Tag Archives: the love of God

Loving God, What Does That Look Like?

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When was the last time you came to God  just love on Him and be close to Him?

          I have three sons of varying ages who are completely different from one another in their personalities, likes, and interests. Each one is unique and I thank God that, He made them that way. I love each one equally and show no partiality to any one of them. They all know that I love them and I know that they love me. This is an understood fact and we all express that love to each other all the time. We live with an awareness of that love and we are conscious of the fact that the love we have will never change. There comes a time though, as they walk through their day-to-day life that the knowledge of that love is not enough.  They need to experience it.

          They need one on one, face-to-face interaction. They need a loving touch, they need to share thoughts and emotions and spend intimate personal time with me. They need to know that they are special to me and that my love is for them is real. There is a wonderful exchange that takes place in these times. I become sensitive to their needs and desires and reaffirm my love for them. It solidifies our bond and their faith in me as a loving father. It enriches and strengthens the relationship that we have.

          Each of my children likes to experience this love in different ways. As they age and their interest changes, our time together begins to look different also. My 13-year-old likes to go to the gun range and I teach him about shooting techniques, safety and responsibility, preparing him for manhood and the challenges that are ahead of him.

          My 10-year-old likes swimming, nature  and art. We enjoy each others company and I see the joy in his face when we are alone together. I encourage him to develop his gifts and artistic talents. My youngest, the 6-year-old, likes to crawl up in my lap and play silly little games. These games may seem insignificant to some, yet to this child it is one of the most important parts of his day and if we miss that time together he tells me about it. This time together is very important to him … It is also very important to me.

 lov2         As believers we need this intimate time with our Father, God. It is not enough to walk through life just knowing about the Love of God, we must experience it. The most important relationship that we have is with our creator. If we invest in this relationship, it pays dividends in all other relationships, making them richer and stronger.

          These times I described with my kids are all very important to me. Your personal time with God is very important to Him too. Is it important to you? As you grow as a Christian these intimate times with God will change and evolve to match your level of maturity and the life lessons that God knows are important to you at the time. No matter where you are in your walk with God, always approach Him as a child. Don’t take for granted that the most amazing thing available to you through Jesus sacrifice is your ability to stand before God like a child with no guilt, condemnation, or shame. Jesus made fellowship and intimacy available through His shed blood. His sacrifice was made so Father – Son relationship could be restored.

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

         lov5 I think we tend to get in rut with our “devotional” time and make it mechanical and impersonal. We come to God with a list of prayer needs and a plan to study, or read a certain amount of scripture and we never connect with Him personally. We go through the motions with a legalistic, works mentality, believing that its the right thing to do in order to be a “good Christian.” The truth is, very little fruit comes from actions like these. This is not relationship, and it does not promote growth and change, instead it perpetuates a legalistic mentality which quenches the grace of God and hinders the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

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 ~

~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.

~ 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.