Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Love in Action

Love can be known only by the action it prompts

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.  John 3: 16 God’s love for the world prompted Him to give His only Son.  And because Jesus loved us so much He gave His life to save us.  Love is the greatest force on the earth. 

When a lawyer approached Jesus and asked, what is the greatest commandment? Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intelligence).  This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.  And the second is like it you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  All the other books of the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22: 37-40 (Amplified Bible)

Every concept, every principle and every commandment, in the entire word of God is dependent on the force of love.  Love is an action word, because God loves us so much He literally put Himself in our place, paid the price for our sins and took the punishment that was due us.  He was mocked, scourged, crucified, and tormented for three days and nights in a devils hell, so that we could be reconciled back to God and have life more abundantly.

Deuteronomy 7:6-9 says,

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God: The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the people on the face of the earth.  The Lord did not set His love upon you nor chose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all people: but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage from the hand of  Pharaoh, king of Egypt.  Therefore know that the Lord your God He is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep his commandments.

You are God’s special treasure

It seems as though God chose you and me because of the special treasure He alone saw in us.
I think about myself, an African American woman raised in the ghetto of Detroit, Michigan, the least in my father’s house.  Nothing to boast about, average, average in appearance, average in intelligence, just average.  But because God loved me He brought me out with His mighty hand, and redeemed not only me but you also, from the house of bondage.  Whatever your bondage may be, poverty, illiteracy, abuse, fear, shame, whatever has a hold on you He redeemed you from it.  Maybe it is  a troubled mind, a bad marriage or low self-esteem,  that has a grip on you. I am telling you that God has already paid the price for your freedom. Why?  Because of love; God became man, His name was called Jesus.  He shed His blood on the cross to buy us back from the confines and bondage of fallen humanity. Because of the blood of Jesus, Satan no longer has a right to bind , torment , or harass us.  

The Message Bible puts it this way;  Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.  It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.  He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know.  He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.   (I Peter 2; 19 )

 When Jesus died and arose from the dead He took His blood to the sanctuary of heaven and offered it  as an  appeasement for the punishment of sin.  God saw the sacrifice that it was perfect and He cancelled the punishment that was  written against us.  All Because of love.

Deuteronomy 7:  11-15 says,

          Therefore you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which I command you today , to observe them.
          Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which he swore to your fathers. 

        And He will love you and bless you and multiply you.  He will also bless the fruit  of your womb and the  fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine, and your oil, the increase of your cattle…

         You shall be blessed above all people; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.  And the Lord shall take away from you all sickness,  and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known…

This is God’s love for His people in action.  He promises that if we only keep  His commandments, which is His word, then He will love, bless and multiply us. Not only that but He promises to bless and multiply our children and our business ventures.  God loves us so much  that He promises to bless those who love Him and keep His word  above all people of the earth.

In John 14: 23 Jesus said;

          If a man love me he will keep my word and my father will love him.

 God loves us with an oath, a  promise, He promises to bless us above all people.  He promises that he will increase us, He promises fertility , no barrenness among us.  He promises to take all sickness from us.  Because He loves us.  His love should prompt us to action, for Jesus said ; if a man loves me he will keep my word.

When we love God we spend time with Him

The first and greatest commandment is to love God, and when we love God we must study His  word, meditate His word, pray His word, and speak or proclaim and declare His word. This causes His word to manifest in our life.  When we love God we spend time with Him in the word.  As we read and  study the word it becomes a part of us and we begin to become infused with the power and presence of God.  We speak the word, we pray the word , we declare the word with boldness and things happen.  Because faith begins to increase and arise and make things happen. 

Let us look at Joshua 1: 8

          This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it .  For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.

Notice the last clause  in that verse,  “ then you  will make your way prosperous.”   This is a faith principal, the word infused into your spirit and spoken out of your mouth, brings prosperity  and success in life.  James 2: 17 says,  So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).   Wow that’s a heavy statement.  Faith can only be known by works, and faith cannot work apart from love.  When love and faith unite the result is action, infused with the power of God that produces miracles; Healing miracles, deliverance miracles, money miracles, whatever  you are believing God for according to His promises will manifest.  Faith works by and through love, Galatians 5: 6.

If you are saying the word, praying the word and believing the word and your promise hasn’t manifested yet then check your love walk. Faith cannot work without love.  It’s a Kingdom principal.  If you have checked your love walk and made the necessary adjustments; forgiveness, repentance, showing kindness, doing good to those who have hurt you, just to name a few, then don’t give up on your confession of faith.  It will come to pass because God is faithful to His promises.

Let’s look at Deuteronomy 7: 11-15 again,

Therefore you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.

Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to .your fathers

And He will love you, and bless you, and multiply you.  He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the off spring of your flock, in the land which He swore to your fathers to give you.

You shall be blessed above all people; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.  And the Lord shall take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.

