Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Phil 4:5 KJV
I was convicted. The mask police in the grocery store were harassing me over wearing the stupid mask over my nose as well as my mouth like it was some magical barrier that kept all of us safe from the virus. No, it’s a panacea, but the Spirit reminded me about the word moderation from Philippians 4, that it literally means to be ‘charitable on insignificant points’ like…uhhh…wearing a mask when you are a guest in someone’s store!
The ministry of the teacher is such that they answer the ‘why’ question for God’s people. The apostles – basically, Paul in the New Testament and Moses in the Old – set the picture of doctrine, the prophets frame the puzzle, and teachers put the pieces together for God’s people. Evangelists then preach it, followed by the pastors drawing all of their fruit into the presence of God. Why does love never fail? Why is it the Lord’s grand strategy? Why is it so overwhelmingly powerful?
Love, very simply, is an unselfish concern for the benefit of another.
…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God…Acts 26:18 NKJV
The great purpose of God is to draw to Himself all who will come, to rescue them from the disaster of sin, and to make them to be His sons and daughters, a family of God for all eternity. Love is His great incentive, His clear and powerful drawing card that speaks to the greatest existential need of those whom He calls. God calls every man – even the most miserable and wretched, vicious and sinister. Love could not be love if it coerced love in return, so the Lord allows everyone to choose, just as He did to all of His angels and to all created, sentient beings. Love is just!
LOVE AND FAITH
Jesus said, By their fruits you shall know them. Livingstone as a missionary was an utter failure. His one convert reverted to paganism, yet his writings influenced thousands of missionaries to heed God’s call, and Livingstone’s life changed the face of Africa forever. Faith is measured by fruit. An honest evaluation of where you are, who you are and what you have produced, along with others, is a fair indication of the level of your faith in that category. But remember, the cup is half full, not half empty. We always measure what we do have, not what we don’t, and love doesn’t compare with others.
…but faith working (Grk. ENERGEO – energized) through love. Gal 5:6 NKJV
Every parent understands this one. You have a child, and everything changes. Your faith has to rise up to meet the challenge of giving your child a better life than you had. Love does that! You two are happily married, living in some little rented place, then cute little Destiny or Kevin comes along, and now you have to have a house! Guess what! You rise up in faith and get a house.
Love energizes faith. This is what happened to Livingstone. As he lived and moved among the native peoples, his love for them grew to the point that it energized great faith, that in turn transformed a continent. In between 2016 and 2019, Carl and I ministered in perhaps fifty different cities in the USA with not a lot of fruit (some wonderful fruit, but not a lot of fruit) but I will confess that the love the Lord has built in us for America will bear great fruit in the years to come. Nothing done in love is ever wasted!
You learn in studying history that sometimes you may need twenty to fifty years after the fact to judge the fruit, which is the standard of measuring faith, and in some cases, righteousness. This is why what is happening in American education is monstrous – we are judging history by feeling, and not by fruit, by our own understanding and not the context of the time. It’s dishonest, destructive and narcissistic.
LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
But I say to you, love your enemies…Matt 5:44 NKJV
I used to preach that I had no human enemies, but that was wrong, because it denies what Jesus clearly said here (‘your’ indicates ownership). We have human enemies. An enemy by definition is someone who seeks to defeat you in some way, and it could be wrong or righteous. When the Lord opposes you in what you are doing He is seeking to defeat you in that thing, with the hope that you come to your senses through the defeat. That sentence describes much of the Lord’s relationship with Israel in the Old Testament.
But there are also enemies inspired by demons who seek to defeat you in your righteous mission and the Church, which is clearly wrong. Such enemies were involved in the theft of the recent national election here in the USA. How does love deal with these enemies, remembering that love is God’s grand strategy?
Here is what I wrote to our intercessor team…
Now let’s talk about the American situation with Biden legally installed as President.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 1 Tim 2:1-3 NKJV
“I will send out the curse,” says the Lord of hosts; “It shall enter the house of the thief…It shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it, with its timber and stones.” Zech 5:4 NKJV
The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked…Prov 3:33 KJV
Timothy tells us that despite who is in charge that we can lead a blessed life, if we pray and intercede. The other thing that we must realize is that all who manufactured the theft of the election have brought a curse upon themselves…and that is serious business.
Now, we have to approach this with mature, Spirit led thinking…
First, we have to forgive our enemies – which means to release them from their debt to us, and restore them to a place of honor in our hearts, the honor we hold for all men, i.e, ‘I forgive you and I love you;’ what this DOESN’T MEAN is that we trust them or allow them to foist their immoral policies on us; these must be resisted with all the force of our faith – and pray for mercy upon them. THIS IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT for your own spiritual protection and blessing. The Lord shows mercy to the merciful, and forgiveness binds the influence of demon tormentors.
Pray for the salvation of all involved in the theft of the election. Just pray in tongues with them in mind and let God do what He will do! There has been much right-wing nonsense out there since the election which you must stay immune to, and there are a number of ministries with ‘egg on their faces’ to whom we must extend mercy. Pray mercy over the Trumps as well.
Finally, we all must reach out to our neighbors and lead them to the Lord. The times for being lax about winning your neighbors are over. Win your neighbors and bind them into a tight knit fellowship. Win these crazy young people, and your marijuana smoking old hippie neighbors. Get them filled with the Holy Spirit! What turned them off to Christianity was dead religion. They want something real. Go ask if you can pray for them, and heal them by the power of God. The darker the night, the brighter the stars shine!
Do you see how love can win the day, and turn the tide?
LOVE AND THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 1 Cor 13:1 NKJV
‘Context, context, context’ was beat into our heads in Bible school when it came to interpreting the Word. It’s worth noting that one of the great chapters on love – 1 Corinthians 13 – is set in the CONTEXT of ministries and spiritual gifts in the Church. Unless you want to read a REALLY LONG article, I won’t break that down for you here, but you can go read it for yourself – chapters twelve through fourteen. When you seek the benefit of others with a pure heart, pure motives, that’s when the great power of God is released, that’s when your ministries come alive, that’s when the gifts of the Spirit produce miracles.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 NKJV
Why does love never fail? The answer is that when you choose to love, to truly care, to purely sacrifice your time, your money, your life to seek the benefit of another, you are aligning with your ABBA, your Father, who is the Creator of the universe and the Lord of life. This love in you makes you one with Him. What does that look like? Jesus said, I know that You hear Me always. It looks like answered prayer. It looks like the promises of God manifested. It looks like ‘love never fails.’ Does that look good to you? Love you!
Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…