1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done with love.
Here is a little something – simple and straightforward and yet so powerful – that God has been bringing to my attention lately – the look of love.
There is so much in a look. Sometimes far more than words and actions, for a look or the eyes reveal the heart. Others can usually sense what we are feeling. (Blog post on this topic) They may not know exactly what it is we think and feel, but they can usually sense the nature of it and our eyes are a big part of revealing that because they reveal our heart.
How many times have people been saying and doing one thing and yet their eyes say something completely different? How many times have we done that?
The look of . . .
Fear of what others think of you Competition with others Judgment on who others are or what they do Jealousy for what others have Lust for others Arrogance that you are better in some way Pride in who you are Nothing in that you feel nothing – don’t care Neglect in that you don’t really notice others Control of others, their emotions, or actions Disgust in who others are or what they do Disappointment in who others are
But our desire should be to give a look of love, always.
A change in look comes from a change on the inside. I’m finding that as the Spirit grows me in God’s love – the looks I give are starting to come from a place of love. You can’t give what you don’t have. And the only real love there is is from God. And only by being united to Him in truth and spirit can you know and give His love, thus truly a look of love.
God’s love entails truth, compassion, openness, and sincerity. It expects nothing in return. It is active not passive and engaging not distant. When we know and have His love then it fills our heart, thus our words and actions and looks. Not that we will always look in love, because the flesh is still with us for the time. But as we gain a deep knowing of God’s love a shift takes place – where the flesh decreases and the spirit that holds God’s love increases, thus we see less of the former and more of the later.
What do your looks entail? For your family, spouse, children, strangers, co-workers, fellow believers, friends?
It is a tremendous prayer of a child to God to seek to know and to give the love of God because when we have His love in us it flows out of our lives into the lives of others in all sincerity.
Luke 11:34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.
Being new to California, most all my friends and social life was wrapped up in the church we were attending – besides people I interacted with at work. My husband and I had met some nice people and were very plugged in to the church life. Leaving wasn’t easy but we knew what God was leading us to do. The more we read and sought in the Word, the clearer it became to us what would become of the church system (not true church) and we started to see it happening around us. It wasn’t our reasons but God’s leading through His Word. On the flip side, He was drawing us deeper into His Word. In brief this is some of what we read and saw, the church system as a whole is leading people to depend on the system not God, to cultivate and nurture a relationship with the system not God, to trust in the system for spiritual nourishment not God. The church often tries to play the role the Spirit should be playing in people’s lives.
Once I started to see what was happening in the church and how blinded I had been to it all, I had to follow God’s lead to another fellowship. As an old church goer, but fairly new true follower of Christ, I needed to establish God as my foundation, something the church always had been. I had trusted the church for my spiritual growth, to “feed” me, my source of truth, and so on. I thought God was my source, but honestly my relation to Him was through the Church. But now a shift was occurring in my life. I had been greatly influenced by others, but now my influence was God’s Word. I was new at cultivating a relationship with God, but I was on the path to building a foundation in Him, something I desperately needed, we all need.
After we left, there was one woman who beside my husband and family was my “fellowship”. It was that way for several years. I prayed about being in the fellowship God desired for me, but nothing manifested. I resolved to trust God that He was able to lead me where He wanted me. During those years, God and I developed a tremendous relationship. He truly became my Rock, my Teacher, comfort and counselor. I needed those “alone” years so that He truly became my foundation, not someone or something else. Over time, my beliefs shifted from being grounded in human teachers words to God’s Word – and that changed everything.
Once that foundation was established, then God started to bring into my life other godly women for me to “fellowship” with. It wasn’t the formal gathering of being inside a church, but souls hungry and desirous coming together real, open and honest. We talked about the tough issues, scripture, what God was teaching us. In that environment encouragement, prayer, exhortation, praise, and worship from the heart came alive. I began to understand what true fellowship was about. I think we get too locked in to how we think fellowship should be and we don’t trust God to truly lead us to what is best for us and those around us – and that various for each one of us.
