Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Love or Die

Love or Die

Love is a law therefore it is commanded. Somehow this has escaped me all these years. I know it is good for me to love because it is reciprocal. Hate is reciprocal too. Indifference is no more than a silent hatred. What has escaped me all these years is that love is a law that cannot be broken without extreme collateral damage. Even so love is the motivating law of life.  We see this law in action all around as an inescapable command: “Love or Die”.  We have an insatiable need for love. We are served and serve through love. Intimacy of relationship is though love. By serving others we add value to ourselves and others. We call this appreciation or to appreciate.  The absence of love depreciates, decreasing the value of ourselves and others.

god is love

The Love Defined

God is love. What does this mean? Love can be expressed by four Greek words, agape, phileo, eros and storge.

Storge is a love God the Father expresses toward Christ as the heir of all He has designed and purposed to show the Glory of God to all creation. This love is also expressed toward us who are made in the image and likeness of God.  To live is to manifest the Fathers glory of genius. To reflect this glory is an expression of storge. Storge is the most organic form of love that anyone can feel; something as natural as falling asleep at night. This love is the most comfortable and least ecstatic of all loves. It’s not the rapturous feeling you have when falling in love with a partner. Storge  it like soft slippers might feel to your body. Storge wraps you around like a blanket, almost like sleep itself. The Father has provided all that you need intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. To love God you must express this level of appreciation with your total being. You are wrapped in the Fathers love resonating for all to see and feel.

Eros is a love that shows intimacy of being. Eros is the romantic flavor of love. It’s passionate, it’s rapturous, and it’s euphoric. It’s what the greatest songs have been sung about, what the greatest poems have been written about. It’s what many consider the greatest feeling of the human experience. Far more it is an expression that makes you human. If you’ve been walking around with a void in your life, when you find someone who can wipe it clean, it can truly feel like heaven on earth for a period of time.  This is the love of Jesus Christ toward His bride the body/church. This is His glory in action. To eros is to have the most intimate relationship intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. To love Christ you must express this level of appreciation with your total being.

Dr. Seuss once said..

“You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

Phileo is a love that is dispassionate, deep, and enduring friendship. This love knows your faults and does not abandon you in times of need. This love stands with you regardless of the circumstances. This love laughs when you laugh, cries with you when you cry and comforts you all the day every day. This love tells you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. This love anchors you to stability not shifting with the sands of time. This love strengthens by faith and creates hope in your life. This is the love of the Holy Spirit toward you expressed in knowledge, wisdom, health and faith of intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. To love the Holy Spirit you must express this level of appreciation with your total being.

 

Agape is a love that is comprehensive of storge, eros and phileo. God is Love. This would be better said Elohim is Love. The trinity is Love! You cannot have one without the others. Jesus said “He dwells within me and I in Him…He does the works.” Faith, hope and agape is the essentials of life and agape is the greatest of these. Why? God is agape. Who wants a husband or wife that is eros only? No you want a friend who will walk with you, a lover who will court you and spouse who knows your needs better than anyone! This is expressed toward you comprehensively by God intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

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Law of Love in action

This is where the road rises up to meet you. This is the great teaching of Christ Love is life. Love dwells in all human beings. All things that are good are the result of love. Love creates and appreciates. It does not benefit a person to attempt anything without love. Despite all your will to think positively and accept only good, you will find your thinking warped, demented and twisted into patterns of selfishness, bitterness, and resentment every time you cross a crisis in your life. If love has not manifested fully in your life you will see a world that is hostile and people and things that are hostile. This is a matter of view and not necessarily a reality. You will expect people to be bent on beating, taking from and destroying you. As long as this type of belief lies at the door of the subconscious you will be subject to the Law of Reciprocal Actions. You will get your expectations met creating an environment opposite of your desires. Consequently through lack of love you grow selfish, bitter and complaining, and sow the seeds of hate and destruction; you will wither, die and detract from life.

Life is creation, and all creation is a labor of love. The desire to contribute or add value(appreciate)  to humanity creates our environment and things. The fundamental nature of creativeness is love of life, for such love guides a man to progress, advancement, improvement or more enhanced than has ever been done before. Devine love draws a man into the great unity and purpose, guiding instinctively with perception the direction in which life moves; becoming one with its efforts, he contributes and creates.

