Love

Why Pursue To Understand True LOVE- As God Intends? Because I Am A Life That Was Radically Changed By It.

Why am I so passionate about sharing my journey of understanding True LOVE- as GOD intends? Well, please let me tell you… Because I am a life that was RADICALLY changed, saved, redeemed and is being restored by THE True LOVE- as God intends, of Jesus Christ.  His LOVE is so powerful and changed my life so radically, I MUST understand and pursue THAT kind of LOVE.  I HAVE to share with the world what THAT kind of LOVE can do!

There was a time when my soul was in darkness, fear, confusion, loneliness, torment, bondage, addiction and sin.  Satan had a hold of my life and he fought to destroy me to the core.  When satan has a hold of you he does not want to let you go without declaring “war.”  My life was definitely “in war,”  not against flesh-and-blood but against rulers and principalities of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)

I seemed happy, successful, smart, driven, passionate, talented, blessed, favored and I always had a smile on my face!  This kind of battle was not supposed to happen to me!  I was not supposed to be the story of the prodigal son, but I was!   I was raised in church.  My Great Grandfather was one of the most anointed, powerful, God Fearing, Pentecostal Preachers of his day.  My family is full of Pastors, Evangelists, Music Ministers and Teachers of The Gospel.  At the age of twelve,  I was blessed with the opportunity to live with my Aunt and Uncle, in Ohio, who are Pastors of an incredible Ministry.  They instilled in me the principles of God and were true examples to me of LOVE and family.  I had a strong and real relationship with God and His word was deep in my heart.  I was serving in ministry, from the age of thirteen, sharing the Gospel of Jesus through dance, involved in study groups and went to a Christian School.  I studied God’s word fervently.  I stepped into leadership, at the age of fifteen, when I moved to Indiana at my home church.  God used me mightily to start community outreach programs, in our city and I was a leader in teen discipleship groups.  I was a God-Chaser, determined to reach my generation for Christ and fulfill the destiny and calling that God had for me.

So what happened?  How did I get so off track and become so lost, like the prodigal son?  Well,  I am here to tell you…  I chose to get into a relationship, with an individual that was not a believer, outside of God’s will for me and I completely removed and distanced myself from the body of Christ.  I decided, at the age of 18, that I was going to be a “real adult” and make my own decisions.  THAT choice is what led me into one destructive decision after another.  My career always appeared to be advancing, but my spirit and soul were slowly dying and eventually became completely lost.  I suddenly found myself in situations that I couldn’t get myself out of!  I was not strong, I was weak and my judgement was poor.  I knew that everything, in my personal life, was wrong but WHY was it SO HARD to get it back on track?  I felt completely defeated, lost and alone.   I was ashamed and didn’t feel that I could talk to anyone about what I was struggling with.  I didn’t want anyone to see my weaknesses, for I was a leader and I needed to “be strong”, hide my struggle and just “figure it out.”  Through my own strength, I tried getting out of toxic relationships and situations that were destroying me and I just kept failing.  I couldn’t get away, I was trapped.  satan had a hold on me and he was not letting go!  BUT GOD:

Which led to THE MOMENT I EXPERIENCED TRUE LOVE- As God Intends, THAT RADICALLY CHANGED MY LIFE: 

I will never forget THE moment, that changed my life.  As I laid, alone in my apartment, tired, confused, frustrated, weak and my heart just couldn’t take anymore of the struggle.  I had a very clear vision of God’s hand being REMOVED COMPLETELY from me.  He let me know that it was time to make a choice and decide who I wanted to live for and what direction I wanted to go.  Just the thought of God turning his head from me, pulled on my heart so strong,  I just cried:  

“Jesus SAVE me.  I can’t get myself out of this mess.  I have tried and I just keep failing.  I am not strong enough…I can’t get away….JUST DO IT!  I am asking You to just DO IT!  TAKE OVER!  I want to live for You, again.  I will go wherever you tell me to go…I will follow wherever you lead me…Jesus, I NEED YOU.  

I CHOOSE YOU!   JESUS, I CHOOSE YOU!”  

