God's Holy Spirit is moving upon the earth in a supernatural way giving us insight and revelations about how much He really loves us, and what real love means. God is Love. To know God is to know love.

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Chapter 3 of the book
"Seeking God Finding Love"


THE GLORY OF GOD

 The glory of God is the manifestation and revelation of His love.

     Back to Manila

      In August of 1997 I was still recovering from my experience with Gina. I had suffered a broken heart, and had been humiliated. Now God had my full attention I began to seek Him with my whole heart for the first time in my life. I said, “Lord I am no longer going to seek to be married, I am only going to seek you.” I started writing this book and I also started an Internet ministry web site at www.SeekGod.org. It seems that seeking God became a theme for me. I seem to continue to relearn again every day how important it is to seek God first, and above all else.

      God began to give me greater revelations of knowing Him and experiencing His love. It was a wonderful time in the Lord. There is something great about humility that brings you closer to God, which causes you to experience more of His grace. (James 4:6 KJV)  But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

      As the fall approached I began to ask God where He wanted me to go for Christmas this year. I knew from the experience that I had in Manila the year before I had to go to the poor somewhere and give, but where? I thought about Mexico City or Haiti, they are both close to the US, which makes them easy to get to, and they both have very needy people. But the still small voice of the Holy Spirit was calling me back to Manila. It was not that I heard a voice but I had a yearning in my heart that was pulling me there.

      God works in us by drawing us to Himself. (John 6:44 NKJV)  "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. The word draw in this verse literally means “to drag” of course God draws us gently. (Hosea 11:4 NKJV)  I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them. God never pushes us He always pulls us to Himself. When God calls us to a place, He goes before us and prepares the way and then calls us to come to the place He has prepared, the place where He is waiting for us. That is where we find God’s anointing.

      At first I did not want to go back to Manila. I rejected the idea, it was illogical, it was too far away, I did not know anyone there. I may have also been dealing with a little unforgiveness and mistrust of the Philippine people because of the situation with Gina. I had some great excuses in my mind, but God’s Holy Spirit was persistent in drawing me there. I remembered hearing Bill Wilson of Metro Ministries say one time that, “the need is the call”. I could not ignore the need that I knew was there in Manila. It became clearer with time that God wanted me to go back to Manila for Christmas again, even though my mind did not like the idea, my heart did. God speaks to our hearts.

      I said, “Ok Lord if you want me to go there let the people welcome me and prepare the way before me.” I purchased a plane ticket. I ordered Bibles and tracts from Manila so they would be waiting for me when I got there. All the people I contacted seemed to be welcoming me there. But I still did not know whom I could get to help me and be an interpreter when I got there. I wanted to make this a real ministry trip but that would be impossible to do by myself.

      About three weeks before I was to leave for Manila we received a prayer request at the www.seekgod.org site from a woman in the Philippines. At the time this was one of the first responses that we had from a country other than the United States. Her request was to pray for the Philippine people and for salvation for her family. She had put her address on the request; I noticed that she was in Manila. I got out my map of Manila and saw that she was not far from the Hotel where I would be staying. So I emailed her and told her that I was coming there on a Christmas mission. I explained what I would be doing, and asked her if she might be interested in being an interpreter or did she know anyone else that might be interested. She then wrote me back with excitement and said “this is an answer to my prayers, I have always wanted to be in missions, I would love to help, and don’t worry because you have many friends here.”

      I began to think about all of this. What are the odds of someone writing to us from another country when we have only been on the Internet a short time? Not only was it from the Philippines but also it was from Manila, the Philippines have about 7000 Islands. Not only was it from Manila but also it was from the area I was going to, Manila is a very large city with about 12 million people.

      Although I was getting signs and confirmations that God was calling me back to Manila, it was not until the wheels of the plane touched the ground in Manila that I felt the anointing presence of God about this trip. This is where God’s anointing was waiting for me. God’s anointing flows in God’s will, in God’s timing, and where God chooses. Our job is to walk in the anointing that God has prepared for us. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

      I arrived late Friday night and went to the hotel. The next morning I called the girl that had emailed me and we agreed to meet Sunday morning at the hotel and then go to church together, her name was Suzzhette. Saturday I went to get the tracts and found out that they had only part of my order. That got me discouraged for a little while but I said, “Lord I can only do what you allow me to do” and I put it in God’s hands and relaxed. It turned out to be not important. The Bibles were already at the hotel and waiting to be distributed to the people. We had 1500 New Testaments and 250 full Bibles to give away. Thanks to The Bible League in Manila I was able to purchase them for a very good price.

