Pursuit of His Presence

Do You Love Me?


Lately, everywhere I turn, I hear Jesus asking, “Do you really love me?” In passage after passage he says, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” John 14:15

“If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love…This is My commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you…You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15: 10, 12, 14)

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock…” (Matthew 7:24)

I sing about what a friend I have in Jesus, but do I truly obey him? Do I love my neighbor as myself?  As a demonstration of what it means to love your neighbor, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan.  When was the last time I gave extensively of my time and resources to help a perfect stranger simply because they needed help?  Honestly, I’m far more likely to be like the priest and the Levite and walk by on the other side of the road, thinking either, “I’m too busy” or, “That person got themselves into the mess they’re in.”

I often act contrary to the leading of the Spirit, thinking to myself, God understands.  He will forgive my weakness this one time.  I even have people around me counsel that it’s OK because “we are saved by grace and not by works.”  But I know that Jesus didn’t save me just so I could go to heaven.  As much as he loves me, he loves the people around me.  If I am a member of the Body of Christ, if he is my Head, then it is up to me to do what he says, to carry out his will and not my own, by serving those around me “that they may see my good works and glorify my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16.) The Church is not a place I go; it is the Body of Jesus himself, walking around on the earth, doing what he does.

There is a passage that has long been troubling to me.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:23)

I wondered how someone could be doing these mighty works but not be doing the will of the Father.  The truth is, the one prophesying and driving out demons and performing miracles isn’t the human being at all, but the Holy Spirit working through that person.  Jesus calls them “workers of lawlessness,” in other words, those who disobey the commandments. Jesus doesn’t say, “If you love me, work miracles.”  He says, “If you love me, obey me.”

By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments… By this we know that we are in Him:  Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked. (1 John 2: 3, 6)

This “abiding in him” is spoken of in many places, but here it clearly states what that looks like.  It’s not about going to church, or reading a devotional every morning, or memorizing scripture, or praying a lot, or talking about my faith.  He tells me what it looks like throughout the gospels:

Walk as Jesus walked.  Take up my cross and follow him.  Deny myself.  Lose my life for his sake.  What does this mean for me, today?? Jesus changed the lives of the people around him.  He got up before dawn to spend time with the Father, and then spent the day teaching, healing, delivering, discipling.  There were no wasted moments scrolling through social media or worrying about how he looked. Everything he did and said had purpose and meaning. I’m a long, far cry from walking as he walked. If I confess my sins, he is indeed faithful to forgive me, but I don’t want to continually repeat the cycle of sin > confess > sin > confess.  I want to be his friend, to show my love, to obey the first time, every time.

About a year ago during a time of worship, I had a quiet nudge to take a literal step forward in the place I was standing, as a sign of taking authority over that place for the kingdom of God.  It was a smaller step than Neil Armstrong took on the moon, but it has played a much bigger role in my life.  Because as I took the step, I experienced a sense of myself in Jesus and Him in me that I had never felt before.  It has stayed with me and to this day, I know, I sense, when I am walking in a direction that is NOT where he would go.  Simple things like making a snide remark about a family member, or indulging a “harmless” habit, or keeping the truth to myself out of fear it won’t be accepted or understood.  I can see myself walking away from Jesus with each of these acts.  He’s still there, but I’m not abiding in him.

The solution is simple. I just need to repent, which means to change my mind and my direction.  Instead of walking away on a path of my choosing, I choose to walk toward him in the direction he wants me to go. When I do, I experience far more joy and peace than when I go my own way.

What does it mean to you, to walk as Jesus walked?  What do you find helpful? Tell us in the comments!

To Know Him Is To Love Him

Hi Friends, Jeanne here. I have a question for you:

Heart rose“Who is Elon Musk? What is he like?” 

If you asked a hundred people, you would get a variety of answers, including several, “I have no idea.” You’d probably form some concept of Elon Musk based on what you’d heard and read.  But unless you know Elon Musk personally, you’d have no way of knowing what he’s really like. 

“Who is God? What is he like?”  If you asked a hundred people, you’d a variety of different answers, again including several “No idea.”  But God is who he is, regardless of what people believe about him.

What is God really like?  Unless you know him, you’re going to take someone else’s word for it, just like you would with Elon Musk.  I was raised in a family that believed in God, that went to church regularly, that participated in “religious education.”  I had a concept of God that was influenced by what people said about him and by what I read. 

As a kid I was taught the Ten Commandments (and thanks to all that “Religious Education,” I can probably still recite them.)  Jesus even referred to the greatest commandment:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength.”

