No Greater Love

I find myself in recent days asking the question, “how can I justify thinking of any other human being as an enemy?” I can’t really. Being created in the image of God my character aught to by all means aspire to align with His should it not? I may not “like” certain people due to their actions that they may reflect, however there is no justifiable cause for me not to “love them”. Yet the love that God has for each and everyone that walks the earth, is certainly beyond comprehension of the human mind.

John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This surely means that God is loving all and offering all eternal life without exception or condition. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1 ESV). Note that the Father clearly states we “should be called children of God and so we are”. Some just do not know it yet.

What does it means for the pure love of God to flow out through the heart without imposing conditions upon it’s expression?

Let us consider Jesus’ example; that which led him to and through the Cross for you and I. “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
(Philippians 2:1,2 ESV) I am to be of the same mind as He; following in His footsteps, am I not?

I must therefore purpose to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than myself. Not looking only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others. Having this mind, which is mine in Christ Jesus; I consider Him, keeping my gaze fixed upon Him, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

He was found to be in human form, humbling himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)
Walking in this level of humility is not easy by any means due to our human nature; a heart that is effected by sin; yet is not Jesus sufficient and does not His love cover all? He most certainly is and does. Then it comes down to the surrender of our own will unto His, doesn’t it?

This changes everything does it not? Why I choose to do what I do with this life that God has given me addresses a reordering of my priorities. This is mind blowing for most of us is it not? Yet to what do i affix my passion in life? What to I choose to give myself over to?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31 ESV). What shall we say to such? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, nothing separates us.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

So my highest goal in life in all things and in every circumstance must be to “love as He loves”. To this I aspire and count the cost of bearing my own cross and taking up His. It comes down to a reckoning of will does it not and this is walking out my divine story and what truly is more fulfilling than this?

“The Eyes of the Heart”

In the silence of my heart I awakened this morning in a deep stillness of anticipation. It was like time was standing still in a great pause. Dawning in the skies here was yet nearly four hours away and I wondered as I wandered about this space. I was captured by a deep sense of awe in the presence of the Lord. There were no words forming in my thoughts. Only a sense that there seems to be a new “Hosanna” forming upon the lips of and stirring in the sons and daughters of the King to welcome in His presence in a new way of grand processional. I tend to be a natural worshiper and I often in recent days see myself in the band and company of those on the front line of worship assisting to bring this in. I’m just saying these are mere impressions that keep springing up. Maybe some of you have been experiencing something similar?

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1) It is time to arise indeed and I sense the call to pray a blessing over each of you right now; “may the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Yes, the Lord looks upon you with favor.

“For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
(Isaiah 60:2,3 ESV)

Yes, there is a penetrating darkness entrenched throughout parts of the earth today nearly everywhere in most places. Yet at the presence of light darkness must always give way and be dispersed. One of God’s names is “Light”. At the beginning of creation, God’s first words to be spoken, “let there be light” birthed all into existence. Jesus is declared to be the Light of the world. God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path. Jesus came so that Light would fill the earth. Because of His work; the Cross, all is fulfilled. We just need to walk it out with our lives; filled with His Word, wherein every promise is activated through the testimony of our walk in this life. We overcome by the blood of Christ and through the word of our testimony. In His Promise, a Passionate Pursuit of the highest expression of our love based in His love is our Prized Possession. May we possess it most fully indeed!

“The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (Psalm 19:8)

May “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:17-23)

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (2 Peter 1:19)

Open the eyes of my heart, O Lord, I want to see you in greater depth, height and breadth; seeing You high and lifted up and shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy are You Lord! May new sight come and be displayed.

It is in the eyes that out of which, His glory shines and emanates. I’ll likely be saying more about this in coming days. For now take these words to heart and I ask that you sit with them and then ask God a question as to what response from your heart would be most pleasing to Him now. It is that simple, but be passionate in that response and in the practice that follows.

The Chalice of Love and Goodness

What is it that you and I love most in life? Where our heart is, there shall our treasure be discovered and found. There shall the very declaration of where we put our focus, form our thoughts and thus become the words that we find ourselves speaking.

This is what we end up manifesting in life, do we not? What are we giving our passion to? What fuels your passion in this very moment and hour? Are you in fact even passionate about anything in particular? Are there times and perhaps it is now where you may be feeling a sense of being dead to life or maybe your life is lacking a vibrancy that was once present or one that you know has or longs to come forth with at least a greater sense of fullness?

“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. (Revelation 3:1-3 ESV)

I reference this in kindness as a way of remembering. Perhaps we go about to take back territory in our spiritual life to then only release it once again unawares. Don’t go back to sleep my friend; be aware of the tactics of the adversary of your soul who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. One must remain vigilant and cannot afford to become careless. As I stated yesterday in this blog; passion and practice calls us consistent attention.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever”. (1 John 2:15 ESV)

Is the Father’s love prevailing in your heart and life right now? It is ever present and never wavers or fails but are you embracing it?

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Are you intentionally keeping yourself in the love of God?

