As the Lord continues to prepare us for a harvest and a banquet, let's look at the amazing prayer of love penned by our dear brother, the apostle Paul. As we divide this word, we must stay actively aware that the prayer beseeches the Bride to walk in love down the aisle of life, toward the wedding supper of the Lamb. After all, she is in love with Love (I John 4:8). Friends, many are praying for the glory and for signs and wonders, but we must get the daily walk right before we experience the full power of God.
Paul longed for the Church to advance in love and revelation of the Father of Glory. He knew God wanted His army walking in victory, not limping along with wounds and broken hearts. Such a victory can only be found in the love of Jesus Christ. This love is so powerful, it would have held our precious Savior on the cross--even if there had been no nails.
The Prayer of Love
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in Heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:14-21).
One of the many reasons I love the Word of God, is its element of mystery. We must search out the treasures, spending time with Jesus to receive revelation from Heaven. Ephesians 3:3 refers to,"the mystery made known to me by revelation." What an awesome privilege and responsibility to search out and know the truths of God. He longs to bring all things in Heaven and on earth together under Christ,when the times have reached their fulfillment (Ephesians 1:10). He also wants to include people of all nations in the promise of salvation (Ephesians 3:6).
The Holy Spirit must disclose the prayer of love because it's too big, too eternal, for our finite minds to comprehend--it must be received into our spirits. That comprehension seems more difficult in some cultures than others--bypassing the intellect and being taught by the Spirit of God. Dear ones, may we receive the mystery of this prayer, so we can live and breathe and minister out of Divine Love. Only then will we demonstrate the power of the King of Glory.
The World is Watching
The world is watching, Church. They want to see how the Jesus they've heard about really behaves. As His ambassadors, we are the only Jesus some may see right now, and we're the only Bible they may read. Many are leery because Christ's diplomats have let them down in the past. They're cautious of hypocrisy--they have had plenty in their lives already. Many are unsure of church in general and remain absent from it because they have already been there--Selah.
Friends, when people don't find the love they are looking for, they are prone to wander, becoming vulnerable to the enemy. They become blinded by the god of this age, unable to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (II Corinthians 4:4).
With the world seemingly spinning out of control and existence changing at an unthinkable pace, people are desperate to see and experience something solid, something everlasting. Many are searching for love in all the wrong places, not realizing the hole in their hearts has been reserved for Jesus. Even many who already know Him need the crevices in their broken hearts filled to the measure of the fullness of God.
Love is the greatest human need, dear ones. Therefore, until that need is fulfilled, it's difficult, if not impossible, to accommodate other needs. Oh, Dear Jesus, help us grasp how wide and long, and how high and deep is the love of Christ, so we are prepared to pour out love upon others, and do great exploits in Your name.
With countless people suffering in the world today--experiencing natural disasters, wars, and disease--there is a heightened sense of fear. It is shocking to see the tares or should I say "terrors," growing together with the wheat. We can almost envision the angels beginning to bundle as we watch thousands parading sin, boasting of darkness, and reveling in lawlessness.
Society has obviously moved far beyond the expectation that earthly government can adequately handle the mammoth task to protect us from, or accommodate all of the needs following a catastrophe. People are desperate for someone all-powerful to take over. Truly, only Emmanuel, who has the government upon His shoulders, can bestow Divine protection as the darkness gets darker. The Commander-in-Chief has issued a "code red" to His army, engaging those who love Him, to watch upon the wall and stand in the gap. In response to His beckoning, we lift our voices and shout His own promises back toward Heaven. "Mercy reigns over judgment" (James 2:13). May our Christian "emergency broadcasting systems" sound a clarion call throughout the earth!
It's only the perfect love of Jesus that casts out fear. Do not be afraid, people, forGod is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. Our omnipotent God knows all, hears all, sees all--nothing can be hidden from Him. Earthly kingdoms will fall, and at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth. The King of Kings shall reign forever and ever. Even if some kill the body they are not able to kill the soul. We know a Savior who can intervene in the wake of all atrocity. His name is Love!
Love is wider, longer, higher, and deeper than anything on this planet. To know that love establishes us in a win/win situation, on earth or in Heaven. For even to be absent from the body means to be present with the Lord. Oh death, where is your sting? Come one; come all to be justified through faith, having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Preparing For the Future
As the harvest ripens, God is preparing thousands to come running to the Church. We realize, of course, that the church buildings will be completely inadequate to contain His people as they gather. It is so exciting to watch God's strategic plan unfold as He prepares home/cell groups around the world--His Church. Are we ready, friends? Are we prepared to love the unlovable, the poor, the needy, the homeless, the volatile, the rude, and the contagious? Can we look at them with the Father's heart, past ungodly experiences to see Jesus' reward? Remember, it is easy to love those who love us back. However, "...what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them" Luke 6:32.
Is our "inner being" strengthened by the Spirit, as we live under the influence and direction of the Almighty, ready to manifest His power? Could we call down water from Heaven for storm-battered, thirsty souls rather than waiting for helicopter drops? Could we multiply some bread and fishes for famine-stricken souls rather than waiting for government surplus? Are we filled to the measure of all the fullness of God so the love and power of God flows out of us to others?
Knee-mails from God
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could instantaneously be established in love? Alas, love is like faith; it's not established until it has been tested. In order for God to accomplish His purposes in us, He sends His examinations from above.
