Filling Up at Thanksgiving

This week, I share this video entitled Inheritance, by Jonathan David Helser.  It is my hope that you will find a time in the midst of the busy activities of this season to stop for 10 uninterrupted minutes to receive a refreshing of the Spirit of God.  Though I am amazed and thankful for His wonderful love for me, wanting to know it more and more, my heartcry is for each of you to know practically, through experience for yourselves, His love for you.  May this video help bring you greater revelation!

Let it not be the words of this post that reveal more of Your love for us, Abba, Daddy.  But may Your loving presence be tangible – in the way they need – to each one who hears the words of Your heart.  And may each one experience greater freedom because of knowing personally Your amazing love more fully.  Because of Jesus Christ and for Your glory, I ask this in full assurance of faith.  Amen.

No Strings Attached

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave . . .”

God’s giving was not predicated on the world doing anything.  God’s giving was predicated only on His love for the world.  There were no requirements that we, the world, must do anything before He gave.  Jesus loved in the same way.  He came from Father’s love, and He loved without requiring anything.

What about we, the body of Christ, who have received His amazing gift?  Do we love the world in the same way – without requiring anything of them?  In our witnessing, in our various outreaches, do we require, or at least expect, something of them?  Of course not, we say!  But let’s dig a little deeper.

When we give food, blankets, money, clothing, etc., is it simply offered because of God’s love, or is it offered if . . .?  If they will sit through a presentation of the gospel message?  If they will pay for this “free gift” we offer with their time?  If they will sign up for future contact?  If they will do something for it?  That’s not free, nor is it freely giving.  When we give freely, we might ask if we can pray for them or tell them about Jesus, but we withhold none of His love if they aren’t interested – for He held nothing back.

God so loved us that He gave.  Period.  We didn’t earn it and never could.  He knew that, but He gave anyway, because so He loved us.  He gave even though He knew some would never be interested in receiving what He gave.  He gave anyway – because He so loved us all.

It’s time for the church (followers of Jesus Christ like you and me) to do the same with others.  Let’s begin to give with no strings attached of any sort!  Let’s see the effectiveness of God’s true gospel when we simply give because God so loves.  Period.  Let’s begin right now, this month, with all our Thanksgiving outreaches to help feed those in need.  Take the strings off and just bless the people because God loves them.  When the world is able to see Jesus in His body, His body (the church) will see greater harvest than we can imagine, though that is no longer our goal.

Our goal is to so love the world that we give as He gave – no strings attached.

It’s the Little Things

The Lord has put it on my heart to do a series called The Quest, where we dig in to discover the depths of His love for us, but I haven’t quite gotten the revelation of how to do it.  It seems like He just keeps leading me to share more revelations of His love with you as I walk it out in my personal life.  Maybe that’s what He had in mind in the first place.  For today’s installment . . .

I’ve done something to my back, probably while decorating the house for Christmas.  It has made it pretty uncomfortable from time to time, though I’ve managed to continue doing most of my normal activities, with a few adjustments to keep from aggravating it.  This is actually the background for my latest encounter with my Daddy’s love for me.

As I was still some distance away from Walmart to do my big first-of-the-month shopping, I remembered those shopping carts – you know, the ones that seem to have square places on at least one wheel, making it hard to maneuver and causing such a racket that everyone knows where you are in the store.  Then there’s the one that requires a fight to make it go straight, and the more weight in it, the harder it is to control.  Yes, I thought of those carts and the potential added strain on my back, and quickly prayed that the Lord would help me have a good cart.  End of prayer.

It didn’t even cross my mind to pray about a parking space, though that’s something I do frequently.  Since walking isn’t a problem for my back, I was merely looking for a place near a cart return.  My Daddy took it upon Himself, however, to have someone drive away from the second space on the row where I was driving!  Knowing it was His working on my behalf because He loves me, I said so with a smile and thanksgiving.

On my way into the store, I joined with the beautiful-voiced man ringing the bell for the Salvation Army as he sang “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”  It was a moment shared in the joy of Christ as we pointed heavenward and smiled – another one of those almost tangible-love-of-God times.  Proceeding inside, I kind of held my breath where the carts were concerned (I know – not a lot of faith there).  The first cart I pulled away from the others was probably the only good one in the store.  I smiled and declared again, “My Daddy loves me!” and went shopping.

Since standing was a pretty uncomfortable position at this point, I became a bit uncomfortable as I approached the checkout activity.  Typically, there is quite a wait in line for checking out at Walmart, and I was trying to figure out how many different upright positions I could get into to alleviate the waiting pain.  Imagine my “shock and awe” as I walked up and began unloading my cart immediately as the person ahead of me finished their transaction.  No waiting at all!

I know it was Holy Spirit Who reminded me to pray about the carts in the first place, only to take that little prayer and go way over and above what I had even thought about – just to show me how great is the love of Christ for me.  I see it in the big things of life, for sure, but as He takes care of little details like parking spaces, shopping carts, and checkout lines, I am made ever more aware of the depth of His amazing love for me, and give Him glory, honor, and praise!

Ephesians 3:19-21 19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; 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]!  20 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 and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] — 21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.  Amen (so be it).

Just One Drop

I offer in this post a little twist to typical Thanksgiving messages, though it is written to elicit effusive thanks to our wonderful God.  I hope by now you know me well enough to expect nothing standard from me, no matter the season!

As I prayed with some friends recently, we saw something of Jesus’ actions on the cross that caused us all to respond with shouts of thanksgiving and praise.  I don’t know that it was a brand-new, never-heard-before kind of thing, but somehow it became real to us in prayer as it never had before.

Our prayer was for the body of Christ to know the love of God, to experience it the way He gives it – lavishly.  That word, lavishly, was very important.  When I think of a lavish feast, I think not only of top quality foods prepared by the best chefs, but of heaping platter upon heaping platter on table upon table, with nothing running out – ever.  If a parent lavishes gifts upon their child, there are so many presents that the child cannot possibly take advantage of them all.  Even that, however, doesn’t come close to what God has done for us in sending His Son Jesus.

How could Jesus, the Lamb of God, shed His blood for us, covering all sins for all time, when the lambs sacrificed for sins as a ritual act year after year never could?  It all had to do with what was in His blood.  Because He knew no sin, the quality of His blood was perfect.  With that being the case, only one drop of that perfect, sinless blood was required to pay for all sin for all time.  Just one drop covered them all.  But Jesus shed all His blood for us.  All!  He gave more than the basic requirement.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He poured His love out for us lavishly.  It was almost as if, in giving it all, in abundance, lavishly, He shouted a shout that continues to this day to those who will hear:  “I love you!  The price for your sin is paid beyond its cost.  You are worth it all and more!  I love you!  I love you!”  It reverberates across the miles, across the centuries, across the cultures, throughout the entire world.  And this message is not for the masses, but for every individual.  It’s for you, too!  Receive the lavish outpouring of His love for you today!

Romans 5:16-17 NIV  16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:12 AMP  Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.