Love Dwells Here

 

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” I John 4:17-19 (TheMessage)

God is love. Not “God has love,” “God exhibits love,” no, “God IS love.” Who says? He did in His word. The scriptures also tell us that when we surrender to Him, accept His finished work of the cross (He became my sin so I could become His righteousness), then He is in us and we are in Him.

John 17:20-24 (BSB), “I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one—I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me. Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

Jesus said that we are in Him and He is in us, that we are one with the Father, just as He and the Father are one. This isn’t complicated. Very simple really.

God is love and He lives in me. LOVE dwells in me.

So I can be loving, I can easily forgive any wrongs, I can show kindness and generosity, I can show the world that God is love. I John 4 says that if we don’t love, we don’t even know who God really is. We have to love! It isn’t just a command from God, it’s who we are.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

Do we take chances when we love? Yes. Can we be hurt when we love? Yes. Will our hearts possibly break? Yes, but didn’t God say that a broken heart and a contrite spirit is lovely to Him.

That’s a heart He can Heal and He can use!

Anything less than complete, lavish, passionate love, is fear. Perfect love, God’s kind of love, that love that lives in us, is perfect!

I know Him. I know His love, intimately and personally. I know without it I am nothing and can’t accomplish a thing on my own. So I accept His love and allow Him to work in me and through me. He is in me and I am in Him.

Love dwells here!

Stony Heart?

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Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV), “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV), “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Everyone born on this planet is born with a heart defect. It’s called a “hard heart”. It might not totally manifest until our pre-teens, but it is there nonetheless. A hard heart makes us selfish, calloused, and stubborn. It causes us to be stiff necked and self righteous. Praise God when we surrender those hearts, freely giving them to Jesus, He gives us a brand new one.

Unfortunately we still live in this fallen world and our human nature keeps trying to resurrect itself and exert itself over our new nature. When that happens we begin to ignore the Holy Spirit and tune Him out. This causes our hearts to begin to solidify again. Our new pliable, teachable hearts may be a gift from God, but we have to work at keeping our hearts soft. Or maybe our hearts aren’t exactly hard, but we try to divide them between God and something or someone else. David had that issue and he ended up sinning against God by committing adultery with a married woman. When confronted by the prophet Samuel, he repents and prays this prayer, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NASB)

Usually we don’t notice the hardening of our hearts until they are rock hard. But, it’s never too late with our Father!

Jeremiah 23:29 (NLT), ““Does not My word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?””

God’s word softens our hearts. Isn’t that what Jesus did? He softened the hearts of the people toward God. John says that Jesus was the Word and that He became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus, the living Word brought hope to everyone who had these heart issues.

David said that he hid God’s word in his heart. Why?

Psalm 119:11 (KJB), “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

It’s not some hocus-pocus magic. It’s so much simpler than that. When we know God’s word, when we truly make ourselves a student of His word, we begin to see God as our Father, the way Jesus portrayed Him. We know, without a shadow of doubt, that He loves us lavishly and scandalously. Even more amazing, we find out who we really are. We begin to see ourselves and others through the eyes of God, through the eyes of Love. A whole paradigm shift takes place then. Suddenly we aren’t doing those sinful things anymore. Sin has no more pull on our heartstrings. Our hearts stay pliable. When that happens, we don’t miss what the Holy Spirit is speaking into our hearts near as often, and we don’t see serving God as an obligation but as a privilege, a joy!

How do I know if my heart is hard? Are you easily irritated? Are you judgmental of yourself and others? Is reading your bible a chore, is almost anything else more attractive than going to church? Do you find your mind wandering during the services you do attend? Have you stopped tithing or giving to missions? Are you feeling numb to anything spiritual, dry as a mouth full of crackers?

Don’t despair. It’s only ever one step back to God.

Joel 2:12-13 (NASB), “”Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness And relenting of evil.”

Father, give me an undivided heart. I choose to allow Your word to be engrafted into my heart, to let it light my path and illuminate Your feelings for me. My heart belongs to You, the Lover of my soul. Only You are trustworthy enough to give it to.