Because of Love

Last night I had a rather odd dream. I only remember a small portion of it, and I only remembered that part after something jogged my memory this morning. In the dream someone I did not  recognize said to me, “You are useless.”

In the dream I was of course shocked that someone would say this to me. I was taken aback for a moment and then I thought of what I spend most days a week doing. I spend most days encouraging, comforting, praying and helping people with critical medical conditions, people with terminal diseases. I responded to the person in my dream, “I am not useless to the people I help every day.”

I had completely forgotten the dream when I awoke this morning. I went into the spare bedroom to spend some time in prayer and to read my Bible. I felt drawn to read First Corinthians chapter thirteen.

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me), I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Amplified)

As I read this passage, I suddenly remembered my dream when I read the part that said without God’s love I am a useless nobody. Thank God I am not without His love. I am not useful because of what I do. You are not useful because of what you do. We can speak in tongues. We can have prophetic powers. We can have faith that moves mountains. We can give to the poor. We can sacrifice our own selves. But without love we would still be useless.

Why do we do what we do? Why do I do what I do? I invite the Holy Spirit to show me when I may have a motive other than love in anything that I do. I am useful to God. I am useful to this world. I am useful to my family when I am moved and motivated by nothing but His love in me.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24, Amplified)

Father, search me and teach me to love. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Somewhere

Somewhere in Berlin is a congregation of Jews who enjoyed the love and fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters that traveled halfway around the world just to be with them. Somewhere in Berlin is a German tour guide who was blessed by hearing words of forgiveness for his nation’s past sins. Somewhere in Brussels is a group of Christian women who received words of love and encouragement from the Father through a little group of people who traveled from Texas. Somewhere in Brussels is a group of high school boys that heard of the fearlessness of another young man named David who slew a giant. Somewhere in Brussels is a blind man that lost his way in a train station only to be helped by Christians who had traveled from far away just to be there in his moment of need. Somewhere in my heart I carry the people of Germany and Belgium because they hold a special place somewhere in God’s heart too.

Look into His heart. You might just find that somewhere in His heart is calling out for you.

Fear Not, Believe Only

On a daily basis I see and speak to people who are physically ill. Because of my job I mostly see and speak to people with terminal illnesses. I’ve done this for 15 years. I’ve seen their fear. I’ve seen their faith.

I’d like to share a scripture with you that has not only helped me in my own walk of faith, but has also helped many of these precious people in their walk of faith.

First, the context. Jairus, a synagogue ruler comes to Jesus saying his daughter is at the point of death and will Jesus come heal her. Jesus turns to go with him. As they are walking to Jairus’ home a woman with an issue of blood comes up and in faith touches the hem of Jesus’ garment. She is instantly healed. Jesus stops to find out who touched him and she shares about her healing, thus prolonging his trip to Jairus’ home. In the meantime Jairus’ daughter dies (see Mark 5 and Luke 8).

It didn’t work out the way Jairus had hoped. He expected Jesus to arrive before she died. He expected Jesus to heal her, but did he ever expect Jesus to raise her from the dead?

While He was still speaking, there came some from the ruler’s house, who said [to Jairus], Your daughter has died. Why bother and distress the Teacher any further? Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing. (Mark 5:35-36, Amplified)

Jesus arrives to Jairus’ home and finds people weeping and wailing. When He tells them she is not dead they begin to laugh and jeer at Him. He throws them out. I like that part. Yea Jesus!

Gripping her  [firmly] by the hand, He said to her, Talitha cumi – which translated is, Little girl, I say to you, arise [from the sleep of death]! And instantly the girl got up… (Mark 5:41-42, Amplified).

My point for sharing all this is to ask you, At what point do we start fearing and stop believing? This father’s child was dead and Jesus said to him fear not, only believe. I have held on to this scripture and seen impossible situations completely turned around. I have seen people at the point of death hold on to this scripture and be healed of a terminal disease.

So I have another question for you. At what point do we start fearing and stop believing God concerning our nation?

That’s the USA for me. The same applies to whatever nation you are in. Let’s fear not. How? Remember His love for you. Perfected love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). And let’s keep on believing. Selah.

Praying for Huma

I have endeavored so far in this blog to keep pretty clear of politics as much as possible. This is a blog about love. Politics is one of those topics that can stir up the enemies of love, such as hate and fear. Politics can be so divisive. As a person who loves I try to find areas of agreement to focus on as much as possible. I’m not trying to push an agenda. I’m just trying to love people.

So today’s post is one that is quite out of the ordinary for this blog, but it is something quite common in my own life. I’m someone who loves this nation (the USA) and I’m someone who is very active in the political process.