      The next morning I went down to meet Suzzhette in the hotel lobby and go to church. When the elevator door opened I saw a very beautiful girl waiting on a couch in the lobby. I said “Suzzhette” and she answered yes. I did not really know what to expect about her but I know that I was not expecting her to be this beautiful. We went to church and I was impressed that she really worshiped God from her heart. After lunch we went out to a poor area and gave out some Bibles and tracts and candy. Suzzhette got out of the car in her nice clothes and nice shoes and walked through the muddy dirt to reach each family’s dwelling. This really impressed me. I thought not only is this girl very beautiful and carries herself very classy but she also has great beauty on the inside, which is God’s love radiating out from her heart.

      Suzzhette was single with no current boy friend but I was here on business, God’s business, seeking Him only, not marriage. That lasted until Sunday afternoon anyway. That day after I went back to the hotel and we parted company for the day. I laid face down on my bed and cried out to God, “Why do you put women like that in front of me?”  As I poured out my heart to God, hope and then faith came into me that Suzzhette is meant to be my wife. Later that night she called me and I asked her, “When do you think we can get married?” There was a pause on the phone, but she did not say no, which encouraged me even more.

      The next day my taxi driver and I picked up Suzzhette and her friend, Lyssa from work and went out to dinner. The four of us instantly became a great ministry team. We worked together with God’s direction and anointing, during my whole trip. The people received the Bibles with reverence and great appreciation. One older woman said that this was her best Christmas ever, to receive a Bible, she told us this as she held it close to her heart. Suzzhette and I had some great heart to heart conversations and we got to know each other better every day.

      Just as in my first trip to Manila there were so many moments and scenes that will live inside me forever. One week after I arrived on a Friday evening the four of us went out to minister to the people living along a street. I prayed that God would lead the taxi driver where we should go. He drove into a park and on to a large sidewalk and then proceeded slowly down the sidewalk to where some people were living. Some kids ran to the car and we stopped there to minister. A crowd quickly gathered. We had them form two lines one for the children and the other for the parents. The children were given candy and the comic book style tracts, the parents were given rice, sardines, and a Bible, we tried to just give one Bible per family.

      A small crowd gathered around Suzzhette as she began giving a salvation message. She spoke for a while and then would ask, “who wants to ask Jesus into your heart?” Most of the people raised their hands and she had them repeat a salvation prayer after her. Although I don’t speak their language the voices of the people in unison asking Jesus into theirs hearts was the most beautiful sound I heard in Manila, and it was repeated everywhere that we went. While this was happening I looked over to where Lyssa and the taxi driver were giving the rice and Bibles. A young boy about nine years old caught my attention and motioned to me with his hand that he was hungry. Expressions on people’s faces and some hand signals are universally understood in every language and every culture. With his hand he motioned to his mouth and then rubbed his stomach. I made my way toward him and said to Lyssa this boy gets rice and sardines.

      Lyssa began to ask him where his parents were. We learned from him that his father was from Germany but he had never met him. We learned from other people there that his mother was a prostitute and drug addict and that she may be in jail. We asked him, “Who takes care of you?” “I take care of me”, he replied with embarrassment. He told us his name was Anthony. He had escaped from an institution about a week before; he said that he left because older boys picked on him there.

      Lyssa told him about Jesus and asked if he wanted to ask Christ into his heart, he did. So Lyssa led him in a salvation prayer, when he finished he looked up at me and I could see that he was a changed boy. It was as if a light had gone on inside him. I knew about a church in Manila that had recently started a children’s home. We told him that we could take him there. But he did not want to go, he said that he did not want to go back to any institution. I promised him that we would not take him to an institution. He then agreed to go with us.

      Anthony was only wearing a ragged t-shirt and an old pair of shorts that were so big he had to hold them on. His feet had sores on the bottom because he did not have any shoes. The first place we took him was to a store to buy him some clothes; we got everything that he needed including some nice tennis shoes. Then we got him cleaned up and took him to dinner at a nice restaurant in Manila. I thought that he was going to be in culture shock going from the street into a very nice restaurant, but he wasn’t, it was as if he belonged there.

