Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Love at Hand

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
~1 Corinthians 13:2

The gift of prophecy is probably the most difficult of the spiritual gifts, at least I think so. It comes with a keen awareness of unrighteousness and the strong urge to speak out in truth against it. To those who do not understand it, there are times when it seems the prophet is being harshly judgmental, but actually the prophet is a message bearer. It is a very demanding gift and not a very forgiving place to be. On one side you have God urging you to give a message that you must be careful to repeat and on the other side you have the hearers who may not be receptive. The truth God wishes to be told at a given time can be encouraging or condemning, always to get people to focus their lives on the Lord as they should be doing. These messages can be a warning about the future or be a praise about something in the present. In the Bible, kings would listen to the prophet, ignore the prophet, or kill the prophet and sometimes all three. Needless to say, prophets were revered and feared.

I have a friend who is a prophetess. She probably does not want to be revered or feared, but she is now also the pastor of a start-up church so this would be a challenge for her. She has an even greater challenge and one I understand well because the Lord has lifted from me recently. This post is mostly for my friend, but it is not just for her, because I have other friends who struggle with similar challenges.

In my last post, I wrote about how those who were not conformed to my idea of how people should appear that I would be judgmental. I also had always seen myself as self-centered and fearful, but one woman, a pastor's wife, long ago told me something else she saw in me. She had an honors ceremony where she told each woman what she learned from them. She said that from me she had learned compassion. I was stunned. I did not see myself as a compassionate person at all. Yet, here I am with a compassionate gift: healing. God uses our weaknesses to show His strength.

My friend, you think you are not a loving person, but you are now in a loving ministry. God is going to change your perspective about people and how you feel about them. You are going to really love them, first as individuals and then as a group and then all people everywhere. The Church will be "corrupted" with people who do not conform to the appearance of Christianity, but really know and love God and love people, who need God—basically, everyone. In your heart that is what you want for every church, but you must also be what you wish your church to be.

Your daughter is coming home now for a purpose. You will both learn from each other.

Each person carries within himself a soul-sickness, like a home sickness for God. We are called to love because each person needs to feel His love, regardless of what he has done or is doing. As Christians, we have access to a unique perspective when we look at people. We are to see them through His kingdom, His church, His love...and we are to be those things as well. The Kingdom is at hand. We are at hand. We are to be the representation of Christ, His love at hand. We are to see all people (even other Christians acting badly) as we would hope He sees us, worthy of His love and redeemable.

Love is the greatest gift you have been given and you are to give it. Freely you have received, freely you give...without conditions, without expectations. You have this challenge before you and God is using it for His purpose. The one who needs God's love the most is the one you feel deserves it the least, the one you feel is the most repulsive, the last is the first. This is where you are to start...and you probably already know this, but are reluctant. It is very simple, but very hard.

~ My Lord, stay close with my friend as You guide her into Your ministry of love. Give to her the gift of love and loving. May she be Love to everyone she meets and her church be known for its love. ~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.