Posts Tagged With: love of God

What kind of Monster do you think God is?

I woke up praying,”Lord Jesus, fill me with the Holy Spirit.”

I’ve been praying this prayer for over a decade and I know Jesus is and has been answering this prayer. This is a prayer that makes him really happy to hear. I started praying this on a fairly regular basis since I read the following from Luke 11 years ago:

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
3 Give us each day the food we need,
4 and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Notice how it ends? He is telling us the best thing to ask for and seek after… the best gift of all… is His Presence in the Holy Spirit!

Now, do you think for a moment that if one of his children asks for the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus gives him an imposter spirit? A false Holy Spirit? A demon? Can you imagine God sitting back on his throne drink in hand laughing to himself, “Ha ha got him that time. He really trusts us, doesn’t he? Isn’t that so dumb? What an idiot! We’ll teach him a lesson.”

What kind of a monster do you think God is?

No, the Good Shepherd does not feed his lambs to the wolves. Again, can you imagine Jesus saying to you, his sheep, “You annoyed me today.” “Come here wolf and teach this one a lesson!” As he holds you down and lets the wolf gnaw on your leg for a while.

Yet, this is the very attitude I see in some “believers” that I meet. I have heard them say things like, “Having kids is scary. If they don’t accept Christ right away then it would be a blessing if they died before the age of accountability.”

Ridiculous! How could this kind of thought even enter our minds? It seems that some “believers” are bound in fear instead of delighting in the simple pure devotion and childlike trust that Jesus encourages and examples for us. He wants to set us ALL free from ALL our fears and teach us how to live in ‘his perfect love that casts out all fear’.

Perfect Love casts out all fear

Believers need not ever be afraid of our Good Shepherd.

By the way: “Being afraid” differs from what the Bible teaches us about the “fear of the Lord” – which means “to have Reverent Trust”! Listen to what Jesus says here:

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. 5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.

6 “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

8 “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. 9 But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. 10 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke 12 NLT

Jesus is right here with you now to deal with ALL that fear in your heart. As the Bible says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

Listen to this how this passage begins and how the Lord deals with our irrational fears:

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” (1 John 4 NLT)

Here is our brand new song based out of the Lord’s prayer quoted above:

Holy is Your Name (Our Father) by Reflect Worship with lyrics from Daniel & Catherine Lovett on Vimeo.

Advertisements
Categories: Love of God | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Captivated, New Worship from Reflect Worship

Captivated Worship Song

“I am won by your unconditional love.”

This is a line from our new song Captivated. Is God’s love really unconditional? Really? I guess I find this astounding. What does it even mean?

I’m not used to that sort of love. Who is?

It’s no wonder we have difficulty with believing, much less receiving this unconditional love from our Papa.

the crossLove without conditions. You can do whatever you want with it. Receive it or Ignore it. Cherish or Spurn it. Run into the arms of love or Run from it by choosing sin instead. Honor this love or Insult it. But, nothing we choose to do could ever make him love us any less! We can’t mess this up because his love doesn’t depend on our response. He will still love you… completely. Infinitely. Forever. He is Love!

This song Captivated will appear on our new album Reflect Love. When people ask me what our new album is about I tell them the theme is, “God is Love, in whom we live and move and have our being.”

This is based on two verses:

God is Love

and, wait for it…

In him we live and move and have our being.”

God can’t help it. He just IS Love! He can’t escape it. And the awesome thing is, we can’t escape him. We are in him! Love is God’s character, his DNA, his very essence. He will always do and act and think in the most infinitely loving way toward you and everything and everyone else he has made!

So, what is love?

Recently a friend of mine challenged me to “meditate daily on Corinthians 13…above all else, love is what we need” (he sent me this link). It really made me think. I am fairly familiar with that passage of Scripture, but his challenge took me deeper into it and to ask the really hard questions. Is this what my life looks like right now? Is this what people see in my responses to convos on Facebook? How I treat my wife, kids, friends, or even enemies?

Let’s take a look at the passage:

Love Is the Greatest

…So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Let love be your highest goal! (1 Cor 13 NLT)

 

The apostle whom Jesus loved (John) informs us that “we love because he first loved us.” We love each other because He first loved us. We love God because he first loved us. So receiving his love is a pretty big deal as we cannot be expected or even begin to love if we don’t first receive the love of God, right? We must connect to the vine, our source of life and love. “Abide in my love“, Jesus says.