      Anthony did not belong on the street; the street was not where he was supposed live. I thought about the Bible verse in (Psalms 113:7-8 KJV) He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; {8} That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. In one hour Anthony had gone from being the poorest of the poor to accepting Jesus in his heart, from wearing rags to wearing nice clothes, from being hungry to having dinner in one of Manila’s finest restaurants with the princes of his own people. What a privilege to have God use me to fulfill His word, being a servant of the most High God is such a privilege.

      We contacted the church with the children’s home and they agreed to take care of him. But he went with us everywhere during the time I had left in Manila. He passed out tracts and Bibles and candy and seemed to thoroughly enjoy doing so. Anthony told us that while on the street he slept on the concrete seawall by the ocean. A very hard bed, but it probably helped keep him warm at night by holding in the heat from the daytime.

      Anthony was able to speak some English. I was able to communicate with him fairly well with basic words and sign language. I also discovered that he could read, English and Tagalog, the main language of the Philippines. I had him read the Bible to me in English and then the same passage in Tagalog. English is taught in school there and Anthony could understand written English better than spoken English.

      I pictured Anthony lying on the seawall looking up into the night sky and calling out to God. So I asked him “what did he pray at night”? With the most serious face he looked up at me and said, “I pray God help me”. When he said that the Lord instantly spoke to me and said, “When he prayed God help me I called you to come to Manila”. I began to see that God is sometimes a dispatcher sending people to answer the prayers of others in need. I thought, “Oh God I almost missed this opportunity, I almost did not come because the idea did not make sense to my mind.” How often have we ignored God speaking to our hearts because we listened to our minds instead?

      One day realizing that Anthony was getting very attached to me I knew that I needed to explain to him that I would have to leave Manila and return to the United States, but that the children’s home would take good care of him. I decided to write a simple note that he could read as I was telling him so that he could understand it better. So I wrote a note and then read it to him as he read the words with me. “I have to go back to the United States but the Children’s home will take good care of you, I will write letters to you.”

      When I finished speaking the words Anthony looked up at me and streams of tears began running from both of his eyes, not drops but streams. It was as if he had held them back for his whole life until now. For the first time in his life he had hope, the hope of having a family, the hope of having a dad, and now I had just destroyed his hope. I picked him up and hugged him and he hugged me and we both cried together. Something happened to us in that moment as I held him with his heart next to my heart. God knit our hearts together. I felt God’s love flow through me to Anthony, I felt the compassionate love that God has for the fatherless. I felt God’s Holy Spirit of Love, the Spirit of adoption, bond us together it was a bond of love that can never be broken. (Romans 8:15 KJV) …but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

      As Suzzhette and I were sharing so many great experiences of serving God together we became closer each day. We had so many different experiences it was like God was giving us a crash course on knowing each other. We got to be so comfortable with each other that we even had a few arguments. We discussed every subject that we could think of and we got to know each other’s personalities very well. By the time I left Manila we were not sure if we would get married but we knew that we could never forget each other. On my way back to the United States I missed Suzzhette more and more the further away I got from her.

      My second trip to Manila was the greatest experience of my life because I put God first in every aspect of the journey, seeking to be led by His Holy Spirit. God seemed to multiply my time there, although I was only there about two weeks it seemed like two months. We accomplished more than I could have imagined.

     When I flew out of Manila I was very tired. It would take three flights and about 24 hours of total traveling time to get back home. Much of the way on the plane I seemed to be falling in and out of sleep and one thought kept going through my mind over and over, “Thank you Lord for the privilege to serve you, what an awesome privilege it is.”

      When I returned home Suzzhette and I stayed in constant contact with each other by email and by phone. I had come to the conclusion by now that the best reason to get married was to glorify God. We both agreed to seek God and His will about getting married. As time went by it became clearer to us that it was God’s will for us to become husband and wife. After a few months I brought Suzzhette to the United States on a fiancé visa and we were married on September 11, 1998. So about a year after I decided not to seek marriage and only seek God, I was married. In October of 1999 Suzzhette gave birth to our first child, Joshua. He is truly a blessing from God.