Many of us have been so ingrained about what fellowship is that we are blinded to other true fellowship that God has in store for us. We get wrapped up in being in the “right” one because of what others have said that if we aren’t in the church system we’ll fall away. We don’t trust God to protect and provide. We push, seek and all the while neglect to trust God and develop a relationship with Him. People are often more concerned about being in the right fellowship than cultivating a real relationship with God grounded in truth – crazy how backwards everything is.
Our life is one of faith and faith is all about trust. The question is who is our faith in really? Those years alone with God put all that to the test as well as refined it. God knows what we need. But we need to follow His lead not man’s “should dos” . We need to abide in His Word. We need to trust that He can provide and protect us no matter where we are – and that level of trust comes from taking time to develop a relationship with Him.
This is a bit of side note, but relevant. I’m having an emotional morning . . . last night I had a horrible dream. It was weird and futuristic, but the basis is there was an earthquake and I was separated from my two cats. It was days before I could get to the place where they were. My heart felt like it was torn in a million pieces. I went searching for them among all the madness as everyone was trying to take care of their own. I finally found Malcolm curled up sleeping in a corner. I hardly recognized him. Dirt covered his white fur. I picked him up. He was much smaller because he hadn’t eaten or had water for days. He was weak and limp in my arms. I was trying to find him some water, but couldn’t find any and at the same time find Sophie, his sister. She is the more frightened one. I looked everywhere. I found a cat I thought was her, but wasn’t. I carried Malcolm around running looking frantically for her and I woke never finding her.
My heart is still aching in my chest. Its amazing how dreams create real emotions in you. But the thought of them so helpless, dependent, defenseless, and needing me to care for them and not being able to was overwhelming. Even telling my husband about my dream this morning tears started to fill my eyes. I love those little guys.
The love I feel is a nit compared to the love that God feels for us, and this is where this is relevant to this topic. We are just as helpless, dependent, defenseless, and needing His to care constantly. God loves us so incredibly much. But so often we doubt His love and don’t trust it. We trust man and those around us more. We don’t trust that He will really care and protect us. So, in our beliefs, we never fully step into that place under His wing. It was a hard dream, but reminded me about the depth of His love for His children.
I know many are struggling with this whole church situation. God loves you so much. We can trust His lead and that wherever we are He will guard and protect if we seek and abide in Him and His Word. The end is upon us. These days are tough. Things are changing just as Christ warned us. But God promised to always be there and protect and provide and He will not let His promises fail to His children who He loves beyond words. The journey God has lead me on has been exactly what I needed. It has been incredible. But I needed to trust Him and I was able as I understood His love for me, which came from abiding in His Word and cultivating a real relationship with Him.
The event I describe below occurred at the beginning of last year. This experience radically altered my perspective of my prayer life. Since then, my belief continues to increase in the power of prayer. Prayer is indeed one of the most powerful things we can do.
Malcolm and Sophie are two of my cherished treasures. God uses these Ragdoll felines to teach me many lessons, but . . . I have to seek those lessons. About a month and a half after they moved in, Sophie started sneezing. When it continued to progress to mucus flying out her nose, I took her to the vet and discovered it was an upper respiratory infection. On antibiotics, she immediately started getting better. After being off them for a couple of days, it came back and continued to get worse. We went through another around of antibiotics. Again, she got better, but after a couple of days it returned. Poor thing! I hated putting all these antibiotics in her because I was sure it would have long term affects on her little immune system. Once more, back to the vet. He took some cultures so in a couple of days we would know exactly what bacteria was the culprit. The next day she was sneezing up a storm, which was common because getting the cultures irritated her little nose. But at that point I had enough! I’d been praying for God to heal her, but it dawned on me I hadn’t sought for the lesson in all this. God, what are you trying to teach me? Obviously it wasn’t a lesson for Sophie, it must be for me.