It was in that moment my entire life changed.  My Savior (Jesus) met me in my mess, brokeness and surrender.  Jesus wrapped His arms around me and I experienced, for the first time, True LOVE- as God intends.  A LOVE  that is Unconditional, Never failing, Without Judgement, Without Shame and No Condemnation.  A LOVE that ONLY gives FORGIVENESS, GRACE, MERCY, HOPE and a NEW LIFE.  I suddenly had a peace in my heart, that truly passed all understanding.  I knew that MY Savior was right there, He was mine and I was HIS.  God is so faithful!

I am here to tell you that God took my mess and turned it into my MESSAGE!  He (literally) snapped His fingers and my entire life was RADICALLY changed!  I was relocated, far away from what was keeping me from the things of God, making it impossible to fall back into the same patterns that were keeping me in bondage.  He surrounded me with Godly friends, influences and a new support system.  He gave me a husband, (who is my gift from God and a token of God’s faithfulness), that LOVES me unconditionally.  My husband CHOSE to be with me, stand by me, defend me, fight for me, protect me and see the BEST in me.  He Chose to be a husband that speaks hope, LOVE and to be a leader that follows the principles of God, my leader!  God placed my husband and I into a local church that has wrapped their arms around us, welcomed us with LOVE and is plugging us in to life groups, ministry teams and opportunities to serve!  This past year has been a year of restoration and healing.  Relationships that were damaged in the crossfire are being healed and restored.  The principles of God that were instilled in my heart, as a child,  are in my heart again!  I am a living testimony of the healing power of The Blood of Jesus Christ and I have experienced True LOVE-as God intends.  I am ALIVE, FREE, HEALTHY, RESTORED, REFRESHED, BLESSED, HIGHLY FAVORED, LOVED and more determined than ever to fulfill the work, in which God has called me to do.  I WILL fulfill my true destiny,  I WILL share the message of True LOVE- as God intends because I CHOSE the winning team!

SATAN LOST!! he did not win my soul and he did not destroy my life! I belong to GOD!  Everything that the enemy stole from me is being given back to me, ten fold!

Now I understand, more than ever, how important the body of Christ is!  We must surround ourselves with other believers, that can help us through this life.  The body of Christ is not there to “be up in your business,”  but it is there as our support system!  Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy and we must come together, pray for each other and help each other fight against satan and his schemes to destroy us!  Satan wanted me feeling alone, hopeless, defeated and ashamed.  The last thing he wanted was for me to call upon the Saving and Redeeming Power of The Blood of Jesus Christ!  THE ONLY TRUE and PERFECT LOVE that breaks the yokes of bondage, sin and death!!

I consider myself very blessed  and fortunate to have been raised with the knowledge of Christ and His saving power! There are so many that are not so fortunate and know nothing about the message of Jesus and what His LOVE can do for them.  That is why I must FULLY understand True LOVE- as God intends…and share the only message of True and PERFECT LOVE,  that is the power to change the world!

Let’s do it! Let’s go for it!  No holding back!  Let’s pursue to understand True LOVE- as God intends, with everything we have!  The world needs THAT message!  We ALL need to experience THAT kind of PERFECT LOVE.

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Love

Just Because I am Polite; Does Not Make Me Kind.

I must start off by saying…this weeks study for me was so simple that it seemed complex and difficult!  Why is that?  Is it because I see God and His principles to be more complicated and “deep” than they really are?  Is it because our society is all about telling people “how you feel” , voice your “opinions”, stand up for your “freedom of speech” no matter how brutal, unpleasant, judgmental, wrong and unkind our statements may be?

I have been thinking (hard) about what it means to be kind, (Which is love),  and the more I thought about it the more I got confused!  All that came to my mind was…”If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say it!”  God, there HAS to be more to it than this!

I have always considered myself to be a kind person!  When I meet someone I always say, “Hi,  My name is Jennifer, it’s so nice to meet you!”  “I like your shirt, your hair is so pretty, etc.”  I always smile, if they need help I help them, if they seem sad I encourage them…of course I am kind!   Then I realized that is not necessarily kindness, that is politeness and there is a difference. I have been searching my heart this week and really asking God for insight on kindness- as He intends and what “being kind”- actually means.  Just because I am polite,  does not make me kind.  Kindness is a characteristic of LOVE that comes out of a pure heart and I don’t always keep my heart “in check.”   This is an area that God began to really deal with me,  on a very personal level.