My line of thought went something like this: How do you love God, an invisible being so far away? And who would know whether or not I obeyed this commandment?  In my mind, love was a warm fuzzy feeling.  Thinking about God didn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling, but I could say it did and no one would know the difference. So, I could “check off” the first commandment and move on to worrying about the easier commandments like “Thou shalt not steal.” Is it stealing if you sneak a cream puff out of the refrigerator when you’re supposed to wait until after dinner?

When I became a follower of Jesus, I realized there is a whole lot more to the Christian life than going to church and trying to obey the commandments.  The question remained: how do I love God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength? I understood that this all-out love is much more than admiration, or general gratitude for a wealth of blessings.  But to be honest, I still didn’t love God this way right off the bat.  Rather, I spent years getting to know who he is and how he feels about me.  There is nothing that describes this process better than the phrase “falling in love.”

When you meet someone special, you think about them a lot.  You want to spend time with them, getting to know them, and sharing yourself with them. As time passes you become closer and closer until you can’t imagine doing life without them.  This has been my experience with God. 

The process is different than human romantic love, of course.  God is not going to keep you on the phone for hours or send you twenty texts a day.  His love-gifts won’t be delivered by a florist or UPS driver. I fell in love through the Word of God and the Spirit of God.  I read the Bible to learn what God says about himself.  I also learned prayer as a conversation, not a monologue.  The best part of my relationship with God is that he both listens and speaks to me. Often his voice is a gentle whisper; but occasionally he rocks my world with a virtual shout!

When people fall in love, sooner or later they realize that their beloved isn’t quite perfect, but I’ve never experienced that with God.  Not only does he never hurt me, but he always forgives me when I hurt him.  He doesn’t hold grudges, and if I run away from him, he follows me and welcomes me back the moment I turn around.  He only wants what is good for me, no matter what it costs him.

There were plenty of times in my past that I thought God was being unfair or unloving, but I was wrong. The evil that’s in this world is not from God at all, but from our enemy. The devil and his minions attack us and try to make us think that it’s God doing it.  He’s so good at it that even many Christians don’t realize that God is essentially being framed, but that’s a topic for another day.

I have come to know that God can be absolutely trusted; that his plans for me are far better than anything I could think of for myself.  I have begun to experience the joy of his kingdom right here, right now. 

I can’t give you a shortcut to this place, but I can assure you that if you honestly seek him, you will find him.  It will be worth everything you have to know and experience how much he loves you.  There was a time when truly loving God seemed impossible to me.  But now I can say without reservation that the more I know him, the more I love him, and want to know him more.

How about you?  How have you experienced the love of God?  As always, your comments and questions are welcome!

Thoughts on Peace

Nitish-meena-RbbdzZBKRDY-unsplashPhoto by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

Hello everyone, Jeanne here with the post I planned to write last month.  I hope it’s worth the wait!

In the past ten years, I have had people ranging from family members to coworkers to people I’ve just met comment on my peaceful nature. Where does it come from, and how do I maintain it?

I have come to understand that just as “you are what you eat”, I become what I ingest.  In the computing world there is a very basic principle called GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.  Jesus says in Luke 6:45, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” 

Scripture tells us to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1) and Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure… think about these things.  (Philippians 4:8)

We would all agree these are great goals, but the tasks of renewing our minds and focusing on excellent things are crazy difficult in today’s world.  Matthew 6:22 is another familiar verse that helps me.

The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Modern translations use clear, or healthy, or good in place of the word single, but the sense of the verse is if you are focused on the one right thing, your life will be full of light. 

Imagine there is a 6-month-old child in your living room.  The baby is surrounded by toys and loving adults and safe things to explore, but he is determined to crawl over to the burning fireplace. Every few minutes someone has to pick up the baby, turn him around, and distract him.  Sometimes our thoughts are like that.  Like the baby’s toys, we have many good things to consider and explore in our lives, but instead we keep thinking about the unruly family member or difficult situation. We need to get into the habit of changing our thinking by picking up our thoughts, turning them around, and filling them with good things. Even better, we can focus on the one right thing: keeping our eye single, looking to Jesus.

We are constantly bombarded with bad news and harsh words.  I am incapable of being exposed to that without being affected, so I avoid most mass and social media.  However, avoiding the garbage is not enough.  I need nutritious content to actually nourish my heart. A coworker once asked me, “If you don’t watch TV, who tells you what to think?”  My response: the Bible and the Holy Spirit do a great job of telling me what to think, and what to think about.

