Will You Love God in the Crisis?
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #594.
Just as John the Baptist prison did, we will choose to love God (or not) in the midst of every crisis we face. “Blessed is he who is not offended in Me!”
When He began to send me to different parts of the world, He would say, “Do not think I am sending you to the people. Do not think I’m sending you with a message. I am sending you to love Me in Ireland. I am sending you to love Me in Honduras. That’s your job. That’s your calling. Anything else just happens.” So that is the secret of overcoming is that you are not willing to ever not love Him. It’s not about feelings. It’s about what your priority of love is. And so, in fact, He will take away feelings over and over and over if that’s what you rely on to think you love Him and what you rely on to think He loves you. That’s something that you have to die to and let go of, that you are living by the simple choice to give God the first commandment under any circumstances.
And then the greatest of all prophets and the least in the kingdom came and He said to him, “Blessed is he who is not offended in Me.” And then turned around after, after he had that crisis, after John had that crisis of belief, He turned around and said, “Let Me tell you about My son, My prophet, My, the voice that laid the path out for Me. Let me kind of shine for this one that’s sitting in a prison about to be killed and is questioning Me. Let Me tell you how wonderful he is but he’s still the least but he’s the best, you know, the best prophet.” He was doting on him. And that’s what He does with us when we make that choice. You know, we have to make the choice and it has to hurt. Oh my gosh, it has to come. It’s running! It’s a death really. It’s running against the grain of my own being and I’m having to say yes. But He’s saying, “Will you not be offended? And will you love Me anyway?” And then when you say, “Yes, I love You anyway. Even in this prison. You are about to cut off my head. I’m going to love You anyway.” He says, “Look at this one, look! My life is in him.” Greatest, greatest prophet, least in the kingdom. And so now we’ve got, you know, all, all these opportunities that come against us and you, you have to face those.
Jennifer and John especially have said that Altogether Forgiven is the most anointed book I’ve ever written. Is that what you say?
Magnum opus, they say. The feedback I have gotten from that book is the most incredible experience of my life. I can’t even begin to repeat the things that people have said. One said, “That book reaches to every, the deepest part of me. In every corner it finds me. We cannot read but a sentence at the time.” There’s just been an outpouring by my standard of the power of that book. The power of it, I, there was someone asked to send books to, it’s a place in Africa, I couldn’t pronounce it, and I got an email back from the missionary there and they said they had given Altogether Forgiven to a retired police officer in that country. He came back and said, “This is the best book I’ve ever read. It’s the best book ever written.” Which it isn’t and can’t be. But and he said it hit him with power. There’s such power that people are reporting from that book and that book was written inside my grave. The power of the cross was on that book, both in my life— It’s my life! Forgiveness is my life crisis. And the thing I say in the book is when I have a difficult forgiveness, I will say, “I will not lose Jesus and my destiny over this offense. I will not. I will love Him even though He did this to me.” But the fruit of that is what I think Billy Graham was talking about. “At His right hand are wonders forever.” That book is going to be forever somehow. That’s more real to me because of Jean than any book I’ve written practically. But the power of God is only if you lose your life for Him. If you won’t lose your life for Him, you don’t love Him. And that can be solved easily by choice. That’s the power of choice. And God meets us according to our choice. If I choose to love Him, He will sustain that and He will work according to that and move heaven and hell around me on that ground.
And because He loves us so much, He will incentivize us when we are questioning whether He’s worth us loving Him. This is the stick part. He does the carrot as well. Isaiah 50:11 HCSB “ Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands; walk in the light of your fire and in the firebrands you have lit!” And that’s what we do apart from Him. We will, we were created for fire. We will light a fire. We will have flame in our life one way or another. And He’s saying if you are determined to get it elsewhere, “This is what you’ll get from My hand: you will lie down in a place of torment.” And I love this verse and I will tell you why I love this verse. Because at first it scared the liver out of me, right? And I was just like, “He is really intense!” You know? But the second thing was how much love that is. He will not let me leave Him and be comfortable. He will not let me leave Him and be at ease with His absence. He will not! And I can attest to that. I can attest to that. I’ve written on the blog before about, I don’t know if anybody else has it, but in addition to a life scripture I have a personal parable and mine is the two sons in the vineyard. The father says, “Hey, will you come and work in the vineyard?” One son’s like, “Yeah, no problem, sure, dad.” And then he goes away and doesn’t work and the other one is like, “NO!” But then he turns around and goes in. I’m the “No!” “No way, you’ve got to be kidding me. I’m going to go play with my friends.” And then like three days later. “Dang, fine!” And I come and work in the vineyard. But that has been, you know, that was, that was me and this verse I, this is, I have lived that. The truth is I can no longer sleep well without Him. Okay? If I’m at a crossroads then I’m just like “Man, this is just a bridge too far. Come on! Who’s it hurting? It’s not hurting anyone. Just leave me alone, please. Just leave me alone on this one, please. Go bug that person.” And that’s kind of what I say and I know, I know in my heart exactly what this crossroad is about, but I still am like, “Man, I could hold out. It’s not going to be so bad.” It’s bad every single time. I have headaches. I don’t sleep well. My head is loud. I am in torment, because that’s the size of His love for me. And I think about that. I think about, you mentioned, Morgan, your children. And I am no stranger to fears like that though I don’t have children. I think about my nieces and nephews coming up in this world and ugh! Talk about tested. I mean, there are times that I have wailed at the top of my lungs and had to literally make physical throwing gestures to get them onto the lap of Jesus and off me because I can’t bear it. But I look at this verse and I say, “Would I love them enough, if it was for their good, to torment them, to make their life miserable…” knowing that if I didn’t, they’d have a nice comfortable walk to hell! You know? And it’s very sobering to me but it is, this is one of the most loving verses in the whole Bible to me. Isaiah 50:11 and you should check it out in the Amplified. That’s a real dinger.
It’s like He won’t even let you choose yourself.
Right? Because I was thinking, you know, what happens when we do make selfish choices? We don’t even enjoy it. We want to be back with Him, you know? So there’s consequences for those choices but it’s all in His hand.
It’s hard to say ‘no’ to that kind of love. That’s the kind of love that, the truth is, every single one of us dreamt of from the time we were little, when we couldn’t even put words to it; the love that simply will not let go.
Will You Love God in the Crisis? – Episode #599 – Shulamite Podcast
Just as John the Baptist had to choose in prison, we will choose to love God (or not) in the midst of every crisis we face. “Blessed is he who is not offended in Me!” Obedience to the First Commandment is never so tested as when we or our loved ones suffer.