This is no secret or special knowledge: only a measure of ignorance that has be sustained from one generation to another. Life seeks out knowledge and creation is the measure of the learning. Creation is the purpose of life; Creation is the mechanism of love. In other words you were created by Love to live in love and to express love with creativity. You have a designed purpose. For example a coffee cup is designed to be filled with coffee. More importantly it is designed to be filled with the brew that the master desires. We should not argue semantics noting that any hot or cold beverage may be placed in the cup. Rather that the desire is love and that love created the cup for the love of the beverage to the satisfaction of the master. You are designed with purpose by love and this love has designed talents and abilities given especially to you making you unique in the universe. Love develops character and sets you free to do the good works that God the Father has ordained that you should walk in. Lasting or complete satisfaction is established in your talents being developed, and your vision and knowledge God magnified. This is the chief end of man to glorify God by enjoying Him where magnification or your vision and knowledge reveal the magnitude of His greatness. This gives you a telescope view of God! By cleaving to the love of God as the power to good works you become free to develop your talents and abilities with an expanding and seeking universe; you become free to contribute. This is to say your life has meaning and purpose that is unique. This is not to say that the world is dependent on you and cannot exist without you; instead you add value to the world you live. This contribution advances humanity along the road. The great deception and evil resides in rejecting God as the source of love and life and proposing humanity as the source. This would be like proposing the eye is the most important organ of the body because it can see and perceive when the body can live without it. However with the eye the whole body advances in function. You are of value and add value. Your contribution is of great value.

We should be shocked and dismayed at the most disgraceful expression evil of our time by those people who do not realize that malfunction and despondency are their own fault. Some would say I have no friends and yet they are not friendly or are not a good friend. Some would say they have nothing to plant in their fields in the spring yet they ate their seed. They are sick and yet do not follow good hygiene. They sow the seed of idleness and laziness and reap neediness. They complain just as the children of Israel in the desert and ignore the greatest miracles right before their eyes. They cry in outrage and resentment along life’s road blaming God:  too much rain, not enough rain, too cold, too hot, too much sun, not enough shade, and negative, negative, negative! The greatest lesson to learn is that the fault is not fate, luck or an angry God—they are the fault. The very word itself presumes a mistake made. Ignorance and lack of love is the error which is to be the fault. This is a shame when we have such a great witness that surrounds us that God is Love!

Love or Die

Life does not have to be this way. God has created you to be more than you can imagine. You can achieve the desires God has placed in your life just as a seed that is planted in the ground. Are you fertile ground for it to grow and develop? The fertility of the ground is dependent on your love. Love is the power to live and grow; the lack of love is death.

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Seek and find

Ask, seek and knock. Jesus encourages us to come to the Father who has all and is able and willing to give. Over the years I have witnessed this to be true. This is not some mystical search rather something that is more logical and spiritual.

 

We either work in accord to the power of the Holy Spirit within us or by opposing it destroy ourselves.

 

“He who seeks finds”, Jesus says. I have found this to work even in the negativity of this world. He who abandons search as hopeless will find a hopeless life. Amazingly the search does not stop and search is fulfilled albeit hopelessness. The question is what are we really searching. What do we really want? And why do we want it? Seeking does not take much effort. Seeking for any length of time may prove to test our patience. Therein is part of our problem. Our culture has destroyed perseverance as acceptable. Technology has stepped in to be our new god providing right now what we want or at least what the technology tells we want. Shamefully we have forgotten what we need and really want. We need and want lasting relationships starting with our creator. Our first breath was recognition that we can not do this life alone. We Cried out at birth hold me, feed me, clothe me. What has changed? We then cried out please save me, I can not save myself Jesus. What has changed? We are needy and want. This is natural.

“You have not because you ask not,” once again we are reminded. Stand at the counter in your favorite restaurant and say nothing and your will get exactly that, nothing.  What do you really want? and Why? Take these request to God. Be courageous and fervent! We know that the fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much. So do not give up in hopelessness. Your answer is coming either to correct your wants and whys or the thing that you have asked for. In both you have received your need and want.

Don’t Grow Weary In Doing Good

Galatians 6:9 explores us to do good without weariness of the idea of doing good.

I have heard it said that doing good is the nemesis of success. Look out across the horizon of wealth and prosperity and you will find corruption, self indulged ideologies of materialism, and godless hedonism or seeking satisfaction void of God. As a believer in Christ I see the godless prosper, the hatred of humanity mass great wealth and wickedness flourish. It is so easy to throw up my hands and say “why keep trying and why stay the course?” Yet Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians emplores me to stay the course in hope and expectation of a great harvest of goodness. As a teacher of the ways of Christ I am challenged beyond my comprehension to advise and counsel the idea of doing good for the sake of doing good in part due to the fact it does not pay bills. I would never counsel the idea of acting unjustly, or dishonestly. God forbid! The challenge is not the idea of doing good rather the immediate reward of doing good. I love my sleep and I could never sleep well knowing I cheated someone or acted unjustly toward another. The idea of doing good is not hard to teach or accept. The concept of doing well in a world that does not operate by the same standard is seemingly impossible.