Lesson #1:  The tongue has the power of life and death!  (Proverbs 18:21).  Life and DEATH!  DEATH?  Yes, DEATH (meaning goodbye, you’re done,  it’s over, flatlined, YOU’RE DEAD)!  What I  say matters and the SPIRIT behind what I say matters and has the power to kill and destroy!  I realized that when my sentences end with  “I’m Joking”,  “C’mon I was kidding” or “Bless their heart,”  then the statement before the candy coated ending,  did not have the spirit of true LOVE-as God intends, (which is kind).  I usually only make these “unkind” statements/jokes around my husband, family and friends, so is that really so bad?  YES!  Who I am around people that I am most comfortable with,  is who I really am!  Do I truly want my words to kill and destroy the ones that I care about the most?  OF COURSE NOT!  Could that scripture also be telling me that when I speak words of  negativity, death and destruction that my spirit will also weaken and die?  Yes, I believe so!  I must choose to STOP, SLOW DOWN and THINK before I SPEAK!  I also realized that I needed to be praying a little different in the morning and focus more on the issues of MY heart.  If my heart is inline with the heart of Jesus, then I would NOT make such remarks, even if they are candy coated as a “joke.”  True LOVE- as God intends, (which is kind), speaks LIFE, UPLIFTS, ENCOURAGES and CHOOSES to speak to the BEST in people, not their shortcomings, failures and weaknesses. “Acts of kindness are beautiful but we must not forget that words of kindness are powerful!”

New Morning Prayer #1

“God teach me to think before I speak.  When my thoughts are unkind teach me to keep my mouth shut!  Then show me the condition of my heart and reveal the true root of my sin,  forgive me and teach me true LOVE- as You intend.

Lesson #2: (Luke 30-37) “The story of The Good Samaritan”:  Ok God,  YES!  Of course I would have stopped and helped the man, that was laying in the street and in  “need”.  I have compassion for people in need, I always have…..so I am kind, YAY!!!!!   Then God said, NO.  Jennifer, do you realize that it is easier for you to show kindness to strangers than the ones closest to you?  You do not always have true LOVE- as I intend, (which is kind), in your heart.  WHOAH!!!!!!!!  Ok God!  Wow,   You are SO RIGHT!  It is much easier to show kindness to and around strangers!  Why, God? (You know it’s amazing that when you talk to God and ask him to reveal things to you…He does).  He showed me that it is easier for me to show strangers, “in need”,  kindness because I have pity but pity only leads to pride.  I must begin to see others the way God sees them!  The Holy Spirit is teaching me that true LOVE- as He intends, (which is  kind),  is without judgement and certainly without pity: but NEVER without mercy!  The same mercy that My Savior has shown me! 

Romans 3:23   For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.   Mathew 7: 1-3  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

New Morning Prayer #2

God teach me to see everyone like You see them, never with judgement.  Instill in my heart true LOVE- as You intend, that is kind and shows Mercy to others, like You have shown me.

This study has shown me that God is actually very clear, direct, simple and much easier to understand.  We make it seem SO difficult and complex, but it’s not….it’s simply the message of LOVE.  We can obtain true LOVE- as God intends if  we just allow His spirit to flow freely through us!   Yes, I said it…ALLOW….it is up to US, everyday and is a CHOICE to open our hearts and ask God to guide our every thoughts (first) and  (then) words and actions.

Ok, I’m Done! This revelation was brutal; However, it has been very inspiring and exactly what I needed, in order to grow as a follower of Christ, as I am asking God to place in my heart the understanding of true LOVE- as He intends.

 

Let’s CHOOSE to live each day encouraging one another, rooting for each other, wishing each other success and be happy for one another!  Let’s CHOOSE forgiveness, instead of judgement. Let’s CHOOSE to speak LIFE and NOT death. Let’s CHOOSE to see the BEST in people and as God sees them!  Let’s CHOOSE KINDNESS, (which is LOVE).

