Posts Tagged With: Love of Jesus

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.

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

Enjoying Friendship with God

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:10-11 NLT

At a recent ministry concert I had not gotten enough sleep and my voice didn’t have much range. I had also forgotten to eat or bring anything to eat and was feeling very weak. In spite of all this, and my headache, it was one of the best concerts ever!

I felt the gentle power of God’s Holy Spirit through it all. This reminds me of what the Lord Jesus said to Paul:

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now (Paul says) I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

I shared with the group how much Jesus loved them and talked about the implications of the Gospel and ended by saying, “You know, the bible tells us that all of heaven rejoices when one sinner repents. Let’s see if we can bring some joy in heaven today by coming to Jesus or returning to Jesus. Won’t you pray with me?”

After the prayer I nearly burst into tears in front of them all when I heard Jesus whisper to my heart, “I’m so proud of you.”

So, what about you?

Are you prepared to bring heaven some joy today? Come to him!

Jesus said, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus happens to be addressing Christians here. This is why I say it is wonderfully appropriate at the outset of every new day to open the door of our hearts and invite Jesus in to fellowship – to “share a meal together as friends” as he puts it. Enjoy your friendship with God today!

enjoyfriendshipwithgod

Here is a video of a song that fits this blogs idea perfectly.

Categories: Encountering God, Nursing Home Ministry | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encountering the Love of God

A talk about encountering the love of God and then being the encounter with God’s love that others so desperately need:

I recently came back from a men’s retreat. As soon as I got home I started judging in my heart other guys that I knew who had no interest in serving or loving God. I got angry… and then I realized something. These guys just don’t know how much Jesus loves them and some don’t even know that he loves them at all. We cannot and should not expect anyone to love Jesus or serve Jesus without first encountering his love. Right? After all, “We love because God first loved us.” (1 John)

But, in our self seeking and sinful hearts, we tend to avoid the love of God like the plague. Even as Christians we sidestep his love, avoid intimacy, and incessantly distract ourselves from God’s love. I think many of us are afraid of the perceived “strings attached” to his love (little knowing that there aren’t any – please disagree with me and comment if you can think of any), OR, that we will only disappoint God.

This is one of my greatest fears. That I will fail him. That I will be a sad disappointment to him. And that he will abandon me. I fear his rejection. But here’s the truth that calmed this fear:

Jesus suffered all of my rejection for me already.

Yes, I absolutely deserved rejection by this Holy God because of all the shameful things I’ve thought, done and said but I can instead rest assured of God’s glad welcome and open arms for me!

Why?

The cross.

So, what are we so afraid of? 1 John 4 tells us that God’s perfect love drives out all fear. Don’t you find it odd that the very think we avoid because of fear is the very thing that will drive out all fear?

Do we trust him? Do we believe that God loves us so much that he would rather die than to be without us? Why don’t we really believe he has our best interests at heart?

It seems to me that most people hold out from giving ourselves or surrendering to God’s love and instead pursue the fleeting pleasures that sin can offer us, little knowing that it is our sin that prevents us from experiencing the lasting pleasure of knowing God and his love.

God’s challenge for us is this: “I dare you to trust in my love for you. Just the way you are.”

Say it with me. “God, I trust you. Jesus, I receive your love.”

We need to be pursuing encounters with the love of God. While it is awesome to get alone in prayer and experience the love of Jesus, or to seek out an encounter with Jesus and his love in a time of worship, we often neglect the best way and the way Jesus reveals to us to experience and to remain in the love of Jesus. It is simply this: To be the experience and encounter of God’s love to others. This is the very thing Jesus tells us is the primary way to experience his love.

“Abide in my love”, Jesus says. How? “By keeping my commands”, Jesus says. What are your commands? “To love others”, Jesus says. (John 15)

I was reminded of the story of Jean Valjean and his encounter with the priest in Les Miserables (Read a really insightful blog about this story here):

“The story starts in 1815 in Digne. The peasant Jean Valjean has just been released from imprisonment in the Bagne of Toulon after nineteen years (five for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family, and fourteen more for numerous escape attempts). Upon being released, he is required to carry a yellow passport that marks him as a prisoner, despite having already paid his debt to society by serving his time in prison. Rejected by innkeepers, who do not want to take in a convict, Valjean sleeps on the street. This makes him even angrier and more bitter.

However, the benevolent Bishop Myriel, the bishop of Digne, takes him in and gives him shelter. In the middle of the night, Valjean steals Bishop Myriel’s silverware and runs away. He is caught and brought back by the police, but Bishop Myriel rescues him by claiming that the silverware was a gift and at that point gives him his two silver candlesticks as well, chastising him to the police for leaving in such a rush that he forgot these most valuable pieces. After the police leave, Bishop Myriel then “reminds” him of the promise, which Valjean has no memory of making, to use the silver candlesticks to make an honest man of himself.” (From Wikipedia)

This “encounter” with the grace and love of God changed Jean Valjean’s life. We too can be encounters with the love of God that others need for it is only the love of Jesus that can transform our lives and make us into the loving people God created us to be.

So, what do you think? Does this ring true? How will this affect your approach to experiencing the love of Jesus?

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

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