Do not let the roar of the lion drown out your voice

Amos 3:17-18 (AMP) Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] to His servants the prophets. The lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy?

Did you know that when you speak you are prophesying? There is a difference in the five fold ministry of a prophet and a born again believer being a prophetic. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” If my words have power, then that would mean that they are prophetic. My favorite words to speak are those found in His Word.

I love the words in Ezekiel 37 when God tells him to prophesy to the dry bones. He did not just say “get up, dry bones.” He said, “dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.”

The question regarding whether we really heard God can be like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Although a lion roars, a true servant of God listens to the voice of God above the roar of the lion (John 10:27). If it lines up with His Word, do it, and in boldness, say it. It might look foolish to others (believe me, I battle this too). Often I will argue with God before delivering a hard word. I do not take it lightly. As a teacher of the Word, I know I will be held accountable far greater than those who are not (James 3:1). The call to follow God in obedience should be louder than the roar of defeat.

He speaks through us to others, encouraging them and affirming them, and upon occasion, giving a word of correction for them (this is the part I wrestle with). I have learned to dust off my feet after I have been obedient (Matthew 10:14). My heart is to see people grow and to be blessed. It is not my job to make sure they receive it. My job is to deliver it. May I add a little thought provoking question? If you sit through services and listen to your pastor and it does not prick you to take an evaluation of yourself, has your heart become hard? Being sweet has nothing to do with the status of your heart. Love will propel you to seek the best for others, unselfishly.

Here are some questions I ask myself. Does it line up with His Word? That is not the same as it making you feel good or stroking your spiritual ego. Does it line up with His character and nature? Not how I want Him to be. Sometimes we want God to conform to our image of Him. Finally, will it bring freedom (even if it is correction)? We are called ministers of reconciliation. If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions. Then be obedient. Do not let Sanballat’s (Nehemiah 4:1) in your life deter you from what God told you to do. Be bold and courageous. Here the voice of the Lord and go!

Tennis Balls and the Holy Spirit

As I was reading Undistracted by Bob Goff, Saturday, I came across him talking about having to decide about whether he would have a heart procedure done because his heart was beating too fast. His resting heart rate was in the two hundreds. A normal resting heart rate is between seventy and one hundred beats per minute. He had to decide to have a procedure that would stop his heart and then send a shock to restart it (all done while medicated sleep). He posed the question: “Would you be willing to risk dying in order for your life to be more lasting? Would you risk everything for the chance to live your life more fully?”

Jesus did just that when He went to the cross for us. He did that, then how is my life better?

John 16:5-7 (AMP) But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [and taken complete possession of them]. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].

My mind went directly to the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is the reason my life is so much better! Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. If the Holy Spirit was not here, and within me, then the church would not be able to reach her fullest potential.

Acts 1:8 (AMP) But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.

I fully believe that I would not be able to fulfill the commandment Jesus gave me without the Holy Spirit.

John 15:12 (AMP) This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.

Not many of us can say that being unselfish is easy. I am one that likes to have my time. I plan out what I am cooking and how left overs are going to be used when I am doing my weekly shopping. I am at the gym every day at the same time. I plan what errands that I will do each day and will try to be home at a certain time. This is so that I can have time to read and take a nap before we have evening sports. I can say that I have gotten better at letting go of the routine. How do you think those like me would have handled the changes when the Holy Spirit took root in the early church?

Acts 2:41-47 (AMP) So then, those who accepted his message were baptized; and on that day about 3,000 souls were added [to the body of believers]. They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayers. A sense of awe was felt by everyone, and many wonders and signs (attesting miracles) were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need. Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.

Your possessions are anything that you get to decide how they are used. Would I give up my time so that others can receive Christ? Would I give up my Saturday so that I can meet the need of someone else?

