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Joy and Love

Today is a day to ponder and reflect. I’m not really in the best position for this at the current stage of my life, yet, it seems to transpire frequently, irregardless. For nearly five months, I have been in downsize, simplify, and prepare to sell our home mode. Pondering and reflecting through 35 years of marriage, 25 years of homeschooling and raising six children, and a lifetime of ministry, service, and music education simply accompanies the season I have found myself in.

Two thoughts continue to arise amidst the pondering: 1) Restore unto me the joy of my salvation; and 2) How would Jesus love in these times in which we live? In the specifics of the path we have traveled? Our current me-centered, materialistic, sex-saturated, fast-paced, over scheduled, media driven culture simply sucks the joy out of life, accompanied by an extremely distorted perception of love. Christ did not give His all for a joyless Bride or Kingdom, nor did He give His all for His love or His Father’s love to be so profoundly misrepresented in such grossly distorted ways.

I have an art piece on my bedroom wall that fervently beckons me to pray for its manifestation, not only in my own life, not only in our family, but on behalf of this generation, and on behalf of this nation in which we live for this NOW time. Every morning I awaken to a glorious picture of Jesus looking down on the Earth through incredible eyes of joy with a huge smile of delight on His face. As He peers down on the Earth, my eyes are then drawn to the bucket of glory being poured out over His head and over the Earth from within His Father’s hands. I yearn to see that kind of joy manifesting, not only in myself, but in each of our kids, in all who seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and in all those who have simply not found their Source of joy in anything, anyone, or anywhere along the vast array of bunny trails available on this journey called life.

Secondly, I yearn to see the love manifested by Christ Himself when He walked this Earth and carried out in full obedience to His Father’s incredible plan of restoring mankind unto Himself – the restoration of the sons of the Kingdom unto Himself, manifesting in and through Believers around the world, and especially in our nation. The love of Christ does not manifest through judgmental, critical, or hate-filled signs, words, actions, or protests. Neither does it manifest in looking and living freely, independently, sinfully, and selfishly as does the culture in which we live, simply because of His grace. Both extremes are absolutely and entirely neither Kingdom nor true Spirit-filled, Christ-centered love.

True Spirit-filled, Christ-centered love manifesting in and through Believers can only be released to manifest through an awakening of the actual love of Christ Himself dwelling richly within each Believer. The love of Christ does not look much like the love that many Believers profess. Why? Because His love is not motivated by self, pride, or envy. His love is selfless. It is neither critical nor judgmental. His love is so compelling – so amazing – so all encompassing and liberating – that it propels us into His joy…into His holiness, His peace, His other-centeredness, His edification, His exhortation, and His comfort that alone sets captives free from whatever binds or hinders. His kind of love will NEVER be about ethnicity, occupation, status, sexual preference, or any other manmade version of the kind of love Christ actually embodies, because He IS love. We cannot and will not find His kind of love within human capacity apart from Christ Himself awakened within us.

The best and most current example of that immense kind of love being released on the Earth today through a Believer would probably be Heidi Baker, who is wholehearted, passionate, sold out, and completely obedient to the will and plans of our Heaven Father, and the multitudes are blessed. Does that mean we all have to travel across the ocean to experience the manifestation of the Kingdom of our Father on the Earth? No, but it does mean we have to be that surrendered, that wholehearted, and that abandoned to our Father, our Savior, and to Holy Spirit leading, risking and yielding everything in order to be at the very center of His plans and dreams for us and others. The first disciples and apostles got it. Believers in this NOW time need to ‘get it,’ and walk it out as well. Kingdom as defined by Christ Himself doesn’t remotely look like the multitudes of religions built by the hands and ideologies of man. Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world and we can literally take those words to the bank. Jesus was neither seeker-sensitive nor politically correct. Neither did He tolerate man-made religion. He modeled perfectly His role as the Son of God and the Son of man. He offered Himself on behalf of indwelling His vessels for such a time as this. His purposes involve neither judging, shaming or condemning others, nor living this life selfishly for ourselves in the name of grace.

I am believing for, expecting, anticipating, and interceding for an awakening to the authentic love of Christ, unlike the Earth has yet seen since He literally walked this Earth. The love and the joy of Christ Himself within Believers that lives fully and completely surrendered to the obedience of Holy Spirit leading and our Heavenly Father’s will. A love and a joy that is always for the glory of our Heavenly Father, which is always on behalf of others (Luke 10:27) – preferring others in all circumstances. Let the awakening manifest! Let Heaven manifest the love of Christ and the joy of Christ on this Earth in such a way that His glory covers the Earth as the waters cover the seas – in such a way that His Kingdom comes and His will is done on the Earth as it is in Heaven! These are not simply words, but rather Holy Spirit utterance and rhema decrees on behalf of the generations called to prepare the way of our Lord. He fervently established the means in which to live His own life through the vessels of mankind…His babes, His children, and His sons. Time to rise and shine in the joy and love of Christ within us, our only hope of glory!

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