      From the time that I decided to seek God with my whole heart so much has happened that it sometimes seems like I am living in a dream. Suzzhette and I have the best marriage that I know of, but of course we have our share of ups and downs as every marriage does. But we have learned how important it is to keep God at the center of our marriage. (Matthew 18:20 KJV)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. The word midst in this verse means middle, when people come together in Jesus name He is in the middle of the relationship. True unity with people comes from having unity with Christ; our unity with each other is in Him. When both marriage partners are in submission to God and His will, any marriage will thrive. The best reason to get married, as with every decision in life, is to glorify God.        

GOD’S GLORY

      Moses asked God to show him His glory. (Exodus 33:18-19)  And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." {19} Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."     

      When God revealed His glory to Moses He revealed His character, which is true Love. (Exodus 34:6-7 KJV)  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, {7} Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

      The word merciful in verse 6 means, “to be full of compassion”. Because we know that God is Love and that He is full of compassion, God’s love is best described as compassion. This revelation of God and His glory also reveals what Love is, or rather who love is. The glory of God is the manifestation and revelation of His Love to man.

      Gracious means to show favor, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness; longsuffering means patient; goodness means to show loving kindness; truth means to be stable and trustworthy. All of these characteristics are seen as characteristics of love in 1st Corinthians 13. They are also seen in the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control.. The fruit of the Spirit (in the singular) is love, all the other characteristics mentioned are characteristics of love, and they are contained in love; true love is a Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Likewise in Exodus 34:6-7 the first thing that God reveals about His character is that He is “full of compassion”. All of the other characteristics are contained in compassion, and contained in love.

      In Exodus 34:7 God reveals that He is just, even justice is a part of loving compassion, love must be fair, and love must have justice. God is the great equalizer. (Isaiah 40:4-5 KJV) Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: {5} And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

      Love is the most powerful force in the universe because it is the Holy Spirit of God. (Zechariah 4:6 KJV)…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. If our sun were combined with every other star in the universe into a massive fireball it still would not compare to the energy and power of love. (Exodus 24:17 KJV)  And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. Love is more powerful than all powers, more forceful than all forces, love has more energy that all other sources of energy. Truly God’s love is the source of all energy and light in the universe.

      God’s Holy Spirit of Love is the source of spiritual power in Christians. (Acts 1:8 KJV)  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

      The whole earth is full of the glory of the Lord, full of God’s love, but not everyone can see it. Only when we are focused on God and in His presence is His glory revealed. (Isaiah 6:1-3 KJV)  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple… And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

      Those who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit can see God’s glory in all of creation. But there is coming a time when all people will see the glory of God. (Isaiah 40:5 KJV) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

      The greatest revelations of knowing God come by experiencing His love. As we focus on God we begin to see His glory, which is the manifestation and revelation of His love. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NKJV)  Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. {17} Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. {18} But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. We are transformed from glory to glory, that is from one manifestation and revelation His love to the next manifestation and revelation of His love, by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love.

     God does not reveal His glory to us for ourselves rather it is to glorify Him. God is glorified when we manifest and reveal His love to other people. (Isaiah 60:1-2 KJV)  Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. {2} For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

  Love is a Spirit

        God has created every human being in His image, which means that we are created to love. We are created to need love and we are created to give love. Most people do not know what love is. As people become more “world focused” they seem to develop a distorted view about what love is. Focusing on God brings us back to the reality of true love.

      The Bible tells us that “GOD IS LOVE”, and the Bible also says that God is Spirit, that means true Love is a Spirit, the Holy Spirit. (1 John 4:8 KJV)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. But of course there are counterfeit forms of what people call love. The new age movement teaches that love is god, distorting the view of God and love by making love their god instead of understanding that true love comes from God.

      The fruit of the Holy Spirit describes the results and characteristics of true Love. (Galatians 5:22-25) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. {24} And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. {25} If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is Love and all of the other characteristics mentioned are products of Love.