Bob Goff compared the amount of effort it takes for you heart to beat is like you and I taking a tennis ball in our hand and trying to squeeze it. Try it, it’s not easy. That to me is what it is like to do this love walk (unselfishly seeking the best for others) without the Holy Spirit. I need the Holy Spirit in my time. I need the Holy Spirit in my coming and going. I need the Holy Spirit in my self talk. I need the Holy Spirit in getting to know the heart of the Father. I need the Holy Spirit to become more and more like Jesus. To try to do this without the Holy Spirit is like squeezing a tennis ball. You might get one or two squeezes before you hand cramps, but not enough to sustain a steady heart beat.

If you have not done so invite the Holy Spirit into your life. If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit I would love to talk with you more about that. The benefits of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us is so much more than just a Comforter. We also get the benefit of a heavenly prayer language. We get the benefit of not going at this love walk alone. We get the benefit of having God within us. I am so grateful for Pentecost (the gift of the Holy Spirit) and my church. I am so happy that Jesus risked everything so that I could live a life more fully!

Mirror the Glory

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

Progressive is an adjective (a describing word) meaning: happening or developing gradually or in stages; proceeding step by step. I am progressively being transformed. What am I transforming into? His image. By glory to glory.

We were created in His image. What image? His glory! When He breathed His Spirit into man (Genesis 2:7) we took on His likeness. This is part of the restored purpose that Christ came for.

Genesis 1:26 (AMP) Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness.]

You were created for more than just to exist. You were designed to take on His spiritual personality. John 15:4-5 tells me that I am nothing in myself, but in Christ, I am everything I need to be. My self image matters.

Ruth, often preached as a love story, is a story of perseverance. Ruth was a brave woman. Being a Moabite, Noami’s sons were not supposed to marry them, but they did anyways. Why? Moabites are from Moab, the son of Lot and his oldest daughter. They worshiped idols. In Ezra we see the Levites disowning their wives and children from those unions because they were told not to marry them. However, Ruth set out to change her destiny. Do you know what the future held for a woman that was widowed and had no children? They were either to become a beggar or a prostitute. Ruth did not have to follow Naomi, she chose to. Ruth did not have the right to glean in the field, that is why she went behind everyone else. Everything was set against her. Her race, her culture, her status.

Ruth 1:16 (AMP) Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.

According to the US Census Bureau data released in 2015, the poverty rates for women are substantially higher than the rates for men. The overall poverty rate is 3.8 percentage points higher for women than for men, and difference in the poverty rate among those over the age of sixty-five is even higher, with nearly one in five women who are over sixty-five and live alone in poverty.  (nwlc.org/resources/national-snapshot-poverty-among-women-families-2014)

Ruth is in the lineage of the direct descents of Jesus. Do you think that your past, or what you went through, can keep you from wholeness?

Break the generational bondage in your family. Break the poverty spirit. Break the orphan spirit. Break the spirit of anger. Break the spirit of not being able to accept love. Break the abandonment spirit. Break the spirit of rejection.

What holds you in bondage has control over you. Often we do not understand why we react a certain way is, it is because there is a form of bondage that has been attached to you. It is time to break free.

For me, I battle with not feeling accepted or wanted. There are many women in my family that struggle with the same thing. Where did this root come from? Where did it start? I have no idea. It started to take root in my oldest son and then I became aware that it was generational. What made me feel rejection was starting to show in him.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (AMP) So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

I was created to present His glory. He came to make me whole so that I could fulfill that purpose. We were given the Holy Spirit so that we can fulfill that purpose. I am not the result of my past. I am the result of the Holy Spirit taking root in me. I am rooted and grounded in Love!! Do those thought still come up? Yes, I have to choose to put them aside and think on what is true, honorable, confirmed by His Word, what brings peace, and anything worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). It takes practice. We can choose different because we were created to reflect His glory.

How I think of myself matters

Romans 12:2 (AMP) And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Yesterday I had the privilege of ministering the word to my church. It was called “Mirror the Glory.” This is an excerpt from it. I believe our minds are the biggest battle we face to keep us from walking in the command to love, just as Jesus commanded us to. It all starts on how we see ourselves. The NIV starts off the above verse with “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.”

