Matthew 22:36-39, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Two Great Commands
Isn't it amazing how the Living Word rocks our world? Holy Spirit recently reminded me that as deep darkness covers the earth, Christ's two greatest commands remain relevant, perhaps more relevant than ever. We must love the Lord with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Wow! Jesus certainly made it clear that anyone of us who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8). And, since the Spirit of God dwells in us, the more our inner spirit connects with the Spirit of God, the more His love will flow through us. Try attaching that concept to Ephesians 4:15 (The Message), "His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love."
As vessels of love, many may be feeling more like cracked pots than jars of clay, but really we must trust the Lord as He creates His masterpieces. Rest assured our Father understands how difficult it can be not to speak back to the Potter when our clay feels totally squished! However, I find it easy to trust when I think of how ludicrous it is to entertain the thought (only for a moment) that GOD could make a mistake.
A Heart-Shaped Vessel
Here's a great visual. Envision yourself as a heart-shaped, earthen vessel. Oh dear, see the cracks-a broken heart. Not to worry, Jesus has a divine plan. Everywhere your heart is broken He can pour in love, like liquid gold from Heaven...His love. His perfect love does not hurt, but heals-nourishing so that you will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Think about it. If a hard-baked jar of clay that's been through the fire wasn't broken open, how else could love get in? We surely don't want to end up with hardened hearts, so we must willingly maintain hearts that are soft and pliable for God to shape and mold. Of course, our Heavenly Father doesn't set out to break hearts, but when life happens He does have a divine plan to fill those broken places.
Considering this plan, is it possible that the more your heart has been broken the more love you can contain? Is it not true that the alabaster jar released beautiful fragrance only after it was broken? How wonderful the jar of oil that represents a healing balm, poured over the head, and now down to the body, so we can be whole and holy...in Christ. Beloved, that jar was broken in sacrificial preparation for Jesus' burial-so your dreams can be resurrected. Oh, what Good News to be preached throughout the world, remembering this broken woman's act of wholeness. How awesome to know that all things work together for good and the Great Physician has the perfect prescription for your pain-DIVINE LOVE-to be taken daily.
It concerns me when I continue to see so much brokenness in the Church. Year after year, decade after decade, hordes of people going to altars and reciting the same, painful memories, only to different prayer teams. Please hear my heart when I say, we never want to minimize anyone's pain, or deny God-given emotions. But, there comes a time when we must say, "Enough!" If we want change, that means doing something differently.
We make an intentional decision not to fellowship with grief that would dull and rob the Good News of its overcoming power. We make an intentional decision to stand and decree the living Word: "I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). I stand in awe of how the Lord erases
pain from memories and uses them for transformation.
Oh, how I long to never be self-centered, but live Christ-centered, being constantly aware that my Christianity is only as real as my love. We must get this walk toward Heaven right-loving Christ with all of our hearts,and loving ourselves, so we can give away the precious commodity, thus reaching the masses who don't know yet.
Checklist for Your Wedding Preparations
In this hour God is preparing His Bride, and what does a bride do? LOVES! Now we might ask, What does that love look like? Well, the Lord has made it a piece of cake for us.
• Love never gives up
• It cares more for others than for self
• It doesn't want what it doesn't have
• It doesn't strut
• It doesn't have a swelled head
• It doesn't force itself on others
• It isn't always "me first"
• It doesn't fly off the handle
• It doesn't keep score of the sins of others
• It doesn't revel when others grovel
• It takes pleasure in the flowering of truth
• It puts up with anything
• It trusts God always
• It always looks for the best
• It never looks back, but keeps going to the end
As we are heading down the aisle, let's remember: "This is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love" (2 John 1:6 NIV).
May our intentions to our Beloved be as pure as His were to us. Truly, He was committed-committed to His Father's people, imperfect people. Look at the profound words in Hosea as God speaks to Israel, to us ."I will commit myself to you forever; I will commit myself to you in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love and tender compassion. I will commit myself to you in faithfulness" (Hosea 2:19-20 NET). The Son of God was set like flint-for love without commitment is not love.