How interesting that Paul began the prayer of love by saying,"I kneel before the Father" (Ephesians 3:14). What is it, friends, that often drives us to our knees? Perhaps the sufferings spoken of by the apostle in verse 13, which he goes on to say are, "to our glory."
May I propose that fellow branches of The Vine, do frequently facilitate the exams God downloads from above, helping us to get rooted and grounded in love? In fact, our Father, from whom His whole family in Heaven and on earth derives its name, uses our brothers and sisters to perfect His love in us. Perhaps folks unknowingly strike out at us because they are in pain (hurting people hurt people). Or, could it be there is displaced anger, insecurities, or factions unaware, causing disharmony. Perhaps personal lives are so out of control, that some over-control other areas of their lives, inhibiting relationships. It helps us to understand ourselves and other sheep, so we can pray to see each other through our Father's eyes. But then, we lay reasoning down at the foot of the cross, and lean not on our own understanding, acknowledging God in all His ways. His ways are love, peace, patience, and kindness.
There are times we are stretched to see how wide and long, and high and deep is the love of Christ within us. We kneel before the Father, and ask for more of His love shed abroad in our hearts. We ask Grace to walk by and kiss us each day. We rejoice that God's mercies are new every morning, so we have golden opportunities to share them with some who seem merciless. Are we passing the examinations? Are we walking in love or retaliating with "friendly fire?"
When the enemy tries to bring disunity, may God's word roar above the noise pollution from hell. "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12). The wonderful news is, each time we may be bumped by a fellow branch swaying in the wind; we can miraculously allow the jolts to graft us tighter and stronger to The Vine, without Whom we can do nothing.
Listen friends, as we are transformed into the image of Christ, changed from glory to glory, we will be trained in the arena of life. The marvelous news is we always have the Master Teacher helping us along. We are never alone. Our dear Messiah was tried also. He was misunderstood, gossiped about, accused of being crazy, dishonored in His hometown, abandoned by His disciples as they fell asleep when He needed them most, threatened, persecuted, betrayed, and killed. But, I promise you this, He never stopped loving. He was set like flint to love the whole world, as we should be. Jesus knew everything on earth was Father-filtered, so He never doubted God! We must live a life of love (Ephesians 5:2).
Tested on the Outside--Strengthened on the Inside
A beautiful metamorphosis takes place as we wrap ourselves in the arms of Love. The Word ministers to our inner man as beckoned by the Holy Spirit inEphesians 3:16, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being."
God takes the love He strengthens on the inside, and manifests it as power on the outside. He knows that if we do not experience the authority of Christ within us personally, it is only theory. In order to work the image of His Son within us, we must fellowship as He did (Philippians 3:10). If we read the Word, but do not experience the Word, it becomes contrary to its nature of being alive and active (Hebrews 4:12).
Friends, we don't have time for more theory. The world needs an encounter with God Almighty. They must experience His love and His power. Without it, the Bible is equated to mere ink upon paper. We cannot be satisfied with a "storybook Jesus." He is alive and reigns in power! Let us never settle for anything less. Doctrine may be fact and that is good. But, Truth rose from the grave. He is love in action and His name is Jesus. The cross was powerful--a tragedy, a death of agony, the atonement. But the power of God comes not from the agony, but from the love. The cross is empty, friends. Love now dwells in us.
We owe the world a gospel of power! We're desperate for more than ink on paper. In order to activate the power of the gospel, we must be vessels of the love of God.
Let's reflect for a moment on Ephesians 3:17-18. It says, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power." Did you hear that? Christ wants you to have power. Jesus is offering a gift that is wide, long, high, and deep. He wants us to apprehend it. He has choreographed our lives so that every attack or temptation from darkness, is the perfect ingredient to create combustible, explosive love and power--if we allow a divine exchange.
Love and Power, Conjoined
Beloved, the Word declares we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but "against the powers of this dark world" (Ephesians 6:12). Yet some of the conflicts we see and experience are not with the enemy, but clearly with each other. How can we apprehend the love of God in order to prevent disharmony among brethren?
Well, we can kneel before the Father, and pray that out of His glorious riches, He strengthens us with power through His Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts. In other words, we must share the love in our hearts for Christ with His people. It's difficult to fathom Jesus walking past anyone without helping him or her. He is the Helper. In fact, Scripture indicates even when Jesus just looked at people, He loved them(Mark 10:21). Do people see that same agape love when they watch us?
I don't know about you, dear ones, but I want to grasp the love of God. There is no time to be offended, but only to kneel before the Father. When we're being tested, we can learn to take great advantage of the power of the words explained in Proverbs 18, even declaring out loud, "Lord, I choose not be to be offended. Amen!"
I don't just want knowledge, I want to know this love that surpasses knowledge! The Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word "know" is as Adam knew Eve, and she bore a son. Now, that is not a doctrine. That is an experience! It's out of intimacy with the Holy One that the power of God flows. Love and Power are attributes of Jesus; together they save, heal, and raise the dead.
As yielded vessels, we must be so filled (flooded) with love, so filled with the Spirit of Jesus, that nothing else can get in. Love and Power usher in the glory, the miraculous. Love and Power are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to God's work within us (Ephesians 3:20).
The Conclusion--When All Has Been Said
"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?" Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments," Matthew 22:36-40.
"To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:21).
Copyright © Paulette Reed Ministries.