What is the pattern of this world? “I am the result of my upbringing.” “I cannot move ahead because I was not set up to succeed.” “I was not loved as a child so I do not know how to show love (or receive love).” “I grew up in dysfunction so all I know is dysfunction.” “I was abused so I seek out relationships that abuse.” “I have been through too much.”

1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price [a precious price paid by Christ]; do not become slaves to men [but to Christ].

Do not become slaves to this thought pattern. Do not allow this to keep you from the abundant life that He came for (John 10:10).

1 Corinthians 6:12 (AMP) Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me].

We are held in bondage by the thoughts we have. This has nothing to do with His love for you. I can be held in emotional bondage and He still loves us.

Romans 8:38-39 (AMP) For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This has nothing to do about whether you are saved (going to Heaven), whether He loves you, this has to do about the SOZO. SOZO means to save, deliver, heal, to make whole. The devil’s goal is to separate us from God’s love, because God’s love is the main factor in our emotional healing.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (AMP) So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

In order to full experience this amazing and endless love, you need to go through the process of giving Him what bounds you. It is through this process that you experience the love to the fullest. The Holy Spirit was given to us to Comfort us through the process. It is going to hurt, but it is a good hurt. Let the spiritual roots of bondage be set free. Receive the wholeness that He came to bring you. It is a continual thing. It is not a one and done.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

Look yourself in the mirror today and make this declaration: I am fully loved by God. He adopted me into His family. The pain of my past does not determine my future. The spirit that now dwells in me has full access to my life. He has permission to search within me and clear out anything that the enemy can use to hinder the call that He has on my life. I am free! I am healed! I am whole!!

Motives

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I believe this verse needs to be as memorized as Philippians 4:13. What is our motive? Why do you want to do something? Or even why should I do it? I should do everything in the name of the Lord, no matter what.

Is it to please our leadership? Is it to make ourselves feel good or more pious? You have a choice. Many people want to do something and do not want to be held accountable (especially when they make a verbal commitment). Their motive is wrong. Let’s be honest. We are self seeking. When we do not measure up, we say we make a mistake and should never have committed to that. True! You were not doing it unto the Lord.

Who or what is your dependence on? If it is not in Christ then you will feel like a failure. In Christ we cannot fail. Keep your heart motive on Him no matter what!

Luke 19:31 (AMP)  “If anybody asks you, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ you will say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 

Matthew 14:28 (AMP) Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus was referred to as Teacher, Rabbi, Son of God, Savior, Friend and Lord. Which one of those titles holds the most weight? It is unto the Lord that we serve, worship and dedicate. “Lord” carried the most weight when it came to trust in what they were told to do. Peter, said, “Lord, if it is really you….”

Maybe we get frustrated at our leadership because we want them to be Lord (sometimes, but not all the time, only when it is convenient). That is not their role. When we make a commitment to people, what is the intent? For example, my husband and I are pastors. We have heard “Pastor, I am committed to this church. Nothing can run me off.” Or “Pastor, I am all in.” Both parties are pumped and ready to do ministry together. Can I be honest and transparent? Most of the times it does not end well. Guess who is to blame? The pastor. Not really, but they are left to pick up the pieces and move on. We do have a part to play. We are not perfect. It is in the imperfection that you should pray for us.

We have to make Jesus Lord of our lives. When we try to short cut and submit with the wrong intent, we are setting ourselves up for hurt. Yes, honor your pastor. Your pastor is called to equip and lead you to do the works of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11).

I will not remind you to tithe.Yes, I have had someone ask to hold them accountable to that. Did I do it? NO!! Something else made them mad and they left anyways. That is between you and God. Now, when it comes to giving you a leadership role, should those who do not financially support the church be put in leadership? I will let you answer that question yourself.

