Friday, January 29, 2016

Ministry Only Happens With Love

When you hear the same message more than once from unrelated sources it seems appropriate to take note. That happened to me recently. In my home Church in the States there was a guest speaker on my last Sunday. He spoke on loving people well and his point was that ministry can only happen when we lay down our preconceived ideas about a person and let God love them through us. We have to be open to Him and intentional with them. I then returned to my Church in Guatemala and there was again a guest speaker. He spoke about loving God and receiving His love and then letting that love pour out onto the people that we want to minister to. If we do not have a heart filled with love, we have nothing that the unsaved would want.

In both of their messages it starts with being in love with God and letting that relationship overwhelm us and spill out onto our relationships with the people in our lives. The world needs us to receive what the Father wants to give us. The world is desperately in need of love and if we do not have it from the Father, we will not be able to give it to them. We can only receive His love and be confident to give it away by spending time with Him and allowing Him to speak with us.

I have been reading in Psalms the last few days and I was really struck by something. David is very much like everybody I know. He has some serious struggles in His life. There are times that he wants to die because He is so overwhelmed by the problems that face him or because he is ashamed of his sin. The thing about David is that he always returns to the Lord. He does not let his shame or inadequacies keep him from God. When I see my own shortcomings I want to run away and hide but he returns. Where does he find the fortitude or faith to continue to pursue God?

I think that the answer is hidden in a well known verse that we often skip right over. In Ps 23:4 David tells us that he finds comfort in the the Lord's rod and staff. The staff is to give direction but the rod is used for correction. David found peace and comfort in the discipline of the Lord. He received it as a sign of God's love. He knew the the Lord disciplines those He loves. David embraced the Lord's discipline and even looked for it in his life. He knew that if he received the Lord's discipline, he did not need to fear anyone or anything else in life. He was secure in the Lord. Love is more than just acceptance. It is also correction and redirection.

God wants us to receive His love but we have to also embrace His discipline if we want to really know what love is. In order to have confidence in our place in the Father's love, we have to embrace all that He has for us, including correction. We need more than just a nod of approval. We need to open ourselves to discipline and to allow our lives to be redirected. God will move us and place us where He wants us and where we can experience His love if we will be open to all that He has for us.

I want to be changed and transformed in every way. I want to embrace the Lord's discipline in my life so that I can be secure in His love and then I want to be able to give the love that I have received to lost and hurting people. I want people to come to know all that Jesus has made available to them because I walk in confidence. I want the Holy Spirit to be able to have full access to my life and to be usable by Him. I want to see the world transformed and people to know the love of Jesus. I do not just want to do things for people but I want to be an expression of God's love to them.

This is my prayer for my life this year, That I would know how high and how wide, how deep and how strong is the Father's love for me. That I would see His hand at work in every person I come in contact with and every situation that I encounter. I want to see the kingdom of God in everything this year.  I want to corrected when I need it and encouraged also. I want be available to the Father so He can use me as an instrument of change and lastly, I want to be free of the defeatist mentality that has so many in the Church living in fear of the future.

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