Corinthians 13, the famous “love chapter”. But you will notice that the chief characteristic of love is giving.

John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Love is not merely a feeling or an emotion, although it will produce both. Love is a commitment of devotion that is directed by our will. Love is an action word. Not just a noun but also a verb. Love does, love doesn’t just say. Love invests. Love thinks of giving first before any thought of receiving.

So now we must realize that to love God with the mind, soul, and strength, we have to figure out how to give those parts of ourselves to Him. This is a long teaching so I will just leave you with a few thoughts to get the gears turning in your mind. You will be able to figure out the rest.

I find it interesting the soul and mind are separated in the text. I was always taught that the soul was the seat of the mind, will, and emotions, yet here they are separate. Here are the words as defined in the original text:

1) the heart ~ (kardia)

Denotes the centre and seat of spiritual life, the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate.

2) the soul ~ (psychē)

The seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions. The (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aides offered it by God it can attain its highest end, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life. The soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death.

 3) Mind ~ (dianoia)

The mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring, understanding, way of thinking and feeling. Thoughts, either good or bad.

4) Strength ~ (ischys)

 Abilities, talents, gifting, force, strength, might.

Since the greatest expression of love is to give, ask yourself this:

Am I giving all of those aspects of my life to God? Am I withholding parts of my life from Him? God has invested in you by putting His love in your heart (Romans 5:5), He expects a great return on His investment.

~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!

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!

~ Are You Under The Influense? ~

 

If you have made Christ your Lord, you have the answer to every possible question residing on the inside of you. The biggest part of living by Grace under the New Testament is submitting to the influence of the Holy Spirit. In fact if you look up the Greek definition of Grace you will see; “The divine influence on the heart, and it’s reflection in the life.”

1 John 2:20 ~ But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

Don’t just trust your instincts–OBEY them. Your Holy Ghost radar screen works perfectly, it’s the operator that may be in question. :/

Have you ever had a thought that you should do something and brushed it aside? Only later you find out that if you would have followed that thought, it would have saved you a BUNCH of trouble? I think we all have.

Recently we went camping with some friends and as I was loading the Coleman lantern, I had this thought: “you should get the rebuild kit that was given to you two years ago.” But I just brushed it aside thinking; “That lantern had been faithful for almost ten years, it should be fine.”

So what do you think happened when we tried to use it the first night? YOU GOT IT. It would not pressurize, so we only had firelight and flashlights the whole trip. Just so you know, a Coleman Dual Fuel Lantern is just a shade less bright than the sun and makes night-time activities a lot easier.

So the question is: Does God care about the little things in your life, like whether you have good lighting at night in the woods? YOU BET HE DOES! And if we would just try to be more sensitive to Holy Ghost on the inside, our lives would be SOOOO much easier.

You have an intelligence agent on the inside sending you messages all day long. Tune in. Pay attention. Don’t dismiss those little “feelings” you get. Be aware of the “unction to function.” The answer to a million questions is this:

 ~ Be Led By The Spirit Inside You ~

Romans 8:14 ~ For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

~ 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.