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Overwhelming Love

 Recently our friends and family in the USA celebrated Thanksgiving Day, a day to give thanks to God for His goodness and provision. Truly, every day is a good day to give thanks to the Lord, wherever you live in the world. We, Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations, (Psalms 100:4-5). The word used for mercy in the scripture above means loving-kindness, compassion, goodness, faithfulness, love, truth, justice, righteousness. This describes God’s character. God wants you to know and experience more of His goodness.

 Many times the Lord confirms His lovingness in our lives but we can easily forget about those times. Sometimes we even fail to recognize miracles that the Lord does in our life. However, if you have a problem and pray about it then the problem disappears or is no longer a problem that was probably the loving-kindness of God at work in your life. Being thankful to God for every big and little blessing will cause more blessings to flow into your life.

 The Bible says in Romans 2:4 that it is “the goodness of God that leads you to repentance”. Repentance is a change of mind from evil to good or from good to better. All of God’s goodness comes from His love. The greatest need in the world is for people to know the love of God. God wants you to really know He has a personal love for you. Striving, insecurity, and fear come from not knowing God’s love for you. God wants to be your perfect Father, the One you already long for deep inside.  You are made in the image of God that is why you have a deep need to love and be loved. You got that from your Father. When you begin to realize God’s love for you it will free you from comparing yourself to others. Your self worth will be based on what God says and you will be able to believe and receive His promises fully.   

 This is my prayer for you: For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God, (Ephesians 3:14-19). God wants to fill you with His presence through knowing and experiencing His overwhelming love. 

 My first visit to The Philippines was at Christmas time in 1996. As I was giving out candy and comic-style Bible tracts to kids on the streets I began to experience strong compassion for the people. I visited very poor neighborhoods in Manila and met many homeless people living on the streets with their families. For many of the kids the candy and a little Bible tract was their only Christmas present however they were very thankful. The compassion I felt for the people was so strong that I began to realize that it was not coming from me. I was experiencing God’s compassion, His love for the people. This was the first time I had experienced God’s love in such an overwhelming way.

 I had felt the presence of God before but not this extreme. Although I grew up in a Christian home my concept of God was more intellectual, knowing about Him. This was the beginning of a journey to know the God of love, by experiencing His love. A few months later I started the SeekGod.org web site which led to the formation of Seek God Ministries. I also received a calling from God to rescue street children and see them transformed by the power of God’s love. Ten years later, in 2007, our family was finally able to move to The Philippines and begin working as missionaries. We have been here for three years and there is no place I would rather be because I continue to experience God’s love for the poor, especially homeless destitute kids.

 Experiencing God’s love for the poor caused me to believe that He really did love me also. All true love comes from God. It is His nature, it is who He is, it is His manifest presence, it is His Holy Spirit, it is His glory. God’s love is the greatest blessing because it is the gift of His presence, He is the gift. Everyone needs to know and experience God’s love personally, so they can walk in love and fulfill God’s commandments to love Him and love our neighbor. We love because He first loved us, (1 John 4:19).  A personal revelation of God’s love for you causes you to love; love God and people. 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, (1 John 4:16). We are called to live in an atmosphere of love, the holy presence of God; likewise He also dwells in us in an atmosphere of love.

 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:7-9) Jesus is the greatest revelation of God’s love. Everything Jesus did and taught was to reveal the heart of God as a loving Father whose arms are stretched out toward whoever will believe Him and receive Him.

 If you are wondering if God really loves you think about the fact that He made you in His image, you have His DNA. He did not make you a dog, a cat, or a mouse; you are a human being made in His likeness. That means your purpose is to have a love relationship with Him. When sin caused a separation between people and God; He paid the ultimate price to have a restored relationship with people, including you. You are bought with a great price. The Father watched His only begotten Son die on a cross and pay for your sins, so that you could become His son or daughter. You are valuable and greatly loved by your Creator.

 Let’s look deeper at the scriptures in the prayer above. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (Eph. 3:14-15) Jesus came to save us and restore our relationship with God which was lost through sin. He also came to reveal God as your perfect and loving Father. Jesus said in John 17:26 “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." The name of God that Jesus declares to us is “Father”. The revelation that the creator of the universe, made you in His image, and that He wants you to accept Him as your Papa; will impart God’s love into you. Love creates a place for the Father and Jesus to dwell in.

 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, (Ephesians 3:16) Out of the abundance of God’s glory (the manifestation of His love) He will give you strength through the Holy Spirit, His Spirit to your spirit. The word for “might” means power and ability, power to achieve and succeed. You need to be infused with this power from the Holy Spirit so; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--(Ephesians 3:18) A saint becomes a saint in part because of the revelation of how great and vast is God’s love. Rooted and grounded means that your stability and steadfast foundation of faith in God comes from knowing His love.

 To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God, (Ephesians 3:19). It seems that there is a contradiction when Paul says “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge”. However, there are two different words used in the original Greek text; the first word “to know” means to know completely including through experience and feeling, the other word used for “knowledge” means to know in part with head-knowledge. We can not truly know God by just knowing about Him, we must experience Him, we must experience His love to know Him. The goal is to have every part of our heart filled with love so that we can be filled to our full capacity with the presence of God.