So recently I have seen someone’s name batted around in the news a lot lately. I must say that I have seen a lot of headlines about her. I have heard others’ comments about her, but I have not read the articles, nor have I heard the comments that were recently made about her by at least one well-known Republican. I did hear some information about her and her associations that gave me some cause for concern. Mainly because of her position in our government.

Her name is Huma Abedin. She is the wife of former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner. She is also currently a top aide to our Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As I mentioned before, I have gotten the general idea of what was said about her and the general idea of the responses entirely from headlines and blurbs. I have chosen not to read the articles. I did see an interview some time before all this that brought into question her association to a group the could be a real danger to our nation. Do I know for a fact that she is associated with this group in any way? No, I do not. That’s not the point of this post today, or any future posts that I know of on this blog. So what is the point?

The point is after seeing the interview, after seeing the headlines for and against her, I began to have a sense of fear try to creep up with each headline. I began to have a sense of dislike (not hate, but that could not be far behind if I yield to it) towards her. Then I remembered His love. That love that drives out all fear (1 John 4:18).

I remembered Jesus’ words about praying for your enemies. Blessing and doing good to them. Now I don’t personally consider Huma Abedin an enemy. But I had my concerns that she might be associated with those who are enemies to this nation. Thus the fear tried to come.

So what is my response to all this? I am praying for her.

I am not praying with any particular agenda in mind. I am praying for her to know the love of a Heavenly Father.

Yes, I am praying for her for the sake of this nation.

Yes, I am praying for her for the sake of my loved ones and friends.

But mostly I am praying for her for her sake, and for her family’s sake.

I am not praying for her because I hate her or fear her. I am praying for her because I love her.

If My people, who are called by My Name , will humble themselves and pray… (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Love & Pray

I returned only a couple of days ago from a trip to Europe. There is a seven hour difference, so I found myself wide awake at 4 a.m. this morning. I lay in bed and listened to a song playing in my heart, How He Loves Us. A person came to mind. Someone I love. I began to pray for them as I lay there. At some point I began to think about why I was praying for them.

This person is in the ministry. She is sharing the gospel all over the world. Lives are being changed. While these are reasons to pray for her, I realized that the reason I was praying for her is because I love her. The people I pray for the most are the people I love the most. I don’t have to be asked to pray for my husband, my parents, my family, my closest friends. I love them, so I pray for them.

A scripture came to mind as I lay there.

…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5:44, Amplified)

While we may not love what our enemies are doing to us, our motivation to pray for them must be the same. Our motivation must always be love.

For God so loved the world… (John 3:16, KJV

But God shows and clearly proves his own love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ…died for us. (Romans 5:8, Amplified)

The next time you find yourself faced with an enemy. The next time you decide to pray for your enemies. Find that place of love, God’s love for them, and pray.

There will be times when you feel the love of God rise up and feel compelled to pray for your enemies. But just as we hear that “love is choice” concerning our closest relationships, it is also a choice you can make with your enemies. You can choose to love and you can choose to pray for them.

…God has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit… (Romans 5:5, NIV)

…You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness… (Isaiah 38:17, Amplified)

Let us love. Let us pray. Let us win their lives back. Selah.

Experience the Love

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trust in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:16-17, Amplified)

A friend came over today for our weekly prayer for the nation. As we prayed, God brought us back to a scripture that we read almost every time we come together to pray. It is Ephesians 3:14-21. This is a scripture that I have known, studied, prayed and meditated on for more than a decade. However, today something in it struck me in a different way. It is found in verse 19 in the Amplified Bible.

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ…

For years I have prayed that I would know and experience His love for me personally. For years I have prayed for my loved ones to know and experience the love He has for each of them. I have also prayed for my ‘enemies’ to know and experience His love. But today I prayed something else. I prayed that I would know and experience His love for others. I prayed that the Body of Christ would know and experience His love for the world. For God so loved the world…

I had an experience about 17 years ago. I was walking through my living room when I saw a Christian woman on television. She had a tall and long wig and lots of makeup. In my heart I judged her appearance and how I thought her appearance made Christians look goofy or weird. I then fell to my knees. Not in repentance, though that quickly followed.

My knees actually buckled under the weight of love that I suddenly felt for this woman. God had allowed me to experience for a moment at least some of the love that He felt for her, this woman that I had just judged. I repented. To this day I refuse to judge, reject, condemn or pass sentence on anyone, because He loves them. He sent His Son to save them not judge and reject them.

…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5:44, Amplified)

…but You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (Isaiah 38:17, Amplified)

Strengthen us Lord that we might experience Your love for the world.

Amazed By His Love

Amazed by His love for me.

…God-so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us… Ephesians 2:4 (Amplified)

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son… John 3:16 (Amplified)

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Romans 5:8 (Amplified)

Amazed by His love in me.