Thankfully, God quickly replied. It had to do with the power of prayer for others. Here’s what I learned. I love Sophie more than you would think a human could love a cat. God loves me and all that concerns me is His concern. He cares for Sophie but also because of my love for her. When we care deeply about someone, God not only desires to help that person for her sake but also because of His care for us. His concern is heightened because of our concern – that is the nature of love. Heart-felt prayer spoken in faith shows we believe in God’s love for us. It’s critical that we believe God loves us because it affects our prayers. This is another reason we need to understand our value, last week’s blog. We need to have a sense of value of ourselves to be able to accept and believe God’s love for us so we can pray with the conviction that our prayers matter.
God needed me to understand this truth so I would pray for those He laid on my heart with the confidence that my prayers made an impact. I needed to believe that my prayers influenced Him because of His love for me, which then could affect the lives of others. Otherwise, my lack of belief drained the power of my prayers. See, my belief in the power of prayer had started to wane. I had started to think my prayers didn’t have THAT much impact. This mindset crept in as I was seeking to understand His sovereignty. He is in control and His will prevails so how much impact do my prayers really have? Not much was my thought until this situation. I didn’t realize how strongly I was holding this false belief until this lesson. I knew prayer was important, but I didn’t understand how much of an impact it had, especially mine. Now I know that my concern and love enhances His concern because that is love. This is the power of prayer of God’s children in numbers. If you had one child concerned about a pet – how much that would affect your heart. What if you had five children concerned – how much more would that affect your heart?
But it isn’t just about numbers, but about the state of the heart. There is power manifested when we intercede for another out of love. This is why our love needs to be with sincerity. Love is an extremely powerful force in our lives. It changes others. It moves the heart of God. This is why it is important to seek the love of God to replace our corrupted version of it so that we can truly love others because if affects our prayers for them. If we are just saying the words and our hearts are distant, then the power of prayer is sapped. That’s why vain repetitions are a waste of time. Matthew 6:7 But if we pray with conviction because we truly care it has a considerable impact. This is why sometimes God “lays” someone on our heart. We have a strong pull to pray for them, because the heart matters.
When I realized this insight about the power of prayer wrapped in love and sincerity, Sophie stopped sneezing that night. The cultures came back revealing a certain bacterium, but she was better. Isn’t God good? Glad I asked. She was going through what she did to teach me. I never would have stopped and sought if she wasn’t sick. And my seeking brought me to a very important lesson about the significance of heart-felt prayer.
God loves His children beyond what we can imagine. His heart for us is mighty and what concerns us concerns Him. Prayer is to teach us many things and one is how much He loves us. Even if He doesn’t seem to be healing a child or delivering them from an unhealthy lifestyle or friendship – know that He cares more so for that child because He cares for their life and that is amplified because of your care for them and His care for you. We can’t see the big picture. We don’t know what they may need to go through to learn what they need to learn. But God is listening if you are rightly related to Him through Christ. Proverbs 15:29 We have certain expectations about how things should play out, but God holds everything in His hands. If I hadn’t gone through the tough times I did as a kid, ones I’m sure my mom wished I avoided, then perhaps I wouldn’t have drawn near to God like I have. From those experiences, I learned my need for Him and the extent of His love for me. In the end, her prayers were answered, but it wasn’t a path she expected, but that path I needed to travel. We need to be careful of our expectations and make sure they are in God. If we are God’s and praying with the right heart and motive about a matter, we need to trust that God is working things out as they should be. We have expectations about what the best path or answer to that prayer would be, but we haven’t a clue. We need to trust in His divine wisdom to work it out to everyone’s best.
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
Needless to say, my prayer life totally changed. Our faith is everything. Our belief affects the power our prayer holds. John 14:12-13 I needed and am thankful for this lesson to increase my faith in the power of prayer. And I’m very glad Sophie is no longer sneezing!!
I started actively cultivating a deep, real relationship with God in 2001. What I gained is beyond tremendous in every facet of my life. My passion is to share with others what I have learned. Not to teach, but to give others the tools to drink from the fountain of living water themselves. I developed a mentoring program to help others to establish a quiet time with God to cultivate a relationship with Him. I’m posting the program on my blog for those who would like to participate on their own.