I love to tell everyone I meet:

“It is the primary responsibility of every human being is just to let God love you!”

That’s it. Once we are good receivers of God’s love, everything else falls into place. When I was first learning this concept I would drive around and pray, “God, I receive your love… I receive your love.” I would very often feel what I call the sunshine of heaven coming into the widows of my soul and warming me. Even now I am praying this and feeling the Lords love.

Enjoy this worship song! We hope it connects you to the Lord and his love in a really special way:

Categories: Love of God, Reflect Worship Music | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are You Strong Enough to Stand In His Love?

I was thinking about a particular lyric in a Jennifer Knapp song Hold Me Now (about the woman caught in adultery – John 8): “She is strong enough to stand in my love”.

Are You Strong Enough to Stand in the Love of God?

I have been asking myself that question, am I strong enough to stand in His love?

I recently encountered a story of a woman who encountered God and his infinite love. She says she was so drawn to his love and experienced it so fully and completely it “devastated her” in the most wonderful blissful sense possible. She trusted so completely. It was inspiring to hear her story

I want that.

I remember an occasion in a dream that I experienced his love like that.

The Dream:

It was simple really. I was just standing there looking at my dad. My brother was also present. As I looked at my dad I saw myself and my brother in him. We were the same. We were connected. Then God started to show me his love for my dad and started filling my heart with that love. The love grew and grew and grew and grew with such intensity it seemed to have no end in sight.

I willed myself to awaken when this infinite unconditional love seemed to never stop. I actually feared for my life. My ego felt very threatened.

At the time I hadn’t spoken to my dad for well over a year. I was bitter toward him for my parents divorce. I was also suffering miserably because of my unforgiveness.

Jesus set me free that night by the love he poured into me. Of course I forgave my Dad and I have loved him ever since. We talk every so often on the phone and enjoy a much improved relationship.

What I was pondering today was this:

What if I stayed in that love. What if I remained and let his Love “devastate me” as one woman reported happened to her? What if I was strong enough to remain in his love?

These kind of thoughts have been governing my thoughts and prayers lately. I have dared to trust and receive his love like never before. Try it yourself (but I suggest at least sitting or laying down first in case the Lord comes into your room and you fall – yes, I actually pray with this kind of expectation these days). Get alone and ask God to reveal his love for you. Say, “Lord Jesus I receive your love”. Say it again…

Lyrics:

From glass alabaster she poured out
The depths of her soul
Oh, foot of Christ would You wait
If her harlotry’s known?

Falls a tear to darken the dirt
Of humblest offerings to forgive the hurt
She is strong enough to stand in your love
I can hear her say

I am weak, I am poor
I’m broken Lord, but I’m Yours
Hold me now, hold me now

Let he without sin
Cast the first stone if you will
To say that my bride isn’t worth
Half the blood that I’ve spilled

Point your finger and laugh if you choose to say
My beloved is borrowed and used
She is strong enough to stand in my love
I can hear her say

I am weak, I am poor
I’m broken Lord, but I’m Yours
Hold me now, hold me now

Song inspired in part by:

John 8
New Living Translation (NLT)
A Woman Caught in Adultery

“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Categories: Dreams, Love of God | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

I Will Love You Unconditionally

When I heard Katy Perry’s latest song Unconditionally it struck me as one of the most powerful songs I had ever heard! It is a message straight from God to every one of us of his unconditional love for us. I even question whether or not she wrote it and meant it as such. She has acknowledged she believes in God and happens to be wearing large cross earrings in the music video. It made me cry when I heard it. I dare you to listen to it and imagine God singing these words to you:

“Unconditionally”

Oh no, did I get too close?
Oh, did I almost see what’s really on the inside?
All your insecurities
All the dirty laundry
Never made me blink one time

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

Come just as you are to me
Don’t need apologies
Know that you are worthy
I’ll take your bad days with your good
Walk through the storm I would
I do it all because I love you, I love you

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

So open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart

Acceptance is the key to be
To be truly free
Will you do the same for me?

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
And there is no fear now
Let go and just be free
‘Cause I will love you unconditionally (oh yeah)
I will love you (unconditionally)
I will love you
I will love you unconditionally

One of my favorite Scriptures:

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:16-18 NLT)

Think of the following lyric of Unconditionally in terms of Jesus: “Acceptance is the key to be, to be truly free, will you do the same for me?”