I will encourage you to love God, I will encourage you to seek the best for others and to love unselfishly. I will encourage you to pray, to get in your Word and to serve in and outside of your church. I will encourage to make Jesus Lord of your life. You can ask me if you heard Him correct and for the direction of your life? I am going to point you back to your Word and ask if it lines up with His character and nature. Will it cause division among believers? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it cause someone to stumble in their faith? Then you did not hear from Him correctly. Will it bring healing? Will it encourage you and others to grow in their faith? Does it show love? Will it draw people closer to a relationship with Him? Then yes you have heard from Him correctly.

What are our motives?

Lord, I want to glorify you with whatever I put my hands to, no matter who sees it. Lord, I want to serve your people, no matter who acknowledges it. Lord, blind my eyes to what does not need to be seen to keep me from stumbling. Lord, I have faith to step out, all you have to say is ‘come.’ Yes, You have given me free will and everything is permissible for me, but not everything will bring glory to You. I choose to make you Lord over my life. What I choose that may be best for me, may not be what is best to glorify You. My dependence is on You today and every day. I choose today whom I will serve. Amen.

Love is in the seed

Mark 4:14 (AMP) The sower sows the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation]. 

For the past week the nation has been glued to the news to see what has been transpiring across the world. Inflation is up…way up! One thing remains, the Word of God. If you are looking for something good right now, look no further than His Word.

I was reading over Mark 4, preparing for a youth camp to speak at. It was the first time I had done anything like that. I was not nervous until I got up in front on looked at all the faces. The weight of what I was about to say hit me. My story is not traumatizing. My heart goes out to those who are living in war torn countries, but to be honest, I do not know what that is like. I never grew up hungry, wondering where my next meal came from. I grew up desiring to be loved, without the love of my birth father. How traumatic, right?

The desire to be loved and to be accepted drove me to do things in my younger life that I probably would not have done if I had felt secure. When preparing for the youth camp, the passage in Mark 4 struck me in that my heart (soil) have met all stages of that passage.

When I first started attending the church we pastor now I was just sixteen years old. My husband was the pastor’s son. Even though he was not living for God he attended church as an honor for his parents. He served doing sound. He would pick me up in the morning and drive me home after lunch. I dressed for the times and my skirts were short, tops just covered my mid drift and my shoes were platform heels. Often my socks were mid thigh. I was young and had a cute figure. My husband’s mom only said anything to him about the way I dressed, of which his reply was that he liked it. They never said anything to me. When John did not have money for lunch that Sunday he would have me go to his dad and ask. His dad loved it and would hand me a twenty every time.

So here is what I learned: When the Word is sown and Satan immediately takes the Word away (Mark 4:15) keep sowing. I was there for all the wrong reasons, but love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7). Things and thoughts like poor self image, pride, rejection, blame shifting, self-justification, people pleasing can all be the rocks that cause the seed to be choked out in our lives (Mark 4:16). Keep sowing the Word, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17). What about thorns (Mark 4:18-19)? Thorns hurt! I know, being on the other side sowing, I have been cut a few times. Those I have cut in the past know that it was worth it when they see my growth now. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening] (1 Corinthians 13:7). Keep sowing.

Eventually, with love being the basis for sowing: And those [in the last group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation] and accept it and bear fruit—thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much [as was sown] (Mark 4:20). I have the capacity of loving more because of what He brought me through.

John 15: 4 (AMP) Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. 

I look back and see how much love was sown into me when I was in all different types of soil. Weeds do still to grow up, but I allow the Holy Spirit to remove them and see the good soil. Weeds do not mean they are hopeless, it means there is still potential. When a weed is pulled up, the ground is the softest. We all have to see each other as potential. Love always hopes. Now do not go out there beating each other with the Word. That is not what I am saying. The Word inside of you will cause you to love and seek the best for others. That was what Jesus commanded us to do John 15:12).

Never give up sowing the Word. Never give up showing love when you do not see the fruit of it right away. There is a change happening. Let it start with your love! We cannot effectively sow the Word without love.

