I AM…

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:14, KJV)

GOD:

I AM patient and I AM kind.

I AM merciful and I AM good.

I AM faithful and I AM forgiving.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth… (Exodus 34:6, KJV)

O Give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 136:1, KJV)

Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, extend to the skies, and Your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 36:5, Amplified)

THe LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgressions… (Numbers 14:18, KJV)

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities… (Psalm 103:3, KJV)

I AM your Father and I AM love.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Luke 11:2)

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

GOD’s child:

I am patient and I am kind.

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5, Amplified)

(God’s love in me)… endures long and is patient and kind… (1 Corinthians 13:3,4; Amplified)

I am merciful and I am good.

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36, NKJV)

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy… peace, patience… kindness, goodness… faithfulness, gentleness… self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23, Amplified)

I am faithful and I am forgiving.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit… is faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22, Amplified)

And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32, KJV)

I am Your child, born of Your seed, and I am love.

Now are we the sons of God. (1 John 3:2)

Being born again, not of corruptible see, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23, KJV)

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God… (1 John 4:7, KJV)

God is love. (1 John 4:8, KJV)

Practice Makes Perfect

What are you practicing?

According to my trusty American Dictionary of the English Language (Noah Webster, 1828) to practice means “to do or perform frequently, customarily or habitually”. It also means “to form a habit of acting in any manner.”

So what are you practicing? What manner are you forming as a habit in your life?

The Bible says that we are not to be hearers of the Word only, but doers of the Word. You won’t develop what you know to do, just because you know to do it. But you will develop what you practice doing on a continual basis.

Now, I want to take a look at the fruit of the Spirit. I want to look at what they are and what they aren’t.

Love… the opposite being hate.

Joy… the opposite being sorrow.

Peace… the most commonly listed opposite is war, but I also found these: agitation, distress, frustration, upset and worry.

Patience… the opposite being impatient.

Kindness… the opposite being unkind. Other antonyms are cruel, harsh or mean.

Goodness… the opposite being bad or evil.

Faithfulness… the opposite being unfaithful, disloyal or unreliable.

Gentleness… the opposite being hard and rough.

Self control… the opposite being self-indulgence.

As believers, we should keep before our eyes what His Presence within us is calling us to be, empowering us to be.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is… (Galatians 5:22, Amplified)

…His power that is at work within us… (Ephesians 3:20, Amplified)

The fruit of the Spirit are within us, but it’s what we practice yielding to that will manifest in our lives. Are we yielding to the Holy Spirit and the manner and character that His Presence within will accomplish in our lives? Or are we yielding to the very things that He is trying to work out of us… the impatience, the unkindness, the sorrow, the self-indulgence, the worry and fear that hurt us and cause us to hurt others?

Keep before your eyes and in your heart the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Remind yourself that you are able to be all those things because He is in you. Yield to Him. When you are tempted and want to be impatient, remind yourself that because God is in you, you can and will be patient. When sorrow tries to come, yield to and draw up from your innermost being His joy that is your strength.

Practice the fruit of the Spirit and become more like Jesus every day.

The Grace to Love

Let everything you do be done in love… (1 Corinthians 16:14, Amplified)

Every thought. Every word. Every action.

But how?

By His grace in you.

…The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love… But He gives more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). (James 4:5-6, Amplified)

Grace, the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of God’s Spirit Who lives within you.

You will not do everything in love by willpower. You will not do everything in love by your own ability, your own love, your own goodness. The only way to do everything in love is to acknowledge that without Him you could never truly love, but then thank Him that you are not without Him.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV)

But the the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes is love, joy… peace, patience… kindness, goodness… faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23, Amplified)

Love … is patient and kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4, Amplified)

…God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5, Amplified)

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

We were instructed to do everything in love. Understand that without Him this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. And you are not without Him. When the temptation comes to be unlovely, by faith believe His love and the power of the Holy Spirit is in you to love in every situation.

When I find myself having a hard time loving, I say, “I yield to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness. I yield to faithfulness, humility and self-control. By the power of the Holy Spirit in me I choose to love.”

Knit Together

For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:16, Amplified)

…as they are knit together in love… (Colossians 2:2, Amplified)

That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints […the experience of that love]… [That you may really come to know… the love of Christ… that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:18-19, Amplified)

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose…] To Him be glory in the church… (Ephesians 3:20-21, Amplified)

We are the church. We are His body, the Body of Christ. And His desire is that we be knit together and that we be one with Him and one with each other (John 17:21-23).

How is this accomplished? First and foremost, by our union with His Son Jesus Christ, but this Body of Christ is also being knit together in love, by Love Himself. Not by our common doctrines or practices. But by yielding to His love in us for one another.

Ephesians 3:20 mentions His power working in us to carryout His purpose. He is knitting us together, but we can yield to that work or resist it. How? By yielding to love towards one another or not.

When we resist loving one another, we are not only resisting that person, but we are resisting God’s work in knitting this body together. Walking in love is not just a sweet thing to do, it is vital to the work and purposes of God.

I’ve heard it said, and it’s true, that submission is not proven in an atmosphere of agreement. Submission is only tested and proven when we disagree. Well, love is not proven when everyone is being lovely. Love is proven as we choose to love when the other person is being unlovely.

This love, agape, is not based on loving when everyone is doing everything right (or right in our opinion). This love loves unconditionally, right or wrong, lovely or unlovely, I am going to love you. That’s agape.

I want to take a quick look at what love is and what it isn’t in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (Amplified). Two things to keep in mind as you read this list 1) you are not examining everyone else’s love walk by these scriptures, you are examining your own and 2) notice there are no exceptions listed, love always loves like this in every situation.