 God desires for you to be His holy habitation. Jesus says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him, (John 14:23). The word keep” means to guard by “keeping your eyes on”. When you understand that true love is the presence of God you pay special attention to the words God speaks to you through the Holy Bible and through the Holy Spirit; in this way you protect the anointing of love in you.

 In order to maintain true and increasing love we must focus on God and His words. The Holy Bible is a manual to keep you on the path of love. It makes clear what love is and what love is not. In the New Covenant, which we live in now, we must also obey God’s words spoken to us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Bible gives us the foundation of right and wrong, love and selfishness. Love does not seek its’ own, in other words love does not do things for selfish reasons (1st Corinthians 13:5). The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom to know how and when to apply the scriptures of the Holy Bible.

 Love is a bond, a connection between you and another person. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:14) A bond is a connection that joins two together. Your bond of love with God keeps you in perfect relationship with Him, and your bond of love with people also keeps you in perfect relationship. That is why all the commandments are based on loving God and the people created in His image. Your love bond with God and the people in your life deserves your full attention. The body of Christ, the church, is supplied by the bond or joint between each other.  “… every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love, (Ephesians 4:16). In the Greek “every joint” could be better stated “every joint of the supply”. God meets the needs of, and supplies the body of Christ through the love-joint or bond connections we have with each other.

 I believe that there is a unique bond created when two people love each other. If you are a parent think about your relationship with each of your children. You share a special bond of love that is different with each child. That is why you can have ten kids and if you loose one it is a loss that can not be replaced. The love-bond that you had with that child is not the same with any other child. When a parent and child bond it is as if a special love is created for their relationship. It is the same with our relationship with God. He created you to be unique and special from everyone else and the love He has for you is unique and special for you. You can not be replaced. God desires for you to bond with Him. Only you can give Him the love that He created you to give. What does God want? He just wants you to love Him. He is not interested in your performance or work. He actually will be the one to cause fruit to flow out of your life if you keep the bond of perfection with Him, See John chapter 15. Works done without the anointing of love are not profitable, see 1st Corinthians chapter 13.

 Referring to the commandment to love your neighbor, Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor”? He responded by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, (Luke 10:27-37). The answer is that whoever we have compassion for and are moved to show compassion to, that person is our neighbor. The word neighbor means to be near. Compassion is true agape love. Whomever you experience the bond of love for is who you are near. When you share a bond of love for someone they can be on the other side of the world but you still feel a nearness to them. Just as in heaven, true love is not limited by time and space. Could it be that when we get to heaven our neighborhood will be populated with the people we showed compassion to on earth?  I always tell the kids we work with it does not matter who wins the basketball game, whoever loves the most is the winner in God’s Kingdom.

 Jesus also taught that we are to love even our enemy so that we will be perfect like our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:43-48). Love is giving a part of your heart, a part of your life. Sometimes you meet people that you do not want to love. However, in those times you can ask God to let you experience His love for the person. You will begin to have compassion for the person and the Lord may reveal things to you about that person that will increase your compassion for them. You may be given understanding about why they are difficult to love. Love is light, where there is love there is revelation and things become clear.

 Love does not always come easy it is sometimes a difficult sacrifice, a dying to yourself. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 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. (Ephesians 5:1-2) Love is a decision to allow a part of your heart, your life, to go out to another person. I believe that the Lord sometimes brings people into our lives that are difficult for us to love. However, the lesson to be learned is not about the other person, the lesson is that there is a part of your heart that does not love. Hatred, anger, and unforgiveness are all heart conditions that hurt our bond with another person. If those things occupy a part of your heart than that part of your heart is not occupied by God, He can only live in love. This is why God allows these things to be exposed in your heart; He wants your whole heart to be full of love so His presence can dwell in your whole heart.

 When we began working with street kids the Lord gave us a strategy for their transformation called “Overwhelming Love”. The picture in my mind that came with those words was that of a great overpowering army attacking a weak enemy with overwhelming force. God’s love is so much greater than anything the enemy can throw at you. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) Jesus dying on the cross is a picture of God’s overwhelming love for you.

 Sometimes that kind of love is too much for us. We know we do not deserve it. Our temptation is to turn away thinking “I don’t fit in” that is only for good people and I am not good enough. This is how street kids often feel when we first take them off the street. They have had many terrible experiences that have become parts of their heart. However, when we get them to look at Jesus and the price He paid for their freedom the Holy Spirit comes in and they begin to sense the love of God. We can see that something is happening inside them. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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, (2nd Corinthians 3:16-18).

 The glory of God is His love revealed. There are levels of glory, the more we stay focused on the Lord the more of God’s love we will experience, from glory to greater glory. 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, (2nd Corinthians 4:6). Focus the eyes of your heart on the face of Jesus and you will experience His love. Jesus is God’s love revealed. He is the Way to the Father, the Door we must go in to the Father. Stay focused on the face of Jesus. Don’t just spend a few minutes till you feel better and then turn away. Never turn away, we are to seek His face continually. Go for full transformation, experience overwhelming love and joy today. Be filled with the love of God and then become a dispenser of the river of life to the lost and dying around you.

 

   

 

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