Love is a 4 letter word

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With much controversy in the church today and political unrest in the world, it can be hard to discern Truth from fiction. But for faith-filled followers of Jesus Christ, we have this assurance “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come (John 16:13).

Come Holy Spirit
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit
and we shall be created.
And, you shall renew the face of the earth.

“No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:11).

If you have read my post A Look Ahead: 5779 (2019) The Year to See the Snake in the Grass, then you already know the months that lie ahead of us call for a greater level of discernment than in times past. As we prepare to enter into the change of seasons with the new Hebrew year at Rosh Hashanah this September 9-11th, we can expect to see major changes ahead in both government and church structures. As is typical of feast times, a lot is happening spiritually that affects the conditions of the world around us. If you have never studied the Jewish feasts, I encourage you to read the following article Should Christians Celebrate Rosh Hashanah? What about other Jewish Feasts? We are being awoken to the call of the Holy Spirit in new and greater measures of faith and revelation in the year ahead. This level of revelation calls for a deeper level of faith and intimacy, as well as, a greater call to holiness. If we are to respond to the call of the Spirit at this new depth, then we must trust the Spirit of truth when it comes to guide us into those deep waters. This begs the question: How well do you really know Him and His movements?

The answer is not theological. Now is not the time to waste our wisdom blindly debating with fools over doctrines and traditions. Proverbs 26:4 warns us not to answer a fool according to his folly, “lest you be like him yourself.”

Now is the time to be fervent in prayer, asking the Spirit for mercy and wisdom to grace those who are undergoing trials and persecution. How often do you pray for your brothers and sisters who are struggling with their faith?

One of my favorite prayers of Jesus in the scriptures is found in Luke 22:31-31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” When you examine your heart, are you as fervent as Jesus in praying that your brother sees the Truth and returns to God stronger than ever?

The Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that our enemy is not against flesh and blood but the spiritual powers at work against us in this age. How often do you prayerfully consider your “enemies” as one in need of grace and divine mercy (Matthew 5:44)? Do you bless them and not curse them (Romans 12:14)? This includes the brother or sister who cut you off on the highway. Even the co-worker or friend who gossips about you behind your back, or the family member who is infantile in the return of their affections. And, yes, even the fool who argues about things of which he lacks understanding. These ones are not your enemy. The spirit of the world at work inside them is your enemy; it binds them from producing true fruit and blinds them from eating the fruit of the Spirit in others that would help them see. Are you willing to see them as Our Father does? Are you willing to let His Grace rule in your heart so that you can love them inspite of their ignorance? Are you willing to set down your own pride and woundedness so that the Spirit of Truth can have room to work in their hearts? Are you willing to give your life for them to see the gift of eternal salvation presented before them in Christ Jesus?

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:15

A man lays down his life for his friends, not his enemies. Who are your friends?

If Jesus was content to share the good news of His Father with both Gentile and Jew, is there not anything that can divide us from this Truth? Are we not all friends in Jesus if not also brothers and sisters in Christ? We may not always act friendly but we have been called to love each other as Christ has loved us – as friends. Therefore, no man is your enemy but the spirit of the world at work in them has opposed itself to the Spirit of Truth, making the spirit of the world that anti-Christ spirit (1 John 4:2-3) our enemy. And so, we must be sure the Spirit of God is at work in us who believe!

“Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who “has spoken through the prophets” makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the “movement” by which “he reveals” the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who “unveils” Christ to us “will not speak on his own” (Jn 16:13). Such properly divine self-effacement explains why “the world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him,” while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them (Jn 14:17).” – Catechism of the Catholic Church “I Believe in the Holy Spirit” Article 8, 687-747

If you want to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life, you need only to look to the Son, who is always doing the will of the Father (John 5:19-20)

Now that we have this light in our hearts, read the word’s of Jesus in John 16:4-15 and the pro-cluding prophetic words of the Spirit and see if the eyes of your heart have received greater understanding:

[Friends,] “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

Beloved, the real battle that lies ahead of you is not over traditions and political structures, the war you must rage is within your hearts – Spirit to spirit. I send forth My Spirit, to Guide you, to be your Comforter, your Helper, to show you things to come, so that, you might have peace and courage to continue what I commissioned you to do – make disciples of all nations. The Spirit reveals My Truths about My Kingdom. He deposits where I will Him. The earth is mine and everything in it, the people and all the creatures. Is there any wall or rampart that can confine My Spirit without My consent? No. Even your own vessels are too weak to contain His Truths, except that My Grace strengthens you to stand under the power of revelation He brings you. Do not allow yourself to be puffed up with pride from the evil one so as to believe you know what I am doing now, for behold, I am always doing a NEW thing. What has been revealed to you is yours to steward, but what is yet to be revealed is mine to keep until the appointed time comes. Beloved, you say you are hungry for more of Me, How hungry are you?

Jesus explained to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” – John 4:34

I ask again, How hungry are you?

After Jesus’ resurrection and following Simon Peter’s trial of faith, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” And, three times Jesus commands Peter to feed His sheep.

Dear friends, as Apostles of Christ’s Love and Friendship, we are commanded to feed all of Christ’s sheep the true food of Heaven by pouring out what Jesus has poured into us by his blood – his unending love and grace. Our hunger is satiated only by the desire to accomplish the work he started – the will of our Father in Heaven. And, What is the will of our Father?

Be sexually pureEach of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God (1 Thess 4:4-5).

Be filled with the Holy SpiritTherefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:17-18).

Be Holy as He is Holy – Namely, endure suffering and do good (1 Peter 4:19). There are several reasons He desires us to suffer. The first reason is that He wants us to be a light in a world that is dark (Matt. 5:11-16, John 1:5). And, if we really desire to be holy, we will suffer. Listen to 2 Tim. 3:12, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” If you really want to do God’s will you are going to suffer – He wants you to be holy. Secondly, God uses trials and persecution to mold and shape us (James 1:2-5). Third, we sometimes suffer because we have sinned and are unwilling to change (Heb. 12:4-11). This is not God’s permissive will – this is His will.

Moses told the people in Deuteronomy 29:18, “not to add the drunken to the thirsty.” Each year at Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrew people are commanded to take an account of their righteousness and shore up those areas where they have failed to reflect the image of God. In other words, do not mix that which is meant for God in holiness with that which is unsanctified. We don’t need to wait for a feast day to do the same, we can take our own account each day by choosing to participate in our own Daily Examen of conscious.

Be Thankful and GratefulGive thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:18).

Be submissive to authority – In a democratic society we have an inherent mistrust of authority. We have a permissive philosophy that looks for “freedom” in society. In church many look for “freedom” in the pages of scripture. We want freedom from authority and we thirst for control to prevent “unjust events” in our lives. The early Christians had an unjust government called the Roman Empire. Yet, God commanded the early Christians to be obedient – to submit. They were to pay their taxes (Matt. 22:17-22). Christians were persecuted and killed. Yet, in 1 Peter 2:13-15 the Holy Spirit tells us to submit to all forms of government – every form of human institution. This is the will of God for you – your submission. Why? Because He establishes governments (Rom 13:1). Submission and obedience go hand-in-hand. We must obey the authorities God has placed over us until we discern it His will for us to be removed out from under them.

And, how do you know what is God’s will for you personally?

His will is Mine – Psalms 37:4 tells us that what ever we want, the Lord will provide,

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalms 37:4

but it comes with admonishing, to Be transformedBe transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:2).

In light of God’s will outlined in the Scriptures, it’s a lot easier to see how Jesus could sum up his work in the following manner:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –  John 13:34-35

To summarize, Love looks a lot like a 4 letter word – work. That’s because love is an action, not just a belief. Faith and works go hand-in-hand just as Jesus’ love became a sacrifice on a cross. And, there is much work to be done and many more sacrifices to come. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). Feed my sheep. Who’s hungry?

Let Us Pray: O’God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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