      Love is more than a feeling, it is more than an experience, true love is the manifested presence of God, the glory of God. Remember God is Love, so when you experience true Love you are experiencing God’s glorious presence. Notice the second characteristic of love is joy; the experience of true love is the joy that comes from God when we put His benefit and the benefit of other people before our own benefit. This causes the manifested presence of God to be experienced. (Psalms 16:11)  You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

      The third characteristic of love is peace. When a person has faith they also have peace, faith comes from love. A person’s faith is proportional to their revelation of God’s love. (Ephesians 6:23)  Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. A person that has God’s love does not have fear they have faith. (1 John 4:18 KJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. Just as true love is a Spirit fear can also be a spirit. (2 Timothy 1:7)  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

     The other six characteristics of the love all have to do with actions of Love and the power of Love. All the fruit of the Spirit are manifestations of the Holy Spirit, which is the manifestation of God’s love in our own lives

      The Bible is very clear that we are to love God more than our own life and to love people as we love our selves. (Matthew 22:37-40)  Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment. {39} "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."  Love is the summary of all that God is, and all that God wants us to be. The whole Bible is God’s communication to man to tell us about the God who is Love, and how to walk in His love.

      When we love God we will obey His commandments. (1 John 5:3) For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. When we love God His commandments are not a burden to us they are a joy. This kind of love is not natural, it is not from us, it is a gift from God called the Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit in us causes us to not only to want to obey God but also to delight in doing so from our very heart. David wrote many times verses such as this, (Psalms 40:8) I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart."

      Jesus commands us to live in His love, which is demonstrated by obedience to Him on the outside, and on the inside we are full of joy. (John 15:9-14)  "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. {10} "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. {11} "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. {12} "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. {13} "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. {14} "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

      There is only one thing that you have which you can give to God that will glorify Him, and that is your life. But when you give yourself fully to Him, seeking to know Him and do His will with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength; then He will glorify you. As we come to know and experience the revelation of God’s Love by looking unto Him we are transformed from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

      Paul tells us that through knowing Christ’s Love that we can be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-21)  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, {15} from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, {16} that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, {17} that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, {18} may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; {19} to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. {20} Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, {21} to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

      In verse 19 the passage reads “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge”, which seems to be a contradiction, but there are two different words used in the original Greek. The first word “to know”, means an intimate knowing, to perceive, to feel, to experience, the word is even used in the way that a man knows a woman. This is a heart-felt intimate knowledge. The second word “which passes knowledge” means head knowledge, or science. God’s Love is beyond human understanding, it is only spiritually discerned because it is the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit.    

     In verse 18 the phrase “may be able to comprehend” is interesting, the word comprehend is the Greek word katalambano, which means to take eagerly, seize, possess, apprehend, attain, come upon, find, obtain, perceive, overtake. We are to eagerly seek and possess with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height of knowing the love of Christ which is beyond head-knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

     (1 John 4:19) We love Him because He first loved us. Notice in the passage above, Ephesians 3:14-21, the progression of events. First Paul prays that according to the riches of His glory, the glory of God is the manifestation and revelation of God’s Love revealed. This must take place first because God’s Love must be revealed to us first so that we can love Him. Second is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love, strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man. Then we are able to receive Christ into our hearts through faith, which grows out of Love. Faith comes from Love, and grows as the heart-knowledge of God’s Love increases.

      As we grow in intimate knowledge of the Love of Christ we are filled with all the fullness of God. Because Christ is the greatest revelation of God’s Love, and the greatest manifestation of God’s glory to man. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. {7} But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

      God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:12-19)  No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. {13} By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. {14} And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. {15} Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. {16} And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. {17} Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. {18} There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. {19} We love Him because He first loved us. (Mark 12:30)  'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

      For many people the world is a dark, lonely, and loveless place. As Christians we have the answers people are longing for. We must let the glory of God’s Love shine through us to bring light, and love to hurting people. (Isaiah 60:1-2)  Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. {2} For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. (Matthew 5:14-16)  "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. {16} "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

      Love is the highest calling and the greatest relationship with God. (Colossians 3:14) But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Ephesians 5:1-2)  Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. {2} And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Jude 1:20-21 NKJV) But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, {21} keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Becoming Glorified

      Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. {2} For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJV) 

 

      The number three is an important number in the Bible, it is mentioned 485 times. We know that God is revealed as the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was resurrected after three days and there are many other times that the number three is mentioned. Three means completeness.

      The Lord has been showing me that there are three basic stages in a Christian’s life. These stages may overlap but they are all bringing us to one goal and that is to die to ourselves that the life of Christ may be manifested in us. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)  "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Three Stages of Spiritual Maturity in Christ...