Love Revolution

John 15:12 (AMP) “This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.”

This is smack in the middle of the part of Jesus telling us to abide in Him.

John 15:16-17 (AMP) You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you. This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.

I am going to put this all together for us.

John 14:12-15 (AMP)  I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it. If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.

What were the commandments? See John 15:12.

Do not be afraid to do something kind for someone else. Give up a Saturday to help a stranger. Be willing to give away something in order to meet the needs of someone else.  

If you genuinely want to do something, you will find a way to do it.

Refuse to do nothing.

Do not let the fear of becoming overly involved keep you from being involved at all. Do not let the fear of falling into “works” salvation be the reason you do not aggressively want to serve. It is the intent of the heart.

After the early council deliberated on if the Gentiles had to be circumcised to show their salvation or to seal their salvation. It was deliberated that they did not. Actually they talked about the continuation of a lot of the Jewish rituals. The only thing they told Paul to do was:

Galatians 2:10 (AMP) They asked only (one thing), that we remember the poor, the very thing I was also eager to do.

There are literally thousands of ways you can give and spread love if you will search for them aggressively.

Jesus’ disciples saw Him daily helping people. He listened to them. His plans were interrupted so that they knew they were seen. Our words and prayers are important, but our actions carry the weight of our love. Let’s start a love revolution!!

Happy Love Day

1 John 4:19 (NIV) We love because he first loved us.

We all want someone to lay down their lives for us. We want someone to make the greatest sacrifice so that I know that I am loved. Jesus did that when He died on the cross for us. We are suppose to do it every day because of that great love.

John 15:13 (AMP) No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.

Yesterday, during Love Sunday, my husband and I got to minister together. We talked about us being created for a purpose. Marriage has a purpose. Marriage is not to give each other purpose, it is to enhance our created purpose. In marriage we get to do it together.

Genesis 1:28 (AMP) And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Our union was not just to have lots and lots of babies. We can be fruitful and multiply and it not apply to having children. They are a bonus, my children are not my purpose. The anointing for multiplication is on my life and on yours. We are called to fill the earth with our ideas and concepts planted in our hearts by Him. I am believing for the unusual. I am believing for the unheard of and outlandish blessing to be poured out on my life. Why? Everything that is birthed through me will subdue the earth. We are called to walk in dominion all the days of our lives (men and women). We were given this authority by Jesus.

There is no greater motivator than love. In receiving it and in giving it. God speaks love all around us. He created us in love. In turn we love each other in our actions, because He first loved us.

Last week I had an amazing time showing love. Widows were delivered flowers. Conversations were had with grocery store clerks (not just exchanging pleasantries, but now I know that they work multiple jobs and looking for a new apartment). Future plans have been made to touch back with all of them. One chance encounter changed my perspective on Mary pouring the oil to anoint Jesus for burial. What if you were someone’s last encounter before they left this life? Would they know they were loved? Would they know they were seen?

What opportunities will be opened up to me this week? I was created for a purpose. To be fruitful, to multiply and to fill the earth, and subjugate it through love.

John 3:16 (AMP) For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Happy Love Day!

Check out the full message on YouTube: Love Sunday 2022

Endless love

John 17:26 (TPT) I have revealed to them who you are and I will continue to make you even more real to them, so that they may experience the same endless love that you have for me, for your love will now live in them, even as I live in them!

When God created mankind, man and woman, He did not want to create “robots.” Robots have to obey according to what they are programmed to do. He wanted to create beings that could make a choice. Why? This was the only way He would have a true form of love towards Him. People have to choose to love Him, we are not forced to. Jesus revealed that love to us when He was here on earth.

We all have dreams and desires, that is part of being a created being. We are given choices. It is up to us to make sure it lines up with His Word, and the character and nature of God found in His Word. This means taking our “free will” choices and laying them down before God. Letting Him have the say in our lives. It is a surrendering of choice. A surrendering of will.

