Saturday, February 20, 2010
You and I are Commanded to Love
Our Mission: To Love
You are My friend if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends...—John 15:14-15
Jesus wants to call us His friends.
I love being His friend; it's the greatest privilege and joy I'll ever have in this life. He is my joy and I love Him more than any words could say. I love Him and I want others to know Him as I do—to feel His love for them and not just wonder, but truly feel it. The Lord spoke to me and said this would be the year that would begin a time of incredible intimacy with the Him; it would be a honeymoon with His people.
It gives me great pleasure when God's children start to realize His love for them and find the joy of intimacy with Him. He has such love to give us and He wants only to love us and make us a part of His family.
Our Need of Him
One night, I needed Him desperately. I felt lonely in my spirit for Him. Soon I felt His presence near me and in my spirit I knew He was just as lonely for me as I was for Him. I then experienced the most intense spiritual experience I've ever had; it completely overwhelmed me. All I could do was cry. I love Him so much and my relationship with Him is truer than any relationship I have on this earth.
The love I feel for Him is what compels me to help others to truly know His love. There's so much in this life that is unbearably hard. Without God, it's even harder to deal with—almost impossible for some. But His love sets captives free, comforts the lonely and heals the sick. Life is hard, but without Him it's even harder.
It's easy to harden our hearts when we've been hurt—to shut it up with anger and pain or fear—even against God. But running from God isn't the answer. God understands our pain and loves us even when we are angry with Him. Sometimes, we can focus on forgiving all the people in life who have hurt us and yet, without realizing it, though God has done us no harm, we can harbor unforgiveness against Him too.
He wants you to let go of your pain, loneliness and despair and give it to Him. When we refuse to let go of offense, it can drive us even farther from Him. Living separated from God opens our hearts to deep darkness exploited by the enemy. It's a terrible place to be. In the darkness, we can end up doing things we'd never do in the light. And it's easy to strike out at what we can't really see because the darkness has blinded and deceived us.
Yet, if we are able to see even a tiny flicker of light through God's love, our conscience is able to feel again. The darkness is soon exposed, freeing us from our fear of God's light through the safety of His love.
God has always loved us, even if we've hated or rejected Him. Through His love, we can know that even when we refuse to believe in Him, He still believes in us. There have been so many wrongs committed against Him by those He loves, yet He hopes for us, because He can't stop loving His creation.
He knows your heart and what has caused you pain, blinded you and driven you to the darkness. He wants you to know that no matter how long you push Him away and hate Him, no matter how much you blame Him, no matter how much you try to forget about Him, He will never stop loving you. He can't stop.
God's Love for the Lost
I discovered there were two movies released in January 2010 depicting God as a harsh, unloving and even violent god. One is called Legion and the other is Creation (which is the story of Charles Darwin). Legion is the story of a group of people who fight against God and win when He gets fed up with mankind and wants to destroy it.
When I first heard about these movies, I was shocked and stunned. Then my shock turned to grief. I thought, "Have we failed to show the world the true nature of God?"
The synopsis of the movie Legion depicts God as someone who's angry and tired of our sin and has decided we are no longer worthy of Him. Thus, He's seeking our destruction. It's as if they are role playing Revelation 19:19, "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathering together to fight against the One (Jesus) sitting on the horse and His army," with a twisted outcome. In essence, the message of the movie is: God doesn't love us anymore and He doesn't care about us so we're forced to join forces with a fallen angel and rebel against Him.
So, we see that this unseen war we've been fighting is not about the existence of God (you have to believe in Him in order to make a movie against Him), but is really about the nature of God. Is God love, or is He a harsh and hateful Creator who just wants to dominate us?
So we find our mission made much clearer: to show the world how much God loves them.
I asked the Lord to show me something that would prove His love for mankind. Immediately, I was shown the ark built by Noah. Yes, He did flood the earth because of its intense wickedness, but He made provision to save mankind. He flooded the earth to rescue mankind from the wickedness it had succumbed to.