Not only are we surrounded by innumerable negative influences, but there are also hundreds of good causes that compete for our attention.  This is where I must rely on the guidance of Holy Spirit.  There are countless situations in the world and in my community that desperately need attention.  But I have limited time and resources.  To maintain my peace, I have to stay focused on my calling, and trust that God is raising up others to do the rest.  I can pray and contribute widely, but I need to “stay in my lane” when it comes to where I invest my time.

Replacing media time with time alone with the Word and the Lord has worked wonders for me. It’s in this time that God’s promises have come alive, and the seed of God’s word has borne fruit in my life. In John 14:1, Jesus tells us not to be anxious, and then he tells us how.  

Let not your heart be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in Me.

Believe means to fully trust in and rely on God. It’s not just mental assent.  In Philippians 4:6, we find more instructions:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…

If I’m still anxious I ask myself, “Did you skip the part about ‘with thanksgiving’?  Are you rejoicing in the Lord??” (Yes, I talk to myself like that. Don’t judge me!)  Because if I did it right, I have the promise of the rest of the verse:

…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I’ve heard it said that if you’re still upset after you’ve prayed, that’s not prayer, that’s just complaining.  When I have trouble getting out of a negative loop in my head, I find a way to play some worship music, stand up or walk and praise God out loud until I have recalibrated my perspective.  When I focus on the truth that God is on the throne, and he’s already provided a solution for every problem I’m ever going to face, I can truly be free of whatever burden I’m carrying.  I know there is joy in the presence of the Lord.  I can choose to get into his presence, or stay in my own miserable skin.

If you struggle with swirling emotions and negative thoughts, try changing what you feed yourself. Replace some/more of your media consumption with regular time alone with the Lord and his Word.  Drown out those negative voices with praises for our powerful, loving God.  In the comments, share what works for you to deal with worry and fear, or tell us about your favorite scriptures or songs that lift you up. See you

Tired of Churchianity?

Kingdom Life BibleMy Beloved Son and Daughter,

I have heard the deep longing of your heart. You have been faithful and true and yet have dared to ask the questions that many have feared to ask. In the depths of your soul you have asked yourself, “Where is the God of miracles? Where is the power and authority Jesus modeled to the disciples? Why don’t we see the miraculous today?”

I have heard your heart’s cry and it is time. You were born for such a time as this to step into the Living Word of God. I’m calling my church out of lethargy, out of fear and into sonship. I am calling you to step into your supernatural destiny. My church has tarried long enough in the trenches of powerless faith. My Beloved, you have been held back from an encounter with Me and today I’m calling you into freedom.

My children have been shackled by powerless living and left with little answers to difficult problems. You have agonized over your own children struggling with porn, a son who turned from his faith to heroin, your daughter who attended church all of her life and is now lost in a world of self-doubt, addictions and fear.

My Beloved son and daughter, I AM the answer. My Word has always held the truth, power and answers to all of your struggles and every one of the world’s problems today. I ask you today, my Beloved, step out of the old and dare to discover that you can walk in miracles. You can bring freedom to your children. You are commissioned to rise and walk in the calling of my Son, Jesus.

~Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.— John 14:12

If you are hungry for more of God, are bored with powerless and Christianity, are longing to experience the powerful answering of prayers, and you are desperate to watch God move in the difficult problems of your life, this journey is specifically for you.

Encounter God’s unfailing love, faithfulness, power and promises and live in the supernatural lifestyle intended for His sons and daughters.

You Have Everything

Philippians 4 7Recently while I was worshiping in an extended time of singing, I became aware of myself standing with my arms held out in front of me. I could sense that a royal robe of weightiness, ornate and beautiful, being gently placed upon my shoulders. I also could perceive a scepter in one hand and something round in the other. (This was so unexpected and fascinating.) I could feel the power and love of God and immediately as it felt like electric pulses ran my spine. I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “You have everything.”


In that instant an uncommon peace settled over my heart. I would describe it as the peace that surpasses all understanding. In the two weeks leading up to this moment, I’d actually been in a place of insecurity and fear. I repented of the fear and had been asking God to come in and realign my heart with His.

Indeed, God loves an invitation as such.

Along with this new peace the scripture promise came, you have everything.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.— 2 Peter 1:3

(God has me camped in the books of Peter.)

This promise flooded my soul with peace. As the Holy Spirit prompted, “Lynn, you already have everything you need.”


Resting in this truth is powerful. Bringing this truth forward into our earthly realm is where I believe I’m headed. I expect this classroom to present interesting twists and turns. But I’m determined to perceive the ways of God and how, as His child, I am to enlist all of heaven to bring all I need for life and Godliness.

Expect a few updates as the classroom opens. Love you my friends. I pray this scripture comes alive in your faith. In Jesus name. AMEN