With the love of God, comes the bringing forth of the fruit thereof which is the “charis” or grace of the goodness of God. This comes into play in the bearing of His presence or His glory. Are we truly possessing our vessel in the holy presence of God? “Charis” defined is, grace that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, grace of speech, goodwill, loving-kindness, favor of the merciful kindness by which God brings the attributes of the person of Jesus though into our expression thereof of the goodness of God. I don’t know about you but I so long to exude such from my being and for this to be shed abroad into the hearts of those whose my life touches. One who truly and openly displays and lavishes upon others the fruits of the Spirit. This display of love is truly infectious is it not? It takes considerable resistance to overcome and push away it’s presence.

A favorite musical composition I am deeply touched by is “Ubi Caritas” (“Where Charity Is”) which has evolved into many iterations and compositions. It’s message is as follows; where charis and love are, God is there. A bonding exists between the love of God and “charis”. It is the glue by which all consists in God’s creative plan. I’d like us to get this picture into our hearts.

The love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice in Him and be glad.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love as one.

Where charis and love are, God is there.
At the same time, therefore, are we gathered into one:
Lest we be divided in mind, let us beware.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease.
And in the midst of us may there live Jesus; His heart, life and breath.

Where charis and love are, God is there.
At the same time we see that with the saints also,
His face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good, unto the
World without end. May it be so!

In Jesus we are “the salt” of the earth. Has the saltiness lost it’s savor? This is a question that we might ourselves right now. May our passion and practice bring forth from within our being an expression of the very best that we can be in and through Jesus.

“An invitation to Participation and Practice”

Something is stirring in the spiritual atmosphere around me. I particularily noticed it beginning yesterday. As I went to the grocery store yesterday I could sense each person around me in a new way. God is moving in something new and fresh that I sense none of us have ever seen. It is like a holy moment or pause where it seems like time is standing still so we may be particularily aware. The next move of God always begins deep with us. Are we paying attention? Please do not dismiss these summer months as just another season to enjoy; I am sensing that this time holds special significance in God’s plan unfolding now in the earth.

I am pondering this morning some surreal truth in this picture. I found myself saying that “every” moment is “a holy moment” truly. Yes, the holiness of God’s presence can seem to have a pronounced effect at given times and seasons however is that not due to our perception and level of awareness varying? He is unchangeable; yesterday, today and forever.

“But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)
“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:3,4)

So what is my conclusion in this matter? Why not make the following a guide for a prayer of our heart to always carry before us; “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12) As long as we are willing we have His promise to uphold us. It goes back to our level of passion doesn’t it? What do I love the most in life? Then I must give that my all and best in participation and practice.
Will you join me in believing God for the very best in us to be brought forward and to manifest where we live?

“Believing and Being in Deed and Truth”

No man is an island. God created us as sons and daughters to always be in constant communion and to never find ourselves isolated or separated from one another. As sons and daughters of the King we “are” the church and constitute the Body of Christ. The church is not a place we simply gather at once or twice a week. A Christian that is disconnected from church does not exist in scripture. We are the church in our homes and in the market or work place as as much as we are when gathered in a place set apart for worship, word, prayer and ministry.

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. (Acts 2:46)
You see it was a continual and daily practice and faith levels were constantly on the rise and increasing. Jesus said “where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them”. He always sent His disciples out two by two or they were in teamed up by three or more representing Him. They were family and in family. Strength is found to be greater in numbers. They were attending to the Father’s business in continuity in their entire walk of life; continuity in practice.

“And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:42)
There was no break in the continuity of their practice. What was practiced daily and in continuity? They first and foremost practiced and delivered that which had personally been received into their lives; a living faith and hope that was anchored and centered in believing God and their lives reflected such testimony to what they had seen and heard, which they did and became.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1,2 ESV)

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ encapsulated. This is what our lives are to reflect, emanate and from which things flow. In this we find our place in life and go, because we know. We know the One in whom we believe and place our full trust in.

You and I declare through our words and actions in our lives, who we believe that we are. What are the words that we are speaking actually declaring? What is our daily practice putting into action? Who do you say that you are? Who does God say that you are? “I am a child of God”. What does being “a child of God” call me to every moment of every day to “walk out”?

Who am I that the highest King Would welcome me? I was lost but He brought me in,
Oh His love for me! Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed. I’m a child of God;
Yes, I am. Free at last.
He has ransomed me and His grace runs deep. While I was a slave to sin, Jesus died for me, yes He died for me.

Who do I say that I am? Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed, I’m a child of God, yes I am. In my Father’s house there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God.

Daily in practice, in continuity, in consistency; I call us to be the people who God says that we are. May we allow God to truly transform us and may our lives emanate His glory (His goodness) and be radiant of His presence as a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. Shine!

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)

“I am who God says that I am”, being changed in His image, moment to moment, from glory unto glory; even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Passion of Pursuit

When I go after anything in life that compels or draws me to that which I love so very much that I can’t seemingly experience truly fulfillment without, then I have a tendency to get very overzealous and can sometimes go overboard and be relentless in my chasing after it. I can drive myself to exhaustion and depletion in the process. To some that can come across as being too intense in my expression and such intensity can make them feel uneasy at times. Is that a virtue or a vice? Well it depends on how you may choose to look at it.