 

Morality and ethics can not be legislated.

 

Morality and ethics can not be legislated.  Injustice and dishonesty are common place where the laws of the land cannot regulate. In those cases we are faced with earnest work for the sake of doing good. I am sure even as you read these words many such experiences flood into your mind where you’ve done what is good and right only to be disrespected, dishonored and disavowed. We are however warned that goods gotten dishonestly will diminish and that labor done in vain will achieve no lasting gain. The challenge we all face is the lack of evident in the world around us. I have done right by those whom we do business and have lost everything in the process except my dignity. The shrewd dealings with the world commands that I have my guard up all the time and God commands that I deal with them righteously regardless of their intentions and actions. This is doing good and this will wear on the physical and mental being growing in weariness that words can not express. When we are wronged we forgive. When we are cheated we forgive. When we are treated unjustly we forgive. We love and grant mercy as we have obtained love and mercy from God who sees all. We do not grow weary of doing good because we go to the source of our strength which is not the praise of man but to hear the words “well done faithful servant” from God who raised us from death to life.

 

“Where and to whom do we go when we become weary of doing good?”

 

The question is not “are we successful in business or life?” Rather the question is “Where and to whom do we go when we become weary of doing good?” I do not have the answers to the absence of successful business and life in regards doing what is good. Good does not grant success or pay the bills. Good works are something that is foreordained that we walk in all the days of our lives. Good works do not guarantee wealth and prosperity. Good works and financial success are in fact apples and oranges by comparison. Good works does seem to be the nemesis of Success in the financial world but not in the moral fabric of our being. Good Guys do not finish last. Fact is being a bad guy does not make a person famous rather notorious. Historically we remember bad guys because of the lack of goodness. we remember the deterioration of their moral fabric. We remember the destruction that they wrecked and the wake of collateral damage they left behind: Due to their despicable character we remember. In our pledge to remember their debauchery we make them hero’s of success by ill gotten gains. This memorialization serves to undermine our perception of what is good. For this reason we are admonished to no grow weary. For this reason we must stay the course, compete in the race of faith and finish strong with our good character and dignity in tact. For this reason we must be as Christ admonished “be wise as serpents and gentle as doves”. Let us set aside every sin (results of our transgressions and errors) that beset us and put on the whole armor of God. Rise up and fight the good fight; The fight that if we are not careful we will grow weary.

Kingdom of Heaven

Over the years I have leaned heavily on Men Like Charles Haddon Spurgeon for writing inspiration. They have exhorted me to drive deeper in my study, and prayer for understanding and resulting relational growth with Christ. Morning and evening devotions are no exception. Lean in and hear this devotion as if you were sitting by an open fireplace sipping coffee or tea. 
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.”

– 1 Peter 1:23
Peter most earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other “with a pure heart fervently” and he wisely fetched his argument, not from the law, from nature, or from philosophy, but from that high and divine nature which God hath implanted in his people. Just as some judicious tutor of princes might labour to beget and foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behaviour, finding arguments in their position and descent, so, looking upon God’s people as heirs of glory, princes of the blood royal, descendants of the King of kings, earth’s truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter saith to them, “See that ye love one another, because of your noble birth, being born of incorruptible seed; because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things; and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade, and even its existence shall cease.” It would be well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature, and lived up to it. What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity. The king’s royalty often lieth only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth, as a man is above the beast that perisheth. Surely he ought to carry himself, in all his dealings, as one who is not of the multitude, but chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, written among “the peculiar people” and who therefore cannot grovel in the dust as others, nor live after the manner of the world’s citizens. Let the dignity of your nature, and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to cleave unto holiness, and to avoid the very appearance of evil. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon

watch and wait

I am persuaded that much of what we believe we have come by wrote and not by reasoning. Let us take for instance the love of God. How do I know that God love me? Most of us if we were honest with ourselves would say “because I was told He does”. Have we examined the scriptures to verify this and experienced the joy of this divine love? The analogy does not stop there. Most of our theology comes from sources that we have not verified nor have we examined the facts for ourselves. Matthew 25 is an example of this same analogy. We see 10 virgins waiting on the Groom and when he returns 5 are ready and 5 are left. Now I have heard theologians and those who consider themselves learned in the scriptures speculate on this passage. However most will only regurgitate the last person they read or studied under. Why? we are not habitually called studied people. We give our references from an authority rather than consulting the real authority and that is the Holy Spirit. The end of the passage states….Watch! So does this mean I am never to sleep until Christ return? Of course not. However this has been explained away by those who would say that Christ is not meaning literally watching rather, expectation and attitude. Though I may agree with this the question is not answered and only those awake and watching went with Christ.