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Love

Love is Patient. Patience is Surrender.

As  I continue my journey and daily pursuit towards understanding LOVE- as God intends, I am blown away with what God is revealing to me.   My first blog, “What is LOVE and What does it mean?,  is about my revelation on the greatest commandment to us as Christians and followers of Jesus.

(Mark 12:30-31) 3And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

If I am pursuing the first commandment to LOVE God with all my heart, mind and strength, then LOVING my neighbor as myself should be easy!  So, why does it seem so hard?  I have always known 1 Corinthians 13  to be the LOVE chapter,  but  I had to ask myself:  Do I understand everything there is to know about each characteristic of LOVE- as God intends?  Am I showing God that I love Him based on what He says the characteristics of Love are?   The answer is NO,  which began this weeks study on Patience!

#1 LOVE is Patient.  I have heard “Love is patient” said so many times but I must be honest,  I  have never studied what being patient really means.  I don’t know how to obtain patience or instill  the practice of patience in my life.   Nor, have I ever fully grasped God’s patience for me as His child!   When I thought of being patient it always seemed to just focus on the negative going on in my life or in someone else’s life, that I knew.  When someone makes you mad “be patient”, when your marriage is failing “be patient”, when you are sick and dying “be patient”, when you loose your job “be patient”, when your life SUCKS…well …just “be patient”.  Being patient to me meant weakness, standing down,  lower  my head, while tapping my  toe, as I resentfully tell God that I am being “patient”,  at the same time asking Him to hurry up,  answer my prayer and “fix my life!”

Well…What if patience, (which is LOVE),  only comes by fully surrendering our lives to God?  God began to reveal to me that patience, (which is LOVE), will only come when my mind, will and emotions belong to Him, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO ME! Patience works hand in hand with peace.

As I look back on the past 10 years it is very obvious that I was in control of MY life.  Every decision I made was impulsive, selfish, emotional, based on fear, doubt, worry, un-forgiveness and resentment.  I was steering the wheel of MY life  and God was just supposed to be in the car somewhere and join me for the ride!   You know what God says about someone like that?  They are foolish!  Yes,  I admit I was and had been acting like a FOOL!  It makes sense to me why I never could find peace and why my life stayed in chaos.

The moment I chose to surrender my life COMPLETELY to God suddenly all the negative feelings, thoughts and emotions that tormented my mind and caused a life full of stress started to disappear!  I began to express patience, (which is LOVE) , not only to God but to everyone around me and through the circumstances of life that came my way!  I felt strong, confident, capable, wise, without worry and without fear.  It’s amazing how GOOD  you feel when you surrender to GOD!  Through my surrender I had all the patience I needed.  When I  allowed God to be in control of my life I began to stand firm on His promises to me!  I started focusing not on the labels and opinions of what man said about me, or my circumstances but on what HE says about me, who I am in Him and His promises.  Which is the ONLY TRUTH, anyway!

I know that it doesn’t matter what I face or encounter because if God is for me, then who can be against me? (Romans 8:31).  No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  I am the head and not the tail and I am above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).  I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me (Phillipians 4:19).  For God knows the plans that He has for me, they are plans for good and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, as I stated in the beginning,  if we FULLY surrender our lives to God then expressing patience to everyone around us, regardless of their actions and in all circumstances should  come easy!  He He…… Well,  it’s NOT easy and is a daily surrendering of our mind, our will and our emotions to God and His will!   Jesus is a perfect example of this kind of patience, as He went to the cross. (Hebrews 12:2).   As we carry our cross and surrender our lives to Him daily,  then we can allow the LOVE of God, (which is patient), to flow freely through us, in a way that is only possible through the Holy Spirit!  As we surrender everything to God then we can begin expressing, in all areas of our lives,  LOVE-  as God intends.

“Patience is surrender.  What are you surrendering to, the opinions of man and the issues of life, or God?”  When you surrender to God you will not only receive patience, (which is love), but you will rest in peace.”

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