God promised to take sickness away from among us, multiply, increase, and bless us.  He said in Deut 7: 11-13; you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and judgments… to observe them. Then it shall come to pass because you listen to these judgments and do and keep them that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. The word keep is "shamar" in the Hebrew It means to guard, protect, attend to, take heed to, observe, preserve, regard, look narrowly, watch (man), (lay) wait (for). (Strong’s concordance)

We see when God says if you keep my statutes, judgments, and commandments He is saying if you guard my word, attend to my word, observe it, watch over it, and lay wait for it; then I, God will keep, watch over, guard, and observe to keep my word, my covenant of mercy, and I will love you and bless you.  Our part is to keep God’s word. His part is to bless us.  Let’s see how we should keep the word.

Joshua 1: 8 says, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest  observe to do  according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

(Roth)…Thou must talk to thyself therein day and night

(Mof)…This law-book you shall never cease to have on your lips; you must pore over it day and night

(NAB)… recite it by day and by night

(Knox)…The law thou hast in writing must govern every utterance of thine mouth; night and day thou must ponder over it, so as to carry out all the terms of it faithfully; so wilt thou guide thy steps truly and prosper

(Jer)…Have the book of the law always on your lips

(Basic)… Let this book of the law be ever on your lips or in your thoughts day and night, so that you may keep with care everything in it; then blessing will be on your way, and you will do well.

These other versions of the bible help us to understand how important it is to meditate on the word of God.  The word meditate means; to ponder over, talk to thyself, never to cease to have on thy lips, recite day and night.  The word must govern our every thought; we must always have the word on our lips and in our minds, or heart.

Let us look at an example in the word of God, of a woman who spoke the word, prayed the word, and pondered the word. Because of her faith working by love, God caused her to prosper and have good success.

Read II Kings 4; 8-37

In these passages of scripture we find that the prophet Elisha visited the city of Shunem often.  There was a Shunemmite woman who persuaded him to eat at her house whenever he came to town.  This woman, who was called a notable woman, persuaded her husband to build an addition to their house and furnish it with a bed, a lamp stand and a chair for the prophet.  Now the prophet wanted to bless the woman with a prophet’s reward.  When He asked her what he could do for her, she didn’t want anything.  Gehazi , Elisha’s minister told the prophet “ she has no son and her husband is old.”  This is when Elisha spoke a prophetic word to the Shunammite woman.  “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” The woman conceived and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had prophesied.

Verse 18 says, And the child grew.  Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers.  And he said to his father, “My head, my head!”  The child’s father had his servant carry the boy to his mother.  He sat on her lap until noon, and then he died.  This Shunemmite woman took her son, her promise, her miracle, her prophecy and laid him on the prophets bed.  She then told her husband to send her a servant to take her to the prophet.  Now watch what she does, she did not say “my son is dead, my promise is dead.”  She said I’m going to see the prophet.  Her husband asked her “why are you going to see the   man of God, it’s not new moon or Sabbath?”  And she answered him “It is well.” 

When Elisha saw her coming he sent Gehazi to meet her, and ask her “ Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband?  Is it well with the child?”  All these questions could have tempted her to become grieved and negative and say the wrong thing, but she said, “It is well.  She then reminds the man of God of the prophetic word she had received.  This is what we should do when trouble comes, speak the word, say the word, remind God of his promises.  Isaiah 43:26 says, “put me in remembrance” ,God challenges us to put Him in remembrance of His word.  And the Shunemmite woman does just that, she reminds the prophet of the promise.  Elisha then sends his servant  Gehazi with instructions, “don’t talk to anyone, don’t say anything, put my staff on the boy’s face.”  Elisha didn’t want Gehazi’s words messing up this woman’s miracle! 

Pay close attention to what the Shenmmite woman does next.  She says to the man of God, “As the LORD lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you”, So he arose and followed her (emphasis mine).  She said I will not leave you, then she leaves him, her words are so powerful that the prophet must follow her.  She’s in the zone “the faith zone”. Everything she says must come to pass. She speaks the word with boldness, so much so that the prophet is obeying her word.  He follows her.  Verse 31 says, Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff of the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing.  Therefore he went back to meet him , and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.”  Verse 32, When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed.  He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 

 And  the bible says, He went up and lay on the child, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child; then the child sneezed seven times, and opened his eyes.  And the Shunemmite woman embraces her miracle again. 

This Shunemmite woman never said anything to nullify the original word spoken to her by the prophet.  “Thou shall embrace a son.”  He spoke life to her, she received the word of life and continued to agree with the word.  Notice she said; “It is well, all is well, it shall be well.”  She had several opportunities to change her confession, but she continued to say, “It is well.”  And she received her manifested miracle. 

This story of the Shuenammite woman is a clear-cut example to us of the powerful force of love.  Because of God’s love for this woman and her husband the prophet gives her a prophetic word, “About this time next year thou shall embrace a son.”  This word is one of the promises in Deuteronomy chapter 7.  When her son died, it was the love of a mother that drove her to visit the prophet, she spoke the word, she prayed the word, she confessed the word, and God did His part as He promises. He gave life to the Shunammite woman’s son. This is love in action!Because love can only be known by the action it prompts.