Behold what manner of love the Father has Bestowed upon us. . .

Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1John 3:1

I am remembering back to the late 70’s when this song was sung in church with joy in our hearts for what God’s Love has done,” that we should be called the children of God.” The meaning of Agape love was beginning to spread throughout cities in Washington State in the 70’s. Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity. Those who believed, received His Love within their hearts and shared that love to others. It is more than just an emotional experience.  It was a movement among the younger generation that witnessed a change within their heart that God was real.  They wanted more of God and worship was the key to sensing His presence among us.  There was a thirst for more of God in our lives.  I have very fond memories of this time because I witnessed a change in my heart and seen the evidence of my friends changing and having that” joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  Some of us young people went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit after Reverend Dennis Bennett laid His hands upon our heads in prayer.  We did not fully understand what was happening at that time, but we knew the love of God to be real and that love was making a difference in our personal lives. 

It was a genuine experience knowing that we are now children of God. It did not matter how old a person was, all inhibition were lost in believing in the name of God’s Son and His love for us. We were forgiven and cleansed. We no longer had condemnation within our heart. We had confidence instead in knowing that God would answer our prayers because God had given us a new position of sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [see Ephesians 2:6].  Through the Holy Spirit God was moving through denominational lines and people were getting saved.  It was a work of the grace of God, for many could not change themselves, but when the Spirit of God got a hold of you something happened.  It was truly the gift of God as the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 2:8.   It was a revelation that being a Christian could be more then just a work in progress of trying to change yourself.  We needed God’s gift and anointing, and the Apostle John talked about it as an “unction from the Holy One” that we know who Jesus the Christ is [the Messiah, the anointed one. . .see 1 John 2:20-22].

“God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him” exclaims John in 1 John4:16. We have His love living inside us, for perfect love drives out fear [see 1 John4:18]. If we are afraid, then we are not perfected in His love. If we are not perfected in His love, then a breach has occurred. Something has broken the fellowship we had with God.  If we no longer have confidence that God will hear our prayers, we stand alone.  Our assurance is in the Love of God; therefore, we repent and ask God to cleanse our heart and renew us to that position we had in Christ. We ask God to change our heart if we have hatred, bitterness, and envy residing in our heart instead of love for our brother.  We must surrender our self to the Love of God, for the love of God helps us to keep his commandments and it should not be burdensome [see 1John 5:3].  If there is a yoke of burden, then we are not under the love of God.  We have placed ourselves under a different system that is not of the love of God.  In the world the cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure are the characteristic of a person seeking self-gratification rather than loving a brother or sister. Have we lost our first love from God?  Is a question we all must answer.  The world does not know love because it does not know Jesus.  Let us pray for God’s love to continuously rule our hearts every day.  May His Love not be a burden, but rather a gift to all who would receive and believe. Pray and receive His Love today into your heart.

Every Good Gift

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

James 1:17 KJV

It is Monday and it is three more days to Christmas. Last minute preparations are being made for this wonderful day of celebrations for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It may be the only time that some individuals receive gifts during this time. It is a time of remembrance of those who we love, and those who have helped us along our path. It is a time of family and friends to share with each other and to know the meaning of belonging. I can remember as a teen being somewhat alone on Christmas Day with no mother or brother, but at-least I had a stepfather who cared and accepted me for who I was with no strings attached. To me this was the perfect gift “acceptance and love.” When you have nothing to give in material possessions, you find the meaning of what the perfect gift is. It is the heart of love that keeps on sharing no matter what happens in our everyday life. Sharing a simple meal in love goes a long way in realizing that as humans we are meeting our basic need.

The word gift in this scripture is the Greek word for dosis, which means the act of giving or the thing given. As a child, it was always exciting to see what was under the Christmas Tree on Christmas Day. So much anticipation and hope came upon us as children that, if we were good throughout the year, we would receive our hearts desire. Of course, this did not always happen, but a gift was still under the tree if we would receive it.

We may be uncomfortable receiving a gift if it came with strings attached when growing up. Parents tend to put conditions on children to perform in each task to meet certain expectation. You may have heard the saying, “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Sometimes a person cannot meet that expectation because it is unrealistic and only feeds upon a selfish desire of the person who is giving the conditions. It takes away from the act of receiving with humility and appreciation of the gift being given.

Did you know that receiving creates a connection with the person who is giving?  Sometimes we shy away from it to put a distance between the person giving the gift. If we can let go of the fear of past judgements and begin to see the generous heart of the giver whatever the intentions of promoting a self-image of being good, we can welcome the gift with a true heart of compassion. Compassion is a gift we all need today in the world we live in. How we view the world is in our actions we project towards others.

Receiving a gift may also bring the pressure to reciprocate. A person may want to protect themselves from being in another person’s debt. The actual part of giving had no debt attached, but rather the understanding that humanity has many faults. Therefore, the attitude of an individual should be one of love and forgiveness, which releases a person to receive the gift with open arms.

God’s gift coming down from the Father of Lights had no conditions, for He did not ask us to do anything to pay for our sins. Christ paid the debt in full at the cross. Are we ready for the perfect gift that came down from the Father of Lights?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 KJV

God’s Son is the gift that was given to the world. It was given out of a heart of love and compassion. Can we receive His Love and Compassion? I pray that the answer is “yes.” We must receive the gift as a child in hope that He will bring healing to our soul and body that we may begin the walk in living daily in His Love. The greatest gift the world has is in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.