Salvation, Ministry, and Martyrdom

Three Stages

Salvation

Ministry

Martyrdom

Revelation 12:10

Salvation

Strength

Kingdom Living

Revelation 12:11

Blood of the Lamb

Your Testimony

Loving God more than your own life

1st Corinthians 13:13

Faith

Hope

Love

Romans 8:30

Called

Made Righteous

Glorified

 

(Revelation 12:10-11 NKJV)  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. {11} "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

 

(Romans 8:30 NKJV)  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

 

(1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

SALVATION

 

Our Christian life begins with our salvation and is the beginning of our “calling” by God. Jesus says in (John 6:44)  "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Our salvation experience is also the beginning of our faith in God. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We are saved by personally accepting that the blood that Jesus shed on the cross was for our sins. (Romans 5:8-9 NKJV)  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

 

MINISTRY

 

      Every Christian is called into the ministry. Salvation is not the end but only the beginning of your calling into a new life in Christ. Too many people get saved and then become stagnant in their Christian walk because they are not walking in the works that God has planned for them to walk in. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

      You first overcome by the blood of the Lamb, the second phase of overcoming is the word of your testimony. To overcome means to conquer. Your testimony is proof to the world of your salvation. (Romans 10:10 NKJV) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

      Something very great happens in a person’s life when they begin to testify of the work of God in their life. Christians are to speak in the anointing of the Holy Spirit as witnesses of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:8 NKJV) "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." As we allow the Spirit of love and power, the Holy Spirit, to flow through us and touch others we become stronger. As God’s love touches people through us we experience His joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

      A Christian’s testimony begins with the story or their salvation but it does not end there. Your testimony is an ongoing revelation of God’s daily work in your life. A person’s testimony glorifies God because it reveals God’s love to other people. The Bible says that Christians are royal priest, and that we are to proclaim the praises of God who called us out of darkness into His light. (1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  

      A Christian’s testimony is not about them it is about God. (1 John 5:11) And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. God has called every believer with a “holy calling” not according to our works but according to His purpose. (2 Timothy 1:7-9 NKJV)  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. {8} Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the Gospel according to the power of God, {9} who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

       Every Christian has received a ministry gift from God that is to be used to build up the body of Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-11 NKJV) As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Sadly, many Christians have not even sought God to know what their gifts are. Everything about the Christian life is based on giving; we receive by giving. If a person is so consumed with themselves and what they can receive then they are in very bad spiritual condition. (Matthew 10:38-39 NKJV) "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. {39} "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

      If we do not follow Jesus into the battle that He is calling us into then we are left to fight by our own strength in the place we choose, which always causes failure. If we choose to make the frontline our own selves instead of going to the front line of advancing the kingdom of God then we will fall. Remember the story of David, a mighty warrior of God, sent his troops out to do battle while he stayed behind in Jerusalem and there he lost a great battle with sin in his own life; 2 Samuel chapter 11.

      Remember that Jesus commands us to follow after Him. He has already gone before you and prepared the way and He is there waiting for you. The same voice that called you into salvation is still calling you, but now into good works. Just as we are saved by God’s grace it is His grace that does the works through us. (Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast. {10} For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. God always leads into triumph no matter. (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV) Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

      In the ministry stage we learn to walk in the power of hope. As we learn to be led by God’s Holy Spirit we will begin to have hope for things that may seem impossible. Such as hope that a person will be saved that to the rest of the world may seem hopeless. God may give you a vision of where you will be in the future or a great idea on how to reach more people for the kingdom. Hope and vision are the same when we are being led by the Holy Spirit to build up the body of Christ. (Romans 15:13-14 NIV)  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. {14} I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

      There seems to be a principal that when you begin to move into new areas of ministry that opposition comes. Remember that right after Jesus was baptized by John, and just before He began His ministry on earth Jesus was led up by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). All suffering is always for our benefit. It may be that God allows this to happen so that we toughen our resolve and to help us to focus more on Him instead of the worldly circumstances that come against us. It may be to cause us to have a greater dependence on Him for the victory so that we will know without any doubt that the success came from Him. It may be that when our weaknesses are revealed to ourselves that it can cause us to have more humility so that more of His grace and strength will intervene for us. 