Watch the video below to hear more about this program.
Below is information on the program.
• Would you like to develop intimacy with God?
• Discover a love for the Word?
• Take your relationship with God to a deeper level?
• Have God’s promises be active in your life?
Stir the Deep with Me: One-on-One Discipleship Mentoring was created to help others develop their one-on-one relationship with God. Its goal is to cultivate intimacy with God and help others fulfill their ultimate purpose to being in a deep relationship with Him in truth and love. It isn’t a Bible study. It is establishing a lifestyle. It is a discipleship with coaching and accountability in spending quiet time with God.
Those with a desire to learn 1.) how to cultivate deeper intimacy with God 2.) how to spend quality alone time that builds a deep, real relationship with God, and 3.) have God as their first love are a good candidate for this program. Those who partake do with the understanding that it’s the journey to fulfillment of the first commandment to love God with all their heart, soul and mind and quiet devotion is of utmost importance among their priorities. It is for those willing to pass on what they will gain.
B. Participation in a brief accountability and counsel meeting as follows:
1. 1st – 4thweeks- 2 times a week
2. 5th – 7th weeks – 1 time a week
C. Your commitment to 40 minutes of one-on-one time a day with God in His Word that will become a part of your daily life.
This journey only works if there is an active engagement and commitment. If you are ready to step into a deep relationship with God and thus the life God has waiting for you and make this commitment you will be blessed beyond measure. This program is the only beginning to a lifelong journey walking hand-in-hand with God.
Our soul is like a territory held in bondage by an enemy. When we are awakened to the state of our soul, then we realize our need for someone mightier (Jesus Christ) than ourselves and our enemy to deliver us from the entrapment. When we accept that Jesus is the One to deliver us, then He comes and claims the beachfront of our lives. So we are His, however, aspects of our soul are still untouched territory. As we abide in His Word and are willing and listening, bit by bit Jesus makes advances taking over the territory of our soul as King. Under His Kingship, we live free and as we were created to live. I want to explore some ways He makes those advances.
For years I experienced pain in my body in reoccurring areas. It wasn’t unbearable, but at my young age, it was far more than I should be experiencing. I knew something was way off. I tried many external remedies but nothing worked, but each “cure” presented a new hope. A friend told me about what a Cranial Sacral Therapist had done for her, so I found someone in my area. During the session, as she was working on my neck and head, she asked me if I had experienced any trauma in that area as a child. At first I thought no, but then as I laid there several experiences came to mind, but they weren’t of a physical nature but an emotional one. That thought process led me to see a deep trauma in my beliefs – that I lacked a sense of value for myself. Until that point, I never fully realized this debilitating belief. I went home knowing I had stumbled upon something significant. I realized I needed to stop looking outward for solutions and look inward.
As I brought this issue into my quiet time with God, He started unraveling it bit by bit. It ended up being a core issue that underscored many other issues (almost all of them, including my pain). I started to see the massive ripple affect of that ill-belief spreading to every area of my life. Eagerly, I prayed and listened to God’s instruction, and He started laying it all out. He showed me how most of my thoughts, actions, and decisions were tied to a lack of value for myself. He showed me where this idea started and was reinforced in childhood. As He took me back to painful memories, ones I feared to face or simply didn’t want to out of pride, I travelled with Him trusting His guidance and He covered them with His love, truth and forgiveness. As pain appeared in other areas in my body, I listened and He led me to other issues all related to my core one. He opened up each area of anger, pain, and fear, and brought in His truth. When He was done, I held an unchanging priceless value in myself as His child. However, many of my habitual ways of responding and acting were still reflective of that girl who had no value. Through awareness, abiding in His Word and prayer, those actions started to fade and were replaced by ones based on who I truly am as His unique creation and this transition is in progress today.