I had to make a choice when I first excepted Christ. At that time in our lives my husband and I were engaged. We had just gotten engaged but in a sexual relationship for a couple of years. It was my hunger and desire to know His endless love that I approached my fiance and told him, “if we are going to do this, we need to do it right. We do not need to have sex again until marriage.” I was prepared to walk away from him to walk closer to God. Thankfully, when I prayed for a husband those years ago, that is who he turned into. He honored me by saying yes, let us do this right together. We were abstinent for two years before we married.

When a person comes to this place in their life it represents having a true faith in God. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Purpose is the motivation for all of God’s actions. Purpose is more important than plans. Purpose is more powerful than plans. Purpose proceeds plans. The only thing that motivates God is His purpose, not your plans. The word purpose means original intent, it also can be translated as will.

When we make decisions to do or not do, to go or not go, what is the intent of the heart? Is it to experience His endless love? Are we willing to show that to others? My plans and decisions cannot move God, I am moved my His purpose. Sometimes we get that backwards and we try to manipulate God. We even use some good religious speech that does not line up with His character and nature that can be found in His Word. Satan manipulates the Word of God to get his way. Check the intent of our hearts. Jesus was the ultimate example. Experience His full love today!

Who does not like gifts?

Matthew 7:11 (AMP) If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.

We are coming up on what my husband likes to coin the “trifecta.” In May is my birthday, anniversary and Mother’s Day. Each of these days are less than a week from each other. Some years Mother’s Day and my birthday will even fall on the same day, and just a few days after that is our anniversary. This time of the year use to stress my husband out for getting gifts, but do you know that he has learned, to not just gift me on these days. He gifts me just because.

There is a book by Gary Chapman called God Speaks You Love Language (How to experience and express God’s love). If you have never heard of love languages there are five main love languages, and one of them is what you mainly speak. They are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. My love languages that fills me up are words of affirmation, second gifts and then acts of service. My husband’s are quality time, physical touch and gifts. I have learned to speak his love language and he has learned to speak mine.

When we look at the above verse, then look through it the eyes of God speaking your love language, what can you see in your life? Do you see how God shows His love to you in personal ways? I do. I was crying in disappointment for something that I was preparing for. We are doing everything right to get our church in the place it needed to go. We are speaking the vision. We have had our eyes on a piece of property for a year. We are working on saving up to purchase it debt free. We, in the natural, were nowhere close. However, I serve a God of the supernatural. We found out that the land was gifted to a mega church in our area. It was disheartening. Just as I was weeping in grief, a friend, who I had not heard from in a long time sent me a text, “I was just thinking about your beautiful face…” I have had messages from complete strangers to encourage me not to give up hope. These are the moments that God shows up. I knew that He had something better in mind. He is the God that sees.

I want to encourage you today to look at the different ways God shows you His love. Then I want to challenge you to show God your love for Him. Pick one of these areas: acts of service, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation and/or physical touch. You might say that you already show God love on a daily basis. Then can I challenge you one more time? Show love to someone that you do not usually show love to. Pick one of these love languages to show love to a stranger, a co-worker, your neighbor, your pastor or someone that knocks the rough edges off of you (Paul called him a thorn in his side).

Can I be honest? The love language I struggle giving to those that are not in my family, is physical touch. I can give gifts, serve others, spend time with others, and speak positive words of encouragement to people (right now I am working on jewelry to give to all the women who attend church on Mother’s Day for the message that I am preparing, while serving that day in my usual roles). When I do hug someone, usually they initiate the hug first. I have no idea why, I am not alone in this, and it does not mean we do not walk in love. That does not mean that if it is your love language, physical touch, that I will not refuse to speak it. Why? It is not love when we refuse to try to speak someone else’s love language. We should look at it as a growth opportunity, an offering to the God that we love.

I hope you will take me up on the challenge to look for all the ways God loves you. That you will speak a language of love back to Him. Also, that you will love His creation, those that were created in His image, by being more intentional with speaking these love languages. Have a blessed day!