{Did you learn to love?}

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Well it’s officially the last week of the internship here at the International House of Prayer.

I really couldn’t come up with a better way for my second to last sunday to play out if I had the choice. I’m sitting in the best coffee shop with Jon Thurlow Christmas music playing in the background, outside snow has covered the ground, my peppermint hot cocoa and fudge nut cookie are awaiting my devouring. My ears picking up conversations around me, contagious laughter pours from a woman across the way, men in front of me are conversing about the goodness of God, others spread out sitting alone texting, emailing going about their day. {If you hadn’t noticed cafe’s are one of my favorite places to be.}

With it being the last week, the reminiscing has begun. The late night talks & crying in bed together with the roommates go early into the morning. The obsessive picture-taking, just to make sure we have everything documented in our time here. The packing, the exchanging of clothes. The deep cleaning… However admist all the laughter,  tears, breakthrough, and breakdowns my time here all come down to one question.

At the end of the night when I lay my head upon my pillow the same question that is asked of me nightly will be asked of me on that glorious day when Jesus returns:

“Did you learn to love”

plain and simple.

Did I learn to love?

When the photographs are lost, tears dry up, when being in prayer room is not longer required, when the friends move away. What is left?

The personal and financial breakthrough that one encounters are great, yet only goes so deep because of the following truth. It all comes down to love. Of what point is breakthrough,  friends, a great church, and good teachings without love?  If someone were to ask me what I have learned in being here it was the very thing I was contending for. To know love. In coming here I discovered what real love is, who it is. Love is not an emotion, it is an action. It is not a distant feeling, it is not something afar off that only some can touch. All can reach for love and touch it. Yet one must first reach to feel it. Love is all around, it is all encompassing, it cannot be contained. Love is always loving. But we must choose to love, to feel love, to recieve love before to begin to what depths love itself has gone for us to feel love for eternity. This love, the force behind love is Jesus. Jesus is Love. All He does is motivated in and through love. There is nothing He does apart from it. It is in his jealous zeal that He cuts out all that would hinder love. It is in His bridegroom heart that He woo’s his Bride.  Its all for love.

 

L.O.V.E.

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{Default Button}

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Our default button: the mindset/paradigm we have towards ourselves (especially in weakness)

A desire of Gods heart is that we would know His feelings toward us and stand firm in them rooted as tree {Psalm 1:3} no matter our life circumstances. There’s a little something I like to call our human default button, this is were our thoughts go to instantly after something happens in our lives especially in times of weakness and sin. Many times after we find ourselves compromising we flash to an image of an angry God, to feelings of shame, guilt, condemnation, denial, pride, the list could go on and on.
God however desires that our default button would be shaped not by circumstances but by how He see’s us. So how does He see us? Well Songs 4:9 paints a picture of our beloved (Jesus) declaring that we “have ravished His heart”. Later in Songs 6:5 he says “Turn your eyes away from me, For they have overcome me.”
Stop.
Dwell on that for a minute.
Whatever you have done today. Or maybe you haven’t done anything today, this is for YOU!
God is so overwhelmed in love for you, that with one look at Him He is undone. It sounds like something out of a fairytale, but this is better than a fairytale. THIS IS OUR REALITY. God has a Holy jealous love for us, He wants so badly for you and Him to be united in love as He had originally intended when He created Adam and Eve that He sent Jesus to bridge the gap. This is how we can stand in confidence that He see’s us as righteous. Jesus’ blood covers us. WE CANNOT DO A STINKING THING TO CHANGE HIS LOVE FOR US. Jesus did it all. He has reedemed those of us who have accepted this free gift called salvation.

His love is not and cannot be swayed by anything we do, meaning striving will get you no were but drained of energy and bitter. His love is not based on our performance. When I wake up; He is staring at me {whether I remember to say good morning to Him or not}, when I walk to class He is still staring at me waiting to see what I will do next, whenever I remember to say Hi to Him He gets so excited! And when I engage in conversation with Him, and worship Him it puts him over the moon so to speak. Think of it this way, imagine yourself standing on a busy street corner when you see a friend walking towards you, you expectantly begin waiting for them to see you, for that moment when there eyes to lock with yours. It does something in us when someone acknowledges our presence, it makes us feel desired/accepted/loved whether we admit it or not. Our eyes light up, a smile appears on our face, and somekind of physical touch/interaction is usually exchanged whether it be a high five, a hug, or a kiss.
Now replay that situation but imagine the person walking toward you is reading a book not paying attention to who is nearby and doesn’t see you. We can get kinda bummed that the person didn’t acknowledge us.
Here’s the crazy, amazing, beautiful news God doesn’t react like we do. He just keeps staring. He waits patiently until we remember to look up, whether it takes a minute, an hour, a month, a year, or a decade. He is there leaning over the balcony of heaven in love staring back at His creation waiting. To often a picture of an angry God just waiting for us to ‘mess up’ is all our imagination can comprehend. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In order to truly encounter God we must engage in long & loving meditation with a settled heart and mind. Reading the bible however is not merely something to fill us with knowledge, while that is the starting point it cannot and will not fill us. Mike Bickle say it a little something like this in regards to the Song of Songs “No one would go to a famous restraunt to merely study the menu. The menu is there to help them obtain a good meal. It is not enough to be a connoisseur of the Song of Songs, we must allow this book to fill our heart”. We are to fill ourselves with the truth of what Gods says, through that we will find our identity in Him and discover how He sees us, feels towards us is unshakeable.

Do you believe His heart is ravished by you?

Is LOVE your default button or is shame and self-preservation?

L.O.V.E.

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