Our understanding of this passage truly eludes to maturity and understanding of believers. Jesus was talking to the Jews at the time of this discourse and they understood the idea of appointed times and seasons. the result? Christ will reveal to those who are mature the season and timing and they will be watching and waiting. Scripture is filled with doing the right thing for the right reason at the right time in the right place. We call this righteousness. The pharisees were great about most of the right except for the reasons. Their lack of maturity made them blind and deaf to the words of Christ.

Some things really never change. We as americans are so full of our own righteousness that we have very little room for Christ in our lives. We lack discipline and maturity therefore we have blindness and deafness to the words of Christ. It is time to awake from our laziness and study to show our selves approved before God and man. Maturity is needed for revival and necessary for the return of Christ.

If Christ were to return today, what would he find you doing? Hopefully what he has called you to do.

See Yourself As God Sees You

God didn’t make a mistake when He made you. You need to see yourself as God sees you.”

Most of us don’t believe we have an important job or that we have a local position that has little impact worldwide and most importantly a position that has eternal meaning. J. John gave a great response to how he sees himself as a pastor/evangelist. I believe we short change our importance to God and consequently we deny His design and purpose for our lives. Tragically this is dishonoring to ourselves, to our loved ones and most importantly dishonoring to God. Read this transcript and enjoy, but most importantly know that God has a special plan and purpose for you. You were #designedwithpurpose

Whenever I get asked, “J.John, what do you do?” it’s always very difficult to know what to say, because if I say to them that I’m a Reverend, which I am, that conjures up certain images in people’s minds. So, I often like to be a little bit creative in telling people what I do. I sat next to this woman on an airplane at Heathrow Airport in London and I said, “Hello.” And she said, “Oh, hello.” I said, “Where are you going?” She says, “I’m going to Singapore.” She said to me, “Where are you going?” I said, “I’m going to Australia.” I said, “What do you do?” And she told me.
Then she said, “What do you do?” and I said, “Well, I work for a global enterprise.” She said, “Do you?” I said, “Yes, I do. We’ve got outlets in nearly every country of the world.”
She said, “Have you?” I said, “Yes, we have. We’ve got hospitals. We’ve got hospices. We’ve got homeless shelters. We’ve got orphanages. We do marriage work. We’ve got feeding programs. We do justice work. Basically, we look after people from birth to death and we deal in the area of behavioral alteration.” She went, “Wow!” like really loud. People all turned round and look at us. She said, “What’s it called?” I said, “It’s called ‘The Church.’ Have you heard of it?”

Peace in a war weary world

“All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.” (Isaiah 54:13–14)

Often we quote proverbs as a guide to raising children: “train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. In doing so we lose sight of the “way” and why no departure is a promise. We forget that evangelism begins not in the world but in our own families. Joshua was told by God “let not the book of the law depart from your mouth meditate on it day and night.” Jesus words, in Matthew 28 known as the great commission, is regarded as a church mandate and yet it is a personal command to “teach them to observe what I have commanded”. We get caught up in the actions associated with these great references and never ask the why? God tells Isaiah he will teach the children. Now ask who are the children? The narrow understanding of the “Who” is Israel however the grand scope of the intent is all those who are called by his name: “if my people who are called by my name will pray and humble themselves before me”. The training and teaching belong to the Holy Spirit and yet we are to have a relationship and cultivate a relationship with God and our children (training) so that they are in an environment of growth. The who and how become the cause for the effect. Cause and effect in this case is Righteousness (right living) and peace (family and community trust). Do you trust those in your community? Do you trust those in your family? We can live at war with the world and have peace at home. However you can not have peace with the world and be at war at home. Tyranny in the family creates terror that strips all peace in a persons life. God addresses the most basic family unit and extends this same model to extended family and the community we live. Peaceful communities are made up of peaceful families. Destroy the family peace and the community and the world breaks down one building block at a time. Terror will be on every door step.

Joshua, Solomon (proverb) and Isaiah all address the same model that was reinforced by Jesus. Law and Grace are not opposites rather Grace and Law labor hand in hand as do faith and works. The “why” is so important that with out the “expected end “(Jer 29:11) we have no reason to live in this war weary world. Why the teaching of the commands and law of God? Why the 10 commandments? Why the moral teaching? Peace of mind and Peace of the soul. Once a person has tasted this peace neither will they depart for long from the cause nor will they give up the cause so easily. In fact once a person has tasted this peace of mind and soul they will fight to have and keep it.