Jesus accepts us just as we are. He does so on the basis of his sacrifice on the cross. In the above Scripture it says if we fully experience his perfect love, then we will never have to be afraid. We don’t have to be afraid because fear has to do with punishment.

What punishment is there left if Jesus endured ALL the punishment for sin at the cross? Can the same sins be punished twice? No.

The good news is that you are already forgiven and covered in grace and there is now nothing that can separate you from the love of God. This is just how good God is.

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8 NLT)

I believe Jesus would say to us:

“I accept you. Not because of anything you’ve done or failed to do but because of my love for you and my sacrifice. I accept you. Not because you earned it or deserve it but because I love you! I died for you. I took your sin away on a cross. There is no sin too shameful that could keep you away. Everything that stood between us is gone! This is my gift to you: Forgiveness, grace, acceptance, unconditional love, and a home with me forever. This is all yours. I embrace you in spite of all your secrets and sinful ways and all your dirty laundry. My committed unconditional love and grace will help you learn a life of love and free you from your self destructive sin. I know everything about you. And I choose you. Will you do the same for me? Believe me. Receive me. Accept me” ~ Jesus

Categories: Redemption | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Knowing (a movie)

UnknownI just watched an end-of-the-world movie for the second time called “Knowing”. It really made me think. I mean, I grew up reading the bible a great deal and hearing every Sunday about God. So much so that I was numbed into complacency. I thought I knew God but in reality I only knew a thing or two about God. I had reduced God into a comfortable safe little box that I could somehow manage. How wrong I was!

Imagine being one of those Israelites seeing the actual blazing inferno of the Presence of God descend and engulf Mount Sinai. Or imagine being one of those saints who actually met an angel. Every instance of someone meeting an angel in Scripture leaves someone terribly frightened and sobered. I mean, the angel’s first words always have to be, “do not be afraid.” Just imagine meeting a terrible, fearsome, glorious, powerful being that frightens you so terribly you can’t help but fall to your face. Imagine actually seeing what Ezekiel saw as recorded in the beginning (and throughout) the book of Ezekiel! I kind of think that we really don’t believe it when we read it, ya know? We don’t “place ourselves there” when we read the Word. Some of us never even read the Word of God and have no idea what I’m talking about. Most of us no longer wonder at the mystery of it all. We have some sort of comfortable notion of who God is and have spent our lives reducing him to a warm fuzzy

Well, this movie “Knowing” (with Nicholas Cage) did a little something to snap me out of my comfortable and crazy ability to reduce the awesome otherness of God (df. of “Holy”) to little more than a children’s Sunday school story. The movie actually visually interpreted Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel chapter 1. It also portrayed these powerful and mysterious beings (angels) that could just as easily be confused for aliens. Isn’t that exactly what they are?

How it ended was amazing. The movie brought biblical eschatology (the study and theology of end time events) out of the hypothetical realm into the, “O my God, this is for real!” realm. It had me asking questions like, “Could the rapture be like this?” and reminded me of another sobering Scripture, “Many are called but few are chosen.”

Imagine one day having all your comfortable notions about God ripped away from you. You’re left standing naked before this awesome and even more terrifying than an angel God.

The Bible tells us that only those who know God will be saved. Only those who hear and answer his call. I am shaking in my boots realizing that up till now I have been pretty damn lazy in regards to knowing God. I have not pursued this with all my heart! I have been apathetic and lazy.

Here is an encouragement from Scripture:

2 Peter 1:3-11

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am truly sobered by the Scriptures. My response is this: keep God’s Word in front of your face until it changes you. In that passage Peter talks about participating in the Divine nature. One thing that the movie doesn’t really get into is that God is a person, and that God is love. Unless we are participating in that nature of Love, we cannot and must not delude ourselves into thinking we “know God”.

So let’s make a practice of those thing Peter mentions and connect to God’s love.  Scripture tells us that we can never be seperated from God’s love in Romans 8:

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God… but are we connecting to his love in the first place?

I am going to end with a prayer:

God, I know I’ve been avoiding you at all costs, sabotaging myself to keep me away from you. I’ve been a great fool. I step back into the spotlight of your love and trust that your love has something to say in all of my confusion, pain, and sinfulness. Please forgive me and help me to respect the “otherness” and the mystery of you God, while at the same time help me to realize that you are a Person and you are love and nothing can keep me away from that. Help me to connect to your love, and to love you in return, and to love the ones you love.

Categories: Apocalypse, movie | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.