I guess I am wired to passionately pursue on purpose with what moves me. If it doesn’t move me it is because it has not “caught” my attention. It must catch my attention in order to capture my heart. If my heart is not in it then you won’t find me there most likely, at least not for long. So why do I seem to be wired as such? I sense it because I cannot sit still with what moves me to chase after what stirs inside of me, to merge with the essence and nitty-gritty of who I am. I have to merge and become one with what is likened to the nature of what is most alive within me.

It becomes almost like an obsession with me at times. However what ends up stopping me in life in most cases? It is in being patient with the process in which all of this involves. I may want what I want and want it now and when doors do not seem to open fast enough, I can become given to formulate and begin to “work” self generated agendas to “make it happen” rather than patiently pursuing the process. May I propose an example from the Word of God?

In 2 Kings 9 we find the account of the anointing of Jehu as king over Israel. You might want to go and read that. Here was a man on a mission where nothing would stop him. “And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”(2 Kings 9:20) We see pictured the idea of driving, transferred from driving horses harnessed to a chariot, to driving a motor vehicle. How is your driving in life? Are you driven? By what? Jehu was a famously fierce soldier whose chariot-driving followed his temperament. What constitutes one’s temperament?

What drives you in life? Are you passionate or merely passive? Where does passion begin and where does it end and how does this participate with the process of discovering true and lasting fulfillment?

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
(Hebrews 10:22 ESV)

What catches your attention in life? What thus captures your heart and consumes your energy? Or do you just seem to want to be passive and take life as it comes at or to you, you know; easy come and easy go? Easy with little go, tends to equate to little or no flow. Life is meant to be in reciprocal motion, is it not? Give and take; a harmonic balance. Then you must “go” for and “with’ that which you seek to know or experience and make your own in life.

You have truth within, that which God has spoken into existence. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3) Be set apart through truth for his Word is truth. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Draw near to what catches, captures and compels you to move toward making it part of who you are. Align all within the context of God’s Word; written and spoken into you. Fully assure yourself in believing God, taking him at his word concerning what He says of you and of who you are. Strengthen and encourage yourself in the Lord. Ask him the questions that you need to ask; ones in which their answer will require you to take action; to take a step. Don’t wait for God or someone to do it “for you”, because God is waiting for “you” to respond to Him posed in what surrounds you and makes up what is your’s to occupy. At the Cross, Jesus sacrificed his all, his life to provide everything for you now at every level. Have you received his ultimate gift? Occupy that which He has deposited within you and thus is being reflected around you.

Draw near, with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. What are you waiting for? Passionately pursue on purpose, that which is ready to propel you to “participate” in life. I invite you now to put it fully into practice.

“An overwhelming Love”

Having come to a place in my life where I’m full but I’ve not satisfied
this longing to have more of the presence of Jesus fill the depth of my soul.
And I can feel it with a fullness that my heart is convinced it must be all of Him and nothing less as He is my righteousness. Aside from this relentless pursuit of being fully in His love, the heart cannot rest. Only by walking in the Spirit and giving no place to the flesh can one ever pass the test that comes with living life. Abide in him as His Word abides in you is what I would say unto you.

I’m thirsty as my soul can’t be quenched and He already knows that after Him I must relentlessly pursue and go wherever He wants me to to go and do whatever He asks me of me. To only be about the Father’s business and everything else I must let go.

I have to ask him continually to dismantle the containment that I have tried to place Him in. It is only His love that teaches who He is once again, taking me back to the place where my heart was only about Him and all I wanted was just to be with Him fully present. Positioning me where the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His goodness and grace as I relentlessly run this race with only finishing well being worn as bands upon my mind.

It doesn’t matter what it looks like or what I feel or see, for the only thing I can cling to is His promises to me. I am His, and so what else matters? When the waves of the sea crash over me, it matters not whether I seem to sink or swim because in a beautiful way I need to be reminded that I’m in over my head lest I forget that it is always about Him and not to be about me. This I am made to more and more see, that in Him I am always so forever free. Is there any other way to truly desire to be?

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Luke 4:18,19 ESV)

In this world, as a voice in the wilderness, crying; preparing the way of the Lord;
making straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” This is the mission of the messenger who comes to solely serve the Master. To fulfill living to live abundantly, to love endlessly. To be as Jesus is, to embody the Father’s heart. What else can it it be as the temporal continually fades and passes, only the Word of God abides forever. He or she therein continually abides living for the eternal which never perishes and knows no end.

All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
(Isaiah 40:6-8 ESV)

Who am I that the highest King would welcome me? I was lost but He brought me in.
Oh His love for me is everything. I’m a child of God, yes I am.
In my Father’s house there’s a place for me, I’m a child of God, yes I am.

I sing unto the Lord a new song; “I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who You say I am.
You are for me, not against me, I am who You say I am” This is my story and song which unto my Saviour, I praise all the day long.

To what or whom does your story speak and in your heart what is your song?

Will you choose to live to live to love, all the day long?