…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:5 (KJV)

And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them. John 17:26 (NLT)

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16 (KJV)

Amazed by His love through me.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. 1 Peter 4:8 (Amplified)

Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance… love will last forever.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NLT)

…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you… Matthew 5:44 (KJV)

I am amazed by His love for me. I am amazed by His love in me. I am amazed by His love through me. My prayer is that as others interact with me, that they too may experience His love and be amazed by His love for them.

Jesus replied… Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father… John 14:9 (Amplified)

What I Ought To Be

Yesterday, I wrote about a recent prayer time with a friend. She and I pray weekly for our nation. Every week we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit within our hearts as to how and what to pray. Every week our prayer time is different from the last. We never know what to expect except that it will always be from a place of love for God, love for all people, and love for this nation.

I’d like to continue where I left off yesterday. I shared yesterday that the Holy Spirit led us to pray for our “enemies”. Today I’d like to share one thing in particular that He had us pray.

Now may the God of peace… Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ…Amen. Hebrews 13:20,21 (Amplified)

My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We have a very good marriage, thank You God, however, it has not been without its ‘moments’. In those moments I would go to God in prayer and instead of praying for God to change my husband in some way, I would pray for God to make me what I ought to be as a wife. I prayed this way, because the Holy Spirit led me to pray this way. This is a prayer from a place of love and not selfishness. He always leads us to pray in love. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).

So the other day as my friend and I prayed for this nation by praying for our “enemies” this is how we prayed. Make us what we ought to be to those who hate us.

As we continued in our prayer we prayed, Father, Make us what we ought to be to this nation. Make us what we ought to be in our own homes.

We prayed that God would make us, not just my friend and I, but us the church, the Body of Christ, what we ought to be to this world that is in need of the Savior.

Make us what we ought to be.

You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13,14,16 (KJV)

Heal Our Land

A few days ago I sat across from a friend and she and I prayed for our nation. This nation (USA) is in the middle of economic troubles. This nation is going through a deep struggle as seeds of division are sown by many and it is bearing its ugly fruit in the heart of this nation. Many have said that what we do now will determine if this nation survives as one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

How do you pray for such things?

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

…the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. Romans 8:27 (Amplified)

We sat and followed the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts. And where did He lead us? We found ourselves earnestly praying for our “enemies”. We prayed for the souls of those who don’t know Him as love and are doing everything to tear this nation apart and bring her down.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44 (KJV)

…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 (NKJV)

It takes humility to pray for your enemies and to admit before God your own shortcomings. But if we humble ourselves and pray… He will heal our land.

Follow Me

Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you. ~ Oswald Chambers

I begin today’s post with this quote to make it very clear that I will share what God has done with me, what He is doing in my heart. Your experience may be very different than mine. His leading in your life may take you in an entirely different direction than He has taken me.

I worked in the healing ministry of my previous church for 14 years. Many considered me to be “in the ministry”. I worked like someone in the ministry. I’m not saying that with any pride or any regret. It was a wonderful time in my life. Then God called me away from all that.

As I stepped from that season of my life into the next, many said that they were eager to see what God would do with my ministry now.

For quite some time I rested as He had instructed me to. Yet constantly watching for His next instruction for the ministry He had for me.

Weeks turned into months. Months turned into a year. Still more months went by. I finally asked God what He wanted me to do. His response, “What is in your heart to do? Follow your heart.”

I was surprised by this. Could I really trust my heart? His response to this unspoken question, “Your heart is Mine. Your heart is turned towards Me. Follow what is in your heart to do.”

I discussed with Him what was in my heart. I was surprised when I said to Him, “I don’t want to be ‘in the ministry’. I just want to love people wherever I go. Whatever that looks like.”

Loving people might look like praying for someone in need of healing. It might look like counseling a friend in the midst of a trial. It might look like eating a meal and fellowshipping with friends. It might look like fixing my husband’s favorite meal or picking up his clothes from the drycleaners. It might look like sharing Jesus with someone who doesn’t know Him.

Loving people might look like spending time in prayer, in intercession, for someone I know or maybe interceding for someone I don’t know. It can look like any act of love.

I sensed a smile cross His face as I shared my heart with Him.

I was reminded of Jesus’ ministry. Many times He appeared to just be walking along when His course was changed by the leading of compassion.

As Jesus walked through the streets of Jericho, with people all around Him, it says that He “stood still” when He heard the cry of blind Bartimaeus. He stopped. He turned and He healed this man crying out for mercy. He was led by the Spirit of God to demonstrate God’s love to this individual.

Come, follow me… and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19, NIV)

…He leads me… (Psalm 23:2, Amplified)

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14, Amplified)

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I do have an expectation of His continued goodness and grace in my life. Whether it looks like a ministry or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that it look like love.

I will follow where He leads and there I will love others as He has loved me. That is my ministry.

Be led. Selah.