It is so easy to say, “I love you” in a moment of passion, but love that does not come from the heart will never pay the price of total commitment. Our dear Lord knew the difference.  Mark 7:6  He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:’These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’”  Loving God from the heart means obedience to Him whether we feel like it or not. It means God is our first love; self, family, and the world are secondary; anything less than total dedication of self will eventually require repentance.  Revelation 2:4  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.  5   Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Many are willing to sell themselves for instant gratification of self and then moan and cry because they are reaping the sins they have sown against God. Isaiah 59:2  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.  3  For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. Unfortunately, the sins we commit will affect the lives of our children and our family. Our sin can cancel our testimony and without repentance, God’s protection can be removed.  He is longsuffering but for our own eternal good He cannot let us go on and on in sin. Disobedience to God brings great pain into our home and upon the children under our protection; we act as though it is a great mystery that calamity has befallen us. Only true repentance and total surrender to the will of God will bring forgiveness and God’s blessings. We are not “safe” outside of doing God’s will. Hosea 10:13  But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors,  Hosea 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

Christ alone has the “perfect love” that will protect us and see us through all tribulation and evil. And He alone is able to turn the evil in our lives to “good”. Despite the knowledge that He loves and protects us, many of His children will forsake God’s love and choose their own will in the place of His.  The minute we choose “our will” over His, we have put ourselves in the place of God; that heart transaction opens our life to all the destructions of satan. Matthew 12:30   “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

One of the greatest promises in all the Bible is:  Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. This scripture is conditioned on our love for Him, and the proof of that love, which is that we walk according to His purpose for our lives. Let’s paraphrase that wonderful promise! “God works everything for the good of those that love Him and live to do His will.”  God doesn’t just say that He works “some things”, He says He works “all things” together for our good.  That promise is backed by divine omnipotence, His omniscience, and His omnipresence. God’s word is absolute truth and only we can cause the promise to “fail” because of our own failure to carry out the provisions of the promise.

There is a great sense of security when we know in our hearts that we are doing “all we know to do” to please God.  We can look at war, calamity, death, sickness, and all of the evil in the world and know that God will work it together for our good if we are walking in His love and obedience to His perfect will. If evil (that we have not sown), is touching our lives, it is allowed by God’s own will to work for our good. In the security of His perfect love, we know that God has a purpose in everything that touches us and all things will ultimately bring us rejoicing and bring Him glory. Romans 8:38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  39  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I rest in the fact that God is Lord and I have given Him total charge over my life. John 14:27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  The first twenty-three years of my life were filled with “fears and anxieties.”  I had no control over most of my circumstances. I had taken the Lord as my Savior, but I did not relinquish the full ownership of my heart and He was not “my Lord”. My love for Him cost me nothing because I had not surrendered my entire being to Him. One day God gave me the choice of belonging to Him totally or not at all. He plainly told me that He was going to withdraw His Spirit from me unless I gave Him my “all.” That day, I put Christ in total charge of my life and He has born the responsibility for my salvation, spiritual growth, and my present and future. I no longer have to walk in darkness, for He sheds His light on my pathway. It was the wisest and best decision I ever made!  It made an immediate difference in my life.  I walked out of darkness into His perfect light and perfect love. I learned to trust God and put away my fears—oh what a relief! Matthew 10:39   Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life (GIVES HIS LIFE TOTALLY TO GOD) for my sake will find it.

Once in a while I hear Christians say, “I hope I am right with God and make the rapture.”  I shudder when I hear those words because the truth is that God’s Spirit witnesses to our Spirit that we belong to Him. Romans 8:16  The Spirit himself testifies with our Spirit that we are God’s children.  There is no guesswork, we know for sure!  One of my favorite scriptures explains exactly how we should feel. 2Timothy 1:12  … I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

If you are not experiencing God at work in your life, then you are missing the “abundant life” He ordained for you. Loving God with all your heart will cost you something; it will cost you your entire being willingly surrendered to God. You no longer hold the ownership. 1John 5:3  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,  4  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  If you have not made Christ, “Lord of your life,” then you have missed the meaning and foundation of your life.  In Him all things are possible and through Him your life truly begins and reaches the peak of its perfection.  He makes all things new!  For all of us it takes a brand new birth into the family of God. Everything is then in the hands of the one that created us and prepared our destiny.  Ephesians 3:14  For this reason I kneel before the Father,  15  from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  17  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  18  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  19  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The love that we are commanded to give God is best described and exemplified by Christ’s own words:  Mark 12:30   Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  31   The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

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