Scripture: "Let us not grow weary doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (1 Corinthians 9:24)
Scripture: "Nothing is impossible for God." (Luke 1:37)
Scripture: "May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound, overflow, with hope." (Romans 15:13)
Scripture: "The greatest of these is LOVE." (1 Corinthians 13:13)
May the peace, life-joy and unending hope of heaven be with you always. I am preparing for a talk this morning for a group of wonderful women who are making a difference in the life of many needy children. I've been up praying and asking the Lord what word He has for them. I think it's the same word He has for us all today. If you've watched the news, you know that things are heating up and we are a country gone wild. It's so easy to feel small and powerless in the midst of mob violence, a virus that keeps on giving and so on. What else could happen? Don't ask!! In the midst of this we have jobs, or lack thereof, families growing together or apart, kids with issues, health concerns and U.S. and world issues that are mind-boggling, not just simply overwhelming. How are we as Christians to stand, much less believe for breakthrough?
Isn't the enemy so clever to keep us distracted with what seems like a host of "main" things, that we miss the MAIN thing. And what IS that main thing? I was watching the sunrise this morning thinking, "Isn't it astounding? The sun is rising with all its splendor. It has NO idea there's a pandemic, mob violence, people I love are going through really tough times and all the rest. The birds are singing and so delightful. How did they miss all the crazy going on? Don't they know they should be serious?!" HA! The main thing is that, "Thought the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will NOT be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord." (Isaiah 54:10) Our heavenly Father is still in the heavens and still in control. THAT is the main thing. And why is it SO important that we get this into every fiber of our beings? Because we have work to do! If you're reading this, you are seeking the MORE of God. You're wanting more of His gifts, and you want to use them in your worlds. Perhaps you're still wrestling with whether or not God will use YOU in an important way. Let's re-evaluate the definition of "an important way." I want you to think of one person who has influenced your life for good. My hunch is that this person didn't come with a big healing ministry. Maybe they did, but if you just felt like a number to them, you may have a healed leg, but not a healed heart. Our world, and each person in it, desperately needs to know that they are worth pouring into, worth loving.
I often wonder if I'd recognize Jesus if He stood right in front of me. If I was actually paying attention, I believe that what I would see is the gift of 100% presence to the person in front of Him. We move so fast, it's rare to give total presence. And whether it's our intention or not, the message is: you're not worth my attention. I can have mighty gifts of the Spirit, but if I don't use them with love, if I don't give my attention to the one right in front of me, I leave them more empty than before. Love takes time. Sometimes a lot of it. Love takes a willingness to pour ourselves out. There's a cost to love. And there are no guarantees. If it's real love, there can be nothing attached. We love because He has first loved us and given Himself self freely. (It's a terrible trade for Him. We get everything He is, and He gets everything we are!) So often we put the emphasis on the wrong syllABle. We want to increase our ability to give a word of knowledge or speak prophetically. We want to see people healed when we pray, and all of this is so important to bringing His Kingdom here now! But what we MOST need, is Jesus' Heart burning with love for His people. How would it change what we are seeing? Hate allowed to fester overflows into violence and destruction. We all know the destructive power of hate, judgment, condemnation. And it's not just "out there." Sometimes it's in our homes. And what about apathy. Sometimes that's even worse. The kind of love that is needed right now is the kind that voluntarily took Jesus to the cross and kept Him there until His work of love was done. Not only does love take a decision and a commitment, but often that decision and commitment will require longsuffering. The work of redemption takes time. We can all talk a good game, but will we stay IN the game? Not in our own strength! That's the love that Jesus wants to give us. His love, supernaturally empowering to stay the course. And on the flipside of that kind of love is where the miracles are. When God knows He can trust us with His broken body, those who ooze pain and hurt and even hate, then He also knows He can trust us with His gifts. We've paid the price, and we are willing to continue to pay the price to love and serve Him. We can be trusted with the particle of His cross He's shared with us.