If the lost could sense His love for them even for a moment, they would know there is more to life than what they've experienced. They feel the empty void in their soul—that's why they try so hard to rage against God. Sin has grabbed them and has tried to devour them. They feel the guilt of sin whether they admit it or not, and the enemy has exploited the darkness they're in to foster rebellion against God. They don't really need more condemnation. What they need is liberty through Christ.
Indeed, the lost may not always realize what they do is sin, but they sense the darkness in their separation from God. Jesus Christ came to the earth NOT to condemn it, but to save it (see John 3:17). He came to set men free from what enslaves them.
God is not full of anger and disgust for His creation. No! He hasn't given up on us. Even in the darkness of our sin, He hasn't stopped loving us. That's why our sin causes Him such pain, because He cannot stop loving us even in the midst of our sin.
He hates sin because of the affect it has on His creation. It causes Him great pain to watch the ones He created fall into sin that will damage and blacken their lives causing them to turn away from Him. No, as much as it hurts Him, God will not stop loving the world. He will not stop trying to save it.
For God so loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life—John 3:16
God so loved. He loved. He loved. God loved even the vilest sinner so much that He gave His Son to save them. Yes, there is redemption for every sinner who repents.
In Germany after the Holocaust of the Jewish people in WW2, how did He react toward those who tried to annihilate them? He did rescue the Jewish people and He did restore their nation to them, but His love went beyond thinking of the victims of this great evil. God's love continues to seek out those through whom this great evil came to be. He sent and is still sending His love into Germany to minister and save those who had perpetrated such atrocities against His people. His heart ached for those lost in darkness who, blinded by sin, tried to blacken out the apple of His eye (see Zechariah 2:8).
God sought out His children who had been wounded by the war—those who'd been victimized by the ruthlessness of their enemies, but also those who'd been held in the grip of an evil so terrifyingly dark they saw no light at all. His love saw what few are able to see. He saw an incredible evil was gripping their hearts and He fought to redeem them from it. Again, there's redemption for everyone who repents.
Hold on to God's Love
God sent His Son to seek and to save those who have lost their way, and through us this world will know His love. They will realize it's real as we cry out for God's mercy for them. Can our love go beyond judgment and plead for His mercy?
In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. But He refused to judge her. Instead, He judged her accusers. Everyone has a story of why they made the choices they made—what has pushed them to the point they are at now—what incident started them on the path they are on. God knows all that they have endured and what's made them who they are. But He has made a commitment to love them through it for He alone can see them rightly. He sees us all as we truly are and He sees us through eyes of love.
We are called to love as God loved us. And He said "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone" (Mark 16:15); the news that He's purchased freedom for us, and redemption from the curse and bondage of sin. Satan has conspired to twist the world's view of God, making them believe God is cold and heartless. He's desperate to keep us from experiencing God's love. The enemy fights against true freedom found only in Christ. He tries to twist the minds of people making them feel as though it is God who is really their enemy.
For those of us who love God, our mission is clear: we must show the world by every means possible that God truly does love them. They will know His love by our love for them. They will know His love through forgiveness and mercy.
It's often so easy for Christians to fall in to the "Pharisaical" mindset of "destroy the sinner." Truly, that's what satan wants us to do. In fact, his plan quite often is to cause the lost to come against us, wound us and persecute us, trying to get us to hate them. He knows if we hammer them with anger and condemnation, they will run away from us as fast as they can, thereby losing the opportunity to show them God's love and mercy.
So, the enemy works at both ends causing us to hate those we are called to reach out to. And when we do, he uses their mistrust toward us to make them misunderstand God.
That is our war: to hold on to our love—to hold on to God's unconditional love. And truly, we can only be victorious if we know God's love for ourselves. Indeed, when we've experienced the captivating power of His unconditional love, we are compelled to forgive and release those who've wounded us and love them.
Our battle is to remember that God SO LOVED the world that He sacrificed His own Son to save them. Every offense is an opportunity for a miracle of His grace.
The abundance of sin in this age should not shock us, for "Where sin does abound, His grace does much more abound" (Romans 5:20). In the midst of great darkness, the light of Christ shines brighter through us to a very desperate world.
Speaking Life Ministries