I share this story, because 1) it demonstrates a type of progression in how the territory of our soul is conquered by God, and 2) many people have this core issue of a lack of value (from childhood rejection, abuse, neglect, modeling of parents, and so on). Some know it and many deny it, but I see it in many people. When we lack value we spend our lives trying to prove and earn our worthiness and most of what we do is a result of this lack of value, therefore, we aren’t able to be completely surrendered to God’s will. We are more driven to prove or earn our worthiness. God calls us to be surrendered completely to Him and that surrender is a journey. For many facing core issues is a significant part of that journey. But we have to stop the madness of trying to prove and earn and abide in God’s presence and seek His deliverance. God wants us out of that bondage and will allow or do what it takes in our lives to bring us to this understanding, to healing and freedom.
The Progression of Conquering Our Soul
First, an uncomfortable situation arises in our life to get us seeking, like a physical aliment (as I had), intense trial, or difficult relationship. We live in blindness to our own soul and something has to wake us up. When all is fine, we don’t seek. But when things aren’t, it’s to push us to search from the depth of our soul. Often what starts us seeking is something that gets our full attention, and it is different for different people. How better to get our attention than with something we really care about?
Second, from seeking we get a word of truth about the state of our soul that comes to us through a dream, person, the Spirit, or God’s Word. When that word or insight resonates strongly with us, like the issue of value did for me, this is our first awareness of seeing Christ on the edge of this section of our soul ready to take it over and deliver us.
Third, through spiritual weaponry (like faith, prayer, meditating on His Word, the Bible, and /or fasting) the anchor of that stronghold is uprooted. For me the stronghold was the lie I had no value, God uprooted that ill-belief and replaced it with the truth that I have infinite unchanging value. One point on fasting, it is a tool that when God calls us to use it (He decision not ours), it can be extremely powerful. It’s an act of faith that we are completely reliant on His Word for life. Matthew 17:19-21
Fourth, once the anchor is uprooted then there is a time (usually much longer) of restructuring and rebuilding, like when a land is taken over by a new regime it has to be established on their rules. As the rebuilding occurs in this certain area, many issues may spring up that are related to that area like anger, modeling (what we learned from our parents), and unforgiveness. Each one of these has to be addressed and replaced with truth and love. This work of rebuilding is God’s. Our part is to seek His deliverance, listen to and obey His instruction, abide in His Word that cuts through our soul healing and restoring, pray, and hold onto His truth as it’s established in us.
After believing lies for so long it sometimes takes awhile for the truth to truly be ours. Because of the strong connections in our brain established from acting certain ways for so long, it sometimes takes awhile for us to act according to the deliverance that is happening in our soul. But once the anchor is uprooted, then we should see progress forward however slow. Building a new way of behaving requires great patience, trust and perseverance. It requires that we trust God who begun a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). As this area is rebuilt, God moves onto the next one to conquer. If we are diligent to heed His instruction, follow and trust in Him to do what He promises to do, we will experience true freedom in our soul. The good news is that once our core issue is addressed it resolves many other issues that came from it. Though, it may be a longer process initially, it is delivering us from many problems in our lives.
If you are struggling right now, perhaps it is the Spirit trying to get your attention. Ask and seek why you are going through what you are. Be aware of insights you have about your situation. Pray about them don’t ignore or push them to the side. Dive into them. They may be God on the forefront ready to move and waiting for you to call Him in. Deliverance requires your involvement. Let His pure Word penetrate your heart, pray, meditate on His truth daily and follow His direction and He will take over and rebuild you into the new creation you are in Him.
In my experience this process can be painful at times as our depths are unraveled and exposed and it isn’t instant by any means. It is a journey, sometimes taking years, but He is faithful to finish what He began. What are a couple of years compared to a lifetime of freedom? Most of us give up. Stop trusting. Stop seeking deliverance. Stop listening. Stop abiding in His Word. Don’t give up. Believe God is good and desires you to be free. And remember it is God who starts, directs, and completes this journey. It is by the Spirit’s lead not our own initiative.
Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!