Now most of us won't be asked to be Martin Luther King, Jr or Mother Teresa. But how many of us have folks in our lives who are difficult to deal with? How many of us struggle to keep believing that that person will ever change? How many find it hard to "not grow weary doing good," when it's been years and years and years with no movement...maybe in ourselves? It's important to remember that this journey is not just about how your commitment to love and believe in those who are such a challenge. This journey is about Jesus' love and commitment to believe in you and me! I am SO grateful that He doesn't look at me and say, "Father, Anne is STILL a mess. I'm done. I've put enough time into her!" Jesus is so sure of His ability to do SOMETHING with me, that I'm still here, in spite of messy me! His love NEVER fails. He tells us that the mountains can be so shaken that they fall into the sea. The earth can fold in on itself. The economy can collapse. All hell can break loose. But His covenant of love WILL NOT end or fail. The sun is still rising and the birds are still singing because the God of the universe is singing over YOU and me.
He still believes in us. As a matter of fact, He doesn't just love you, He LIKES you! Sometimes that's hard to fathom but it's true. He LIKES you, everything about you. And He is excited to "complete the work He has begun in you." (Philippians 1:6) You are so worth pouring into. The Lord of the universe is crazy about you and will never give up on you or on me. THAT, my friends, is the main thing. And if we began to reorient our hearts, minds and souls to this kind of love, what would happen in our worlds, one life at a time. THIS is what I think I'll share with these ladies this morning. It's not how much we DO, or how much we GIVE, though all of that is important. It's how much our love looks like Jesus'. Because then, WE look like Jesus. And isn't that what our poor world so needs right now? It, and each person in it, needs a big fat encounter with Jesus. And since you carry Him… Tag-you're it! We just celebrated the feast of Pentecost. Jesus sent His own Spirit to live in each of us so His work could not only sweetly continue, but EXPLODE, (with His gifts AND His Heart,) on the scene and change the world. The enemy will do whatever he can to stop that, but NOT ON OUR WATCH.
We cannot do any of this in our own strength. We must lean our entire selves, our hearts, minds, souls, personalities on Him and pursue Him with everything we are. This is NOT the time for limp faith., although there will be moments when the best we can muster is a limp… That's ok! Just don't quit. And this is not the time to give into fear. Mark 5:36 says, "Fear is useless, what is needed is trust." We are absolutely nothing. But He promises that if we abide in Him, we will produce incredible fruit that will glorify His Father and bring heaven to earth. No weenie warriors, people of God! This is our finest moment. He is waiting to do this in us so the world can see HIM. How desperately we need to see Him!
Be patient with yourselves on the journey. Just remember that He WANTS to do this in us. He NEEDS us! We may be a motley crew, but we're what He has to work with! We can be filled with joyful hope, dear ones, because we are so ridiculously loved and believed in. And that's our main job. To ridiculously love and believe in the ones He puts in our path. Just for today, love with a new intensity, and a new intentionality. There's fresh grace and mercy every morning. It's sufficient for the day at hand. So, let's get on with it. Eyes open. He is always sending the "one" to us who just needs encouragement. I'm praying for a release of supernatural hope, a supernatural faith to not grow weary, and a supernatural love that makes Jesus easy to see. That's my prayer today. And for all those who have poured love into me, especially when I didn't deserve it, I thank you. I know firsthand the miraculous power of that kind of love. I pray to give and live Your love, Lord. I pray it for all of us.
Declaration: In the name of Jesus, we declare that we are people filled with the power and the presence of Jesus Christ. We carry Him and are learning to intentionally release Him into our homes and our lives. We are filled to overflowing with His love for us and can't help but pour out that love on others. It is our greatest joy to see people from His perspective and love them with His Heart. We are known in heaven as people who love well. And we intend to stand in love, no matter what. We may not do it perfectly, but we will not quit. When we fall, Lord, pick us up. When we fail, Lord, fill us up! We give all glory and honor to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who wraps us in His unfailing covenant of peace and joy. He is making us into His image and we give You everything we have and everything we are to use for Your glory!
My love to each of you. Let's keep each other in prayer. All glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit now and forever.