      Whenever we hear a word from God in our heat calling us into a new area of ministry there are four possible reactions to it as Jesus taught in (Luke 8:11-15 NKJV). "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. {12} "Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. {13} "But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. {14} "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. {15} "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

      So when we receive a word from God we can expect the devil to try and steal it, temptations to come, and the cares of this life to tempt us with distractions from fulfilling the word. (Psalms 7:9 NKJV)  Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. But the just shall live by faith. If we do not draw back and accept defeat then we shall see God fulfill His word through us. The people that keep the word will bear fruit by patience. Patience in the Bible means cheerful endurance. (Hebrews 10:38-39 NKJV)  Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." {39} But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

      As we enter into our calling to build up the body of Christ by responding to the word that God puts in our heart we can expect persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV)  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But as we see God deliver us each time, our faith grows with each trial. (Psalms 34:19 NKJV)  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. As we overcome we grow stronger in the Lord learning to rely on His strength and His armor. (Ephesians 6:10-11 NKJV)  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. {11} Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 

(1 Peter 4:10-14 NKJV)  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. {11} If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. {12} Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; {13} but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. {14} If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

 

MARTYRDOM

 

      Martyrdom is the last stage of maturity in Christ and it leads to us becoming glorified. This is when a person gives their whole life fully to Christ, dying to themselves that the life of Christ may live through them. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)  "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

      A person becomes a martyr spiritually before they do physically; martyrdom is an attitude of the heart that loves God so much that they want to give God everything. (Romans 6:4-7 NKJV)  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {5} For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, {6} knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. {7} For he who has died has been freed from sin.

      As I said before these stages of maturity in Christ may overlap and they will occur at different speed in each person. Some people go from salvation to giving their life fully at the moment of conversion and they begin their testimony and ministry instantly. Some people have gone through all three stages in a few seconds while looking down the barrel of a gun and being given the choice to renounce Christ or die; they have chosen Christ and were instantly martyred and entered into the glory of the Lord. For other people it may take a lifetime to come to the end of them selves.

      It is through dying to ourselves that the resurrection life of Christ can reign in us. Jesus taught that we must take up our cross daily and follow after Him. (Luke 9:22-24 NKJV)  saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." {23} Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. {24} "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

      Jesus spoke of becoming glorified through His death and resurrection; we are to follow His example. (John 12:23-25 NKJV)  But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. {24} "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. {25} "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

      As Christian's it is our destiny to become glorified. The Bible says that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. By getting to know God through His Word, prayer, and even life circumstances all come together for our good taking us into a glorified life in Christ. (Romans 8:28-30 NKJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. {29} For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. {30} Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

      One night I stepped out on to my front porch and looked up into the night sky. It was a clear night and I had a good view of the moon. Although I could see the whole outline of the moon only a small crescent shaped portion of the moon was brightly shinning with the suns reflection. I felt the Lord speak to my heart and say that is how much of my glory you reflect. I have thought about that often since that time. Just as the world blocks the sun from fully reflecting its light from the moon, so to we also let the world sometimes keep us from reflecting all of God’s glory.

      Only when we keep a clear focus on God are we transformed into the image of God from glory to glory as we see Him more clearly, as we get to know His character better, His love. The glory of God is the manifestation and revelation of His love. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. We go from one manifestation and revelation of God’s love to the next manifestation and revelation of His love, glory to glory. This process transforms us into His image.

      The Bible says that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19 NKJV). So as God’s love is manifested and revealed to us we come to love God more and more. As we come to know God’s love it becomes easier and easier to give up our lives to Him and for Him. So also our trust and hope in Him grows from the revelations of His love, faith and hope come from love that is why love is the greatest.

      To be filled with the fullness of God is to be glorified. (Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV)  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, {15} from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, {16} that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, {17} that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, {18} may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; {19} to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. To know the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge, means to experience God’s love, and not just have head knowledge of it.

      Jesus declares in His prayer for us that He has given us the glory that the Father has given Him that we may be one with God. (John 17:20-23 NKJV)  "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; {21} "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. {22} "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: {23} "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

 

      Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJV) 

Copyright © 1997 – 2000 Seek God Ministries All rights reserved.

The End

(John 17:22-26 NKJV)  "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: {23} "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. {24} "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. {25} "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. {26} "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."


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