Love endures long and is patient and kind.

Love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy.

Love is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride).

It is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.

Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking.

It is not touchy or fretful or resentful.

It takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes.

Is ever ready to believe the best of every person.

Its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.

And it endures everything [without weakening].

Love never fails.

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). We have the capacity to love like this by the grace, the power of the Holy Spirit that abides in us. And we do this by yielding to the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. In the Amplified Bible it says that this fruit of the Spirit is “the work which His presence within accomplishes”. His power at work in us.

Yield to love at all times. Yield to His work by the Spirit in you. Yield yourself to Love Himself and cooperate as He knits this body together in love.

Praying in Love

Yesterday I wrote about the need to pray for the leaders of this nation regardless of who they were and whether we agree with them or not. The purpose for this praying was on behalf of all men, “so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2). So whether the people you hoped would get into office did or didn’t, we still have a responsibility to pray.

Now some things about prayer. In Matthew 21:22 Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (KJV).

In the Amplified Bible verse 22 says, “And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.” Prayer takes faith. You must believe that you will receive. And the only way to really believe that you will receive something from God is to find His will concerning your situation in His Word. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, KJV).

In James 1:6 it says, “let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (KJV). In order to receive the answer to our prayer, we must pray in faith (trusting God and trusting that He will do what He said He would do).

So we must pray in faith, but there’s another important aspect to prayer. We must pray in love. Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith is activated, energized, expressed and works through love. Remember what it says in 1 Corinthians 13:2 (Amplified), “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).”

The level of your faith doesn’t make a difference at all if you don’t have love. And love is not a feeling, it’s a choice.

So as you prayer for your leaders, whether you agree with them or not, you must yield to God’s love for them in you if you want those prayers to be answered. You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to roll over and let them pass unwise legislation, but you do have to love them and pray for them.

Father, as I pray over those in authority and over this nation I yield to Your love in me. I yield to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. I take my place in the heavenlies and from this place of power I pray.

Put On Love

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forebearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. Colossians 3:12-14, Amplified

Put on love. You know every morning as I get ready for the day, I put on a new set of clothes. There has yet to be a day when my clothes put themselves on me. I decide what to wear and then make the effort to put it on.

Here in Colossians 3 Paul tells us to put on love. Sounds like something you do on purpose. But where do you get this love and how do you put it on?

Romans 5:5 tells us that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (KJV). Also, in Galatians 5:22-23 we see that deep within us are the fruit of the Spirit. As the Amplified Bible says the fruit is “the work which His presence within accomplishes” in our lives.

Where do we get this love we put on? It comes from the inside of us… His love in us, His fruit in us. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:16 that we “are the temple of God” and that His Holy Spirit dwells in us. God is love (1 John 4:8). Love lives on the inside of you. And His Presence in you produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life, if you’ll put it on.

When circumstance cause you to fear or feel hate, choose to love. Choose to put on the love that is in you. When something happens and you feel sadness and grief trying to take hold of your emotions. Refuse to be sad and put on His joy in you, the joy that is your strength.

Many times when temptation has come I have said, “I refuse to fear. I choose to love. I yield to His love in me.” “I refuse to be sad. He took my griefs and sorrows. I yield to His joy in me.” I put it on by believing it’s in me and deciding in my heart and saying with my mouth “I yield to His fruit in me.”

When you are tempted to be anxious and fretful, yield to peace. When you feel impatience coming on, put it off and put on His patience. When you’re not feeling so kind, put on kindness and goodness. When you want to give up, put on His faithfulness. When your not feeling so gentle, put on gentleness (meekness and humility).

Ever had an issue with self-control? You have self-control on the inside of you. Yield to it. Put it on.

He has put His nature on the inside of you. Yield to His nature, yield to His love.

Pray this as needed: “I’m not feeling so lovely today Lord, but I yield myself to You today. I put on Your love. Love through me today”, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

America

We are in a very interesting and intense time in this nation. Times look hard. People have taken sides and are pointing fingers. Seeds of division are being sown all around. Unfortunately, more and more this is the way things are in this nation, but more so at election time. But one thing needs to remain clear, regardless of what side we are on, and what the other side is doing, it is not an excuse to step out of love. It is not an excuse to disregard and break the commandment we received from our King.

Does that mean we have to agree on everything? No. But even in disagreement we must remember that love is patient and kind. We must remember that love is humble and courteous. We must remember that it is the love way, God’s way, that never fails. He did not tell us to love so that we would be trampled on and overcome by evil. No, He was telling us the way to overcome is by love.

If the enemy can get us into fear, out of faith and love, he can and will overrun this nation. Please know that I am not talking about a particular party or candidate. I’m talking about an enemy that hates what this nation stands for: “One nation under God with liberty and justice for all”. The enemy knows a house divided cannot stand. He is hoping to divide this nation and watch it fall. Refuse to be divided in your heart from this nation or the people of this nation. Whether you agree or not, you can and still must love.

I was praying over these things yesterday. I wasn’t praying in fear, but in faith and in love and from my heavenly seat of authority. And God dropped a familiar phrase into my heart. “Fear not. Only believe and she shall be made whole.”

Fear not. Only believe. And she, America, shall be made whole. Remember it is love that casts out all fear. Yield to love. Trust God, Who is Love. Believe to see the goodness of the LORD, hesed – God’s love, in the land of the living (Psalm 27:3). If we in the Body of Christ will fear not (stay out of divisive hate, doesn’t mean you have to agree); only believe – trust God, believe to see His goodness in America; she, America will be made whole.

I voted today. I voted from a place of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (faith), gentleness (meekness, humility) and self-control. I cast my vote in love and love never fails!