The enemy knows a house divided cannot stand. If you see discord in your relationships, watch out-warfare may be nearby. Why do you think the divorce rate is so high in the Church? Satan hates love and operates well with slippery slopes. If he can start "in the beginning" with male and female unions, he can try to break down unity...one relationship at a time.
We must not allow offenses to rob our hearts of the capacity to love, and we must not allow fear to keep us from loving freely. Perhaps it helps to remember that good people have bad days and that Jesus teaches us stumbling blocks will be inevitable (Matthew 18:7). Have you stumbled over someone's weakness lately? If so, are you reaching out or drawing in? "Help us, Lord, not to allow negative thoughts to become negative attitudes."
Time in His Presence
As we grow up healthy in God and robust in love, we must remember to thank the Lord in all things! We thank Him even for allowing painful experiences to teach us how to love. We thank Him for the challenges of life that transform us from glory to glory. We thank Him that we didn't get trapped in pride, bitterness, unforgiveness or offense, but rather He showed us a way out so we can choose to use our experiences to perfect love in us.
We thank Him for never giving up on us as He continuously teaches us to embrace His love. We rejoice, knowing we can spend time in His Presence so He can supernaturally overcome our deficits by pouring His love into broken, earthen vessels-jars of clay.
Oh, how God loves us! He beckons us to spend time with the King of Glory so He can pour into pots the oil that never runs out. The more we have, the more we can give-the more we give, the more we can have. For our Father gives us the glory He gave His Son (see John 17:22).
Church, we must get to a place of wholeness and holiness. We must be as Mary of Bethany, a broken vessel made whole by the love of Jesus Christ. We must love ourselves and then go love our neighbors.
Now, I can almost feel your pain and hear some say, "Lord, I've been hurt so deeply that I can't love again. I'm scared to love...scared I'll die if I'm hurt again." Please listen, precious ones. If we don't have love, we're dead already, because God is love. The Lord hears your prayers and sees your tears, and He says, "Perhaps you cannot love again, but Ic an-through you. Trust Me."
The Greatest Need
Beloved, there is a great move of God coming, and it will be love. For if we give everything we own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but don't have love, we've gotten nowhere. Love is the greatest human need; until that need is met, it's impossible for people to have life...abundantly. They may think they have life. They may try many vices to fill the cracks in their hearts-another spouse, another sport, another degree. Or, an addiction that demands more and more, but contains an unattainable goal established by hell. But even as sin abounds, amazing, saving grace is drawing the sinners to the Life-giver.
For, why would a person seek Divine Love if they had no need of it? Perhaps it's when they've tried it all and these earthen treasures are empty that the harvest is ripe, golden, like glory, and we are being given opportunity to fill them...with love. Perhaps that's why Elisha said to borrow as many empty jars as possible from neighbors and pour olive oil from your flask into the jars.
Love is really the only option, you know. For: "The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20). Think about it-we cannot even fathom, nor would we want to, a God who stops loving, and He calls us to be imitators of Him-so we cannot stop loving.
Love is the greatest force on earth...as it is in Heaven. It never fails. It overpowers all elements on earth-hurricanes, nuclear power, fire and gross darkness. Amazing, how the spikes truly did not hold Jesus on the Cross, for He could have called ten thousand angels. Love held Him there. How incomprehensible-a person, fully God/fully man, was prepared to die for the sin of the world. Are we?
It's time to meet the greatest need with the greatest commandments. It's time for the releasing of miracles, and what is a miracle? It's a demonstration of God's love-the power of love.
Let's pray: Oh dear Jesus, how You know brokenness-marred beyond any man. Thank You for bearing all of our pain on Calvary so we don't have to. We rejoice knowing the substance of God is love. We trust You, knowing Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light. We thank You that Your joy is our strength.
Help us to rest in Your Presence as You pour holy love into every broken place so You can send us into the fields. Help us remember Your Kingdom is not based on doctrines, but on love. Keep us in your precious unfailing love, O God, as we find shelter in the shadow of Your wings. May we stay hidden in Christ, as Your love neutralizes the pressure from the outside.
We rejoice, as You have made Your light to shine in our hearts, overcoming darkness. And, although we are like fragile jars of clay, this makes it clear that there is an all-surpassing power from God and not from us. You are worthy.
Copyright © Paulette Reed Ministries.